By: Adam Pasternak
After an incredibly eventful offseason, Spring Training is finally here! The players have all reported to their respective Spring Training facilities and the 2016 MLB season is only a month and a half away. Over the next couple of weeks we will cover all 30 MLB teams and talk about what’s in store for the coming season. Today, we talk about the San Diego Padres!
After a failed 2015 campaign, and ultimately a failure of an offseason in 2015, Padres GM A.J Preller hopes that a less active offseason this year can help him win back the trust of the Padres organization. The two prized acquisitions from last years overhaul, Craig Kimbrel and Justin Upton, have both moved on to different teams (Boston and Detroit, respectively). Their departures left Preller with a few holes to fill, and in the end I think he did an admirable job in doing so.
New to the infield mix this year for the Padres is veteran shortstop Alexei Ramirez, who is a low risk/high reward signing who I think could excel in a Padres uniform. His veteran leadership is also much needed, with a predominantly young team. After playing mostly right field last year, Wil Myers will make the move to first base in order to stay on the field and avoid injury. Corey Spangenberg will get a good look this spring for the starting job at second, with Alexi Amarista and Jose Pirela both fighting for jobs in the infield as well. Rounding out the infield at third will be Yangervis Solarte, who is looking to continue to improve this year after batting a solid .270 last season with 13 homers and 60 RBI last season.
The outfield is led by the one time MVP runner-up, Matt Kemp, in right field with Melvin Upton Jr., in left and the newly acquired Jon Jay in centre. While this outfield is not the most productive in baseball, it isn’t the worst and the trio has potential to do some damage if they can stay healthy. Upton and Kemp have both been riddled by the injury bug throughout their careers, and for the Padres sake, it would be nice to see them play a full 182 games. If they can’t stay on the field, there is always the option of having Myers play a few games in right – but that is not what the Padres want to have to do. Their depth in the outfield is extremely thin, and it will be interesting to see if any young players emerge as the spring starts to wind down.
The rotation this season is led yet again by Tyson Ross, James Shields and Andrew Cashner. All three are capable of eating up a lot of innings, but the latter two are were once deemed to be on the way out of San Diego. Shields is getting older and with season after season of pitching over 200 innings, his arm is only going to lose durability. Cashner looked to potentially be a valuable trade piece for the Padres, but Preller decided to ultimately keep him on the roster. He’s a pitcher in his prime, but in my opinion won’t do any damage in a Padres uniform. It will be interesting to see if he is still in San Diego at this time next year. Closing out the rotation in the fourth and fifth spots look to be 25 year-olds Brandon Maurer and Robbie Erlin. This rotation has the potential to be productive, but with the rotations that the Giants, Dodgers and Diamondbacks all are fielding this year – don’t look for the Padres to compete at their level. Doing the catching for all of these arms is Derrick Norris, and backing him up is the young Christian Bethancourt. They also have Austin Hedges on the roster, and it will be interesting to see if they go with three catchers on the roster out of camp.
The Padres have some pieces in place, but are still a few moves away. With the NL West being such a tough division, there really isn’t much hope for the Padres this year. It will be interesting to see how A.J Preller builds his team and to see how (or, if) they can recover from a miserable season last year.
What do you think of the Padres offseason? Was there more Preller could have done? Will he still have his job come next year? Comment below!
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