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Saturday, March 6, 2010

2010 San Diego Padres team preview

2009 Record: 75-87   .463

Run Differential: -131

Before the season even began in 2009, the Padres seemed resigned to last place.  New ownership had moved in and lacked the financial resources to devote big bucks to the club right away causing Trevor Hoffman to leave via free agency and Jake Peavy to be placed on the trading block.  In fact, with numerous trade rumors swirling around their best player, it seemed they were begging someone to take him away.  Although the team exceeded many expectations and avoided last place, more roster changes were made. Scott Hairston, the team's second best hitter, was shipped to Oakland for prospects though he was re-acquired over the winter.  At the trading deadline Jake Peavy was traded to the White Sox for four pitching prospects arousing suspicions that the club was looking for quantity over quality.  Kevin Kouzmanoff was also traded to Oakland allowing Chase Headley to finally move to his natural position. New GM Jed Hoyer reportedly blew away the field in his interview which is good because he was probably the best GM candidate.  Judging by the low payroll and dearth of talent at all levels, he has his work cut out for him.

Expectations for 2010 should not be different than those of 2009. 
The team will look for an increase of last season's 75 wins, obviously, but there doesn't seem to be any area that would allow for a marked improvement this year.  Relievers Heath Bell and Luke Gregorson should allow the bullpen to be a continued strength while young players like Mat Latos, Kyle Blanks, and Everth Cabrera will continue to assert themselves as pieces the club will want to keep as components for the next competitive Padre team.  But the season will ultimately be defined by what Jed Hoyer decides to do with Adrian Gonzalez, the team's best player since Tony Gwynn.  Deciding if the team is better off by trading the slugging first baseman for multiple prospects as they continue their rebuild or if the team should keep him as their cornerstone will cause speculation to hang over this team like a black raincloud until a move is or isn't made.  Whichever road Hoyer takes not only will establish how San Diego will continue their rebuild but it also will likely define his entire tenure with the club. No pressure, man.

Likely Opening Day Roster:
My Two Cents
Nick Hundley
Could have biggest improvement of any hitter on team
Yorvit Torrealba
Solid defensive player isn’t here for offense
Adrian Gonzalez
Petco doesn’t hold him back: 40 HRs last year
David Eckstein
Eckstein’s nice and all but Pads wish this was Antonelli
Chase Headley
Road warrior. Will see increase in home stats now back at 3b?
Everth Cabrera
Never played above LowA before last year. Furcal v2?
Kyle Blanks
If Gonzalez goes, Blanks moves to first
Scott Hairston
Will likely platoon with Gwynn
Will Venable
.440 SLG in Petco ain’t half bad
Oscar Salazar
I don’t understand why he’s on the team
Tony Gwynn, Jr
Fans wishing this is the father. He probably does too.
Aaron Cunningham
Good average but no power was redundant in Oakland
Jerry Hairston
Super utility guy will back up every position
Chris Young
Good health should allow him to return to form
Jon Garland
Groundball specialist needs good D for success
Mat Latos
Will be this team’s best starter by 2011
Kevin Correia
Solid back end starter
Wade LeBlanc
Soft tossing lefty has incredible changeup
Heath Bell
Clearly one of the top NL closers
Luke Gregorson
Nice return for Khalil Greene
Luis Perdomo
Rule V pick had nifty rookie campaign
Clayton Richard
First candidate to move into rotation if someone falters
Mike Adams
Think Milwaukee wishes they still had him?
Edward Mujica
May be the man to go once Worrell is healthy
Sean Gallagher
Perhaps he can figure out control issues in the pen
Mark Worrell
The other half of the return for Khalil Greene
Say Hello To: Jon Garland, Scott Hairston, David Eckstein, Yorvit Torrealba, Dusty Ryan

Wave Goodbye: Kevin Kouzmanoff, Luis Rodriguez, Brian Giles, Henry Blanco, Mike Ekstrom

Rookies: Aaron Poreda -  Sox gave up on him due to command issues.  The stuff is there but not the consistency.

Potential Breakout: Mat Latos - Don't be fooled, last season was the beginning of what should be a very nice career

Welcome to Earth: Kevin Correia - I'm not expecting a collapse but last '09 was likely a career year.

Likely to Rebound: Chris Young

Top 3 players: Adrian Gonzalez, Heath Bell, Mat Latos

Top Prospect: Donovan Tate - 1st round pick last year has a long way to go before making the show.

Prediction: 73-69  5th place NL West
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