It’s the day after another Padres loss and Pat Murphy looks it.
“I slept like a baby last night,” Murphy said. “I woke up every two hours and started crying.”
Rim shot, please, and is this what the season has come down to?
Murphy, San Diego’s interim manager, actually said he sleeps fine in his interim digs at the adjacent Omni Hotel. He does so as another year slips into a familiar slumber, with the fading Padres sprinting toward their fifth straight losing season.
Sure they have hope of a miracle turnaround. But it’s clear that, and $3, might get a fancy cup of Joe. The truth is there’s no buzz to this bunch, which entered the season riding a Venti of hype. But there’s no waving of a white towel, according to Ron Fowler. The Sultan of Suds and ownership voice wouldn’t quit if down by 10 runs, a strike away from another defeat.
That’s what I like about Fowler. This crazy game means something to him. It’s not just a financial vehicle for him to grow his considerable stack of lettuce.
Instead it’s time for other clubs to say “let us offer these players” and await the Padres’ response.
We know Justin Upton is gone and is there any chance he can take his brother’s onerous contract with him?
Maybe Upton lands in Anaheim where the Angels need left-field help. His return could be substantial, although he’s battling a balky oblique and that’s a red flag which could diminish the return.
Upton is the lone position player that could bring something special back, and even Upton’s haul will be muted by health and pending free agency.
The others? Good luck, general manager A.J. Preller in pulling a rabbit from this hat.
Yonder Alonso is a corner infielder with two home runs and 20 RBIs. Jedd Gyorko is a second baseman with a big swing and contract and limited production and range. Shortstop? And you thought the Black Hole was only in Oakland?
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks is in Triple-A. Yangerveris Solarte is a utility player on most clubs.
Right field Matt Kemp is compiling some decent number but he’s not passing the eye test in right field. It’s not for lack of effort, but it’s obvious the grass covers is diminishing. Plus his contract and age are such that he’d be tough to move.
Wil Myers is in center field and often in a cast. It’s tough moving injury prone hitters with bad wrists. Catcher Derek Norris’ RBI total is impressive until further digging reveals none since June 28 and that his 2-for-21 slide is real.
Feeling better about what might be coming back to San Diego regarding any of those players? Didn’t think so.
It’s the mound where Preller must go to shine. He has some interesting players as well as compelling decisions coming fast.
James Shields is the Padres’ ace and is being paid like one. But considering the flood of starters on the market that are cheaper and younger than Shields, would someone really paying for Five Frame James? In his last three starts he’s gone five innings twice and 5.1 once.
Tyson Ross is boss when looking for a payout. But his stuff is electric — when he’s not walking the lineup — and letting him flee could come with a future jolt of regret.
Andrew Cashner has righted his ship of late and with him being a free agent after 2016, he could be heading out. Just remember the previous Padres’ brass sacrificed All-Star Anthony Rizzo to pry Cashner from Chicago. So when peddling Cashner, can San Diego make up for losing Rizzo?
Ian Kennedy’s contract expires after the season, so why not get something for him now? But as a middle-of-the-rotation piece in the midst of an middling season, prospects are the likely return.
The bullpen? Craig Kimbrel’s contact is a rich one and if a team is that close to contending, it likely already has a closer. Joaquin Benoit is attractive as he’s not as pricey and could fill the setup role as well. But as a soon-to-be free agent, Benoit’s value will be nicked, too.
Let’s cut to the chase: Preller’s hands full are full and it’s of his own doing. A system void of minor-league talent means the big league roster has to be where this train gets turned around. And with many Padres coming with mitigating circumstances, Preller’s task is that much tougher.
Preller has a week to do something special and we can’t wait either. Like Murphy, we’ll sleep on it and hope Preller produces something better in the morning.
It beats rising every two hours and crying.