San Diego Padres

 

2006 Finish:  88-74, tied for first with the Dodgers, won L.A. West with tiebreaker, lost to the Cardinals in the NLDS

Manager:  Bud Black, first season as a manager

Comings:  RHP Greg Maddux, 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff, 2B Marcus Giles, OF Jose Cruz, Jr.

Goings:  2B Josh Barfield, C Mike Piazza, LF Dave Roberts, 1B/OF Ryan Klesko,

Offense: 1B Adrian Gonzalez finally got a chance to play regularly and responded.  He hit .302 with 24 HRs and 82 RBIs.  RF Brian Giles still gets on base a lot but doesn’t provide much power.  The Padres are trying to make up for this by signing his brother Marcus to play second.  3B Kouzmanoff figures to win this job but he has limited major league action.  He has hit at every level he has been.  SS Khalil Greene has never taken off and been the star I expected.  Josh Bard will be the everyday catcher.  Getting out of Victor Martinez’ shadow helped him, his line was .333/.404/.522 in 249 ABs.  LF will be manned by a platoon of youngster Termell Sledge and veteran Jose Cruz, Jr.

Rotation:  RHP Jake Peavy had a down year with a record of below .500 and an ERA above 4.  The Maddux signing could be big in his development.  Maddux will provide innings and a very good veteran presence.  RHP Chris Young was solid going 11-5 with a 3.46 ERA, he just needs to last longer into ball games.  LHP David Wells will be back.  When healthy and his head is in it, he can still be very effective.  RHP Clay Hensley was 11-12 with a 3.71 ERA. 

Bullpen:  This was one of the best pens in baseball last year.  RHP Trevor Hoffman had 46 save to go with a 2.14 ERA.  He is now the career saves leader in MLB.  RHP Scott Linebrink established himself as a top setup man appearing in 73 games with a 3.57 ERA.  LHP Royce Ring will try to take up the slack of the loss of LHP Alan Embree.  RHP Cla Meredith was a steal from the Red Sox.  He appeared in 45 games and posted an ERA of 1.07.  The Padres will rely on this group a lot as the starters do not get their team deep into games.  

Analysis:  The bullpen should still be solid despite the losses.  The rotation can be good if healthy, but they really need to go deeper in games.  The everyday lineup should be adequate, but I am not sure the Padres have enough to compete with the Dodgers.  Also, this farm system is thin, with no immediate help on the way.

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