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Padres' good young blood gone

Team criticized as having gone from "win now" to "what now?"

Buster Olney, a columnist for ESPN and former New York Times and Union-Tribune sports scribe, says the Padres probably erred by trading off young talent to get former all-stars. Instead of trying to "win-now for 2015" in off-season trades, the team should have "deferred gratification just a little while longer and retained their prospects," Olney writes for ESPN.

He says that Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal is "one of the best catchers in 2015," and former star Matt Kemp, who came to the Padres in the deal, is an expensive disappointment both at bat and in the field. Among other young ex-Padres players doing very well for other teams are pitchers Jesse Hahn and Matt Wisler, good hitters Jace Peterson and Cameron Maybin, and several others doing well in the minors.

The Padres are five games below .500. But their payroll has gone up from $70 million in 2013, $85 million in 2014, and $110 million this year. The oft-injured Kemp turns 31 in September and is owed about $18 million for 2016 through 2019, notes Olney. He quotes outside observers saying that the Padres strategy is "total disaster" and "shipwreck."

The Union-Tribune has a similar, but softer, piece this morning (June 26). Writer Matt Calkins says the team's thoughts "have likely gone from 'win now' to 'what now?'"

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Buster Olney, a columnist for ESPN and former New York Times and Union-Tribune sports scribe, says the Padres probably erred by trading off young talent to get former all-stars. Instead of trying to "win-now for 2015" in off-season trades, the team should have "deferred gratification just a little while longer and retained their prospects," Olney writes for ESPN.

He says that Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal is "one of the best catchers in 2015," and former star Matt Kemp, who came to the Padres in the deal, is an expensive disappointment both at bat and in the field. Among other young ex-Padres players doing very well for other teams are pitchers Jesse Hahn and Matt Wisler, good hitters Jace Peterson and Cameron Maybin, and several others doing well in the minors.

The Padres are five games below .500. But their payroll has gone up from $70 million in 2013, $85 million in 2014, and $110 million this year. The oft-injured Kemp turns 31 in September and is owed about $18 million for 2016 through 2019, notes Olney. He quotes outside observers saying that the Padres strategy is "total disaster" and "shipwreck."

The Union-Tribune has a similar, but softer, piece this morning (June 26). Writer Matt Calkins says the team's thoughts "have likely gone from 'win now' to 'what now?'"

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Comments
22

Curious as to what those "outside observers" were saying in the offseason while the Padres were making all of their trades. Hindsight is indeed 20/20.

June 26, 2015

aardvark: My guess is that many of those outside experts thought the moves were good. Certainly, Padres fans did. They bought more tickets. Best, Don Bauder

June 26, 2015

I'll at least give the 2015 Padres credit for spending some money and trying to be competitive. This is about 15 years after Prop C was passed in part due to the implication that having a new stadium would allow ownership to spend enough for a competitive team.

Since then for the most part the Padres have had a low payroll and haven't had much success - the Padres haven't won a single playoff series since 1998.

Notably in 2004 the Padres with the #1 draft pick passed on ace pitcher Justin Verlander (who has since won the Cy Young and MVP) because his agent would have demanded a big contract and instead they picked Matt Bush who has not had much success on or off the field.

June 26, 2015

"Matt Bush who has not had much success on or off the field." Kind of an understatement considering that he's never played a single in in the Majors. I suppose though, that having been locked up for the last 3 plus years hasn't help. I read something from a well respected major league scout a few years ago that he is probably the the biggest draft bust ever. At this point, whenever he gets out of jail, unless he makes it to the bigs, highly unlikely at this point, he will be only the 3rd no. 1 draft pick to have never played in a regular-season game in the majors. San Diego sports teas just seem to have a way of picking the losers. That said, I'll give Ryan Leaf this, at least he never killed anyone.

June 26, 2015

danfogel: San Diego should be called draft-bust city. Leaf is generally considered one of the biggest busts of any NF draft. Bush has a similar honor in Major League Baseball. Best, Don Bauder

June 26, 2015

I actually think the Matt Bush pick slightly eclipses the Ryan Leaf pick as the worst draft pick ever for SD professional sports team.

A good case can be made that both the worst MLB draft pick ever and the worst NFL draft pick ever have been made by SD teams.

June 26, 2015

Agreed. At least the Clippers made some good draft picks while they were in San Diego. At least ONE San Diego team had someone who actually knew how to evaluate talent.

June 27, 2015

danfogel: Whom did the Clippers draft while they were in San Diiego? And why didn't the team play respectably until long after they left San Diego? Best, Don Bauder

June 27, 2015

don bauder, If you're really interested, and we know you're not, there are several sites that could tell you every player drafted by every team few That said some guys come to mind right away, Byron Scott, RoY Terry Cummings, Tom Chambers, Jerome Whitehead. Why didn't they play well? Coaching?Trades? Injuries? I would say that Bill Walton only playing something like 50 games in 4 years didn't help. And don't forget, that "long after they left San Diego". In their first 25 yrs in LA, they were only .500 or better something like 2 or 3 times. It's only been in the last 4 years that they have been a good team.

