That's still true, at least for now. The Padres crashed harder in 2015, and they did the same in 2016, forcing them to eat a bunch of money to get rid of the players they brought in while winning the winter in 2014.
That said, at least they can say they're pivoting toward an unknown future. The White Sox have been reluctant to take the same step back, even though 1) it might be just as necessary, and 2) they won't have to pay players' freights out. By this time next year, maybe the teams' roles will be reversed.
Then again, Padres chairman Ron Fowler isn't ready to let go at the past. He took a second shot at Shields, prompted by an opportunity to unload on Matt Kemp (after he was unloaded to Atlanta).
"We made a conscious decision to ship them out because we want people that are prepared to improve," Fowler said. "If you’re making a lot of money and you think you’re already there, you’re not going to get better.
"… They had a bad attitude. You saw Kemp’s letter. Talk about a bunch of b.s."
Fowler, no one’s word-mincer, complained about players he felt were sometimes inclined to simply show up: "Most of ’em are gone, thank God."
Shields responded as he did the first time around, objecting to the comments and reiterating that Fowler is still targeting him mainly for one bad start at the end of his San Diego career.
In case you're wondering about the other ways the two teams are tied, Erik Johnson is probably done for the year with a strained elbow flexor, Alexei Ramirez is on the bench for good reason (-2.0 WAR!), Matt Thornton has a 5.82 ERA and peripherals to match, and Fernando Tatis Jr. is ... OK in the AZL so far. These teams need to stay far away from each other.
We have to settle for silver linings at this point of the year, but the one benefit from the rash of injuries is that Avisail Garcia will get one last extended chance to showcase his wares (or lack thereof) in right field. He's 6-for-21 over his last six games, but all six hits have gone for extra bases (three homers, three doubles). Of course, this has only raised his line to what it was last year, so this stretch needs to be judged by months, not weeks.
Robin Ventura sounds like a guy at peace with his future. That's not going to do anything to dissuade the people who have believed he doesn't have the passion and fire to manage, but it's just one of those things.
Updates from the injury ward, from worst to best: Charlie Tilson had season-ending surgery, Zach Putnam had bone spurs removed from his elbow, but the ligament is still intact, and Tim Anderson is merely getting a breather both for his hand and head.
Slowly but surely, Jeff Samardzija has slipped back into the disappointing form he showed with the White Sox. He has a 6.30 ERA over his last 12 starts, with a whopping 16 homers over his last 70 innings. He's still ahead of his 2015 numbers thanks to his head start (2.54 ERA over his first 10 starts), but the Sox can console themselves that they're not the only team to watch helplessly as he gives up homers for months at a time.
Jonathan Lucroy says he rejected a trade to the Indians because with Yan Gomes in the fold and outearning Lucroy, he couldn't get any kind of guarantee about his role for 2017. It worked out well enough, as he ended up getting traded to the Rangers.
Speaking of the Indians, they're 1-4 since designating Juan Uribe for assignment.
The A's are conducting an investigation after players found a hidden camera planted by the team's strength and conditioning coach, who wanted to observe workouts and rehab while the team was on the road. Beyond this isolated incident, I learned something new about policy:
MLB and the players' union officials said that cameras - security or otherwise, hidden or in plain view - in areas frequented by players are not permissible. In recent years, an organization that suspected items were being stolen from its clubhouse requested permission to install cameras. The request was denied, citing privacy issues. The placement of cameras or similar devices in those areas would have to be collectively bargained.