Margot had attempted 13 steals this season entering Thursday's series opener against the D-backs, and he'd been thrown out seven times -- the lowest success rate for any player with at least 10 attempts. Nonetheless, manager Andy Green continues to give Margot the green light, asking him to work out the kinks in real time.
"Being a basestealer is not just speed," said first-base coach Skip Schumaker who has worked extensively with Margot. "It's tough to get reps, real game-setting reps. There's nothing like the game when it speeds up. His speed is elite. The more he's on base, the more comfortable he'll get."
The Padres believe they've pinpointed three necessary areas of improvement for Margot. The first is instinctual. Margot needs to better understand when to run and when not to run. That should come with time and reps, Schumaker said.
The other two are much more technical.
"One is my slide and where I slide -- not sliding so far away from the base because that slows me down," Margot said through a team interpreter. "... I also need to maintain a good path to the base. Sometimes when I break, I end up getting in a different path or a different line that isn't so efficient. We're also working on that."
Indeed, Margot's early slides have cost the Padres multiple outs this season. There's evidence that can be fixed. Travis Jankowski once had a similar issue. The coaching staff merely asked him to take one extra step before sliding. Entering Thursday, Jankowski was 13-for-16 in steal attempts.
As for Margot's path, that's a bit more perplexing. It's a straight line from first to second, after all. But Margot hasn't always followed that straight line. He's developed a tendency to break ever-so-slightly toward the outfield before over-correcting mid-steal. Those are precious split seconds being lost.
"The routes he's been taking aren't ideal," Schumaker said. "He's aware of it. He knows. He's working on it. He's just losing a lot of time if he has to change his direction even a little bit."
Margot has been thrown out at some inopportune times this season. On Tuesday in Oakland, he was nailed in the first inning with one out, Jankowski on third base and Wil Myers at the plate. After the game, Green lamented a caught stealing in that spot -- running the Padres out of a big inning.
But Green quickly added that he won't rob Margot of his green light any time soon. The best path for Margot's improvement, Green said, is to keep turning him loose.
"He's letting him work through some stuff," Schumaker said. "That's very important, so he's not tentative, he's not scared to run. He's getting a foundation and learning. As soon as you put the brakes on him, you've taken away all the aggressiveness."
Margot knows he needs to improve his routes, and he knows he needs better slides. The key is making those changes second-nature, so that when he breaks, he isn't consciously telling himself as much.
"Once he figures all of that out, he should be one of the great basestealers," Schumaker said.
Accordingly, Margot has set his goals high.
"I think I could be someone who steals 40 bases," Margot said. "If I'm healthy and my legs are good and I maintain my speed, that's not an unrealistic goal or something too far-fetched."
Cordero undergoes surgery As expected, outfielder Franchy Cordero underwent surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow. The operation took place earlier this week, and Cordero met up with the Padres in Arizona.
Cordero is unlikely to play again this season, though there's a small chance he could return in late September. The slugging outfielder was hitting .237/.307/.439 when he landed on the disabled list in late May.
Guilbe, Thwaits sign When the Padres finalized their deal with first-round Draft pick Ryan Weathers, they had officially locked up all of their picks from the first 10 rounds. They did so with about $500,000 left over to spend on any bonus worth more than $125,000 outside the top 10 rounds.
They chose to spend that extra cash on right-hander Nick Thwaits and infielder Sean Guilbe. Per MLB Pipeline's Jim Callis, Thwaits - a 15th-rounder and a Kent State commit -- agreed to a $450,000 bonus. Guilbe -- committed to Tennessee before he was picked in the 12th round --inked a $300,000 deal.
Paddack to Double-A Righty prospect Chris Paddack has been rewarded for his brilliant start to the 2018 campaign. Paddack, the Padres' fast-rising No. 8 prospect, as ranked by MLB Pipeline, was promoted to Double-A San Antonio on Thursday.
Ranked as the No. 96 prospect in all of baseball, Paddack owns a 2.24 ERA in 10 starts this season, and he's posted an absurd 83 strikeouts to just four walks over his 52 1/3 innings. Paddack's first start with San Antonio is slated for Saturday.