June 27, 2015

danfogel: I still don't understand why, if the Clippers stunk in San Diego and in Los Angeles until recently, as they did, you believe they made such great draft picks. Obviously these good players could have been held down by other factors, but it seems if a team consistently makes excellent draft choices, it should show up in the victory column. Best, Don Bauder

June 27, 2015

don bauder Normally I would ignore your comment as you’re obviously baiting me, but in this case, I’ll go ahead and take the bait as even you are not that ignorant of how things work in sports. And I would think that especially true considering how long you lived in San Diego and how much you have written about the Chargers and the Padres.

I didn't say the Clippers made great draft picks. I said they made some good draft picks and that they had people who knew how to evaluate talent.

Back in 1978, the first draft year for the San Diego version of the Clippers, there were 202 players drafted. When you are drafting that many player in a single draft, you fully expect all most all of them to never even see a practice court. With 22 teams that year, that means 466 players for 264 roster spots, so obviously, even with attrition, most players drafted into the NBA never play in the NBA. And you know as well as I do, and better than most, that past performance doesn’t always equate to future predictions.

As part of the relocation deal, the Clippers had no first round pick in 1978. Their first pick was Jerome Whitehead, in the second round. He played in the NBA for 11 years. All of their top picks in the draft while in San Diego, save for a 3rd in 1979, had good NBA careers and all but one played at least 11 yrs.. An interesting stat is of all of the players drafted by the Clippers in any form, from Buffalo to SD and then LA, three of the top 4 players who had the longest careers were drafted by the San Diego version of the Clippers. By way of comparison, the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the best franchises in NBA history, in their entire existence have only drafted 3 players who played more than 1 season with them and played more games in the NBA than those players drafted by San Diego.

As I said, while in San Diego, the Clippers made some good picks.

June 28, 2015

danfogel: OK, the Clippers made some good PLAYER picks. How did they screw up so badly in picking an OWNER? Best, Don Bauder

June 28, 2015

ImJustABill: San Diego may deserve the dubious distinction you cite. On the other hand, I can remember other bad NFL draft choices. One was a lineman from Michigan State. Another was a linebacker from, I believe, Oklahoma. I can't remember their names or the teams that took them. Best, Don Bauder

June 27, 2015

I think Brian Bosworth was the guy from Oklahoma. He was a very good college player but in the NFL turned out to be all hype and image (cool mohawk haircut and sunglasses).

June 27, 2015

ImJustABill: Yes, Brian Bosworth of Oklahoma was one of the ones I was thinking of. The other, as I recall, was an offensive lineman from Michigan State.

Universities hype their athletes to make sure they get on All-America teams. It helps recruiting efforts. But some overhyped athletes begin to believe their own press clippings. Best, Don Bauder

June 27, 2015

don bauder You are referring to Tony Mandarich out of Michigan state and Brian Bosworth from Oklahoma. Mandarich's problem was steriods. Bosworth wasn't nearly as bad as he has been made out to be. His play, though not up to the hype that he created, was fairly decent. He tore up his shoulder in the second game of his 3rd season and could never pass the physical to come back and play again. I remember from an ESPN program that the surgeon that operated on him saying that because of all the hits he made using his shoulder, the way tackles should be made, btw, that he was a twenty-five-year-old with the shoulders of a sixty-year-old.

June 27, 2015

danfogel: Yes, Mandarich was the Michigan State lineman I was trying to place. This is the first I have heard about the steroids.

Too bad about Bosworth. One linebacker taken first, I believe, who went on to have an excellent pro career, was Dick Butkus. I have heard that his knees are so banged up that he can barely walk now. Best, Don Bauder

June 27, 2015

ImJustABill: Yes, then-owner John Moores said he would assemble a good team if he won the 1998 election and got a new ballpark. As soon as he won the election, he started getting rid of good players, and as you point out, he never spent enough to assure a good team.

So what else is new? Did you expect an owner with a subsidized ballpark to keep his word? Remember that following the rehab of the stadium now known as Qualcomm, the Chargers promised to stay until 2020. Hmmm. Best, Don Bauder

June 26, 2015

I seem to remember a certain weekly newspaper printing comments from a naysayer named Bruce Henderson pointing out that the Chargers weren't actually locked in until 2020. At the time those comments were either mocked or ignored.

June 26, 2015

ImJustBill: I don't remember the Reader quoting Henderson to that effect, but I won't argue the point. The Chargers did have triggering provisions that permitted them to get out of their promise to stay.

However, it is my recollection that Alex Spanos began angling for a new stadium not long after the Q opened. Best, Don Bauder

June 27, 2015

Tom Smith: San Diego keeps getting cuckolded by pro sports team owners. But it keeps bending over for those owners. What is about the place? Best, Don Bauder

June 26, 2015

Paul Dayton: I assume you think Bud Black was one of the best managers in the game. You may be right. He was made the scapegoat. If the team continues playing as it has been, it should fire the general manager who traded young talent for big names that may flame out. Best, Don Bauder

June 27, 2015

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