September 27, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres starting pitcher Casey Kelly (49) throws during the first inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Four Keys For The Padres To Win The Division

While the rest of the National League west reloaded this off-season, the Padres have failed to acquire a big name player. The Padres are definitely not the odds on favorites to win the division, but if they want to remain in the thick of things these four things must happen:

1. Stay Healthy – In 2012, we all witnessed how an unhealthy roster can equate to a bad season as the Padres’ used 15 different starting pitchers all of last year. The team finished strong when guys got healthy again, but the injury bug knocked the Padres out of the divisional race by the end of June. Staying healthy is the key for the Padres to have a shot at winning the N.L. West.

2.Young Kids Need To Step Up -  If the Padres are going to make a run at the division, then they need the young kids on the roster to step up . The Padres had an abundance of  players make their MLB debut last year, and these kids need to show tremendous growth from last season.  Also, if the Padres bring up any of its top prospects then those prospects need to make an immediate impact.

3.Trade Deadline – If the Padres still have any realistic shot at taking the division crown come July, then they need to make a big acquisition in order to improve their chances. If the Padres need a bat or an arm remains to be seen, but I’d like them to make a move that would actually “blow our socks off!” Making a big splash at the deadline will only improve our chances of winning the division.

4. The Resurgence Of Nick Hundley – Nick Hundley’s 2013 season will be key if the Padres expect to win the division. He cannot have the same season in 2012 where he put together a .157/.219/.245 slash line.Hundley needs to finally show why the Padres last year invested a $9 million, three-year contract on him.

If the Padres are to make a solid run at the division this year, I feel these are the things that need to happen. Let me know in the comment box below if you agree our disagree with me.

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  • Beersy

    Health wil play a huge roll for this team. If they can keep their heads above water until Luebke and Cashner can make it back to the mound, this season may be interesting.

    As for the trade deadline, I would rather the Padres “blow my socks off ” now, then wait to see if they are in a playoff race. If they pull off a deal now, (Stanton anyone?) they may noy have to worry about making a deal at the deadline because they may already be in the thick of things.

    When it comes to the kids, this season may very well hinge on the contributions of Gyorko and Cabrera, who I still consider a kid. If Gyorko can hit at anywhere near the level he has in the Minors, he will be a huge addition to the lineup. As for Cabrera, I hope Black slots him in as the leadoff man and sees what he can do. He preformed much better at the top of the lineup last season and with his wheels he can pose quite the problem for opposing teams and give the beef of the lineup better pitches to see.

    I agree a resurgence for Hundley is important, but not for the sam ereasons you do. Hundley is only going to be keeping the catchers spot warm until Grandal is back and if Hundley is playing well he should be able to bring back a very useful piece in a trade. Catchers are always in high demand and with his relatively cheap salary, he should be quite sought after if he regains his 2011 form.

    Very good article and go Padres.

  • MrWhamBam

    Ideally, Id like to see Gyorko hitting 2nd, behind Cabrera….lets see if he can take the “ball” and run with it. When I watch him hit, he reminds me so much of Mark Loretta. Gyorko, has tremendous bat control…

    trying to acquire Stanton, is a no brainer to me….but this is the Padres we’re talking about. So, anything that will remotely help get the team over the hump is not a good move to them.

    quite frankly, I get the impression that the Padres actually like losing…i think they get some kind of preverse thrill out of being talked about as badly as they are.

    • Marcus

      I think some of the most exciting guys the Padres have are the middle infielders; E-Cab and Gyorko would be fun to see, but Alexi Amarista and Logan Forsythe are hustlers as well.

  • Marcus

    If all goes well, the offense will be above average, but the pitching will have to have a lot go right to not totally sink the team. Volquez and Richard are the top of the line guys, but on an average staff, they are middle guys at best.

    I can be optimistic with the offense (and interested to see how the fences play a factor), but I’m very skeptical of the starting rotation.

  • ballybunion

    Put me down in opposition to the trade deadline blockbuster. If they’re in contention by then, there’s no reason to disrupt the chemistry that has to be a big part of the success, and the Padres are not the high profile (rich) team that needs to make a splash. If there’s a hole, yes by all means try to fill it intelligently, but I don’t want to see potential future stars traded away for short term gain: a four month run for this club at this stage of the plan does not a contender make.

    Divisions are won in September, not July or even August, as the Padres found out in 2010. This year, they have some reasonable in-house talent for a September call-up to fill holes. A good run that falls short might be the best thing to happen to a club with so many young players who don’t know how hard winning the division is, especially in this division housing a world champion and a bank vault.