December 5, 2013 by Wayne McBrayer
The MLB Winter Meeting is the time of the year when GM’s get together to discuss trades and start assembling the pieces they feel they need to make their team a winning club. After an overly quiet last season where Josh Byrnes and the Padres only signed Jason Marquis, Padres fans were told that Marquis was all we needed and that Josh Byrnes, “liked the team’s chemistry” and he felt we didn’t need to make any more moves.
Any Padres fan who watched games in person or on TV can attest to the fact that the “chemistry” was a losing one and once again the Padres were out of it by July. They had a good run early and were a 1 ½ games out of first before the bubble burst and reality set in; this club was OK at best. It didn’t hit well, was boring to watch and well, the chemistry stunk.
Before the season ended, Owner Ron Fowler, new CEO Mike Dee, and GM Josh Byrnes sat in a room with “select” season ticket holders and promised that more money would be spent (a $20 Million dollar increase) and we would go get another bat.
Well, since the season ended, the contracts of Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard were off the books and replaced by a 1 year deal for pitcher Josh Johnson. Johnson is coming off a bad year that was injury-plagued and Josh wants to resurrect his career in a pitcher’s park with the best pitching coach in baseball, Darren Balsley. A giddy Mike Dee told Scott and BR that more moves were coming and we weren’t done yet; sadly, he was right.
The Padres said they wanted a left-handed bat and with the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran available, they elected to trade their best set-up man – Luke Gregerson – to Oakland for….drum roll please … Seth Smith. What was Padres GM Josh Byrnes thinking? Did he feel guilty for taking Billy Beane to the cleaners in the Tyson Ross–Andrew Werner trade? Only Josh knows but with the anointing of Seth Smith as “the final piece” to making this a winning club, I can only imagine what next season will be like. Seth Smith never hit for big power in Colorado or Oakland and his average the last 2 seasons show a downward trend, like another former Rockies player we brought here; Brad Hawpe.
The worst part of the Gregerson trade is the fact he was a popular player among Padres fans and he was a good player as well. I have read comments from Padres fans who say that Luke’s numbers were going down (obviously ignoring Seth Smith’s lack of accomplishments over the last 2 seasons) and that Seth Smith was all we could get for Luke. At that rate, why not keep a player that was popular, lived here in San Diego, was good in the community, and was a fan favorite? Fans understand trades and while most don’t understand all the SABR Metrics that are put out, they do understand ERA, batting average, home runs and RBI’s. Luke Gregerson’s ERA was below 3 last year while Seth Smith’s batting average was .253 with only 8 homers and 40 RBI’s. Any way you slice it, this was a terrible trade and it shows once again that the Padres have a 1st rate stadium and 2nd rate leadership that lacks the willingness to even try to compete.
After I talked to my kids and they heard we acquired Seth Smith, their reaction was Seth Smith sucks. Sadly, I know I will hear that a lot next year at Petco Park. I personally prefer the sound of LLLUUUUUUKKKE!
Story by Wayne McBrayer, TheCasualFan