I do have to admit that this Padre season has me ‘sitting on the fence'. My heart keeps telling me things will be ok but I just don't see how the addition of the players that were acquired will put us into the post season. Certainly there have been some good playing and production in Spring Training from the veterans and that'll probably put many of the hot prospects back in the minors. Some of those prospects have been on fire though. I personally would rather see some of them in the majors rather than platooning older players in and out of the lineup on a daily basis. The pitching, outside of those who participated in the WBC remains a question mark in my mind; Jake Peavy and Chan Ho Park were pretty impressive although Park has suffered after returning to the Padres.
The Padres have to keep Josh Barfield on the team along with Ben Johnson. Terrmel Sledge is showing injuries proneness and can't be counted on at this point. Why continue to let players play on reputation when the youngsters need a chance? If the Padres could just admit they are ‘rebuilding' these guys could get a chance and show what they can (or can't) do. I think they are ‘spinning' what they are doing this year. It reminds me of all those years they did this same thing and then at the beginning of the next year they admit that they really were rebuilding. Then that cycle would continue on for a number of years, over and over. It has that same feeling this year and I suspect next year we'll hear the story that the club needs to get younger.
The other issue I see right now is in the bullpen. Not much happening out there right now. I'm not worried about Trevor Hoffman, he's ready when it counts but he needs some help. Overall, I thought that the pitching and bullpen might be the Padres strength this year but I am back-peddling now. Unfortunately, Doug Brocail's heart problem may have hurt the Padre pitching strategy (if the Padres have one) but I'm glad to hear he's doing better. The one thing I question about the WBC is how many of the US players looked like they really didn't need Spring Training. I'm not sure how I feel about Spring Training but I'm sure it's partly a revenue stream decision. If the players can get ready without such a long Spring schedule (and some of the Owners were worried about injuries at the WBC), why not shorten it?
So, what do I anticipate for the Padres this year? Considering the age of the team, the additions and subtractions from the lineup, the other teams in the division, etc. I don't see the Padres repeating this year. Considering the Padres were playing .500 baseball last year that's not a good sign. I still maintain that the Padres aren't serious about this season and should start rebuilding with some youth. I'll predict 3rd place since I think the age and injuries will mount up rather quickly.