SportsPickle is previewing each MLB team in the lead up to Opening Day 2010.
Today: San Diego Padres (2009: 75-87, 4th in NL West)
STARTING PITCHING Chris Young, new acquisition Jon Garland, Kevin Correia and Clayton Richard are set in the rotation. The fifth spot will come down to Mat Latos or Tim Stauffer. Considering the top four in the rotation go 6'10", 6'6", 6'3" and 6'5" respectively, the job will likely go to the 6'5" Latos over the 6'1" Stauffer. The Padres have very little chance of winning the NL West, so they may as well make a good basketball team.
LINEUP First baseman Adrian Gonzalez hit 40 home runs in 2009, but there is little power in the lineup after him. The next best "power" hitters on the roster outfielder Will Venable, third baseman Chase Headley and outfielder Kyle Blanks combined for only 34 home runs. But Gonzalez should give a lot of credit for his success to the rest of the lineup. Outfielders are used to playing way in against the Padres, so when Gonzalez comes up he can just hit routine fly balls over their heads for easy inside-the-park home runs.
BULLPEN Luke Gregerson, Ryan Webb and closer Heath Bell give the Padres a solid bullpen. But Bell, like Gonzalez, could be dealt before the trade deadline. If the Padres are lucky, maybe they can package the two in a deal that will land them players who in five years have the potential to be as good as Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell!
BENCH San Diego's bench includes Tony Gwynn, Jr. and Jerry Hairston, Jr. And then there's alsoNick Hundley, Oscar Salazar and Matt Stairs, whose fathers didn't have huge egos.
OVERALL The Padres have finished in last or second-to-last in the NL West in six of the last 10 years. So general manager Kevin Towers was fired and Red Sox assistant GM Jed Hoyer was hired. Great move. The Padres should totally sign a lot of the top, most expensive free agents and become really good just like Boston. It's weird Towers couldn't figure that out on his own. Moron.