Category Archives: Cheap Padres Jerseys

Manny Machado Jersey

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Manny Machado was signed by A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres at the beginning of Spring Training with the thought that he was going to be the Manny Machado we saw in Baltimore, but that wasn’t really the case.

People forget that he still hit 32 home runs in 2019, but what they do remember is the .256 batting average he had.

While it wasn’t Machado’s best year or anything the Padres were hoping for, he is still under contract for nine more seasons and I don’t see how he doesn’t have a comeback season in 2020.

You have to remember he didn’t have Fernando Tatis Jr. on base for a few months due to his hamstring and back injuries in addition to not having a healthy Hunter Renfroe and no Franmil Reyes in front or behind him to give him protection, which could’ve been a factor to his mediocre numbers in the second half.

Look, Manny Machado is a superstar player and he was still amazing on a daily basis over at the hit corner so to say that it was a bad decision for San Diego to not sign a future Hall of Famer would be stupid.

There are some positives though if you want to compare his contract to that of Bryce Harper who actually got more money.

Although Bryce had a better year, as his war was 4.2 compared to 3.1, he is not leaving Philadelphia for 12 more seasons.
Machado is going to age better than Harper, as Machado is a much better defender than Harper and I think Harper will age like Albert Pujols has which means he will end up fitting a DH role once it happens.

On the other hand, I don’t see Machado declining defensively so he will be playing third base for pretty much the entirety of his career.

Greg Garcia Jersey

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With the merry-go-round that is the second base position, Greg Garcia has been a serviceable stopgap for the San Diego Padres. An asset as a starter, a utility player, and off the bench, it feels like the Friars scored when they brought him on board.

Signing Garcia back in November 2018, the San Diego native had spent most of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was drafted in the seventh round of the 2010 MLB draft by the Redbirds and enjoyed a nice career there, batting .248/.351/.348 after his 14-game rookie season.

His first year with the Padres, however, is on pace to be his best one yet. After 70 games, the 2B/3B/SS is batting .263/.347/.403 with a .325 wOBA and 102 wRC+. He’s tied his season-high totals for RBIs (20) and home runs (3), and his .752 OPS is just shy of a career-high.

Sure, those aren’t eye-popping numbers, but he’s provided a breath of fresh air to a relatively unstable and inconsistent position for the Padres. With Luis Urias still in Triple-A El Paso, the Padres have gone with a 2B platoon of Garcia and Ian Kinsler.

So far, Garcia has been the better offensive and defensive option over Kinsler, who’s slashing .217/.275/.370 with eight home runs and 19 RBIs through 74 games. While he’s settling in after a rough start to the year (.133/.209/.241 with 17 strikeouts through April), the two-time Golden Glove winner has been less than stellar during his bout with the Friars.

Defensively, Garcia is considered the league-average 2B with 0 Defensive Runs Saved, and an above-average 2B with a 1.8 UZR. He’s facing a career-low .746 RZR, though, meaning he’s struggled to convert balls hit to his zone into outs.

Take these 2019 defensive stats with a grain of salt, however, as we’re only halfway through the year. Garcia is coming off a 2.0 UZR season with the Cardinals and has a +3 DRS, .848 RZR, and 1.5 UZR in his career.

That said, I’m not writing about Greg Garcia because of his average defense.

No, I’m dedicating this article to him because of his performance in the clutch and in high-leverage situations.

He hits a .263/.370/.447 with runners in scoring position, providing 15 RBIs in 46 plate appearances in the situation. His OBP is at its best (.412) in late and close games, which is when his plate appearance occurs in the seventh inning or later “with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run at least on deck.”

Perhaps the most impressive is his performance during high-leverage situations, hitting .345/.440/.690 when he has the chance to drastically alter the win probability of the game.

This isn’t just a trend, either. Garcia’s career is peppered with great stats in high-leverage and clutch situations. He has a .333 BA against the shift, a 16.2 BB% with men in scoring position, and his career-OBP is at its best with two outs and RISP. He also has a career .374 OBP as a pinch-hitter.

The Padres probably knew all that, though.

To be fair, Greg also has some offensive weaknesses that lie primarily in his power and averages against left-handed pitchers. Garcia has three homers on the year and has never hit more than that in a season.

