Say what you want about the Padres, allow the curse words to roll out of your mouth, but admire Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler for at least being honest.
See, Ron thinks this situation is pretty sucky, too. If you were at a bar, and Ron was sitting beside you, you’d “cheers” to the fact that man, this team is disappointing. (And if Bud Black was on the other side of you, he’d cheers to “Hey guys, remember when you fired me? See how well that turned out?”)
Clink! Drink up, kids.
You guys are gonna need it, from the looks of how this season is going.
After an offseason filled with splashy expectations, a “rock star general manager” and big-name signings and trades — like Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and James Shields — the Padres are a lousy 39-47. Know where they were at this time last year? Yep, a lousy 39-47.
Wednesday morning, Mighty1090 radio host Dan Sileo asked Fowler what he would say if someone told him the record hasn’t improved, despite the increased payroll and roster shake-up.
“I’d fire myself,” he said, with a tired laugh.
In the interview, Fowler told Sileo he’s frustrated, disappointed, flabbergasted at the lack of offense and the poor performance from both position players and starting pitchers. He pointed out that every starter (save for Yonder Alonso) is hitting below average, and every starting pitcher has a higher ERA than usual. The team, which was at one point leading the NL in runs, is now seventh-best; in fact, in the last four games, they’ve scored a paltry five runs.
So, what’s happened?
“I don’t think it’s the chemistry,” Fowler said, when asked about the slump. “I don’t know what it is. If I knew, we’d be making moves.
“I’m embarrassed for what’s happened,” he continued. “I think our players are playing hard, but we’re snake bit. It’s frustrating as heck for everybody involved.”
Sure, the Padres expected their rotation to be better than it has been this first half, and that the booming bats and strong performances on the mound would overshadow the deficiencies in the roster. It just, um, hasn’t happened that way.
“We knew we had some holes,” Fowler admitted. “We knew we were too right handed, but we thought our pitching would be as good or better than 2014. And I’m at a loss to explain why Upton is hitting well less than .200 since June 1, and what’s happened to Kemp this year. They’re better players than that, they know they’re better players than that, and that’s what’s frustrating.”
(Upton, the team’s lone All-Star this season, is hitting .183 since June 1. Kemp, just .230.)
Of course, the question can be raised as to whether or not this team would be in a better spot had they not fired manager Bud Black midseason and replaced him with interim (big league rookie) manager Pat Murphy, and the answer would have to, at least at this point, lean toward yes. Since Black’s dismissal, the team has gone 7-14 and is now 8.5 games behind both the division-leading Dodgers and the Pittsburgh Pirates, who currently hold the second-place spot in the National League wildcard race.
“We just weren’t putting it together under Buddy,” Fowler said after Black was fired.
Unfortunately, they ain’t putting it together now, either. They’re even less “putting it together.” They’re worse.
What’s done is done, and it’s to be seen whether the Padres will sell off some pieces at the trade deadline and try and build for future years, or whether they will make a run at the postseason with the belief that they can turn it around.
If you’re to take Fowler at face value – and we have no reason not to – this team is still “committed to winning” and looking to be relevant in October. In other words, don’t expect a fire sale.
“We’re doing our damndest to turn things around for the remainder of the season,” Fowler said.
For even more Padres
depression discussion, listen to Annie and John’s latest podcast: