Sunday, May 12, 2019
The Padres Without Tatis (and with Machado)
Bit of a different losing outcome than the Padres fans must have been thinking a few months ago.
You ask a Padres fan in March, 'your best player's gonna get injured in May', they'd probably go 'NO, WE WON'T BE ABLE TO MAKE IT WITHOUT MACHADO!'
...Welllllllll....there are three problems with that thinking.
1. It confirms the backwards thinking of AJ Preller that one player would be able to revitalize an entire team just by existing in the organization. Manny Machado in San Diego has been great, but it needs to be a team effort rather than one player lifting the whole team along with him.
2. Manny Machado was not the Padres' best player this year. That distinction would go to Fernando Tatis Jr., who was rocking a 1.5 WAR at shortstop and bringing the energy and spirit to San Diego that Padres fans figured that Machado would bring anyway. Tatis, working with Machado, made the Padres into a 2nd place force in the NL West. Then he got injured, and the team has lost several games without him.
3. Moreover, without Tatis, AND WITH MACHADO, the team is 5-7. Proving that Machado wasn't necessarily the force that could lift this team, as he's been doing fine at third, and batting .250 with 8 home runs. Granted, if you take Machado out the team will probably be even worse, but...with him in the lineup, there's not a ton of difference. Sort of like how things were in Baltimore last year.
So, in terms of 2019...Manny Machado is not the central figure in this lineup. Fernando Tatis is. Manny Machado is just another hard-hitting cog in this Padres machine, along with Eric Hosmer, Wil Myers, Franmil Reyes and the rest. It is not the Machado show, similar to how the Phillies are not the Bryce Harper show this year. This team is enough of a collaborative unit that multiple players can shine, even with Machado playing as he is. And while that's all well and good, it's a better unit when Tatis is healthy, and when he's at an elevated place in terms of ability and star power.
This is very nonsensical, but I feel like I had a point here.
Oh, right: the Padres may not be completely ready for success if they are still reliant on a singular force for most of their wins. It doesn't matter if said singular force is Fernando Tatis or Manny Machado or even Chris Paddack. Everyone needs to be up to that level. And looking at the mediocre quality of a lot of these performers, it may be a while until we get there.
Coming Tonight: [sigh] that impressive rookie that's helping drag the Red Sox back up the standings.