Two home runs in 2019 have come against finesse pitchers (those in the “bottom third of the league in strikeouts plus walks”, per Baseball-reference), against whom he has his best slash line.

Conversely, he’s struggled against power pitchers (“top third of the league in strikeouts plus walks”). This is also evident in his K% and BB%, which have trended the wrong way.

Against LHPs, Garcia has averaged .176/.270/.256 vs. .264/.368/.368 against righty’s, which might be why Andy Green chooses to play Kinsler in certain situations. He has around the same (albeit low) average against pitchers of both hands.

Yes, Garcia has his weaknesses like every other player (except you Fernando, you’re perfect). Despite these, he currently gives the Padres the best chance for success at 2B and should absolutely be starting over Kinsler.

He’s got the better bat, slightly better defense, and seems to make something happen when we need it the most. Furthermore, while Kinsler had improved since the beginning of the year, he’s slumping again, going 1-for-17 in his last seven games. Garcia, meanwhile, has kept up the heat this summer, going 5-for-17 for a .294 BA in his last seven games.

Garcia in last 28 days: 17 games, .333/.404/.571, .448 BAbip, 14 hits, seven RBIs.

Francisco Mejia Jersey

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We’re heading into the stretch run of the baseball season and the San Diego Padres are 8 ½ games off the pace for a wildcard berth. Thus, it feels like time is running out for the Padres to make the playoffs.

However, the month of September does offer them ample time to decide if Francisco Mejia is their long-term answer at the catcher position.

The jury is still out on Mejia behind the plate as he has some rough edges to his defensive game that need to be smoothed out before being considered an everyday catcher. But decisions have to be made in what direction the Padres go to improve the roster this winter and Mejia’s late-season audition will clarify the need to acquire another catcher.

Padres general manager A.J. Preller must determine if his prized prospect has shown any progress defensively because his bat is more than major league ready.

Ideally, the San Diego Padres would love for Mejia’s defensive prowess to equal his offensive production, but a more realistic goal is having him become a better all-around catcher. This allows the Friars to start him in 140 games next season with no questions asked.

Austin Hedges Jersey

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With a forthcoming 40-man roster crunch, a stacked farm system, and an active depth chart still littered with question marks, AJ Preller is going to have a full offseason agenda. With 2020 set as something of a make-or-break year for this organization’s leadership, this winter could bring drastic, keep-my-job kinds of moves from the 6th-year GM out of Cornell.

Could we see another massive free agent signing a la Manny Machado? Gerritt Cole would certainly look nice in San Diego brown.

Or, perhaps more feasibly, could we see one of the team’s prized prospect jewels traded for a Noah Syndergaard-type? While a youngster like Luis Patino would certainly fetch a nice return on the trade market, Preller has shown little inclination toward trading his signed-and-developed prospects.

Or, maybe, just maybe, Preller might prune a bit of fat from his 40-man roster and trade from one of the team’s few positions of depth. If Preller were to go such a route, there may be no place better to pick from than the team’s catching reserves.

When Preller traded All-Star closer Brad Hand and sidearmer Adam Cimber to the Indians in exchance for Francisco Mejia in 2018, he essentially sacrificed 1⁄3 of an effective bullpen. Since the trade, Hand and Cimber have provided Cleveland with the following:

80 innings of 3.04 ERA pitching (Hand)
71 innings of 4.44 ERA pitching (Cimber)

Cimber hasn’t been amazing, but, taken together, those are a lot of good bullpen innings—innings that a GM doesn’t sacrifice unless he feels like he’s getting a building block in return.

For his part, Mejia has, when healthy, indeed looked the part of a building block this year. After returning to the squad on June 18th this year, the 23-year-old switch hitter produced a .298/.354/.503 batting line with 8 home runs in 49 games. His defense is a work-in-progress, but most metrics peg him as only slightly below-average behind the dish.

Today also marks the callup of one Luis Torrens, the former 2016 Rule V draftee who has spent the better part of two years honing his craft in the minors. After a respectable showing with Lake Elsinore in 2018, Torrens boldly asserted himself with a .300/.373/.500 line in the Texas League this season—becoming one of the key cogs in the lineup of the champion San Antonio Sod Poddles in the process.

