Regular Season Record: 88-74, first in the NL West; lost in first round to Cardinals
Home Ballpark: PETCO Park
Getting Friared Up
RP Scott Strickland (Free Agency)
RP Heath Bell (Trade with Mets)
RP Royce Ring (Trade with Mets)
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff (Trade with Indians)
2B Marcus Giles (Free Agency)
SP Greg Maddux (Free Agency)
The Friar has Burned Out
OF Ben Johnson (Trade with Mets)
RP Jon Adkins (Trade with Mets)
2B Josh Barfield (Trade with Indians)
2B Mark Bellhorn (Signed with Cincinnati Reds)
SP Dewon Brazelton (Signed with Kansas City Royals)
C Mike Piazza (Signed with Oakland A’s)
OF Dave Roberts (Signed with San Francisco Giants)
SP Woody Williams (Signed with Houston Astros)
The Skinny: Despite winning the division last year, the 2007 Padres seem pretty lackluster. They lost quite a few players to free agency and didn’t really refill any of the holes. Marcus Giles is a lateral move, while Kouzmanoff, if he’s ready for the majors, could be a slight improvement. This was a strange offseason for San Diego.
Strengths: As has been the norm, the bullpen should be a strength for the Padres. Trevor Hoffman, age known only via carbon dating, has put together some brilliant years and he isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Scott Linebrink has been named in multiple rumors, but if something was likely to happen, it would’ve happened already. Furthermore, Cla Meredith really took to the setup role last year and Doug Brocail, who is overcoming angioplasty surgery, is a feel-good story.
Weaknesses: For a team that finished ranked towards the bottom of the National League in runs scored, the offense could be said to be a weakness. Outfielder Brian Giles never found his groove last year, and he put up the worst production of his career. Marcus Giles, who suffered last year as the leadoff man for the Braves, may fill the same role this year for the Padres. Guys like Kevin Kouzmanoff, Khalil Greene, and Mike Cameron are not people opposing pitchers fear in the middle of the lineup.
The starting rotation could be considered a weakness, as well. There’s a bunch of veterans like Greg Maddux and David Wells who have shot past their 40th birthdays. Combine that with Jake Peavy stressful delivery and Chris Young’s luck with BABIP -- hit .235 ranked first in the majors -- and there’s a chance this entire unit collapses, though very slim.
2B Brian Giles
3B Kevin Kouzmanoff
RF Brian Giles
1B Adrian Gonzalez
CF Mike Cameron
C Josh Bard
SS Khalil Greene
LF Terrmel Sledge
Keys to Success: For the San Diego Padres to be successful this year, they’ll have to show a lot of improvement from many positions. The other teams in the division improved drastically, with all three serious contenders -- Dodgers, Giants, and Diamondbacks -- adding to their pitching. To finish atop the division once again, Maddux and Wells need to turn back the clock and Marcus Giles needs to get on base more often than he did last year.
Prediction: The Padres have the potential to come in first or fourth, and I bet the difference between those positions won’t be so drastic in terms of games separating. However, I’m pessimistic about their chances and pick the Padres to finish third, ahead of the Giants and Rockies, but behind the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. Also, I just want to say that Bud Black will have an excellent first season as a manager.
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