Yikes. Just when it looked like things might improve in San Diego, that they’re young core might take a step forward and provide some good, cheap, production – they go and do this. Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal faces a 50 game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy.

One of the key pieces in the Mat Latos trade earned himself a tidy 30% pay cut in 2013 via his 50 game unpaid vacation after testing positive for testosterone. The switch-hitting catcher acquitted himself quite well in his MLB debut, posting a .297.394/.469 line with eight home runs in 226 plate appearances. Grandal’s emergence allowed the Padres to demote struggling incumbent Nick Hundley, who was terrible in an equal chunk of 2012 playing time.

A disappointing setback for a promising player on a team in need of some positivity. A potential Chase Headley extension and the steady presence of Cameron Maybin represent hope but the Padres cannot afford the step back in both the baseball and public relations senses.

The Padres new TV deal didn’t win many friends as countless fans found themselves blacked out or simply unable to watch the local team on TV. New ownership is on its way and the ballpark gets a facelift with “bums in seats” in mind. These are bigger picture issues than Grandal failing a drug test but the timing stinks (not that here is ever a good time.)

The Padres are less likely to move the struggling but potentially valuable Hundley this offseason knowing they have a 50 game chunk of the season requiring a starting catcher. And now, as I understand it, everyone in baseball must now hate and ostracize Yasmani Grandal at every opportunity. A shame, a damn dirty shame.