Elsewhere in the organization, Luis Campusano was recently named MVP of the California League, and Baseball America named 25-year-old Austin Allen one of it’s Triple-A All-Stars for 2019. Any way you slice it, the Padres organization is flush with catching depth.

That brings us to Austin Hedges. A draftee of the Padres in the second round of the 2011 amateur draft, Hedges has gotten the lion’s share of starts at catcher since the beginning of 2017. Though he is in the midst of the worst season of his career offensively, his top-flight defense is the catalyst behind a strong 1.6 WAR figure through 97 games. Over the last three years, Hedges has accrued an even 6.0 WAR, indicating that he has been—despite the limitations with the stick—a respectable big league regular.

That production is nice, but, for the reasons illustrated below, Hedges is quite possibly going to be providing that production for another team next season.
Teams In Need

This offseason, something like 15%-25% of all teams are going to be looking for replacements or upgrades at the catcher position. Here’s a look at some teams that could have interest in plugging Hedges in at “C”.
Rangers : -3.1 WAR in 2019 from Jeff Mathis, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Jose Trevino, and Tim Federowicz

The Rangers surprised many this year by hanging in contention until the season’s midway point, and their 74-77 record entering play today is still much better than most experts anticipated. One thing holding them back from getting over the hump? Well, here’s video of what they’ve been receiving from their battery this year:

The production offered from a combination of Mathis, Kiner-Falefa, Trevino, and Fed-Ex has been absolutely useless in 2019 and has, cumulatively, probably cost the Rangers several wins. Hedges is today a much better defender than the formerly formidable Mathis. Might the club be interested in parting with pitching prospect Joe Palumbo—currently ranked 6th in the Texas system by MLB Pipeline—in a deal for Hedges?
Rockies: -1.1 WAR from Tony Wolters, Chris Iannetta, Drew Butera, and Dom Nunez

Intra-division trades are rare, but could Preller feel comfortable trading with the cellar-dwelling Rox? Wolters has logged a nice-on-the-surface .272 batting average in 2019, but park-adjusted measures like wRC+ peg him as a significantly below-average (66 wRC+) performer. Iannetta is so far over-the-hill, he can’t even see it anymore. They don’t have a single catcher in their Top 30 prospect list. Could Preller pry away relief prospect and former second round pick Ben Bowden, who offers a high-90s fastball and has already reached Triple-A?

Tigers: -2.7 WAR from Grayson Greiner, Bobby Wilson, Jake Rogers, and John Hicks.

Rogers is only 24 and the team’s 12th-ranked prospect, but his awful showing at Triple-A and MLB (.115.227.260 in 112 at-bats) this year could have them looking for a more established option. Hedges only comes with two years of control, but could they value his ability to handle a young pitching staff? It’s hard to quantify a catcher’s effect on a pitching staff, but it’s worth noting that the Padres have three under-26 starters who have, at the least, proven serviceable with Hedges behind the signs. With prospects like Casey Mize and Matt Manning likely to hit the bigs next year, Hedges could be a perfect mentor. Young righty projects like Beau Burrows or Kyle Funkhouser could make sense in a return package.
Brewers: 5.9 WAR from Yasmani Grandal and Manny Pina

The Grandal signing has been an absolute coup for the Milwaukee front office, providing a .249/.380/.476 line with 27 homers this year after signing a one-year, $18.25MM deal with a mutual 2020 option this past offseason. Grandal is likely to walk, reducing Milwaukee to Pina and 24-year-old Jacob Nottingham at catcher. Prospect Mario Feliciano probably needs another two years of development before being ready for prime time, so Hedges could be a perfect bridge for the win-now Brew Crew. Could Preller try to buy low on infielder Travis Shaw? Shaw is just a year removed from a 30-homer season, but has scuffled through a .155 season this year. If Preller doesn’t feel confident in the Urias/France competition at second, Shaw could be a nice bench piece to have on hand. Otherwise, would Milwaukee be willing to move on from former pseudo-ace Jimmy Nelson?
Braves: 3.0 WAR in 2019 from Tyler Flowers and Brian McCann

Flowers (34) and McCann (35) have been resoundingly effective for the dominant Braves in ‘19, but Flowers is a possibility to depart in free agency. Prospect catcher Shea Langeliers is coming down the pike, but probably won’t be ready until 2022. Maybe pitcher Huascar Ynoa or speedster CF Justin Dean could suit up in Amarillo colors next year?

