The 2012 Padres Are Indeed “Watchable”


Last week, the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Nick Canepa wrote an article with regards to the Padres and the upcoming 2012 season and asked the readers a simple question: “Will the Padres be Watchable?”

Canepa delved into the recent roster changes/moves made by the Padres, the fact that the Padres are unable to keep their stars, the small payroll, the large ball park, the fact that the Padres weren’t contenders last season etc., as some reasons why San Diego could be an “unwatchable” team.

The article itself does make a point as to how some unfortunate things have happened to San Diego in seasons past (controllable and uncontrollable) and there might not be a heck of a lot of hope for some fans wanting to see a winning club in 2012.

To be perfectly honest, I am just as interested in the progress of the players “down on the farm” as I am the Padres in 2012, because it is at the minor league level where the Padres’ most intriguing and promising core of talent resides.

Nevertheless, I am not on the “unwatchable bandwagon” right now.  I for one believe that there are some things to be excited about with regards to the Padres in 2012.  So let us take a look at just a few compelling storylines and questions for 2012 that we can enjoy, ask, and look forward to watching, shall we:

1. Center Fielder Cameron Maybin will look to improve upon his 2011 team MVP season and show the Tigers and Marlins what they missed out on with his tremendous and still developing skill set.

2. Yonder Alonso will be getting big league AB’s now that Joey Votto is not in his way at First Base in Cincinnati.  Furthermore, we will get to see whether or not Alonso is a better player than once trumpeted prospect Anthony Rizzo

3. Pitcher Cory Luebke will look to build on his strong 2nd Half in 2011 as a full-time starter, and Luebke might even find himself at the top of San Diego’s rotation by year’s end.

4. Can Carlos Quentin provide stability in Left Field for San Diego in his homecoming, and attempt to get back to his All-Star form?

5. Is Will Venable going to emerge as more than a “platoon” option in the Outfield?

6. Where will Jesus Guzman end up playing?  Will he be a Utility Player Deluxe all over the diamond?  And can Guzman get the At-Bats necessary to help the lineup in terms of offensive output?

7. The young players (which Byrnes alluded to in a quote) that are coming up from the minors could be given their first dose of Major League action in 2012.  This in turn would give us Padres fans a preview of what could be happening at Petco circa. 2013-2014.  I know I’m stoked to see Robbie Erlin, Joe Wieland, and maybe even Yasmani Grandal getting a taste of the big leagues.

If I wanted to, I could probably list another 7-10 interesting and compelling storylines for us fans to follow this season.  Like it or not, 2012 is an important year with regards to seeing who on this big league roster is worthy and will stay on for the long-haul in future years when help hopefully arrives from the minors.  Thus, there might be story-lines galore to watch for, even if the Padres finish in the cellar where they are predicted by many in the media.

Sure, we can bemoan the fact that players like A-Gone, Bell, and Latos have left town.  As a fanbase we could get angry that this team has to build a contender on a budget.  We can sob over the fact that Petco’s dimensions are akin to what you consider “Petco National Park.”  We can even compare the Padres’ roster to the rosters of other contenders in the National League and know for a fact that the Padres could be at a disadvantage more often than not this season.

Nevertheless, the “2012 Experiment” has yet to start, and I am ready for whatever good, bad, happy, or sad comes along with it.  Regardless of how talented it is as a whole, the roster is chock full of new and hungry players that could be under-the-radar contributors.  So regardless of Win-Loss, I’ll still be watching, Mr. Canepa.  Moreover, so will many others intrigued by San Diego’s fortunes in 2012 after an offseason of change, and a half decade of solidifying their minor league system.

And if the Padres fail to win more than they lose this season?  So what.  At least we got to see how this team gels together.  We will at least see which players obviously want to stay and be a part of something special in the future.  Furthermore, we will get to see which players end up shining for a franchise with one of the League’s lowest payrolls.

So in my opinion: “Yes, the Padres are watchable.”  You simply have to know what to watch for this season and look for positives at all times.

Now it’s your turn readers.  Do you think the Padres are indeed watchable?  Why?  Or why not?

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