Welcome to The Stew’s annual team elimination posts. Like our video-game posts of last year, these are best done in theme. This time? We’re going with “Game of Thrones.” Each eliminated team will join the “army of the dead.” But we won’t just talk about their demise. We’ll also highlight some positives, pick out a memorable moment, tell you their biggest need and let you know when the club might be good again.
Sorry, San Diego Padres, but you won’t sit on the Iron Throne this season.
Not that you ever were going to do that. Not when Jhoulys Chacín is your opening day starter. Not when the three dudes you’re paying the most money this year — James Shields, Melvin Upton Jr. and Hector Olivera — don’t even play on your team. Not this year, Padres.
That doesn’t mean 2017 didn’t have its bright spots. Manuel Margot has shown a lot of promise. Brad Hand has been great. The Padres will finish ahead of the Giants this season, which almost no one would have predicted. And, well, they’ve got good beer in San Diego.
Let’s further break down the season that was in San Diego:
UNBOWED, UNBENT, UNBROKEN (aka WHAT WENT RIGHT)
Despite many predicting 100 losses for the Padres this season, they’ve played reasonably well all season and will avoid that mark thanks to a better than expected rotation. Jhoulys Chacin and Clayton Richard seemed like odd choices to lead the pitching staff, but both provided exactly what they needed as veterans. Luis Perdemo and Dinelson Lamet supplemented the rotation with excellent seasons of their own. Not enough good things can be said about Brad Hand. The veteran left-hander cemented him position among the best relievers in the game. (Mark Townsend)
THE RED WEDDING (aka WHAT WENT WRONG)
For a rebuilding team, the Padres were surprisingly quiet at the trade deadline. We’re not sure if that’s something going wrong as much as it was just an unexpected approach. Regardless, it seemed counterproductive to the long-term goal. The Padres were hoping for more out of rookie Hunter Renfroe, but didn’t get much aside from some occasional power. He was back in the minors by August. Oh, and their decision to sign Jered Weaver (who had a 7.44 ERA in nine starts before retiring) went exactly like everyone predicted. (Mark Townsend)
THE NORTH REMEMBERS (aka MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT)
The Padres only had one player hit for the cycle in the entire history of their franchise before this season. But Wil Myers made it two back in April. He even finished it in most exciting fashion: With a triple.
Myers is the face of the franchise in San Diego these days, so it’s only proper that he’s the one responsible for their best moment. (Mike Oz)
WORDS ARE WIND (aka MOST IMPORTANT THING TO FIX)
The Padres need some juice at the plate, there’s no way around it. They’re in the bottom ten in home runs, but where they really fall down is just plain getting on base. They’ve got the worst batting average in baseball at .233 and by far the worst OBP at .299. They’re the only team with a collective OBP under .300. That’s just shockingly bad. There’s more: the only player with an OBP above .350 is Matt Szczur, and he’s not even an everyday player. The Padres just desperately need baserunners more consistently, which is probably something manager Andy Green should spend time thinking about this offseason. And GM A.J. Preller has his work cut out for him this winter, too: find someone who can hit. (Liz Roscher)
A DREAM OF SPRING (aka HOPE FOR THE FUTURE)
Help is on the way, but probably not for a little while. Most of the Padres’ impact prospects are still at the low levels of the minors. Fans can expect a few to debut in 2018, but the majority of the team’s next core will still need time to develop in the minors. It will probably be ugly again in 2018 and 2019. At that point, the team may start to see its future taking shape. (Chris Cwik)
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