Better That The Rest

All of these teams will be looking for catching help this offseason. However, chances are that only one of them will be able to make a free agent signing who would represent a superior option to Hedges.

Yasmani Grandal, 31, is likely to opt out of his contract with Milwaukee in search of a big payday. He’s likely to get it after a strange trip through free agency in ‘18.

Outside of Grandal, here are the other top free agent catching options this offseason, in terms of 2019 WAR:

Jason Castro (33)
Tyler Flowers (34)
Robinson Chirinos (36)

Castro, Flowers, and Chirinos are all good pros, but each is past 33 years old. For a club looking for upside or reliability, Hedges would certainly represent a safer option. Beyond that, each of these players will likely cost $4MM or more on the open market, so Hedges’ contract becomes something of an attractive asset in comparison.

The Padres are likely to have a sizable list of suitors for Hedges in the event that Preller chooses to make him available. As a young, useful player with two years of control—playing a position that San Diego has well in hand—Hedges could be the Padre most likely to move this offseason.

Chris Paddack Jersey

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As expected, the Padres have brought an early end to star rookie Chris Paddack’s season. The right-hander’s start against the Brewers on Tuesday will go down as his last of the year, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

Paddack concluded his season in excellent fashion, tossing five innings of one-run, one-hit ball with nine strikeouts against a single walk in the Padres’ loss in Milwaukee. It was the fourth straight outstanding performance by the 23-year-old Paddack, who yielded a mere two earned runs and totaled 32 strikeouts versus four walks in his last four appearances – a 23 1/3-inning span.

After joining the Padres in a heist of a trade with the Marlins back in 2016, Paddack quickly rose up the ranks to become one of the game’s most coveted young arms. And though Paddack underwent Tommy John surgery shortly after switching organizations, it’s evident he’s all the way back at this point. The 2015 eighth-round pick amassed a professional-high 140 2/3 frames this year, notching a 3.33 ERA/3.96 FIP with 9.79 K/9 and 1.98 BB/9 in the process.

Now, with San Diego out of contention as the season winds to a close, the team understandably wants to preserve a hurler who could be a front-line starter for the long haul. The Padres’ playoff drought will sit at an embarrassing 13 years after this season, but if they’re going to return to relevance sometime soon, it seems likely Paddack will have quite a bit of say in it.

Eric Lauer Jersey

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By most accounts, Eric Lauer has improved during his 2nd year in the big leagues. Although his ERA is essentially flat versus last year at 4.41, he’s decreased his WHIP from 1.545 to 1.376. He’s walking 1 full batter less which is impressive.

Unfortunately, he has to pitch at Coors Field.

The funny thing about your ERA is that 2 awful starts can take you from a 3.71 to a 4.41 instantly. Case and point? Eric Lauer.

He’s made 2 starts there this year, and both went about as poorly as possible. He’s thrown 5 2⁄3 innings while giving up 13 ER’s on 18 hits. We don’t even want to talk about last year.

True, you don’t just get to remove starts. However, if there was ever a case for advanced analytics it’s a situation like this. How can someone dominate a team like the Dodgers over and over again while getting lit up in Colorado?

Maybe it’s in his head. Maybe it’s a stroke of bad luck. Maybe it’s just Coors Field. Either way, Lauer is better than he looks on paper.

In reality he’ll never be a top of the rotation starter. Could he still project as a backend of the rotation guy? It’s possible. He’s shown flashes of masterful pitching ability. He’ll never overpower anyone, but has demonstrated pinpoint control at times.

Short answer? Ya, we’re rooting for the guy. We’d love to see him develop into a #4 or #5 starter on a playoff roster. He’ll need to learn how to finish hitters with 2 strikes, but that’s nearly all young pitchers.

For now, it’ll be interesting to see if he can find a way to have a quality start in Denver. That’s a nice first step for a pitcher that wants to prove he belongs.

Game time is 5:10 PM.

David Bednar Jersey

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The rise of David Bednar belongs in the “storybook” category. How else to describe how a 35th-round draft pick out of Lafayette College ascended through the San Diego Padres organization in three short years?

On Sunday, the right-hander from Mars High was called up from Class AA Amarillo, where he dominated as a closer, to the major leagues. He is the latest-round draft pick to reach the big leagues under Padres general manager A.J. Preller.

He is also one of only eight pitchers in MLB history to make it to the majors as a 35th-round pick. Bednar was the 1,044th player chosen in 2016.

“It’s always been my dream to play professional baseball,” Bednar told the Post-Gazette last year.

Now, he is living that dream. And he made his MLB debut this past Sunday in front of 38,701 at Oracle Park in San Francisco.

Summoned by Padres manager Andy Green to pitch the bottom of the ninth, Bednar registered a 1-2-3 inning to ensure an 8-4 victory.

The hard-throwing Bednar (his fastball has reached 98 mph) induced three outfield flyouts, first by Joey Rickard, then by Stephen Vogt and finally by Brandon Belt.

As the final out was recorded in left field, Bednar slowly walked from the mound with little reaction. He was then greeted by catcher Austin Allen, who wrapped his arm around the young pitcher. The rest of the Padres soon followed, giving their new teammate high fives and handshakes.

Bednar, 6 feet 1, 220, flashed a smile.

It was a perfect beginning to what has been a perfectly crafted story.

“David Bednar was drafted in the 35th round with the 1,044th overall selection,” the Padres tweeted (and younger brother Will Bednar, a freshman pitcher at Mississippi State, retweeted). “Today, he’s a Major League pitcher. Never ever give up.”

Bednar was used in the ninth to keep closer Kirby Yates fresh for the Padres.

“Great team win,” Green said. “Lot of contributions from a lot of different people.”

While most late-round selections toil in the minors for years (if not for careers), Bednar, 24, has blazed a strikingly different trail.

Since the All-Sar break, he converted 10 of 10 save opportunities for Amarillo. He also struck out 44 in 27.1 innings and posted a 1.98 ERA during that span.

What’s more, he had converted 14 consecutive save opportunities prior to his promotion to the big club. He finished his AA stint with 86 strikeouts and a 2.95 ERA in 58 innings.

“I just go out and attack the zone no matter who’s out there or the situation,” Bednar told the website Baseball Essential. “I’m just going to go out there and pitch to the best of my ability and put it all out there.”

While the Padres are out of playoff contention, the future looks bright. Their minor league system is ranked No. 1 by and seven of their prospects are rated among MLB’s top 100 players.

Bednar appears to be in their long-term plans as a reliever after posting potent numbers in the minors: 303 strikeouts in 219⅔ innings; 2.70 ERA; 38 saves.

The son of Mars baseball coach Andy Bednar, David Bednar has refined his splitter and curveball, to go along with that fastball. Interestingly, he threw in the high 80s in high school, but his velocity has increased annually since entering college in 2014.

Earlier this season, FanGraphs described Bednar this way: “The barrel-chested Bednar has developed a good split in pro ball, making him an excellent three-pitch option for when relief usage minimums change in the future. He throws in the mid-90s (he was 89-92 as a starter in college) and has a snappy, 12-6 curveball. The curveball is probably what got him drafted, while the fastball/split development is driving a modern relief profile. He’s paving over Double-A and could reach the big leagues this year.”

Andy Bednar said his son has found success, in part, due to a laser-like focus.

“He’s a really hard worker off the field,” dad said. “He’s stayed religious with the workouts. And he’s poised on the mound. He doesn’t get frustrated a whole lot. A sign of a good player is, when things get rough, they’re at their best.”

For David Bednar, his best has taken him on a “storybook” journey to the major leagues.

Tony Gwynn Jersey

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At one point it looked as if Tony Gwynn’s path to athletic greatness would be on a basketball court, as he would prove adept at passing the ball. But Gwynn could not pass up baseball, a game where the left-handed batter with the natural inside-out swing would shine.

A highly recruited point guard, Gwynn would attend San Diego State University on a basketball scholarship. Although he didn’t play baseball for the Aztecs as a freshman in order to concentrate on basketball, he was back on the field by his second year.

