At the start of the off-season, Padres General Manager Josh Byrnes declared a need for a left handed reliever and left handed bat. What he’s come up with so far is the gem of the mid-market free agency pool in SP Josh Johnson, and activity in trading away players just outside of the 40 man roster into what could be that left handed bat in former Poway High star and Pirate prospect Alex Dickerson. Throw in the late season swap of Joe Thatcher for Ian Kennedy, and suddenly one can see the mind of Josh Byrnes at work.
Last season, the Padres stayed in contention for the first half and played hard, earning the respect of their peers and die hard fans. The hitting held their own when healthy, and remained versatile despite injuries and suspensions. The pitching on the other hand was another story, and there’s no other direct way to state it other than say that overall the aggregate pitching was sub-par. Uncharacteristically bad seasons from Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez did not help. Despite that, I still felt that we were just 1 marquee starting pitcher away from contending in 2013. My point here is that we were not that far off in 2013.
Well we may have that opportunity now, with a pitching staff that has added 2 former #1 starters and rotation aces in Josh Johnson and Ian Kennedy. We are as ready as a mid-market team can be right now in starting pitching, with other young and rotation ready pitchers ready to step in and compete for that fifth spot. The future staff ace is clearly Andrew Cashner, and he’s got the pieces and he has his youth and power arm behind him. All JJ and Ian have to do is pitch well enough to be solid #2s and #3s and suddenly the Padres are going to look pitching rich on paper again. ESPN writer David Schoenfield writes an interesting article regarding JJ as well as former Padres pitchers rebounding at Petco. It is nice to see the Padres getting some attention from the bigger networks, and I liked what David had to say.
So far so good, and it looks as if we are heading in right direction going into winter. Let’s see if Josh Byrnes heads into the Winter Meetings with more magic at hand. I’m very curious what’s to come or if we’re going to stay pat with the hitters.