"It's frustrating I couldn't help him more," Balsley said. "And, I'm sure, on his side, it's frustrating he knows he's a lot better than he shows."
In his final start with the Padres, Volquez allowed five earned runs on five hits while getting two outs in the first inning of a start against the Cubs on Aug. 23. The following day, he was designated.
So what went wrong?
"He might have been snakebit a little this year, a lot of miss-hit balls that fell in and a lot of rallies that snowballed on him," Balsley said. "But as a Major League pitcher, you have got to overcome that."
At the forefront of Volquez's problems, Balsley said, were his emotions, especially when he got into a game.
"We worked hard mechanically on keeping him on a good line toward home plate; we tried to shorten up his stride and get him to be a little taller. In his bullpen sessions, he could do it. But in the game, he basically overthrew," Balsley said. "That led to mechanical breakdowns.
"And it's hard to tell someone not to try so hard. He's very competitive. His competitive nature gets the best of him."
Volquez went 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA and made 32 starts for the Padres a year ago. But opponents hit .236 against him a year ago. This season, they were hitting .291 with an .820 OPS. His strikeout rate per nine innings (7.33) was the lowest in any full season he has pitched in the big leagues.
Balsley is hopeful that Volquez, despite his issues with the Padres, can turn things around -- even if for a different team.
"He's what? Thirty? He's still young," Balsley said. "Moving on, I expect him to hook on quickly with another team. Once he gets his emotions under control, he's going to be a very good pitcher."