Our final road stop on the National League West offseason review tour brings us to the San Diego Padres. Here is a look at the offseason for the rivals down south, where the Dodgers will open their regular season on April 5.
|San Diego Padres
||Fifth Place, 23 GB
|2012 at Dodger Stadium:
||Apr 13-15, Jul 13-15, Sep 3-5|
|2012 Dodgers at Petco Park:||Apr 5-8, May 16-17, Sep 25-27|
|SB Nation coverage:||Gaslamp Ball|
1) Who 'won' the Mat Latos trade?
At first glance, it seems like the Padres got the better end of the deal just by sheer volume, as they got catcher Yasmani Grandal, first baseman Yonder Alonso, starting pitcher Edinson Volquez, and right-handed pitcher Brad Boxberger from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for their ace.
The Padres picked up three of the Reds' top 10 prospects (per Baseball America) and two top-100 guys in Alonso and Grandal. Restocking the farm system with deals like these helped Keith Law of ESPN rank the Padres' farm system as the best in MLB.
But what San Diego gave up is a pitcher who just turned 24 with 31 starts in each of the last two seasons and a strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than three-to-one. Latos isn't even eligible for salary arbitration until next season.
It seems both teams got what they wanted out of the transaction, as Cincinnati got a cost-controlled front-of-the-rotation starter during their current window of contention in the National League Central, while San Diego added to the foundation of a team that could be pretty good in a year or two.
2) Will Carlos Quentin be healthy enough to matter for the Padres?
The outfielder was one of the favorites for the American League MVP while with the Chicago White Sox in 2008 before missing the final month of the season. In the three years since, Quentin has been a productive hitter, hitting .245/.336/.479 for Chicago, but he has averaged just 116 games per season during the last three campaigns, never playing in more than 131 games in a season during his career.
But the Padres gave up only a pair of lightly regarded pitchers to nab Quentin from the White Sox, so there is minimal risk for San Diego, outside his $7 million salary. San Diego is banking on Quentin hitting well enough and staying healthy enough to either help them somehow contend or to increase his trade value come June or July.
Maybe to stay healthy, Quentin could stop getting hit by so many pitches. Over the last four seasons, Quentin has been plunked 78 times, second most in MLB (behind Chase Utley's 83) and 26 more than the third-most HBP during that span.
|Trivial Padres Fact:|
Other than four career games at designated hitter, Orlando Hudson has never played any other position but second base in his 10 years in the big leagues.
3) How will Mike Adams continue to help the Padres, even though he's in Texas?
The Padres picked up Adams nine days before his 28th birthday in 2006, for pitcher Brian Sikorski. In 2008 Adams became a fixture in the San Diego bullpen, and for three and a half years was awesome, with a 1.66 ERA, 241 strikeouts and 59 walks in 217 innings.
But the Padres sent Adams to the Texas Rangers at the trade deadline last year, picking up left-handed pitcher Robbie Erlin and right-hander Joseph Weiland. Erlin put up a 3.50 ERA with a strikeout per inning in 17 games at Double A last year at age 20, while Weiland had a 1.80 ERA in 12 Double A starts with 54 strikeouts in 70 innings, at age 21.
Both pitchers will be in the San Diego starting rotation sooner rather than later, and Corey Brock of MLB.com speculated that at least Weiland, if not both, will end 2012 starting games at Petco Park.
4) How much will it cost to go see the Dodgers play at Petco Park?
That could depend on several factors.
The Padres have partnered up with Texas software company Qcue to offer dynamic ticket pricing this season for single-game tickets. "By using advanced computer programming, dynamic pricing will give the team the ability to adjust ticket costs higher or lower based on market demand and such factors as pitching matchups, the team's performance, weather and potential milestones," wrote Corey Brock of MLB.com.
Dynamic ticket pricing is also being implemented in St. Louis, San Francisco, Oakland, Minnesota, Seattle, and Pittsburgh in MLB this season.
5) What about Micah Owings?
I'm glad you asked. The Padres signed the former Diamondbacks pitcher/hitter to a $1 million contract, and Owings is expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. He will also get a chance to improve on his standing as the 27th-highest active slugging percentage (.507) among all major leaguers with at least 200 career plate appearances.
|Padres Trades, Etc. This Winter|
|Athletics||Cedric Hunter of (claimed off waivers by Oakland)|
|Athletics||Evan Scribner rhp (claimed off waivers by Oakland)|
|Marlins||Wade LeBlanc lhp||John Baker c|
|Rockies||Nick Schmidt lhp||
Huston Street rhp
|Indians||Aaron Cunningham of||Cory Burns of|
|Reds||Mat Latos rhp||Edinson Volquez rhp
Yonder Alonso 1b
Yasmani Grandal c
Brad Boxberger rhp
|Rangers||Luis Martinez c||Ryan Kelly rhp|
Simon Castro rhp
Pedro Hernandez lhp
|Carlos Quentin of|
Anthony Rizzo 1b
Zach Cates rhp
Andrew Cashner rhp
Kyung-Min Na of
In addition to the $500,000 sent to San Diego in the trade for Street, Colorado is on the hook for the $500,000 buyout should the Padres decide to decline the closer's $9 million club option for 2013.
|Padres Contracts Signed This Winter|
|Pos||Player||Type||Total Contract||2012 Salary|
|OF||Mark Kotsay||FA||1-year, $1.25m||$1,250,000|
|P/DH||Micah Owings||FA||1-year, $1m||$1,000,000|
|OF||Carlos Quentin||Arb||1-year, $7.025m||$7,025,000|
|3B||Chase Headley||Arb||1-year, $3.425m||$3,425,000|
|SP||Tim Stauffer||Arb||1-year, $3.2m||$3,200,000|
|SP||Clayton Richard||Arb||1-year, $2.705m||$2,705,000|
|SP||Edinson Volquez||Arb||1-year, $2.2375m||$2,237,500|
|SP||Dustin Moseley||Arb||1-year, $2.0125m||$2,012,500|
|C||Nick Hundley||Arb||1-year, $2m||$2,000,000|
|RP||Luke Gregerson||Arb||1-year, $1.55m||$1,550,000|
|OF||Will Venable||Arb||1-year, $1.475m||$1,475,000|
The Padres had a whopping 12 players eligible for salary arbitration, and got them all signed by the end of January. San Diego also signed pitcher Jeff Suppan and outfielder Jeremy Hermida, among others, to minor-league contracts.
|Padres Players Lost|
|*Minor league deal|
Here's my guess as to the Padres' 25-man roster, with a few assumptions mixed in:
|2012 Padres Under Contract|
|Pos||Player||2012 Age*||2012 Salary|
|CF||Cameron Maybin||25||team control|
|IF||Andy Parrino||26||team control|
|1B||Jesus Guzman||28||team control|
|SP||Cory Luebke||27||team control|
|RHP||Ernesto Frieri||26||team control|
|RHP||Andrew Cashner||25||team control|
|Totals (18 players)
|*Age as of June 30, 2012