Okay, Now It's Time To Take the Padres Seriously

When I got recruited to work on this blog some four months ago, I assumed I’d be spending the next couple of years discussing the future of the Padres and how equipped the minor league system was to turn a losing team into a contender.

And then the Padres got off to a fast start. That was interesting, but I didn’t think much of it. After all, the Padres were a team with so many offensive holes, and a team that called Jon Garland and Kevin Correia their 1-2 punch in the rotation. What sort of contender is that?

The AccuScore system, which looks at teams’ chances of making the playoffs, agreed, and even when the Padres seized control of their division, the system put their odds of hanging onto that lead at 10 or 15 percent every week. As recently as June 14, the system gave the Padres an 11.5% chance of winning their division, and an even 20% shot at the postseason.

Well, here we are two weeks later, and the Padres have opened up a 4 1/2 game lead in the West.

AccuScore now puts San Diego’s chances at 41.5% now, just behind LA’s 45%. That’s still very pessimistic for the Padres, given the current state of affairs, put the point is that there’s no ignoring the possibility of making the playoffs any longer.

Look, I’m the first guy to advocate for going young and getting trade value for veterans, but at this point, I can’t really advocate that, at least in Adrian Gonzalez’s case. If the Padres go into freefall the next three weeks, they still need to be open to that, though.

More likely, though, they’ll stay in contention. In that case, they should see if they can package some of their unbelievable relief depth (say, Heath Bell, Craig Italiano, and Aaron Poreda) for a solid outfield bat.

When it’s at the point where even I’m switching from “sell” mode to “buy” mode, you know this really could be for real. The 2010 Padres are contenders, not pretenders. Even the most skeptical of observers have to admit that at this point.

Tags: San Diego Padres

  • Larry Faria

    You lost me at trading Bell (plus TWO hot prospects!) for an outfield bat. That tells me you haven’t gotten the “trade veterans” bug out of your system.

    I’m pretty sure the Padres won’t be following your suggestion because 1.) there’s no solid outfield bat (that meet the Padres’ cheap, young, controllable criteria) available mid-season, they’re only available in the off-season and 2.) they’re not going to disrupt the absolute strength of the team by breaking up the short relief.

    You must be reading those guys who are saying the Padres are “desperate” for a bat. I don’t see the desperation. They’re plus-65 in run differential, good for fifth best in the majors, best in the NL. They have a winning record overall, at home, on the road, in the division, against the central and east, in interleague, in one run games, in extra innings, in blowouts, in day games, night games, on grass and on carpet. I don’t see a problem anywhere. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    • http://bleacherreport.com/users/10925-nathaniel-stoltz Nathaniel Stoltz

      Thanks for the comment, Larry.

      True, maybe I haven’t got that completely out of my system. But honestly, I mentioned those players specifically for a reason.

      Bell’s very good, but look at Adams, Gregerson, Webb, and the other excellent arms in the bullpen. They could easily slide in and replace him. Look at how easily the Twins replaced Joe Nathan this year, and they have nowhere near the Padres’ bullpen depth.

      Italiano and Poreda have some issues that lead me to believe they’re just middle relievers in the end, but their perceived value is higher than that. Plus, we have the aforementioned epic bullpen depth, so they can afford to go more than most of the other prospects.

      Therefore, trading Bell, Italiano, and Poreda does little to affect the future of the Padres, while still helping out this year’s team.

      And I agree that standing pat isn’t the worst of ideas, but between Tony Gwynn, Will Venable, Kyle Blanks, Aaron Cunningham, Chris Denorfia, Oscar Salazar…come on, those guys aren’t exactly fantastic hitters. The Padres could also use a SS upgrade if Cabrera doesn’t show something the next couple of weeks.

      The Padres have a .681 OPS and .303 wOBA, worse than every NL team other than Houston and Pittsburgh. Saying that “ain’t broke” is a reach.