Who will assume the leadership role? The departures of Gonzalez, David Eckstein, Chris Young and Yorvit Torrealba have left a clubhouse void that Heath Bell can’t fill by himself. Second baseman Orlando Hudson, who signed in the offseason, loves to talk but needs to acclimate himself to his new teammates. Of the other veterans in the lineup, shortstop Jason Bartlett, first baseman Brad Hawpe and infielder Jorge Cantu are also new, and right fielder Ryan Ludwick didn’t arrive until the trading deadline last season. Expect fourth-year catcher Nick Hundley to step up.
The San Diego Padres have never won a World Series or pitched a no-hitter, but they sure have a knack for churning out icons. Dave Winfield defined power and athleticism at San Diego Stadium before the “Bronx Zoo” phase of his career. Tony Gwynn won eight batting titles while laying claim to the title of “Mr. Padre,” and Trevor Hoffman enhanced his legacy every time he hitched up his belt and left the bullpen to the accompaniment of “Hells Bells.”