“Baseball was just something to do in the spring and summer,” Gwynn once said. “I told my mom I didn’t think I would try baseball in college. She and my dad told me it was something I might want to fall back on.”

Drafted by both Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres (3rd round) and the National Basketball Association’s San Diego Clippers (10th round) in 1981, it wasn’t long before the lefty-swinging Gwynn’s mastery with a bat in his hand became evident, especially with his ability to slap the ball between third base and shortstop.

“How do you defend a hitter who hits the ball down the left-field line, the right-field line and up the middle,” said Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda in 1984. That same year Al Oliver, one of baseball great hitters at the time, said, ‘I’m not in awe of too many people, but Tony Gwynn is the best looking young hitter I’ve seen since I’ve been in the big leagues. I can honestly say that I would pay to see him hit.”

Gwynn, an early advocate of using videotape to study his swing, once said, “I love to hit. I can’t wait until it’s my turn. Sometimes, I think that’s all baseball is. I root for the other team to go down 1-2-3 so I can hit again.”

A 15-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner in right field, Gwynn spent his entire 20-season big league career with the Padres, one of only 17 players to play to have played at least 20 seasons and spent their entire careers with one team.

With his eighth and final batting crown in 1997, Gwynn tied Honus Wagner, the great Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop, for the most in National League history. In addition to his .338 career batting average, he earned seven Silver Slugger awards for offense and batted .371 in his two World Series appearances.

Greg Maddux once said of Gwynn, “He’s easily the toughest hitter for me. I can’t think of anyone who hits me harder. He handles the pitch away as well as anybody, and he’s able to stay inside the ball when the pitch is in. His holes are just very small.”

Randy Jones Jersey

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It is safe to say that Randy Jones was the first Padre to regularly receive national recognition.

The “crafty” left-hander capped an amazing two-year run at the end of the 1976 by winning the National League Cy Young Award.

Earlier that season, Jones was twice named the National League Pitcher of the Month Award, also making him the first Padre to win any type of league-wide recognition. And he was the winning pitcher in the 1976 All-Star Game — a year after getting the save in the 1975 All-Star Game.

In two seasons, Jones had gone from being a 22-game loser to being the top pitcher in the National League . . . and more.

He was boon to the Padres. Every time Jones started a game from the middle of 1975 on, the Padres received a sizeable bump at the box office — a phenomenon that hasn’t really been duplicated since.

“The 1975 and 1976 seasons were a whirlwind,” Jones recalled years later. “I learned to trust and have confidence in what I had and what I could do.”

What Jones had was a devastating sinker. His fastball seemed to drop off the face of the earth as it approached the plate. Opposing batters would either swing and miss or pound it into the ground. Pete Rose grew so frustrated that he once swung left-handed against Jones.

“Because I gave up ground balls, I was going to give up hits,” Jones said. “But the sinker minimized the big hits and the defense did a great job behind me.”

Over the 1975–76 seasons, Jones had a 42–26 record in 77 games (76 starts). He pitched 600 1/3 innings with 43 complete games, He had a two-year earned run average of 2.50 with a 1.036 WHIP. He gave up an average of 7.7 hits and 1.9 walks per nine innings. Opposing hitters had a .233 batting average against Jones in the two seasons. But the slugging percentage was a combined .313.

Jones gave up 32 homers in those 600 1/3 innings over the 1975–76 seasons.

Randy Jones finished second to the Mets’ Tom Seaver in the 1975 Most Valuable Player voting. He was also 10th in the Most Valuable Player balloting with a career-best ERA of 2.24.

But the then 26-year-old Jones had numbers during his Cy Young Award season of 1976 that were off the charts and will never be matched in Padres history.

The 6-foot, 175-pounder led the National League in wins (22), starts (40), complete games (25), innings pitched (315 1/3), WHIP (1.027) and batters faced (1,251).

Not only do the 22 wins remain a Padres’ single-season record, the starts, complete games, innings pitched, batters faced and doubleplays induced (36) remain Padres single-season records that will never be broken.

