(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the 13th of 30 major league baseball previews leading up to the opening game on Sunday, April 3. On deck: Los Angeles Angels.
The San Diego Padres look cool when wearing their camouflage uniforms, but not so much when management does it.
Craig Kimbrell, out of here. Justin Upton, see ya. Yonder Alonzo, into the wild blue. Ian Kennedy, not in this compound.
There are some key components left from last year’s 74-88 team, but Westgate has the Padres 300-1 to win the World Series and a projected 73.5 wins. In other words, no progress in an NL West where the Dodgers, Giants and D’backs all figure to be better.
The only new player of note is Jon Jay from the Cardinals, which had an overflow of good outfielders. The Padres did have a nice season from Yangervis Solarte at third base, who led the team with a .274 batting average.
Good for Yangervis, bad for the Padres. Matt Kemp did produce 23 homers and 100 RBI but he hasn’t really lived up to the big contract it took to get him away from the LA Dodgers.
Catcher Derek Norris hit 14 homers, but is being pursued by several teams in spring training. Wil Myers moves to first base to replace Alonzo, but injuries caused him to play just 60 games. Oh by the way, San Diego is 4-10 in Cactus League play.
James Shields is still the ace, but his “Big Game James” tag only produced 13 wins. The world of fantasy baseball is actually more excited about Tyson Ross, who just might wind up as the opening day starter.
Where it goes right: That Kemp comes close to producing Triple Crown numbers of a few years back while both Shields and Ross don’t disappoint.
Where it goes wrong: That San Diego continues to struggle putting up runs and the bullpen becomes overworked with no Kimbrel to close.
Projection: We just don’t see the Padres any better than fourth and likely to struggle again this season.