Surfin Safari - Padres

Every couple years the Padres surprise with a playoff run, can’t sustain it the next year then start all over again.  They run their team like a super market, making sure that the older items go out first.  Of course, a super market doesn’t have the older items leave the store at a higher price.  The Padres are on another rebuilding stage, even trading relatively fresh Matt Latos, who hadn’t even reached his “sell by” date.  Next on the shelf is last year’s number two prospect Anthony Rizzo.  He’s now expendable because a fresher product has reached the shelves.

General Overview: The Padres have gotten rid of two general managers in a couple of years.  One was fired and the other left for the Red Sox when he read the writing on the wall that his contract was not going to be renewed because Josh Byrnes, his assistant general manager, was a favorite of John Moores.  He did trade Matt Latos a week or so after the Padres claimed they would not be trading Matt Latos, but they got a pretty good haul of the Reds seconds in return.

Why They Will Win: The pitching staff is usually overrated because of the park they play in.  That could help Edinson Volquez appear to have a comeback year.  The park he left is very unforgiving to pitchers who lack command and Edinson does have problems getting it over the plate.  Cameron Maybin, Will Venable and Yonder Alonso are all ready to have break out years.  They find a position for Jesus Guzman and he continues to rake in the RBIs, leading the team in runs batted in.

Why They Won’t Win:  The reasons are many.  They traded their ace and now have a very thin rotation filled with back end of the rotation starters.  They lost their closer to free agency and acquired Huston Street.  It is curious why the Rockies gave him away so cheaply.  He didn’t have that bad a year with 29 saves, but perhaps the Rockies felt his price did not justify his contribution.  Two of the outfield positions could be manned by Kyle Blanks and Will Venable, players that have shown nothing but inconsistent output.  There time is running out.  Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson are both over 30, something you don’t normally see on a rebuilding roster.  If they get traded the Padres do not have a lot of alternatives.  The bullpen has to replace the loss of two of their better pitchers, Mike Adams and Heath Bell.  Ernesto Frieri and Luke Gregerson are good alternatives, but they still have a short resume.

Prospects to Make the Roster: Yonder Alonso is a given at first base.  He has already proven he can hit major league pitching with his .330 average and .545 slugging in less than 100 at bats.  Expect Anthony Rizzo to be traded to the Cubs before spring training if the Cubs have what the Padres want.  If not, there could be a three way.  The trade of Latos could open up a rotation spot for Simon Castro if Edinson Volquez is not ready.  He struggled in AAA last year so he may need a couple months of success there before he is promoted.  That could open a spot to Ranger acquisitions Joe Wieland or Robbie ErlinBrad Boxberger is poised to take over the role of Mike Adams.  If Huston Street falters he could fit in as the closer.  Brad Bach is ready for a bullpen role.  You may look at his 5.14 ERA and 7 walks in seven innings, but four of those were intentional, and he struck out eleven.  They added a number of rookie lefthanders to their 40 man roster.  One of Jose de Paula, Pedro Hernandez or Juan Oramas should make the roster if they have a good spring.

Long Range Prospects: They still have Chase Headley at third, but he seems to have one foot out the door.  One of three third base prospects could get a mid-season call up if Headley is traded. James Darnell and Logan Forsythe are on the 40-man while the better prospect Jedd Gyorko would need to be added. Casey Kelly will be given an opportunity to succeed in AAA, but expect a mid-season call up for him.  Jaff Dacker is a hitting machine, but a September callup or a period of interleague play where he could be the DH are his best opportunities.

Significant Transactions:  They had one of the biggest with Matt Latos going to the Reds for a couple of their extras, Yonder AlonsoYasmani Grandal, Brad Boxberger and Edinson Volquez.  All the players except for Boxberger had a better player at a position ahead of the traded player.  The Padres are thankful for their bounty of rejects.  They also acquired their potential closer Huston Street from the Rockies, who mysteriously gave him away for 26 year old minor league Nick Schmidt.  All the other transactions were insignificant, such as the trade of Wade LeBlanc to obtain back up catcher John Baker or their acquistion of Cory Brown from the Indians for Aaron Cunningham.

Expected Finish:  The Padres only hope not to finishe last is if the Dodgers traded Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw in a back to basics rebuilding year.  Otherwise, the Padres have his spot all sewn up.

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