In addition to winning the Cy Young Award, Jones finished 10th in the Most Valuable Player voting, was the first Padres pitcher ever to start (and be credited with the win) an All-Star Game. He was named the National League Pitcher of the Month for April (4–1, 3.13 ERA) and May (6–1, 1.48 ERA).

Jones was 16–3 going into the All-Star Game with a 2.53 ERA. He was 6–11 after the break with a 2.99 ERA as he experienced elbow soreness. He also had four possible wins taken away in the second half via bullpen failures. Overall, the Padres were 25–15 when Jones pitched in 1976.

The Padres fifth-round pick in the 1972 Draft out of Chapman University, Jones’ elbow issues worsened in 1977 and he was limited to 147 1/3 innings. His tenure with the Padres ended on Dec. 15, 1980, when he was traded to the New York Mets for John Pacella and Jose Moreno.

Jones, who turned 69 on Jan. 12, remains a leading Padres ambassador and the head of the Padres Alumni Association.

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During the first game of this year’s American League Championship Series at Minute Maid Park, as the Yankees started jawing at the Houston dugout about sign stealing, Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron raised his middle finger and directed the gesture toward the opposing bench.

This infuriated New York’s third base coach Phil Nevin, who yelled at Astros third baseman Alex Bregman, “Tell your f–king hitting coach I’m going to kick his f–king ass.”

Managers A.J. Hinch and Aaron Boone also exchanged words, and the Yankees ultimately asked Major League Baseball to investigate the Astros for using whistling to convey pitches to their hitters (MLB said they found no evidence of wrongdoing in that instance).

On Friday, Nevin confirmed those previously unreported details, which SNY learned through multiple league sources, and added that he was wrong to speak to Bregman.

“I actually told A.J. later that I shouldn’t have brought a player into it,” Nevin said. “But obviously I wasn’t happy with something we saw.”

That “something” was the middle finger, not the alleged sign stealing. But the entire incident underscores the level of heat and anger in the industry regarding the Astros. The Yankees believed that their ALCS opponent was cheating, and that, according to a source, Cintron was the one whistling to batters.

According to baseball’s oft-cited but ever-shifting unwritten rules, sign stealing on the basepaths represents gamesmanship, but any use of sounds and technology is over the line.

One source said that the Astros’ whistling went back to at least 2017, when then-bench coach Alex Cora was a significant part of it — and when the Yankees lost to the Astros in the ALCS. If you’re the Yankees, your anger surely stems from losing out on two of three pennants when you believed your opponent was acting unethically.

Others in the league insist that the Astros’ whistling and banging of garbage cans are overblown. But the anger and resentment toward the team has been palpable for years. It boiled over between Nevin and Cintron in Houston last month, and surfaced again at this week’s GM meetings, after The Athletic reported on additional sign stealing allegations, and the Twitter user Jomboy found video to verify them.

“If Jeff Luhnow knew about this, he should be banned for life,” said one rival general manager.

As rival executives expressed earnest shock and anger — “It’s really wrong what they did,” said another high-ranking executive — the league’s department of investigations is proceeding more calmly and methodically.

This February, MLB circulated a memo that put into place new precautions against high-tech sign stealing. Teams now must account for every camera in the stadium. Clubhouse TV feeds operate on an eight-second delay, except the one viewed by the team’s designated replay official — and he is monitored by a person whose job is to ensure he doesn’t communicate with team personnel regarding signs.

In part because of those changes, MLB officials are skeptical that the Astros could have employed cameras in their 2019 whistling operation.

The league also doesn’t yet know if the team’s sign stealing was an organizational scandal, or the rogue actions of several players. Did the GM and coaches organize a conspiracy, or merely turn the other way when players bent the rules?

As SNY reported on Thursday, there is not yet any evidence to suggest that Mets manager Carlos Beltran or Cora will face significant discipline. Video evidence appears to show Beltran benefitting from sign stealing while playing for the 2017 Astros. But that video does not represent proof that Beltran knew of a hidden camera. He denies any knowledge.

These are the questions that give MLB pause about imposing major penalties, at least at this early stage of its investigation.

But the league can’t stop its own clubs from feeling continued outrage at Luhnow, Hinch and the Houston players.

“How naïve I was,” one longtime team executive texted after watching the Jomboy videos. “I hope MLB buries the Astros.”