by Alex Poletti
In the midst of his stellar first season, the San Diego Padres have opted to send burgeoning ace Chris Paddack to Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore because he was giving the Padres too many opportunities to win ball games.
“Everytime he was out on the mound, we felt like we had a good shot at winning,” Padres general manager A.J. Preller says. “Obviously, we had to cut that shit out. We aren’t supposed to be good for at least another three years. Chris was just screwing everything up.”
Despite an earnest 4-4 record, Paddack amazed in his first 12 big league starts, posting a 3.15 ERA with a WHIP under one. Among other things, Paddack will spend his time in the minors refining his changeup, which barely was serviceable enough to get him 72 strikeouts over 65.2 innings.
“We understand that this might frustrate some fans,” manager Andy Green says, “but we really want to limit his innings. If he pitches too much, something horrible could happen, like us finishing above .500.”
The Padres currently sit at 33-35, which is only five games behind the second Wild Card spot in a crowded National League. Instead of pushing for their first postseason appearance since 2006, the Friars have decided to embrace the tank.
“We’ve decided to commit,” Green continues, “but we’re committing in the opposite direction. We aren’t going to meddle around .500 all year long, we’re going to finish in dead damn last, and sending down Chris is our best shot.”
For the title of worst in the West, the Padres are only rivaled by the San Francisco Giants. Coincidentally, both Preller and Giants GM Farhan Zaidi previously worked for the Dodgers. Based on their current handling of their respective ball clubs, it’s likely that they’re still on LA’s payroll.
Thankfully, things could have gone much worse for Paddack. Because his ERA crept above 3.00 after an electric start to the season, he still remains a Padre. If he had done better, his fate could have been far worse.
“If he’d kept his ERA under 2.50, we probably would’ve had to release him,” Preller says. “Or maybe trade him, getting an Andrew Cashner-for-Anthony Rizzo return.”
Without their ace, the Padres now wait for the rest of the team to fall apart. Sources within the clubhouse have told The Second String that management is crossing its fingers that Fernando Tatis Jr. gets injured again. If he continues hitting above .300, he may get sent down as well.
“We may have a terrible major league team after the roster moves we’ve made,” Preller says, “but we’ve gotta have the best damn A-ball team around.”