As the White Sox head to the playoffs, the Padres get out of hand
In preparation for the 2021 season, the White Sox traded their best starting fifth candidate for a Cy Young runner-up. The deal worked as it should have – Lance Lynn continues to be worthy of votes through awards season, while Dane Dunning has had a great first full season with the Rangers – but the bickering with the trade was nothing to do with it. to do with it. particular list place.
The use of resources was a bit like a payday loan, where interest could start piling up quickly and dangerously if the Sox were still running out two weeks later. Holding Carlos Rodón didn’t inspire much confidence to restore depth, mainly because the White Sox didn’t call on Rodón to open the offseason, a move that automatically suggests you should bet less.
Meanwhile, the Padres acquired Yu Darvish, Blake Snell and Joe Musgrove to increase a rotation that included Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet. Beyond that, the Padres also boasted a lot of internal depth. A San Diego Union-Tribune article ahead of the season listed high-profile prospects Adrian Morejón and MacKenzie Gore among the first to wait behind the scenes, along with Michel Báez, Ryan Weathers, Jacob Nix, Pedro Avila and Anderson Espinoza as internal options. .
San Diego’s relentless thirst for brand depth has drawn natural comparisons to the White Sox. They were linked in fortunes before – back to the old site, I called them the Saddest White Sox – and they are linked in the mission and players from the James Shields trade. Frustration over Fernando Tatis Jr.’s meteoric rise led to complaints about Manny Machado’s free agency, and the idea that the Padres still had the agricultural capital to acquire Darvish, Snell and Musgrove despite obtaining after graduating, so many players threatened to surrender the White Sox. reconstruct the basic model by comparison.
Hard blow to training in September, and which team do you think would be forced to exhaust a burnt toast version of Jake Arrieta in the desperate hope of keeping the wildest dreams alive?
Arrieta has made four full starts for the Padres, and he probably would have done more if he hadn’t left the first and last of those outings with injuries. He posted a 10.95 ERA for San Diego when he pitched, and the Friars lost all four games.
The fortunes of the Padres reflected these measures. On August 10, the Padres were 66-49, three games behind the Dodgers for second place in the NL West, but with a 4½ game lead for second place in the wild card. FanGraphs gave them an 80.2% chance of qualifying for the playoffs. They’re 10-24 since, including a three-game sweep in St. Louis this weekend that knocked them out 3½ games from the wild card hunt. They blew themselves up in Game 1, then suffered two one-point losses. In the first of them, Tatis struggled with a back K that caused Jayce Tingler to be ejected, then argued with Machado in the dugout due to his lack of composure.
An article in The Athletic edited by Ken Rosenthal painted a portrait of a spongy hierarchy that twists under pressure.
A team with a seasoned and accomplished manager could overcome such incidents with relative ease. But Tingler, a manager for the first time in his first full season, has yet to establish the presence of, say, Buck Showalter, for whom Dickerson coached and Machado played for the Orioles. First baseman Eric Hosmer, another top Padres veteran, came to San Diego with a reputation for leadership, but he’s no longer performing at an above-average level and was part of two second-half meltdowns. -long time since joining the team in 2018. Machado, meanwhile, is still prone to his own bad temper, sometimes becoming preoccupied with matters beyond his control, sources said.
The article goes on to say that the Padres wanted to acquire Nelson Cruz and play him at first base in order to earn his presence at the clubhouse. It’s hard not to get the 2016 White Sox vibes out of all the mess, with the front office desperately trying to inject leadership into a clubhouse with combustible personalities and a manager who is over their heads.
There are differences of opinion among some members of the team in the field. But one thing that virtually everyone agreed on within hours of Saturday’s mini-hubbub was that it was the culmination of an issue a stronger manager would have taken care of. weeks ago.
Some in the organization think this is an example of why the team needs a new voice and more influence in the manager’s office.
You can turn the Padres’ situation to validate controversial White Sox decisions, like stopping away from Machado or hiring Tony La Russa, whose 76-year-old spine hasn’t lost the ability to absorb the occasional conflict. Both arguments have some merit, although I would say that this collapse does not erase the original objections. If the White Sox didn’t want Machado, they shouldn’t have wasted resources on games with no potential signing Machado’s friends and family. With La Russa, you wouldn’t want the Sox to hire someone else like they hired him, disrupting an honest search and hiding the details of an arrest.
But with the White Sox at a magic number of 4 to win the division, there’s no real reason to rehash those arguments. While I tend to prioritize process over results, the value of a single MLB season is primarily in the results. “
It’s hard to separate the quality of the division from the equation. If the White Sox were under pressure to compete with the Dodgers and Giants, they might have cracked the same way, although that would also be less volatile. The Sox had the luxury of having an eight-game lead at the all-star break, which allowed them to skip starts, rearrange rotation and use the injured list liberally. If they needed every lap of Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Carlos Rodón, they might have needed an Arrieta guy. Instead, they only had to use a bit of Michael Kopech at the start and a bit more of Reynaldo López later. Mike Wright’s presence is a bit of a cry for help when it comes to pitch depth, but he’s mostly relegated to the cleanup job.
The Sox can only play on the schedule and standings established for them. When you get to “But how would TEAM do in DIVISION?” You’re mostly looking for an argument because of a lack of one. The Pique of the Padres reinforces my belief that you should relish the luxury of the White Sox to use September to put health first. And because I like to repeat myself, I’ll also stress the importance of keeping Dallas Keuchel useful, even if it’s not that much fun watching it. A baseball season rarely smiles at the White Sox like that, so smile back.
(Photo by Joe Puetz / USA TODAY Sports)