Before the series opener between the Dodgers and Padres on Friday night, I asked Joe Lanek of Gaslamp Ball some questions about San Diego.
David Lauterbach: Last time we spoke, you said Will Venable was San Diego's MVP. Still true? If so, why? If not why not?
Gaslamp Ball: He is. Venable has put together a solid season, putting up career highs in nearly every offensive category. He recently became the seventh player in Padres history to record a 20-20 season. That might not sound like much but the Friars have never had a 30-30 guy so we take what we can get.
DL: You said the Cy Young was Andrew Cashner. Still true? If so, why? If not why not?
GB: He was kind of a default choice, but he has only improved his stock recently. Cashner's last outing was the most dominant of his career, and arguably the most dominant game ever thrown by a Padre. He allowed only one hit against the Pirates while facing the minimum 27 batters.
DL: What do you think the chances are the Padres trade Chase Headley this offseason? If you think he will get traded, what would you like San Diego to get in return?
GB: I think they'll hold onto him. Even though he has warmed up this month, any deal for him would be San Diego selling low.
DL: What do you think the Padres need to do this offseason to improve for next year?
GB: Mend. Just about every starting position player has spent significant time on the DL this season, and we still have a slew of young arms slated to return from time lost to surgery. As far as making moves, I could see them going for an adequate, middle-of-the-road, innings-eating starter. Not a very daring guess, I know, but that's what I've become accustomed to.
DL: In 2006, the Dodgers selected left-handed high school starter Clayton Kershaw with the 7th overall pick in the draft. Six years later in the 2012 draft, the Padres selected left-handed high school starter Max Fried with the 7th overall pick. What do you think of Fried? Do you like him? I'm asking this because he is from LA and because I played against him.
GB: I haven't watched Fried pitch but his numbers look promising, and scouts and experts really like his stuff, particularly his fastball and "1-7" curve. I'd be thrilled if he even approached the level of success that Kershaw has had with Los Angeles. Between the ERA titles, the All-Star selections, his 2011 Cy Young Award, and his 2011 SBN Cy Young Award co-win, Kershaw has set the bar very high.
DL: Looking back, what's the biggest thing that stands out to you about San Diego's 2013 season?
GB: I was going to say streaks but I have to go with injuries. Every starter except Will Venable has spent time on the DL. Cameron Maybin and Yasmani Grandal basically missed the entire season, Carlos Quentin appeared in about half the games as he is wont to do, and Yonder Alonso has missed time twice with unrelated hand problems.
DL: Do you think the Padres should've done anything differently last offseason to have a better 2013 season than they did?
GB: I don't think so. The positions were all set with good, while not amazing, players. A lot of fans threw a fit about the team not signing a Dan Haren or Edwin Jackson type, but we see how those guys have turned out.
DL: What are the chances you think San Diego can compete for a playoff spot next year?
GB: If everybody can stay healthy, I could see the 2014 Padres right in the thick of things. The team was a force to be reckoned with this season when most of the core was in place. When it wasn't, though...
DL: Series prediction?
The Padres will sweep the Dodgers in the process of winning their final ten games and finishing at 81-81.