Padres Editorial: James Shields, A.J. Preller Making Baseball Really Fun!


I can’t remember the last time I had this much fun in the off-season.

I’m an old guy. I started paying attention to Major League Baseball in 1972. Before you were born, remember, kids? This is my 43rd off-season since my eyes first opened to the glory that is baseball, and I can’t remember a single off-season that I’ve enjoyed so much. And I rooted for the Mets and then the Red Sox before moving to San Diego, during some pretty successful seasons.

Thank you, A.J. Preller. Thank you, Ron Fowler and Peter Seidler. Thank you, Mike Dee.

James Shields. Did you know he’s been the opening day starter for his team in all but two years of his career? The only times he wasn’t were in his first full season in 2007, when the Devil Rays trotted out Scott Kazmir and Jae Weong Seo before Shields took the third spot in the rotation, and then in 2011, David Price got the nod over Shields. That’s six Opening Day starts in eight years for the newest member of the San Diego Padres. And it’s not like these were terrible teams, in fact, most of them won more than 90 games. It will be interesting to see how Andrew Cashner, the current ace of the Padres, handles a challenge to the number one spot in the rotation. Isn’t that fun?

Power trip. The Padres now have a ton of guys with 20+ home run power. Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Jedd Gyorko, Will Venable, and Carlos Quentin have already hit 20 in the majors. (Man, Carlos Quentin is just like an itch under a cast at this point, isn’t he? You try to reach in to scratch him with a pencil, but that $9 million dollar salary keeps him just out of reach.) Wil Myers, Will Middlebrooks, Derek Norris, and Hunter Renfroe have each hit at least 20 in the minors. That’s NINE guys!

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Heck, there are three guys named Will with 20 home run power! Or there would be, if Myers were a better speller. Remember way back in 2014, when Yasmani Grandal’s 15 led the team? Yeah, me neither. I’m only looking forward now.

Dreaming about the postseason. After eight years in playoff purgatory, we’re not just thinking about whether or not the Padres have a shot at a Wild Card berth. We’re considering how the team matches up against the other teams likely to make the playoffs. Is the rotation good enough to beat Washington or LA in the playoffs? Who would be the DH in the World Series games played at the AL park? Will the owners open up the purse strings even further at the trading deadline to add one more arm or bat to propel San Diego into the role of postseason favorite? I wonder who it will be…

I can’t remember when I’ve had this much fun!

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