The San Diego Padres struggled through a lackluster season on their way to a disappointing record of 68-94. The Padres opened their season with a 15-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Opening Day disaster was a sign of things to come. The Padres were 11.5 games out of first place in the National League West on June first. They finished in last place in the division and have just one finish above third place in the past 10 seasons. San Diego’s biggest highlight this year was hosting the All-Star Game in July. Unfortunately, the hometown team remains in disarray and has a long ways to go to achieve relevance.
San Diego Padres 2016 Season Recap
Padres Shed Contracts
The Padres acquired a number of high-profile players prior to the 2015 season in hopes of being competitive. The Padres struggled to a fourth place finish that season and decided to part ways with a number of players. Ian Kennedy and Justin Upton left San Diego via free agency. Joaquin Benoit, Craig Kimbrel, Jedd Gyorko, and Yonder Alonso were all traded prior to the start of 2016. The Padres were not done as Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton Jr., James Shields, Fernando Rodney, Drew Pomeranz, and Andrew Cashner were all traded mid-season.
Restructuring the organization was a prime focus for the Padres after the debacle of 2015. San Diego had the 17th highest payroll for 2016 at $127 million. With the trades made throughout 2016, the Padres have reduced their payroll to $37 million heading into free agency and the offseason. The moves made by the front office also improved the farm system to a respectable 12th place ranking. There is still work to be done in San Diego, but financial flexibility and a competent farm system could mean better days are on the way. Continuing to draft the right players and make appropriate free agent signings will be necessary to continue the upwards trend of the organization.
2016 MVP: Wil Myers
Wil Myers was truly a bright spot for the Padres all season. San Diego acquired the first baseman and outfielder prior to 2015 in a trade involving the Washington Nationals and Tampa Bay Rays. At 25-years old, Myers is already a budding star and a building block for the future. The right-handed slugger appeared in 157 games in 2016, 26 more than the next closest Padre. In addition to his durability, Myers led San Diego in many offensive statistics. Myers was tops on the Padres in home runs (28), hits (155), doubles (29), RBI (94), walks (68), and total bases (276). He also swiped 28 bags with an OPS+ of 113 while being selected for his first All-Star Game. Myers was a versatile, durable presence for San Diego and should be a contributor for many seasons to come.
Biggest Disappointment: Derek Norris
Norris appeared in 125 games for San Diego but easily had the roughest season of his career. Norris posted just 77 hits in 415 at bats for a .186 batting average. Norris did tie his career high home run total with 14 but slugged a mere .328. Norris’ triple-slash line of .186/.255/.328 and OPS of .583 were last among San Diego’s starters. Norris was unable to make up for his lackluster offensive performance with his defense. His caught stealing percentage for 2016 came in at 21 percent, well below the league average of 27 percent. Norris has been effective in times past, but it is no secret that he must perform better moving forward.