San Diego Saturdays: Giants’ Telling Sign For Future Padres Success


A few years ago the San Francisco Giants were a middle of the division team, never rising above third place in the National League West. It was embarrassing to the great franchise and they were in major need of a change. So, that’s exactly what they did. Over the course of a few seasons the Giants stuck with a plan and used to not only return to contention but build a dynasty on the process. In 2010 they won the World Series and did so again in 2012.

On Thursday they clinched their third pennant in five years and have done so using the same method they put in place way back when. Now, it seems like that same plan is being used by their inter-division rival, the San Diego Padres. What did the Giants do right and can the Padres recreate the same success?

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It starts with youth. Third base star Pablo Sandoval made his major league debut with the Giants at the age of 22. Buster Posey, the best offensive catcher in baseball, was also 22 when he made his first appearance in the Major Leagues. Ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner was 20 years old in 2009 when he first took the mound in a Giants uniform. All three own two World Series rings along with the home grown Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain who each contributed to San Fransisco’s rise to glory. Since their first Championship in 2010 first baseman Brandon Belt and shortstop Brandon Crawford have both played impact roles with the team and each have a bright shiny piece of jewelry on their finger for their efforts. So what of the Padres?

San Diego finds themselves with an abundance of young players. Team ace Andrew Cashner is just 28 years old. Second baseman Jedd Gyorko is 26, pitcher Tyson Ross is 27, Ian Kennedy is 29 and Yasmani Grandal is 25. That’s just to name a few.

The minor leagues are fruitful with guys like Rymer Liriano (outfielder), Austin Hedges (catcher), Hunter Renfroe (outfielder), Taylor Lindsay (second baseman) among others gearing up to break the big league squad. Youth is a blue print for the success of any team but there was something more that led to the Giants success and something else the Padres should definitely look to invest in.

Look at some of thee best teams in recent years. They don’t win with a team built up of stars or a team made up entirely of home grown talent. with the Giants they’ve augmented their roster with players grown in other organizations.

Center fielder Angel Pagan was a product of the New York Mets organization before being acquired via trade. Second baseman Marco Scutaro was a huge part of their championship 2012 roster and was acquired from the Colarodo Rockies in a mid season trade. Fan favorite and overall entertaining individual Hunter Pence has been a star for the Giants after previously patrolling right field for the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies.

Current postseason hero Mike Morse was previously property of the Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles. Pitcher Jake Peavy was acquired before this past Trade Deadline after being a part of the Red Sox, White Sox and of course the Padres.

The Friars can do a lot of work to bulk up their roster this off season. Currently in need of a stable right fielder they could invest in veteran outfielder Nick Markakis on a one or two-year deal. Markakis has spent his entire nine year career with the Baltimore Orioles but the team has recently said that they will not exercise his team option for the 2015 season which makes him a free agent.

For first base, a position they need to address, Adam LaRoche would fit nicely on a short term deal. The 34 year old has spent time with the Braves, Pirates, Red Sox and Nationals over the course of his 11 year career. The Padres could really benefit from his presence in the lineup both with his bat and with his defense. Home grown talent is great but additional reinforcements are needed to make a good team into a real powerhouse.

As a side note I’d be truly missing a huge factor if I didn’t mention the Giants’ manager, Bruce Bochy and General Manager Brian Sabean. Bochy is of course the former skipper of the Padres and has been praised for his work with San Francisco since coming over in 2007. It seems as though every move he makes turns into pure gold and whatever he’s done has worked like a charm. Sabean has of course been the architect of the team’s recent dynasty. Whether it’s been trading for Peavy or Pence, Scutaro or  Travis Ishikawa he’s been a genius in the front office.

Can the Padres’ Bud Black and A.J. Preller do the same. Well, the Friars have already put together a young and talented pitching staff like that of the Giants and they have to continue to follow that mold going forward. Who knows? Maybe a dynasty isn’t that far away for the Padres.