Do-overs for Preller and Padres?

Tom Hanks famously exclaims in a pretty silly movie that there’s no crying in baseball.

Except of course there is crying in baseball. All the time. You think Ralph Branca wasn’t crying in 1951? Why, just last year, A.J. Ellis got emotional at the end of Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter. You might be one of those saps who cries during Field of Dreams; I can’t remain composed during Moneyball.

So yeah, plenty of crying. What about do-overs, though? Do you get do-overs?

It looks like A.J. Preller’s about to find out…

Last winter — and when writing about baseball, I define "winter" as everything that happens between the last pitch of the World Series and the first pitch on Opening Day — Preller revamped the Padres, and particularly the Padres’ outfield. 

And it hasn’t worked. I mean it really, really, really hasn’t worked. In Rany Jazayerli’s masterfully written takedown of the Padres’ off-season moves, he (or an editor) included the assertion that Preller destroyed the Padres.

Can one man really destroy an entire franchise in just five months, though? I mean, without actually trying to?

While it’s manifestly obvious that nearly all of Preller’s moves backfired, it’s worth remembering that most observers did believe the Padres had been transformed from also-rans to at least nominal contenders. I was as concerned as anyone about the outfield defense, and couldn’t believe anyone would relieve the Braves of Bossman Junior’s contract. But the Padres have been far worse than most of us thought. 

Which might mean A.J. Preller isn’t a complete fool.

And if he’s not, there’s still a chance to un-destroy the Padres. While it seems unlikely — I mean, highly unlikely — that they’ll enter next season as contenders, however nominally, Preller does have a chance to rebuild the talent base with some canny trades this week, as cost-controlled pitchers like James Shields, Andrew Cashner, and Tyson Ross all have real value on the trade market. Not to mention Craig Kimbrel.

Of course, the whole point of last winter’s flurry was to jump-start the Padres timeline, which had been in the doldrums for some time.

Well, it’s back to the doldrums. But the doldrums are better than destruction.