Every Fan Wants to Reign

A bit of chill in the air, football dominating the sports scene, the NBA and NHL seasons just under way and the baseball fan pokes his or her head out of the dugout after a brief little catnap after the World Series. Free agency begins and every wannabe GM and fantasy baseball player is taking to the water coolers and message boards about who their favorite team should sign. I will admit I am just as guilty as the next fan of doing this for my San Diego Padres.

However, I am also very aware that no matter how much I pay for my season tickets, Kevin Towers is not going to call me and ask me for my opinion.

So, KT, if you are reading this, please do not trade for Jason Kendall. Yes, he is productive offensively and passable defensively, it is that contract that is brutal. Just say no, I beg you. Even if Pittsburgh picks up half, that is a reported 21 million dollars over the next 4 years. That is a lot of Mr. Moores' money for a guy that does not hit for power. I know that means that the Padres will likely be stuck with the bane of many Padres' fans existence, Kevin Jarvis. At least Jarvis has a buyout at the end of this contract year, which will allow the Padres to escape. Trading for Kendall puts the team in contract purgatory. Kendall may perform well, but will he perform 5+ million per year well? Not likely.

The team still has holes, most notably a starter or two and some serious bullpen help. The signing of Gene Kingsale may signal the end of Gary Matthews, Jr. and/or Brian Buchanan's tenure in San Diego, as both are arbitration eligible.

Greg Maddux is the pitcher most talked about in the same breath as the Padres. I am not a huge Maddux fan, but I think it is a good fit provided that the team does not overpay for his services. He brings veteran leadership to starting rotation that is still very young and can use as much veteran tutelage as it can get. It seems unlikely that the Padres will be able to sign a quality lefty like Andy Pettitte or a higher priced veteran like Bartolo Colon. The Padres may round out their rotation with Ben Howard, even if they acquire Maddux and fail to trade Jarvis. There are some lefties out there, but none is close to the quality of Pettitte.

I would spend a huge portion of my budget to solidify the bullpen. Unfortunately, the retention of Rod Beck does not seem likely since he will be looking to reach the 300 save mark, which would seem unlikely to happen with the re-signing of Trevor Hoffman. A guy like Paul Quantrill would seem to solidify the pen, perhaps a guy with closer experience like Todd Jones or former Padre Tim Worrell. The Padres could sign a guy like Steve Reed who has had a measure of success with the Padres in the past.

Even with an expanded budget, I expect Kevin Towers to do a little "dumpster diving" or should I say Dempster diving (hint, hint). KT loves his scrapheap specials, especially when he can trade them for prospects.

I don't know about you, but I can hardly wait for the season to start. Spring cannot come soon enough. I look forward to seeing all of you downtown.

Notes: Outfielder Rich Gomez, who is currently playing for Escogido in the Dominican League, joined pitchers Brian Tollberg and Rob Ramsay, and catcher Yamid Haad in becoming eligible to be granted six-year free agency on Oct. 15.

Kim Lewis can be reached a geckointhebox@yahoo.com

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