San Diego Padres Last Year: 63-99 Last in NL West This Year: Last in NL West
This spot in the rankings is based on the fact they have probably the worst lineup and lack of pitching depth but it is also based on the fact that Jake Peavy, their All-Star ace, is not likely to finish with the Padres. They actively shopped him all winter because owner John Moores needs to cut salary because the team will be put up for sale when his divorce is finalized. The most active teams pursuing Peavy are the Cubs and the Braves. A deal didn't go through because they couldn't agree but I would be shocked if Peavy isn't on a different team by the All-Star break as Peavy won't stick around and he could drastically help another team that they will raise what they are willing to give up. Even if he does stay this is a terrible team that will do the impossible of ruining a San Diego summer.
Opening Day Lineup w/ Projections CF Jody Gerut .285 16 HR 47 RBI RF Brian Giles .292 12 HR 58 RBI 1B Adrian Gonzalez .283 37 HR 125 RBI 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff .263 24 HR 83 RBI LF Chase Headley .273 17 HR 67 RBI 2B David Eckstein .277 3 HR 35 RBI SS Luis Rodriguez .264 2 HR 27 RBI C Nick Hundley .239 9 HR 44 RBI P Jake Peavy
Rotation RHP Jake Peavy 14-10 2.94 ERA 210 K RHP Chris Young 12-10 3.21 ERA 160 K RHP Cha Seung Baek 4-12 4.78 ERA 132 K RHP Kevin Correia 4-10 5.11 ERA 82 K LHP Wade LeBlanc 3-9 5.76 ERA 76 K
CP RHP Heath Bell 3.54 ERA 28 Sv 65 K
Best Case Scenario: Peavy stays all year and puts up an Cy Young caliber year. Chris Young stays healthy and is an All-Star along with Adrian Gonzalez. Chase Headley makes good on his potential and hits 20+ home runs. They find a third starter who can win a few games. Heath Bell makes the Padre fans forget about Trevor Hoffman. This team wins 70+ games.
Worst Case Scenario: Peavy leaves in Mid-June for a bunch of prospects a few years away. The fire sale does not stop with Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young being shipped. A slow, old lineup does not work in the spacious pitchers park. This team gets close to losing 110 games.
Player Most Important to Success: Chase Headley. I know from the preview it would seem that Peavy is the most important but he is consistent and they know what they will get from him regardless of whether he is on the team or not. Chase Headley has the potential to be a .300-30-100 guy in the future. That won't happen this year but he needs to improve on the .269-9-38 he put up last year. If he can start to utilize his talent which will make him cut down on the strikeouts he can provide some pop in the lineup and protect Adrian Gonzalez. This team needs offense and he is one who has the ability to provide it.
Outlook: Anytime your middle infield is a 34-year old David Eckstein and Twin reject Luis Rodriguez you are not bound for greatness. It figures to be even worse as they will be a seller come the trade deadline. The lineup lacks any speed or someone who is a lock to hit .300. That doesn't work in a spacious ballpark. They also don't have any starting pitching after Peavy and Young. It is so bad they are hoping for a resurrection of Mark Prior, who has not pitched since 2006 and has not pitched well since 2005. This is a slow boring team that will be tough to watch and has no reason for anyone to watch.