It’s easy, in a season where almost everything imaginable has gone wrong, to forget that the Padres won 89 games a year ago with comparable talent. The lazy and somewhat impractical suggestion is to say we should blow everything up and start over from scratch.
Speaking of the future, we’ve already seen four members of the 2005 draft class surface in San Diego this year. Monday night marked the debut of second baseman Matt Antonelli, the first member of the 2006 class to arrive. Antonelli started his big-league career in fine fashion, lacing a sharp single to center off 354-game winner (and ex-Padre) Greg Maddux in his first at-bat.
A more challenging and instructive approach entails identifying specific, actionable items and weighing the pros and cons of each. The idea is that if we focus on individual areas that can be improved, the larger issue will seem less daunting.
(Breaking large, amorphous entities into smaller, more digestible pieces is a neat trick I learned during my project management days. It’s also a good way to get a book written and published with a minimum of freakouts.)
Define goals, establish targets. Do something — It feels a lot less helpless than sitting around watching your team suck and whining about it. Even if nothing comes of the actual ideas, at least we’ll have a clearer grasp of the situation.
With that out of the way, here are my questions to you:
- What one thing would you do this off-season to improve the club?
- Why would you do this? How will it help?
- What are arguments in favor of your proposal?
- What are arguments against it?
- Is it realistic to think that the Padres might actually do something like this?
- If not, are there alternatives that could achieve similar effect?
This could be anything — player procurement, draft budget, concession delivery, parking, whatever. The only constraint is that it has to be focused, and you must offer solutions. Here’s an example:
- Trade Kevin Kouzmanoff or Chase Headley (whichever fetches more) for a front-line starting pitcher.
- Beyond Jake Peavy and Chris Young (assuming he’s healthy), the Padres are severely lacking in reliable starting pitching.
- The Padres have a surplus of big-league caliber third basemen, one of whom is miscast in left field, where there are other options.
- Both Kouzmanoff and Headley are young and cheap, and should provide excellent return on investment for the foreseeable future; why give them up when you’re trying to rebuild?
- Possibly, if the deal is right.
- They might try moving Khalil Greene for the same, although his poor season and injury may limit his trade value at the moment.
Keep it somewhat high-level. If we get some good responses, we can revisit them later and maybe dig a little deeper (e.g., talk about the pitchers we might target for Headley or Kouz).
Those are the ground rules; now dazzle me with your acumen. Have fun!