2016 San Diego Padres
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2016 San Diego Padres / Franchise: San Diego Padres / BR Team Page
Managed by Andy Green
History, Comments, Contributions
Under the orders of rookie manager Andy Green, the 2016 San Diego Padres got off to a rough start as they became the first team in major league history to lose their first three games, all by shutout. All three losses came at home against the Los Angeles Dodgers, who outscored them 25-0 over the three games. The 1943 St. Louis Cardinals had opened their season with 26 scoreless innings, which was the longest such fruitless stretch before the Padres' run. The Padres then moved to Coors Field to face the Colorado Rockies, and the hitter-friendly environment cured their hitting woes. While they did extend the streak to 30 innings by being kept off the scoreboard for the first three innings, including twice leaving the bases loaded, they ended the skein in the 4th and then exploded for 13 runs and a 13-6 win. Matt Kemp and Melvin Upton homered, and Kemp and Yangervis Solarte both drove in 4 runs. They followed that with a 16-3 win the next day as Kemp hit a pair of homers and drove in six more runs, but the bats soon went quiet again. On April 14th, they were shut out by Vince Velasquez of the Philadelphia Phillies, 3-0, in a game in which they managed only three hits, did not walk once and struck out 16 times. It was already the fifth time they had lost by shutout in their first ten games, a feat no team had managed before them.
Surprisingly, for a team that could not score any runs in the first days of the season, the Padres made a remarkable turnaround, to the point that in July, they set a new team record when they hit a home run in their 21st straight game on July 23rd. The home runs were coming from unexpected sources, too: 1B Wil Myers had been hitting them in bunches in a break-out season that saw him be selected to play in his first All-Star Game, which came at Petco Park, while 2B Ryan Schimpf tied a team rookie mark with 8 home runs in July with a week to go. Schimpf had only made his major league debut in mid-June and was completely unheralded when he joined the team after a long minor league apprenticeship. A contributing factor was that after years of being one of the toughest places to homer in the majors, Petco was playing in a much more homer-friendly manner that season, the result of slightly smaller dimensions but also of downtown construction that had served to dampen adverse wind patterns. The Padres made it 22 games with a homer when Schimpf and Alex Dickerson connected in a 10-6, come-from-behind win over the Washington Nationals on July 24th.
On July 25th, the Padres visited Toronto, ON for the first time in their history. Since the advent of interleague play in 1997, it was the last match-up that had not yet occurred, meaning that every major league team had now visited every other team at least once. The Padres lost that game, 4-2, to the Blue Jays, but a two-run homer by Dickerson in the 9th meant that their record streak of games with a home run was now at 23. On July 27th, the streak reached 25 games thanks to a three-homer performance in an 8-4 win over the Jays. It was now the longest such streak since the 2002 Texas Rangers had homered in a major league record 27 straight games. In that game, Dickerson, another heretofore unheralded player suddenly making waves, went deep for the fourth straight game. The streak ended at 25 games however.
It was clear from early on in the season that the Padres would not contend for a title in 2016. As a result, they began making trades of veterans for prospects rather quickly. First to go was P James Shields, who was sent to the Chicago White Sox on June 4th. He was followed by P Fernando Rodney, who was sent to the Miami Marlins on June 30th, then P Drew Pomeranz who headed to the Boston Red Sox on July 14th, and OF Melvin Upton who was sent to the Blue Jays on July 26th. Both Rodney and Pomeranz were All-Stars (Rodney being named as a member of the Marlins, as his selection was announced a couple of days after the deal); for his part, Upton was having his best season in years. In return, the Padres received some intriguing but very raw prospects: SS Fernando Tatis Jr. , obtained for Shields, had yet to make his pro debut; P Hansel Rodriguez, the return for Upton, was in the Appalachian League; while P Anderson Espinoza, the prize for Pomeranz, was toiling in Class A. On July 29th, they pulled another trade, this one a blockbuster involving seven players as they sent two members of their starting rotation, Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea, as well as rookie P Tayron Guerrero, to the Marlins in return for Ps Carter Capps and Jarred Cosart, and two prospects still toiling in Class A, P Luis Castillo and 1B Josh Naylor; Rea turned out to be damaged goods, and a couple of days later, he was sent back to San Diego, with Castillo going back to Florida to even things up. On July 30th, the Padres pulled off another deal, sending OF Matt Kemp, who was having a very solid season with a .262 average, 23 homers and 69 RBIs to the Atlanta Braves in return for 3B Hector Olivera. That deal was strictly made for financial reasons: both players were due large sums of money over the next few years, but the amount for Kemp was three times that for Olivera. In any case, the Padres had no use for the Cuban 3B, about to come off an 82-game suspension for domestic suspension, and he was designated for assignment as soon as he was eligible to return, with the Padres eating up the remainder of his contract.
September and October were tough months for the Padres. General Manager A.J. Preller was issued an unprecedented one-month suspension on September 15th for submitting false medical records to the Red Sox]in the trade of Pomeranz. In spite of that, he was given a vote of confidence for the futre by the team's top brass, but on October 12th, team President Mike Dee stepped down with two years left on his contract, a clear result of the Padres' miserable season in which they ended up finishing last in the NL West, one game behind the 4th-place Arizona Diamondbacks.
Awards and Honors
- Gary Belleville: "June 2, 2016: Mariners storm back from 10-run deficit to defeat hapless Padres," SABR Baseball Games Project.
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "Padres suffer worst three-game start in MLB history", USA Today Sports, April 7, 2016.