Feb 24, 2012, 6:11 PM EDT
One of the surprise teams of 2010, the Padres will try to rebound this year from a 2011 season that saw them lose an additional 19 games and finish 71-91. And just to make it a bit more of a challenge, the team will give it a go without ace Mat Latos, who was sent to Cincinnati in return for four youngsters, and closer Heath Bell.
Despite the losses, the Padres will likely again finish among the NL ERA leaders. But that’s partly Petco’s influence. Stauffer had a 4.95 ERA on the road last year. Richard was at 5.30 in 10 starts before getting hurt. Luebke projects as the team’s best pitcher, though he won’t go on Opening Day. Volquez may be the key to the staff; while he was far from the key piece in the Latos deal, he still has the stuff to win if he can throw a few more strikes. He fanned 104 and walked 65 in 108 2/3 innings while posting a 5.71 ERA for Cincinnati last year.
The Padres have had plenty of success building bullpens on the cheap, but rather than trying to save money on Bell’s replacement, they opted to take on Street’s salary for a year. They also made a big investment in Cashner, giving up top prospect Anthony Rizzo for him. Cashner may yet have a future in the rotation, but the Padres have made it clear that he’ll remain a reliever this year. With outstanding depth in the likes of Bass, Brach and Boxberger, the San Diego pen should be excellent again.
The offense, on the other hand…
The Padres could go in any number of ways with the lineup. MLB.com’s Padres writer Corey Brock projected a Venable-Bartlett top of the order last week, with Maybin and Hudson batting seventh and eighth, respectively. I think that’s kind of crazy, but he might have better insight into what Bud Black is thinking than I do.
The heart of the order seems more certain. I don’t think Quentin was the Padres’ best use of resources, but at least they didn’t have to give up much to get him. He’ll be blocking a couple of other defensively-challenged right-handed hitters in Guzman and Blanks.
The bench has just one opening, assuming that everyone stays healthy. Cabrera will battle Forsythe for the utility job. Since Cabera has the edge defensively and switch-hits, he’s the more likely choice.
I’m not as high on Alonso as some, but it should be an improved offense. Bartlett is the only real liability, and the team could look at playing Cabrera over him against righties if he struggles. Maybin could well take another step forward, giving the Padres a legitimate star in center field. The team might even hit more homers than the Astros this year.
It probably won’t be enough to make the Padres contenders, not unless the Diamondbacks fall back and the Giants fail to improve on their 86-win season. I see the Padres selling at midseason. Besides obvious candidates like Street, Hudson and Bartlett, they could also put Headley, Quentin, Hundley, Stauffer, Richard and Gregerson on the blocks. Thanks to the Adrian Gonzalez, Mike Adams and Latos trades, the Padres now have one of the strongest farm systems in the game, and while the major league talent isn’t bad, the lack of upside is troublesome. Continuing to gear up for 2013 and ’14 is probably the franchise’s best bet.
May 21, 2013, 5:38 PM EDT
Sorry. That headline may have been a bit dramatic. But see, I turn 40 in July. And while I’m generally cool with that — and while I am, in all honestly, in The Best Shape of My Life — it has dawned on me pretty clearly that we are almost to the point where there…
May 21, 2013, 5:00 PM EDT
From the press release machine: The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball announced today that Milwaukee Brewers Minor League left-handed pitcher Alan Williams has received a 50-game suspension without pay after a second positive test for a drug of abuse in violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. The suspension of Williams, who…
May 21, 2013, 4:46 PM EDT
As expected the Cubs activated Matt Garza from the disabled list to face the Pirates tonight, which will be his first start since being shut down with elbow problems last July. His recovery from the elbow injury was delayed by a lat injury suffered during spring training, which is how he ended up missing 10…
May 21, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT
Larry Dierker has been part of the Astros family forever. He played there from 1964 through 1976, served as a radio broadcaster from 1979 through 1996 and managed the team from 1997 through 2001, winning the Manager of the Year award in 1998 and winning four division titles in his five seasons at the helm.…
May 21, 2013, 4:16 PM EDT
Jair Jurrjens’ return to the majors was a brief one, as the Orioles sent him back to Triple-A to make room on the roster for Miguel Gonzalez coming off the disabled list. Jurrjens predictably struggled in his first big-league start since July of 2012, allowing four runs in five innings against the Rays. He had…
May 21, 2013, 3:51 PM EDT
What type of MLB player do you want to be?
