Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler made an appearance on Mighty 1090 AM radio yesterday and spoke with host Dan Sileo about a number of topics, including Jered Weaver’s struggles, last year’s investigation into the team’s medical processes, the trade for outfielder Matt Szczur, and the strong performances of Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte (audio link to the interview). You’ll want to give it a full listen, but here are some of the highlights.
Most notably, Fowler was unusually candid about his disappointment in Weaver’s struggles and suggested that the veteran right-hander wouldn’t be given much longer to turn things around.
“We’ve had several performances from Jered that have been not very good, and Jered owns them,” said Fowler. “… I think it’s a short leash, and we’ve got to make some decisions. … We’re hoping there’s something left, but the last several performances don’t give us much cause to be positive.”
Fowler offered praise for Weaver’s accountability on multiple occasions, and the right-hander indeed has been frank with the media about his poor performance. But that doesn’t seem likely to change the analysis from the team’s perspective, with Fowler saying he expects “decisions ill get made in the not-too-distant future.”
As for the thought process that went into signing the light-tossing veteran, Fowler forthrightly acknowledged it was a roll of the dice that has not really panned out.
“We did take a chance on him,” he said. “We were hoping we’d get some more, that there was more left in the tank, and at this point in time, it doesn’t appear that we were right. We’re not going to let it continue for a long period of time. We like the way he’s owning it at least and not trying to walk from it.”
Those surprisingly frank words likely won’t offer much comfort to Weaver, who has indeed been hit hard thus far. Through seven outings, he carries a 6.81 ERA and has been touched for 14 long balls.
San Diego is obviously looking to find value where it can, and that has continued into the season. The team’s recent acquisition of Szczur out of DFA limbo, though, was also driven by need.
“He’s an outfielder that we think is very strong from a defense standpoint,” said Fowler. “He hasn’t performed offensively as well as the Cubs would’ve liked, but he’s a high character guy. … Right now we’re down two guys in the outfield, and we need to probably give [Hunter] Renfroe some time off. [Manuel] Margot is playing literally every game. We just need someone out there.”
That said, it seems that Szczur has been on the club’s radar for some time. Fowler says that the Pads tried to pry him loose from the Cubs in the spring but were rebuffed.
Also of note were Fowler’s comments on the fallout of the suspension of GM A.J. Preller for mismanaging the sharing of medical information at last year’s trade deadline. He acknowledged that there is some ongoing impact, though he suggested it likely won’t prove a significant barrier.
“I’m not saying there’s nothing lingering,” Fowler explained. “I think there’s some teams out there that might still have some issues. But it comes down to, if we have players they want, I think they’re going to deal with us.” He also made clear (as the organization has stated many times before) that the problems with the team’s medical information systems have been corrected. “We own it, but I don’t think there’s any lingering problems in how we’re managing those areas.”