Well, I’m sure many of you woke up this morning with big grins on your face, knowing that the Padres’ NL West rivals, and favorites to represent the National League in this year’s World Series got wiped out last night at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals. Depending on how you feel regarding former Padres’ skipper Bruce Bochy, and team ace Jake Peavy, you could be happy that both of them could be getting yet another chance to win a World Series title. For Bochy, it will be his third since leaving San Diego for the Bay Area. For Peavy, he became a champion after last year’s Fall Classic with the Boston Red Sox.
I’m also positive it stings Padres’ fans a little bit to see their former manager continue to have success with another team within the same division. Peavy might be a better story, since he went from San Diego, to Chicago, to Boston, and now is in San Francisco. He’s paid his dues, and didn’t just jump from the Padres to a World Series contender right out of the chute. You can’t blame Bochy though. The Padres enjoyed the most extended period of success in franchise history on Bochy’s watch. He deserves our respect, and our gratitude for his service while he was in San Diego. I for one, will be rooting for both as their postseason continues.
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It’s not often that when a team is in rebuild mode, that they have solid pieces in place to make an immediate impact the following season. For the Padres, it’s their pitching staff. From the rotation led by Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, to the back of the bullpen with Kevin Quakenbush and Joaquin Benoit, the Friars are in a very enviable position heading into 2015. All they need are a handful of impact bats to augment their existing talent.
I can’t sit here and believe that this team will struggle the way they did this season. Everything that could’ve gone wrong, did. Injuries, poor play, off the field issues. You name it, it happened. The Padres have some decent hitting talent. The only question now, is how much of their pitching depth with the Padres give up to make their lineup match their pitching staff?
Early indications are that new GM A.J. Preller is going to dig into his stockpile of pitching, and attempt to add the big bats that way. It seems he isn’t too thrilled with the free agent class, and some of the international talent may simply be too rich for his blood. We have yet to hear what the Padres’ plans are for next year’s payroll. If they choose to bring back Josh Johnson, it allows the team to deal from a strength, and have a high-caliber arm ready to come right in. Of course that is assuming Johnson is recovered from his second Tommy John surgery. Casey Kelly, Matt Wisler, Jesse Hahn, and Odrisamer Despaigne put Preller is a favorable position to dictate terms to teams looking for arms.
Whatever the master plan may be, the Padres need to stick to it, and be as aggressive as possible this winter. I’m of the school of thought that the Friars could deal an arm or two, and get some much-needed offense. I also believe they have the payroll flexibility to sign up to three bats that could make the Padres a wild card team TOMORROW. As frustrating as eight consecutive years of no October baseball might be, this franchise is not as far away as many might think. It’s coming Padres’ fans…