How can SD's offense improve after break?

July 11th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- Sometimes Germán Márquez just beats you. No shame in that. Márquez is one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, and he'll represent the hometown Rockies at the All-Star Game in Denver next week.

Then again, the goal for the Padres, like any contending team, is to make things as difficult as possible on the Germán Márquezes of the world. That’s precisely the caliber of pitcher they expect to be facing in the postseason, after all.

In that regard, the Padres still have some work to do -- and perhaps even a move to make?

Márquez was excellent on Saturday night in the Rockies’ 3-0 victory over the Padres at Petco Park. The right-hander struck out nine, allowing just three hits over seven innings.

"He got into a pretty good groove," said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. "We just couldn't muster enough, and we couldn't get his pitch count up either, to get him out early."

Meanwhile, Padres right-hander labored a bit, allowing two runs (one earned) over 4 1/3 innings. But he still kept the Padres well within striking distance. They just didn’t have the offensive firepower to mount a charge.

And that's where the questions arise. The San Diego offense has been solid this season, but it hasn't quite lived up to the lofty expectations set in 2020. Prior to Saturday’s game, Padres general manager A.J. Preller was asked to assess his team’s first half, and he took a measured view on his team’s offense.

“We’ve been searching for … a little bit more consistency from the offensive standpoint,” Preller said. “We’ve got some individuals that are having some real good performances, but we haven’t quite had the group click quite as consistently, top to bottom, as it did last year. Those will be the things we’ll be talking about over the next couple weeks.”

The most pressing question, prior to the July 30 Trade Deadline: What, exactly, is keeping this lineup from reaching the same heights as last year? And does the answer need to come via trade?

The gist of the offensive concerns is simple enough. , and have regressed this season, with each posting numbers well below their 2020 marks.

The next question, of course: What to do about it?

None of those three are going anywhere -- and it would surprise no one if any of them put forth a bounce-back second half. Lately, Myers and Profar have begun to heat up. Hosmer -- who doubled twice on Saturday -- could follow suit.

That doesn't mean the Padres' front office will sit idly, in hope. There are upgrades available -- whether an everyday middle-of-the-order thumper or merely a useful bench piece. It would be unwise not to explore those trade possibilities.

Then, say Myers and Hosmer got hot in the second half. No, there isn’t an obvious vacancy in the everyday lineup. But if the problem with the Padres’ offense is “too many good options” -- they’re just fine with that.

Another outfield bat would give the Padres some serious offensive depth -- no small thing come September and October. They'd be able to play all sorts of matchups and ride the hot hand. (Not to mention, they’d buy themselves some insurance in the event of an injury.)

Of course, the Padres’ offense has already proven that it’s capable of beating the league’s best arms. In fact, as recently as Thursday, they rallied from an eight-run deficit against newly minted All-Star Max Scherzer. Even with some of their key hitters underperforming, the Padres have a good offense.

Good enough? That’s for Preller to decide. And when has Preller ever looked at any aspect of his roster and thought “good enough?”