An elite rotation gets you into the playoffs. An elite rotation puts up great numbers, and usually has an All-Star or two. An elite rotation can lead your team even when the offense isn’t clicking. That’s what the Padres think they have. An elite rotation, with depth, leadership, and enough talent to help the get the Padres into the post-season for the first time in years.
James Shields challenged the rotation to pitch 1,000 innings in his introductory press conference. That would certainly make the rotation elite.
"“The coming years is the test to truly get in that discussion of the frontline starting pitcher,” manager Bud Black said of Cashner and Ross. “You have to pass the test of time. Those guys have shown the ability to be talked about of getting in that group – the Kershaws, the Wainwrights, the Bumgarners.“(Cashner and Ross) have those qualities that front-end-of-rotation guys have … They have the stuff, they have the makeup, the character, the talent. Now you have to do it year after year.”"
Both need to stay healthy, though they both will have less responsibility with Shields in the picture.
The Padres starting staff ERA was ninth in the league last year. The whole staff was first overall because of the bullpen.
If the Padres rotation is elite this year, it can make them compete with the Giants, Cardinals, Dodgers, Nationals etc, but it won’t matter if the offense doesn’t hit enough.
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