30. San Diego Padres: 2014 Mid-Season Rankings

A Padres MetaphorThe Padres can expect to get beaten up by the Dodgers for years to come.

The Padres are a mess. As of the All-Star break, they have only two players with an OBP higher than .300. One of those players is left fielder Seth Smith (.387), the other is utility infielder Jake Goebbert, who has 37 PAs.

It gets worse…

Only three Padres are batting .260 or higher: Smith, Goebbert, and Nick Hundley (.271 in 59 PAs, so good he was released). Only three Padres are slugging higher than .400 with more than 100 PAs: Smith, Rene Rivera, and Tommy Medica. The Padres are so bad on offense, they make Smith look like Barry Bonds.

Just look at the data. This team can’t hit.

Everth Cabrera 343 5.00% 23.60% .218 .256 .290
Seth Smith 306 13.70% 16.30% .283 .387 .508
Chase Headley 294 7.50% 23.80% .226 .296 .350
Will Venable 271 6.30% 25.10% .201 .258 .277
Yonder Alonso 244 5.30% 13.10% .210 .250 .341
Chris Denorfia 243 6.60% 18.50% .244 .295 .329
Yasmani Grandal 221 11.30% 26.70% .210 .299 .364
Jedd Gyorko 221 5.40% 25.30% .162 .213 .270
Alexi Amarista 217 7.40% 14.30% .230 .285 .327
Cameron Maybin 182 5.50% 18.70% .251 .291 .374
Carlos Quentin 143 10.50% 19.60% .182 .287 .322

Their first baseman is hitting .210/.250/.341! The guy they gave a 6/$35 million extension to early in the season is hitting .162/.213/.270! Their “star” player and biggest offensive trade chip is hitting .226/.296/.350! I could just keep doing this, but I’ll stop because it’s just cruel. The end result is this: the Padres are the worst team in baseball when it comes to scoring runs (279 on the season, 2.93 R/G), sitting a massive 81 runs behind the second worst team in baseball in the category.

It gets worse…

Baseball Prospectus ranked the Padres as the 11th best farm system in baseball at the beginning of the season, including the 18th (Austin Hedges), 47th (Matt Wisler), and 55th (Max Fried) best prospects. Unfortunately, Hedges is the only one who regularly carries a bat, and he’s a defense first catcher (and a really, really good one, at that). That gives the Padres exactly zero impact hitting prospects on BP’s Top 101 prospects. Their two next best hitting prospects at the beginning of the season, Hunter Renfroe and Rymer Liriano, are both striking out at a 25% clip this season, which doesn’t bode well for hitting at the major league level.

It gets worse…

This Padres team isn’t your normal, low payroll Padres team. The Padres signed a TV deal worth approximately $60 million a year, so they’ve been throwing money around and have a $90 million payroll this season. So not only are they bad, they’re almost $100 million worth of awful. The only good news is the team will shed about $27 million of that money to free agents Chase Headley, Josh Johnson, Huston Street (who does have an option), and Tim Stauffer. They could save even more money by trading Headley and Street before the trade deadline, cause everyone wants a third baseman hitting like a utility infielder.

It gets worse…

The Padres fired their GM, Josh Byrnes, midway through his third season with the team. Since the position became open, the Padres have had several people interview for the job and at least four people withdraw from the job. The Padres will inevitably announce their new GM, but it won’t likely be a candidate as qualified as Jason McLeod. The lack of star players in the majors and minors, San Diego’s only mildly-interested fan base (I don’t blame them, San Diego’s probably fantastic), and the rumors that they might just hire the suddenly-not-so-popular-in-Arizona Kevin Towers should scare away well qualified candidates. Even with more money running through the ball club, a beautiful city with perfect weather, and a pitcher friendly ballpark to work with, the Padres appear to be struggling to find their next GM.

It gets.. better…

As terrible as the Padres are on offense, they do have some good pitchers that should heretofor be known as trade bait one, two, and three: Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, and Andrew Cashner. All three players were acquired via trade from the Diamondbacks, A’s, and Cubs, respectively. Kennedy had one bad season before the Diamondbacks did the most Diamondbacks thing ever and traded him at the point of his lowest value. Ross had issues with walks and couldn’t strike any one out in Oakland, but has turned into a solid mid-rotation starter in the friendly confines of Petco Park. He’s even been solid outside of San Diego. Cashner was traded for spare first baseman Anthony Rizzo (who is an All-Star after a .275/.381/.499 first half with 20 HRs. Sounds like a guy the Padres could use instead of Yonder Alonso, huh?) and has ace stuff that has never translated as a starter, with a K/9 sitting at about 7. It’s not hard to see a team falling for one of the Padres’ starters, but everyone should be wary of a Padres starter leaving Petco.

It gets better…

And that’s exactly what the Padres can rely on. The Cubs have helped build up their farm system by making smart, one-year deals with free agent starters. The Padres can do the same in the comforts of Petco, dealing starters annually and trying to shorten the time it takes to get back into the playoffs. In fact, the Padres should model themselves after the Cubs entirely, taking the best bat in each draft, and working Petco to their advantage to get their starters. They have a proven track record of reviving starters’ careers who look on the way out, so find more of those guys like the Cubs did in the Scott Feldman for Jake Arrieta trade.

It gets worse…

Unfortunately, the Padres are sitting in a spot they won’t be able to get out of quickly. They need bats, and they won’t come from the farm system any time soon, and heavily dipping into free agency should be avoided while they are this dismal. That means the Padres are stuck in a 2012 Astros sized hole with a few more assets in the major and minor leagues, but still a long way from the playoffs, especially when the Dodgers are spending $200+ million a year on their payroll.

It’ll get better, eventually.