Apr 12, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres shortstop Everth Cabrera (2) is awarded a surf board by general manager Josh Byrnes prior to the game against the Colorado Rockies at Petco Park. . Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Padres Busy Getting Better


 

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.

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Tags: Josh Byrnes Josh Johnson Mid-market

  • ballybunion

    My only fear is that Byrnes will let Erlin go in a trade. The rotation is righty-heavy, and I’ve always thought that of five starters, at least two should be lefties. You may have penciled in Luebke, but he hasn’t thrown in a game in 18 months. The Johnson signing may give Byrnes the chance to let him and Wieland get the feel of pitching again in the minors early in the season. There’s also Stults, but he might be best as the lefty in the bullpen, with Erlin’s last five starts of 2013 earning him a chance to be the lone lefty in the rotation to start the season. Kennedy had one “ace” season, but I’d like to see some of that famous Balsley/Black tweaking before I pronounce him a #2 or even #3 starter. It might be easier to tweak him in the bullpen in middle relief to start the season. The bullpen is my biggest fear, after seeing the rotation go down in 2012 and the starting eight get hit in 2013. Is it the bullpen’s turn?

    • escadawg

      It’s hard to let go of prospects, b/c it is the ones that get away that stick in your memory and hurt the most. It’s a win some lose some with prospects and I’ve seen enough of Josh Byrnes so far to place my trust in him. I like Erlin, but he needs to perform in the majors first before we can place our trust in him.

      • ballybunion

        Well, with Robbie Erlin, that was my point – he HAS performed in the majors this year. He got an into with two relief appearances in April/May, got sent down, and then came up for four starts in June/July, and got sent down after two short outings in Boson and Washington. He showed he can pitch when recalled again for five starts, averaging over 6 innings with a 1.97 ERA. His last two starts, he went 7-2/3 and 7 innings against L.A. and Arizona, with 7 strikeouts in each game. The lefty looks ready to me, so I want to see more of him before Byrnes ships him to another team.