The Padres are better on paper. Is there any debating that? I think with the projections I covered a couple days ago, there’s no doubt this team is better. However, better doesn’t win divisions.
If the Padres want to win the division (and by want, I mean want to do more than hope they win), do they need anymore pieces? Josh Brynes wants another reliever, but he had t found that right fit yet. The offense should be improved. So just where do the improvements need to come from, if any improvements are needed?
The starting pitching staff is far from ideal, but I have a feeling Edinson Volquez is going to surprise a lot of people. Even still, the pitching wasn’t much of a concern last season. It hasn’t been since the San Diego built a beautiful downtown ballpark. Surely this team can get by on the starters they have. After all, they were able to post a very nice ERA with the help of our friend PETCO Park.
How about the offense? If the team lives up to Bill James projections, I think we’re in good shape. A move from the bottom of the pack to the middle of the pack, while playing half their games in the pitcher’s park of all pitcher’s parks, is the formula for a worst to first run. Yet, the team is still saddled with two albatrosses. At least by San Diego standards. Jason Bartlett and Orlando Hudson are anchors weighing down a payroll without providing much in return. Any additional production from those two spots would be met with delirious excitement.
Then there’s the defense. We want Jesus Guzman’s bat, but we may not want his glove. In all though, the Padres are a pretty sound defensive team both by traditional metrics and advanced metrics. According to Fangraphs, the Padres ranked fifth in all of baseball when it comes to DRS (defensive runs saved). But the team may have taken a step back with Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso. We won’t know for sure until the 2012 season is under way.
With the above information in mind, where do you think the Padres still need improvement of they truly want to compete for the division?