There is still a lot to be excited about in Friar town! The Padres have moved forward without many of the pieces that helped the team reach the highs of 2010. Now it falls to the players that have been brought in, and those to come, to keep up the competitive spirit that was so much fun to watch last season. The puzzle pieces are still intact. With Buddy Black and Darren Balsley, the Padres have a great coaching staff. The emergence of guys like Matt Latos and Clayton Richard we know the pitching staff can be relied upon to get the job done.
Some moves I would like the Padres to consider would be:
a power hitting first baseman, a solid utility middle infielder, another corner infielder, and a backup catcher. There are a LOT of players out there to fill these roles. When thinking about who the Padres may acquire the first thought to pop into everyone’s head is the price tag. Once the Pads dealt away Adrian Gonzalez, every move this off season will be made based on saving money. You don’t trade away your best player because you can’t afford him, and then go out and spend lots of money somewhere else, that would not make any sense. I have no problem with this outlook. If this is the direction the Padres are going, they should do it the right way and committ to putting quality product on the field – year in and year out. Spending money does not necessarily translate into winning more games, as we saw last year.
With that being said some of the players I would consider going after the likes of: Lyle Overbay or Nick Johnson at first base. I like Overbay more because of his power, and he is a gap to gap hitter which is a nice fit in PetCo. Johnson is a very good player when healthy. While I’m not sure about the price tag on these guys they should be fairly affordable. I would like Adam Laroche a lot but I he would likely cost too much – probably around 7 million a year for his services. The other consideration about these players is that if the Padres are out of contention they could trade Overbay or Johnson to a contender at the deadline in exchange for prospects.
For middle infield I like: Jose Lopez and Aaron Miles. Lopez has good power and some positive upside. After a down year last year his asking price could be realtively cheap. Miles is solid defensively and should be an inexpensive one year investment. Both Lopez and Miles primarily play second base. Lopez could be the fix at two spots as he also plays some first base. Ty Wigginton is another guy I have always liked, with power and the ability to play both corner positions. Wigginton brings good power for a small price.
At backup Catcher I would go after David Ross or Gerald Laird, both solid veterans who would fit nicely with a one year deal to backup Nick Hundley. Now it may seem easy to just go out and get these guys, right? Well, there are 30 teams looking to fill holes and willing to offer these guys the same contract or better then the Padres are offering. Easier said than done.
My projected line-up for the 2011 season with what we have so far is (assuming Eckstein and Hairston Jr. don’t come back)-
1. Maybin- CF 2. Bartlett- SS 3. Headley- 3B 4. Ludwick- RF 5. Venable- LF 6. Hundley- C 7. Blanks- 1B 8. Cabrera- 2B 9. Latos- SP
This is probably not a line-up that could win 90 games but lets see what happens…
About the Author
Written by Jeff Burke
I am 25 years old living in sunny San Diego. I am married to my beautiful wife Kara. I have been a Chargers and Padres fan through the good times and the bad. I played baseball at Poway high school and Monterey Peninsula college. I have won eight fantasy championships on yahoo since 2001.