A weblog covering the San Diego Padres.

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Tankersley Theory

Tank to the minors? After posting a 3.20 ERA and striking out 22 big league hitters in just over 25 innings? Is something in Kevin Towers’ drinking water?

There haven’t been any confirmed reports of unsafe drinking water in San Diego, but there has been a noticeable theme about the Padres’ management of their minor leaguers: The Future.

Taking a quick look at the schedule (both of Padres games and of Jake Peavy’s rehab), it quickly becomes evident where Towers train of thought is derived from. Tankersley last pitched on the 19th of June, meaning his next scheduled start would come on the 24th, an off day for the Padres. He would be off for ten days, then pitch again on the 29th, only to have Peavy come off the DL on July 2nd. Peavy comes back, Izzy becomes the 5th starter again, and Tankersley finds himself as a man without a starting spot.

So why not have him work out of the bullpen and send one of the other schmucks down to the minors since Tank is pitching so well? After all, when he was first called up, he started working out of the ‘pen, why not just put him back there?

The answer to that question might be pretty revealing. Most would agree that Tankersley was most impressive in his starts. This is a man who was extremely close to being traded, and had seemingly fallen from his perch as a top pitching prospect. The Padres seemed ready to give up on him until Darren Balsley took over and decided to give Tank another look.

But now, after some impressive performances, the Padres seem to have a renewed faith in him. They envision him as a future anchor in their up and coming rotation, and have no desire to send him to the bullpen. Even though it’s possible Tankersley could be effective out of the bullpen in what could potentially be a very tight pennant race, Kevin Towers decided that it is more important to let Tankersley get his starts in, even if that means a trip back to Portland, even if that means letting a crucial game slide, even if that means keeping what’s-his-shmuck on the roster. David Wells isn’t getting any younger. Rest assured, Tank will get his chance…in the future.

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