May 21, 2013, 3:40 PM EDT
The NFL just granted Super Bowls L and LI to San Carlos Santa Clara, California and Houston, respectively. Also in the running was Miami, but it was shafted. Why? Because neither Miami nor the State of Florida would pony up taxpayer dollars for upgrades to the Sun Life Stadium. Why wouldn’t they? Florio gives the…
May 21, 2013, 2:46 PM EDT
For the second time in a month Daric Barton was placed on waivers by the A’s and passed through without being claimed by any of the other 29 teams. Our own Bill Baer wondered over the weekend if Barton could be a fit for the Mets or other teams getting little production from first base,…
May 21, 2013, 2:31 PM EDT
The late Stan-the-Man’s house is on the market. Built in 1962 and, not surprisingly given the age of its owner when he passed, it rather looks it. But like Joe Morgan’s dated home (a) the bones are good and if you just redid the place it’d be fine; ad (b) it’d be kinda cool to…
May 21, 2013, 2:14 PM EDT
Patrick Corbin was never considered an elite prospect and had a decent but unspectacular rookie season for the Diamondbacks last year, throwing 107 innings with a 4.54 ERA and 86/25 K/BB ratio. He had to compete for the fifth starter job this spring and now … well, it’s safe to say his rotation spot is…
May 21, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT
Eh, probably not. But such speculation is way more fun than Dodgers and Angels baseball these days. Also: I inexplicably used the term “legit” twice in this video. Sorry, everyone.
May 21, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT
Paul Lukas of UniWatch figured out that MLB is putting all teams in uniforms with camouflage design highlights on Memorial Day. He figured it out because the team store for each team has the jerseys on sale, with the note “as worn on-field, Memorial Day, May 27, 2013.” I’m informed by an MLB source that the…
May 21, 2013, 1:20 PM EDT
Indians closer Chris Perez has been pretty active on Twitter over the years, but apparently the negative comments following a blown save Saturday and another poor outing Monday led him to delete the account last night. I can’t imagine having to deal with the angry, ugly comments that athletes receive on Twitter every day, let…
May 21, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
Matt Kemp is an Oklahoma native, so the tragedy in Oklahoma City yesterday certainly hit home for him. He’s doing something about it: I’m giving $1000 for tonight’s HR and every HR until the All-Star break for the victims of my hometown in OKC. #PrayforOklahoma — Matt Kemp (@TheRealMattKemp) May 21, 2013 So too is…
May 21, 2013, 12:52 PM EDT
When last we saw Samuel Deduno he was playing hero for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, beating the United States and then Puerto Rico to win the title. He ended up not making the Twins out of spring training because of a groin injury suffered during the WBC, but Deduno is healthy…
May 21, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT
I know it’s hard to believe that a guy who alienated his entire clubhouse in Atlanta and then made headlines buy putting homophobic slurs on his eyeblack in Toronto did something douchey, but in this case it actually happened. Yunel Escobar, ladies and gents, playing Jedi master to Jordany Valdespin‘s padawan, strutting after a home…
May 21, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT
Logan Morrison began a minor-league rehab assignment last night, going 2-for-5 with two singles at Single-A. Morrison has been on the disabled list all season as he recovers from September knee surgery and he hasn’t played for the Marlins since last July. He’s already behind the initial timetable laid out, but barring more setbacks Morrison…
May 21, 2013, 11:33 AM EDT
People who know a bit about EPL soccer sometimes make comparisons between the big English soccer teams and the big major league baseball teams in order to explain the dynamic of that league to we soccer ignoramuses. Like, I once heard someone say Man U. was like the Yankees. Or maybe Arsenal. And Chelsea was…
May 21, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT
Jim Johnson being nearly flawless in the closer role played a huge part in the Orioles’ unexpected success last season, but suddenly he’s really struggling. Johnson converted 35 straight saves from July 30, 2012 to May 13, 2013, during which time he threw 44 innings with a 0.61 ERA. That streak came to an end…
May 21, 2013, 11:02 AM EDT
I guess whether this is truly “must-click” depends on how you roll. But if you like to look at once-young, once-handsome athletes in swimsuits, towels and, in a couple of cases, nothing but strategically-posed thighs — or if you’re not necessarily into that but are secure enough in your masculinity to appreciate how hilarious such…
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