Padres chairman Fowler expects better from team

Padres chairman Fowler expects better from team

SAN DIEGO -- Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler was critical of the team's recent performance in an interview with the Mighty 1090AM radio on Wednesday morning.

Entering June, the Padres are 20-33 and sit in last place in the National League West. They're coming off a road trip in which they won once in eight contests and were beaten twice in Seattle by a combined score of 25-7.

"It's been embarrassing," Fowler told host Dan Sileo. "I don't know how else to put it. I think our performance on the road trip, 1-7, is pathetic. I'm a very competitive individual, I've won a lot more than I've lost in my life. This baseball experience has been very frustrating."

Fowler singled out the performance of starter James Shields, who struggled Tuesday, allowing 10 runs over 2 2/3 frames.

"To have a starter like Shields perform as poorly as he did yesterday is an embarrassment to the team and an embarrassment to him. It's about as frustrating as it can get, but we've got to get through it," Fowler said.

Shields did not respond to Fowler's comment, but he was quick to note that those frustrations aren't limited to the Padres' executive chairman himself.

"I'm sure it's more just the frustration of our team losing," Shields said. "I'm frustrated, myself. Obviously, I'm not happy with my game yesterday. I don't think it's an embarrassment to me, personally, but I'm not happy. I'm the ultimate competitor. I have high expectations of myself. Ultimately, they expect the same out of me."

Right fielder Matt Kemp echoed Shields' sentiment. He had "no comment" on Fowler's remarks, but he said the results must improve -- and the clubhouse is well aware of that.

"As a team, we need to play better," Kemp said. "That's all we can do. We've just got to worry about what we can control. What we can control is what we do out there on the field. And it's not cutting it."

Fowler said he's been impressed with the coaching staff thus far, and he added that he's looking forward to next week's Draft and the forthcoming international signing period, which begins July 2.

The Padres hold six of the first 85 picks the Draft, and reports have them pegged as one of the primary players in the international market this year.

"Winning on the field -- we have to figure out a way to do that," Fowler said. "If that requires changes to accomplish that, then we'll do it. But we're not going to make changes for the sake of changes. We have to feel it's going to strengthen the ballclub.

"What we're focused on over the next week and then focused on in early July -- July 2 [when international amateur free agents are eligible to sign] -- is making sure that we get the people here that are the ones we want for the future. In the meantime, we've got to figure out how to get this team playing better. It's not an either/or. It's both."

Fowler indicated that changes in player personnel could be coming before the Aug. 1 Trade Deadline this season. The Padres have several players with expiring contracts on the current roster, including center fielder Jon Jay and right-hander Andrew Cashner, while Shields holds an opt-out clause in his contract. 

But Fowler threw his support behind the current group of Padres coaches, including manager Andy Green, who is in his first season at the helm.

"In terms of the manager and the coaching staff and such, I think we've got as good a group or a better group than I've seen," Fowler said. "They're doing what they need to do. Part of it is on the players. But our job is to get the right players who can be motivated and deliver at game time. Right now, we're not doing it."

As for general manager A.J. Preller, Fowler indicated that the next month will be critical in his evaluation. In Fowler's words, the Padres hired Preller, "to develop a farm system and to do far better at international." Preller will get his chance to do both over the next few weeks.

Running the Padres, Fowler said, has been his toughest challenge in business, but he's confident the organization will turn it around.

"The other aspects of the team -- in terms of the ballpark or the fan experience -- we've done well," Fowler said. "But as to the winning and losing, we've been miserable failures so far, there's no other way to describe it."

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.