Last year, Jedd Gyorko hit 23 home runs in his first season with the San Diego Padres. It was enough of an offensive performance that the Padres rewarded the second baseman with a contract that could be worth as much as $48 million over six years.
What did Gyorko promptly do once he signed that huge contract?
He disappeared. Only now is he showing signs of that bat finally coming to life.
Gyorko is hitting just .193 for the season, but since the calendar turned to August he is 14-for-54 (.260). While those numbers don’t exactly light the world on fire, those stats are better than the first four months of the season.
It is not fair to blame Gyorko for everything going on in San Diego. The Padres have, by and large, been a very disappointing team this season. Only through faith in the manager has Bud Black gotten to keep his job. Instead, general manager Josh Byrnes fell on the sword, and assistant GM A.J. Hinch resigned earlier this month.
Injuries have decimated the lineup. Andrew Cashner has been hurt this season, costing the pitching staff some much-needed experience. Yonder Alonso, Will Venable and Everth Cabrera have had less-than-stellar hitting seasons for the Padres.
Gyorko’s bat vanishing has been a mystery. He only hit .249 a year ago, but those 23 home runs have turned into eight this season.
Yet his bat seems to be on the upswing. Is it any coincidence the Padres are doing well?
Let’s be realistic. The Padres aren’t going to catch either the San Francisco Giants or the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the NL West. However, with a strong finish the Padres — and Gyorko — can set themselves up well for a strong 2015.
For now, we’ll see if Gyorko’s hot streak continues. The Padres have to be breathing a little easier.