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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Season Preview: San Diego Padres

2008 Record: 63-99  .389

Run differential: -127 (14th)

2008 payroll: $73,776,616

The worst thing that could have happened to this year’s San Diego team was the passing of California’s Community Property Law decades ago.  With owner John Moores going through divorce, all of his entities must be divided in half.  Since the team cannot be divided into two equal parts it must be sold.  This really is too bad because the franchise had its greatest successes under Moores including a 1998 trip to the World Series.

In order to make the team affordable for potential buyers, Khalil Greene was traded to St. Louis for a bag of apples and a mediocre reliever, Jake Peavy was in constant trade rumors all winter, and the team’s big free agent splash was backup outfielder Cliff Floyd. 

Furthermore, San Diego has one of the bottom five minor league systems with only Matt Antonelli having the potential to be an above average major leaguer—and even that seems unlikely after last season’s flop in AAA.  Even when a new owner is found the future looks bleak. 

At least Sandy Alderson and Kevin Towers retained their jobs so there is creativity in the front office.  San Diego fans should hope Adrian Gonzalez, Chris Young, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and possibly even Jake Peavy get traded to the highest bidders over the next couple of seasons in order to restock a terrible farm system Oakland style.  This will at least give the team some starting blocks.  Because with a low payroll and no minor league system we’re looking at the 1998-2000 Devil Rays as a best case scenario.  I doubt even the San Diego Chicken will even come out to watch these guys so if San Diegans need to laugh they should watch Anchorman.

Likely opening day roster:

Pos. Name Salary How Acquired
C Nick Hundley $.39 M Drafted 2nd rd 2005
C Henry Blanco $.75 M Signed as FA 1/21/09
1b Adrian Gonzalez $9.5 M Acquired in trade w/ Tex 1/6/06. Signed extension 4/07
2b Matt Antonelli $.39 M Drafted #17 overall 2006
3b Kevin Kouzmanoff $.41 M Acquired in trade w/ Cle 11/06
SS David Eckstein $.85 M Signed as FA 1/15/09
LF Chase Headley $.39 M Drafted 2nd rd 2005
CF Jody Gerut $1.78 M Signed as FA 1/21/08
RF Brian Giles $9M Acquired in trade w/ Pit 8/26/03. Resigned 5/05.
Inf Luis Rodriguez $.675 M Signed as amateur FA from Venezuela '97
Inf Everth Cabrera $.39 M Selected in Rule V draft '08
Of Scott Hairston $1.25 M Acquired in trade w/ Ari 7/27/07
Of Cliff Floyd $.75 M Signed as FA 2/5/09
SP Jake Peavy $8 M Drafted 15th rd 1999. Signed extension 12/07
SP Chris Young $4.5 M Acquired in trade w/ Tex 1/6/06. Signed extension 4/07
SP Cha Seung Baek $.393 M Acquired in trade w/ Sea 5/27/08
SP Wade LeBlanc $.39 M Drafted 2nd rd 2006
SP Josh Greer $.39 M Drafted 3rd rd 2005
Cl Heath Bell $1.23 M Acquired in trade w/ NYM 11/15/06
SU Justin Hampson $.403 M Claimed off waivers from Col 10/06
RP Cla Meredith $.415 M Drafted 6th rd 2004
RP Joe Thatcher $.393 M Acquired in trade w/ Mil 7/25/07
RP Chad Reineke $.39 M Acquired in trade w/ Hou 7/22/08
RP Mark Worrell $.39 M Acquired in trade w/ StL 12/4/08
RP Mike Ekstrom $.39 M Signed as amateur FA from Panama 2006

Say hello to: Mark Worrell, Chris Britton, Henry Blanco, David Eckstein, Cliff Floyd

Wave goodbye: Khalil Greene, Josh Bard, Michael Barrett, Shawn Estes, Clay Hensley

Rookies: Matt Antonelli

Non-Roster Invitees to Watch: Mark Prior, Kyle Blanks, Chris Burke, Chris Britton, Emil Brown

Potential breakout: Chase Headley

Welcome to Earth:  Adrian Gonzalez is an excellent player but last season was a career year.

Likely to rebound: Chris Young

Strenghts: Jake Peavy and Chris Young play in a big ballpark with a good defensive outfield.

Weaknesses: There are many but I’ll say shortstop if Luis Rodriguez is playing everyday.

Payroll obligations to former players: none

Optimal batting lineup (position, name, bats, Avg/OBP/Slg, HR, SB, EqA):

RF Giles L .306/.398/.456  12, 2  .318

2B Antonelli R

1B Gonzalez R  .279/.361/.510  36, 0  .311

3B Kouzmanoff R  .260/.299/.433  23, 0  .263

CF Gerut L/Hairston R* .303/.284

LF Headley B  .269/.337/.420  9, 4  .281

SS Eckstein R .265/.343/.349  2, 2,  .260

C Hundley R  .237/.278/.359  5, 0  .236

*I have listed EqA’s for Gerut & Hairston

Prediction: 5th place and the worst record in the NL 

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