One more.

That’s all the San Diego Padres can afford before their off season officially begins a lot sooner than they thought it would.

Looking back to the end of August, the Padres had what most would consider a big lead in the National League West over the San Francisco Giants. Fast forward one month, and not only is their lead gone but the deficit has reached its breaking point after losing 22 of their last 34 games.

They face the Giants on Friday night in what will be a three game set in San Francisco. The situation has gotten so bleak for San Diego that they not only need to sweep the three-game set, but they need the Philadelphia Phillies to sweep the Atlanta Braves over the next three days. Something that’s not likely to happen, especially with the Phillies having already wrapped up the National League’s Eastern Division.

Whether that loss comes tonight, Saturday, or Sunday, the Padres front office knows that there are decisions that will need to be made to improve this team for the 2011 season to keep this kind of collapse from happening again.

Sure they’ve exceeded everyone’s expectations, but you won’t be remembered for how you played the first five months of the season, you’ll be remembered for how you finished. The Padres couldn’t do that, and they could be watching October baseball from home.

With that in mind, here are some issues facing the front office, and where I think the Padres will go with each one.

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