Padres News: Padres Counting On The Mainstays


As the season soon approaches, the excitement over the San Diego Padres and their off-season is legitimate. There is no way in the history of Padres baseball that the city has been this excited for baseball in February.

The additions to the team, especially on offense have been dramatic to say the least. Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks will certainly pay dividends to their new team.

However lets take a look at some of the returning Padres on offense and there importance to the team in 2015. Jedd Gyorko and Yonder Alonso are very important to the team. Each are required to step up their game as the lineup around them will certainly be improved. Carlos Quentin, Cameron Maybin, Will Venable and Yangervis Solarte are also keys to succeeding this season.

Jedd Gyorko must absolutely return to form and flash the power and slight plate discipline that he showed in 2013. He injured his foot and just looked like a mess last year. He is entitled to a do-over, but he needs to perform. Anything near the 23 home runs from his rookie year would be outstanding. He has holes in his swing, and frankly a high batting average will never be his forte.

If he can hit 20 homers and drive in 80, while playing solid defense then the Padres get their money’s worth from him. He could also move to third base if the Middlebrooks project doesn’t pan out as expected.

With that being said, I anticipate Yangervis Solarte giving Will Middlebrooks a run for his money for the third base job. Solarte was an important part of the offense last season. Of all the position battles, I believe this one will go down to the wire. Solarte hit .267 for the Padres and played all over the field (shortstop, third base, second base and left field). He is essentially a super little ninja, or Alexi Amarista 2.0 

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Yonder Alonso needs to put it all together. He will be given every opportunity to put up the numbers. There will be no excuses, with the likes of Upton and Kemp hitting around you. I can remember when he was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds. I really thought he would blossom into a decent power hitter with average. The average might still be there, but he just doesn’t or hasn’t driven the ball with any authority.

He will truly be on a short leash. There are even some recent remarks about Carlos Quentin playing first base. I really don’t see that happening, you can’t just pick up a new position. Even first base, has a lot of nuances that the casual fan doesn’t realize. If Quentin is up for it, then more power to him. I feel Quentin’s real future will be with an American League team. His knees just can’t stand the grind of playing everyday. No knock on Quentin, as he is a great hitter when he has his legs under him. I anticipate Quentin and his $8 million dollar salary will find its way to an American League team looking for a DH.

Cameron Maybin has tremendous updide. I know, you’ve heard it. We all have heard it. He flashed it in 2011 and 2012 with a 4.5 and 3.0 WAR those 2 years. He has not come close to returning to that form, and to me has lost a step defensively. His contract is brutal, and I just don’t see the Padres being able to move him. Even A.J. Preller has his limitations.

Tommy Medica has shown the flair for the dramatic and has won the hearts of many Padres fans. In a crowded lineup of right-handed power hitters, he could emerge as a sleeper candidate. If he can cut down his swing with two strikes and put the ball in play a little more, he might be a serviceable player in the Major Leagues.

Cory Spangenberg provides the speed that the rest of the team lacks. Problem is, he projects as a super utility man, and the Padres are loaded in that area. Both Amarista and Solarte have the Major League service time that Spangenberg lacks. He could be up and down, especially if injuries hit the middle infield.

Abraham Almonte also could be up and down. He is a decent prospect in the outfield, but is buried by depth. As is Rymer Liriano. The five-tool talent will be in Triple A El Paso. The Padres want to see him play everyday, if he is not packaged in a deal. He has been rumored in a few deals here and there this off-season.

Will Venable will probably return as a left-handed bat off the bench and a potential late-inning replacement for Wil Myers in center. He is the senior member of the Padres and his leadership will be needed in the clubhouse. 2015 will be his walk year, and at $4.5 million dollars, he could be moved if valued by another team.

Its going to be delicate at times removing Matt Kemp, Wil Myers or Justin Upton for a defensive replacement. Bud Black is going to have to juggle a lot of different emotions from a lot of different personalities. Things like this are really going to show if Black is a quality manager. The spotlight will be on him, and the national media has already adopted the Padres as a team to watch. They like us all realize, win or lose, this is going to be a fun team to watch!

Next: What If The 2015 Season Is A Flop?

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