The San Diego Padres continue to struggle to find their identity. But can young talent alone guide this team to a playoff berth they so desperately want?
The San Diego Padres are certainly on the upward trajectory with perhaps the best farm system in baseball backing them. They’ve been a team the past couple of years that has reeled in some pretty high-market free agents such as Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer while also landing some rather high-priority player trades from Tampa in Wil Myers, Tommy Pham, and Emilio Pagan.
But with the stars, the Friars have brought in, the hiring of Jayce Tingler as their new manager, and the wealth of young talent their farm system is producing, is this team finally ready to take that next step and compete for a playoff berth?
Unfortunately, what I believe is going to hold the Padres back this year is their lineup and the uncertainty around it. Take the unknown factor out of the equation of whether or not the young players will break through have great developmental years, and we still have a lineup in which I’m not sure if we’ll have three bonafide run producers in it.
This team sacrificed a lot of power in trading away Hunter Renfroe for Tommy Pham. And although there is an argument to be made that Pham can actually be the most consistent hitter on this team, just him alone is not going to help break this Padres team through to the postseason.
We have the perennial all-star, Manny Machado, in the second year of his ginormous deal, but looking back on 2019, he tallied the worst batting average of his career of .256 and struck out 126 time, which was also a career-high for him.
New team jitters? The immense pressure of a big contract? Any way you slice it, Machado under-performed in 2019 and if that carries over into 2020, this team is not going anywhere if their best player can’t get his act together.