With offseason plan in ruins, what's next for the Padres?

Can the Padres afford to trade workhorse starter James Shields in the first year of his contract? Can they afford not to? AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

The Padres lost again Friday and were on the wrong side of what might have been one of the shortest sacrifice flies in baseball history. San Diego has dropped six straight games and is now 10 games below .500, 11 games out in the NL West and 8½ games back in the NL wild-card race.

Recently, Padres manager Pat Murphy addressed whether players in San Diego’s clubhouse believe they can win, and he gave a frank assessment, which starts about 4:25 into this:

"To be honest with you, I’m not sure if they believe that," Murphy said. "I’m not sure if enough guys have won and understand the difference between really winning. It doesn’t matter the level; it’s the commitment, the mentality, it’s the belief system, it’s the values that say, 'Hey, look, I don’t have to change everything, but I definitely have to change my behavior or my mentality towards this, and if I do that, I take care of myself and look around and lock arms with my brothers, this can happen.' I’m not sure if they believe it or not."

Murphy went on to say some players have told him they do believe it, but even the stoutest optimist would have to acknowledge how increasingly bleak the Padres’ situation is. They are currently projected to finish 76-86 (under the formula used by Fangraphs), and rival executives are anticipating some sort of sell-off, whether it's partial (Justin Upton, who is a free agent after this season) or more than that. In some corners of the organization, there is a belief it is time to reload and restructure for next season, and the best way to do that is to add players who can help in the future and create more financial flexibility.

In other corners of the organization, there is a belief the Padres should move James Shields in the 20 days remaining before the July 31 deadline, as a cheaper market alternative to Cole Hamels, and consider offers for closer Craig Kimbrel.