The San Diego Padres had a surprisingly good season last year, before fading down the stretch. They traded their best player this winter, but do they have enough left in the cupboard to contend again?
|San Diego Padres|
||2nd Place, 2 GB
|2011 at Dodger Stadium:
||Apr 29-May 1, Jul 8-10, Aug 29-31
|2011 Dodgers at SD:||Apr 8-10, Aug 1-3, Sep 23-25|
|SB Nation blog:||Gaslamp Ball|
1) How will the Padres score runs without Adrian Gonzalez?
Losing Gonzalez was obviously a big blow, but the offense will gain in other areas. San Diego got putrid OBP out of their leadoff (.306) and second-place hitters (.316) last season, and replacing them with Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett will help in that regard. Also, Ryan Ludwick hit just .211/.301/.330 in 59 games as a Padre, but he's better than that. The 2011 Bill James Handbook projects Ludwick to hit .266/.331/.461, which is important for an outfield that had a .678 OPS last season.
2) What if the Gonzalez trade works out as well for the Padres as the Jake Peavy deal?
At the trade deadline in 2009, the Padres traded arguably their best pitcher ever, at age 28, to the White Sox. Since the trade, Peavy has battled injuries in Chicago, and is 10-6 with a 4.11 ERA, 3.83 FIP, and 3.98 xFIP in 20 starts. The main piece in the trade for San DIego was Clayton Richard, who is 19-11 with a 3.83 ERA, 4.01 FIP, and 4.27 xFIP in 45 starts. Factor in the cost savings, and the fact that San Diego got reliever Adam Russell before sending him to Tampa Bay in the Jason Bartlett deal, with Aaron Poreda a potential bullpen piece, and San Diego seems to be well ahead in the post-trade tally. Since the Peavy trade, San Diego is 123-97, a record only bested in the NL during that time by Philadelphia, Atlanta, and San Francisco.
3) Is Aaron Harang the best 18-38 pitcher ever?
I am an unabashed fan of Harang. I wanted the Dodgers to trade for him last winter, and still think there is a good pitcher in there. His xFIP over the last three years, during which he has amassed those 18 wins and 38 losses, was 4.21. With Harang in the ballpark where flyballs go to die, he could be a steal at $4 million.
4) Didn't Brad Hawpe leave the division already?
Hawpe, who has killed the Dodgers in his career to the tune of .351/.420/.607, continued the Pat Burrell career path: fall of a cliff in his early 30s, go to Tampa Bay and not hit (take note, Andre Ethier; this could be your future). The Padres hope Hawpe has a Burrellian turn around with his return to the National League this season, as they signed him to mostly play first base.
5) Ten straight losses? Really? Really?
You couldn't have gone 2-8 or 3-7 during your massive slump from August 26 to September 5, San Diego? You helped give us a world in which the Giants are World Series champions. Bud Black should have politely declined his manager of the year award. See you in hell, Padres fans.
|Padres Trades This Winter|
Ryan Webb rhp
Edward Mujica rhp
|Cameron Maybin cf|
|Red Sox||Adrian Gonzalez 1b||
Casey Kelly rhp
Anthony Rizzo 1b
Reymond Fuentes of
Eric Patterson of
|Mariners||PTBNL||Rob Johnson c|
|Rays||Adam Russell rhp
Cesar Ramos lhp
Brandon Gomes rhp
Cole Figueroa rhp
|Jason Bartlett ss
San Diego was quite busy on the trade front this winter, with the big deal being the unloading of their best hitter on the Red Sox for four prospects. They also dealt relievers who accounted for 152 2/3 innings last season for a starting shortstop and starting center fielder.
|Padres Contracts Signed This Winter|
|Pos||Player||Type||Total Contract||2011 Salary|
|2B||Orlando Hudson||FA||2 years, $11.5 million (+ option)||$4,000,000|
|SP||Aaron Harang||FA||1 year, $4 million (+ option)||$3,500,000|
|1B/OF||Brad Hawpe||FA||1 year, $3 million (+ option)||$2,000,000|
|RP||Chad Qualls||FA||1 year, $2.55 million (+ option)||$1,500,000|
|P||Dustin Moseley||FA||1 year, $900,000||$900,000|
|1B/3B||Jorge Cantu||FA||1 year, $850,000||$850,000|
|CL||Heath Bell||Arb||1 year, $7.5 million||$7,500,000|
|OF||Ryan Ludwick||Arb||1 year, $6.775 million||$6,775,000|
|SS||Jason Bartlett||Arb||2 years, $11 million (+ option)||$4,000,000|
|RP||Mike Adams||Arb||1 year, $2.535 million||$2,535,000|
|3B||Chase Headley||Arb||1 year, $2.325 million (Super Two)||$2,325,000|
|SP||Tim Stauffer||Arb||1 year, $1.075 million||$1,075,000|
|OF||Chris Denorfia||Arb||1 year, $800,000||$800,000|
|P||Samuel Deduno||claimed off waivers from Colorado|
The Padres also signed Gregg Zaun to a minor league deal. Zaun figures to compete with Rob Johnson for the backup catcher role during the spring.
|Padres Free Agents Lost|
|OF||Tony Gwynn Jr.||Dodgers|
|IF||Jerry Hairston Jr.||Nationals|
|2B||David Eckstein||still out there|
|*Minor league deal|
Here's my guess as to the Padres' 25-man roster, give or take a few bench players and/or relievers:
|2011 Padres Under Contract|
|Pos||Player||2011 Age*||2011 Salary|
|C||Nick Hundley||27||team control|
|CF||Cameron Maybin||24||team control|
|RF||Will Venable||28||team control|
|OF/1B||Kyle Blanks||24||team control|
|IF||Everth Cabrera||24||team control|
|C||Rob Johnson||27||team control|
|SP||Mat Latos||23||team control|
|SP||Clayton Richard||27||team control|
|SP||Wade LeBlanc||26||team control|
|LHP||Joe Thatcher||29||team control|
|RHP||Luke Gregerson||27||team control|
|RHP||Ernesto Frieri||25||team control|
|Totals (13 players)
|*Age as of June 30, 2011|