The first time your hometown nine goes into an extended tailspin in 2009 and you're kicking yourself for ever discovering the blessed game of baseball, throw a gander at the San Diego Padres. I promise you, their predicament will make your team's situation glow by comparison.
This is a team that has no chance—as in zero—to win Major League Baseball's weakest division. I repeat, zip. Zilch. Nada. Might as well start scouting the prospects because SD's gonna need several.
The Fathers' offseason has been spent making an absolute mockery of Jake Peavy's status. It's pretty obvious to everyone watching that San Diego was desperate to move the guy. Obvious to everyone except San Diego.
The franchise positioned itself for a well-publicized fire sale then began making crazy demands of teams that showed interest in the ace.
Look, you can't go around telling everyone and anyone with a microphone that you need to sell off assets due to the owner's messy divorce, then start bargaining as if from strength. If SD was gonna demand market value for Peavy, which is considerable once you understand just how steady Jake has been at an extremely unsteady position, the sap stories about heart break and economic woe should never have been peddled in the first place.
Quick digression—I'm not sure if the Pads need to cut payroll in order to reduce the value of the franchise for California's community property rules or just because John Moores wants to sell the team (and has thusly stopped sinking money into it). Either way, how would you like to be part of that fanbase? Being held mercy for the sake of one man's personal life...awesome.
Anyway, for the sake of exercise, here's the rest of the San Diego Padres' "roster:"
Projected starting lineup
First base—Adrian Gonzalez
Second base—David Eckstein
Third base—Kevin Kouzmanoff
Left field—Chase Headley
Center field—Jody Gerut
Right field—Brian Giles
Dear me. I'm not sure what to say other than Cliff Floyd, Emil Brown, and Scott Hairston are also on the roster. I don't have the heart to say anything else.
Ace—Jake Peavy (R)
Second spot—Chris Young (R)
Third spot—Cha Seung Baek (R)
Fourth spot—Josh Greer (R)
Fifth spot—Wade LeBlanc (L)
This is just going from bad to worse. It says here that Mark Prior is on the roster with a minor league contract. Sounds about right.
Closer—Heath Bell (R)
Set-up—Cla Merridith (R)
Set-up—Justin Hampson (L)
Set-up—Mike Adams (R)
Hey, I pay very close attention to the NL West and watch/listen to almost every single San Francisco Giants game played over the course of the year. And I have NO idea who a lot of those guys are.
Seriously, I have zero love for the San Diego Padres. Still, running down their roster makes me a little angry. Can't we expect more from an owner than this? Can't we demand that someone has to, at a minimum, give a damn about fielding a team capable of competing against baseball's frailest opposition before he/she can own a franchise?
Because Major League fans of any city deserve better than this garbage. It's embarrassing—plain and simple. Another illustrious feather in Bud Selig's stellar array.
Jody Gerut's a nice seventh hitter. Unfortunately, he's probably the second most dangerous hitter in SD's current lineup since Brian Giles is older than a lot of coaches in MLB at this point. Nick Hundley's supposed to be the next big thing at catcher, but has yet to show any sincere threat of making that a fact.
Luis Rodriguez could be anybody as could David Eckstein. Kevin Kouzmanoff is probably better than your average third baseman, but not by much. And Chase Headley is all potential at this point. At 25, he could go either way and he'll probably do it pretty soon.
The lone bright spot—and he is very much a supremely dangerous professional hitter—is Adrian Gonzalez. His 2008 campaign was nothing short of astonishing, considering he hit .279 with 32 doubles, 36 home runs, 103 runs scored, 119 runs batted in, a .361 on-base percentage, and an .871 OPS. If you don't believe those are special numbers, ask another Big Leaguer to replicate them while surrounded by a pretty good varsity high school lineup.
I'd wager 90 percent would fail to approach Gonzalez' feat, which was totally wasted. My guess is that another miraculous year from Adrian will go to complete waste in 2009.
Forget the pitching staff. Forget the entire thing. I'm not gonna waste the time or effort dissecting a staff with three viable professional arms—Jake Peavy, Chris Young, and Heath Bell. Those three guys would play for anyone.
I don't think Young would be a number two and Bell definitely wouldn't be closing, but they will be nasty for stretches and that makes them legitimate pros. Peavy's an ace on arguably any team in the either league.
But the rest is total crap. Some of 'em might look good for a while because novelty always works wonder for pitchers. Unfortunately, it wears off. Maybe Josh Greer can stick around after tweaking back to match the adjustments MLB hitters will eventually make to his stuff.
Maybe not. Bottom-line—it just doesn't matter.
If I'm feeling generous, I'd say the San Diego Padres have six genuine Major League Baseball players—Peavy, Gonzalez, Kouz, Gerut, Giles, and Bell. Headley, Hundley, and Greer might join the party eventually, but not yet.
That's just pathetic. The San Diego Padres ownership and management should be ashamed to show their collective face in public.