The Padres are certainly dealing with different things in the winter of 2016 than the last two winters. Deciding if they are positives or negatives depends on perspective.
The Winter of 2014 was the greatest in San Diego Padres history. At least isolated in that moment. New hot shot General Manager A.J. Preller was bringing in real baseball names, making substantial trades that had plans pushing back their October vacations for the first time in years. Then the games started.
The Winter of 2015 was a recovery of sorts from that glorious optimism that ended in nothing. Not even more wins than the previous unheralded several seasons. The unloading of that failed season begin with Kimbrel, and ended with Kemp in July.
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Then the 2015 season ended and the once hot shot GM was simply in hot water, as it was discovered that he had ordered separate medical records for pitchers who it turns out he had just traded for some good minor league hauls that season. He was suspended and now questions remain over just what teams will even trade with the Padres still. No one yet.
Yet through that dark cloud we have seen some sunlight. These are the San Diego Padres after all, not the Seattle Padres. The All Star Game was in San Diego this year, and in that Futures Game Manuel Margot made a spectacular catch in center field. Hunter Renfroe was called up at the end of the Padres season and showed at least in a short sample size he can mash Major League pitching the same way he mashed minor league pitching his whole career.
As a group in fact, the AAA El Paso Chiuhuaha’s won the Pacific Coast League title, so help appears to be on the way.
Questions remain mostly centered around the pitching, because as you start to look around the diamond things look bright. Yangervis Solarte had a good if not great year at third base, the middle infield situation looks much brighter than a year ago as well. Between Carlos Asuaje, Jose Rondon, Cory Spangenberg and second half slugger Ryan Schimpf the Padres have some great, young choices.
Wil Myers had the best season if his career and stayed healthy all season too. Sure, many have pointed to his second half dip but how about we appreciate he was AROUND for the second half for once.
The Winter of 2016 might look dark to some, but as this team regroups and hopes to make a run in 2018 we know it is better than the winter of 2015 and certainly seems to be built on more than smoke and mirrors than the winter of 2014. We can only hope so.