#27. The San Diego Padres
Team Ace: Edinson Volquez
Most Valuable Position Player: Chase Headley
Breakout Candidate: Yonder Alonso
Notable Offseason Additions: None
Notable Offseason Losses: Yasmani Grandal (suspension)
Biggest Team Weakness: Middle Infield and Catcher
A toss up between the Padres and the Twins really, but I felt that I could make fun of the Twins more, which probably means they’re worse off. Plus San Diego actually showed signs of life by making a small run after the All Star break last year that demonstrated this team’s true potential, at least until they collapsed again in September.
Although the Padres don’t have any star pitchers, their rotation is made up of veterans who know how to eat up innings effectively enough, and they have the luxury of playing in PETCO Park half the season, which will help against the long ball. If Cory Luebke can come back midseason from his Tommy John surgery he’ll be a huge boost, and the clear ace of the staff. Their bullpen is also a huge asset, led by closer Huston Street who just came off his best statistical season.
Aside from Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin the team really lacks any offense, and even though PETCO helps their pitching staff, it devastates the team’s offensive numbers. Headley led the team in every major offensive category with impressive numbers, and it’s crazy to think the young third baseman would actually get a significant boost if he played elsewhere. Yonder Alonso showed flashes of usability last season but it’s yet to be seen if he’ll actually be a long-term option for the Padres at first. People have been hyping up Cameron Maybin for years and he’s still young, but eventually you have to tone it down when he bats around .250 with minimal power and average speed. Surprisingly the lineup gets marginally worse from there, made up of mediocre prospects and subpar players in their early 30s. And they refused to bring in talent during the winter that will make any kind of impact this season. The only thing to look forward to is Yasmani Grandal returning from his PED suspension about half way through the season.
I think their pitching might be able to keep games close, and their offense will be streaky throughout the year. When both click simultaneously they can win games. The team is bad, no question, but they do have some talented players, and they have pieces they can move later in the season to make improvements for the long term.