May 20, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres manager Bud Black (20) talks with umpires prior to the game against the Minnesota Twins at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
While the season isn’t going as hoped with a 39-48 record through Saturday, the Padres are close to enjoying the All-Star break, as a select few players and their families will be making their way to Minneapolis for the 2014 All-Star Weekend. Every major league team (including the Quadruple-A Padres) will send a representative to Minnesota, and Padres manager Bud Black recently reached out to Mike Matheny, manager of the defending National League champion St. Louis Cardinals and the 2014 NL All-Star team. While whomever represents the Padres in the All-Star game will likely not find his way into the World Series as a member of the Pads, they’ll have a chance to possibly aid the National League team that’ll take on the AL champ, as the winner of the All-Star game win the rights to home field advantage in the World Series.
Black doesn’t have much on his team that screams All-Star, but a few players have performed well enough to deserve consideration. In 2013 Everth Cabrera was the sole rep from San Diego, but a second-half suspension for PED’s in 2013 and mediocre production thus far in 2014 have taken him out of the All-Star discussion.
The most plausible and likely selection for the Padres would be closer Huston Street. Our most recent memory of Street is the save opportunity he blew on Saturday to the Giants, but that doesn’t take away from his impressive 2014 campaign through half of a season. Street boasts a .087 ERA and was 23-23 in save opportunities before Saturday. Street isn’t as relied on as he would be on a contending team, but he almost always comes through when needed and is the closest thing to a slam dunk selection for San Diego.
In his conversation with Matheny, Black most assuredly mentioned Street, but one would think that Black also looked to vouch for a few of San Diego’s less heralded players.
Set-up man Joaquin Benoit also could be considered, as he’s posted a 1.23 ERA in 36 appearances this season, and is currently riding a 19-inning scoreless streak.
As for the offensive side of the equation, San Diego doesn’t have any strong candidates for the All-Star Game, but they do have one name worthy of some discussion. Seth Smith has been the only member of the San Diego lineup to hit well with consistency this season, posting numbers of .278 with nine home runs and 26 RBI’s.