I have four San Diego Padres jerseys and only one has a player’s name on it. It’s a brown 1984 Tony Gwynn #19 throwback jersey. When you decide to put a player’s name and number on your back, you want to make sure it’s a player you’re proud to represent. Someone who stands out to you as an integral part of your favorite team.
So with all these new players the Padres have added to the team this off-season, it’s time to decide which one is worth both your monetary ($293.99 for an Authentic Home Jersey) and fandom investment.
First, lets narrow down the list to realistic candidates, since I very much doubt we’ll see many Tim Federowicz jerseys in the stands, no offense Tim. So we’ll focus today on Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers, Derek Norris, Will Middlebrooks, and James Shields.
We’ll start with the first big piece the Padres brought in, Matt Kemp. Strange to think a player so disliked by Padres fans when he was with the Los Angeles Dodgers, could suddenly be so beloved and represented in San Diego. Time will tell if Kemp can perform like the MVP caliber outfielder we hated to see come up to bat against us for so many seasons; but regardless of how things work out with Kemp during his time with the Padres, a Matt Kemp jersey will always represent the kickoff to this exciting time in San Diego Padres history.
Next up, Justin Upton, another outfielder we loathed to face during his time with NL West foe, the Arizona Diamondbacks. The animosity Padres fans feel towards the Diamondbacks however, is not and never will be close to that of the Dodgers. So, Upton would seemingly have an advantage to winning over Padres fans than Kemp, right?
Not so fast.
Upton is currently only with us for the 2015 season, then his existing contract will run out and he’ll be a free agent if the Padres fail to sign him to a new contract. Now, if he signs with the Padres, I would go with a Upton jersey over a Matt Kemp.
Upton is younger and a new contract would mean more time with the club to grow into Padres legend. Kemp, no matter how successful he might be in San Diego, will likely be remembered more for being a Dodger than a Padre, much like Steve Garvey.
Speaking of youth and potential, Wil Myers certainly fits the bill. There are a lot of questions about Myers like, can he return to his impressive rookie self? Does he fit in center field or will he be moved to first? Time will tell, but if you want to invest in someone who will be with the Padres for a while, Myers is your guy. He’s a gamble but the payoff would have a lot of upside. I invested in an Eric Weddle jersey after his rookie year and that certainly worked out.
Next, our new catcher, Derek Norris. With the rise of the “Lumbersexual”, players with beards are popular and Norris can grow a mean one. He’s already been an All-Star in Oakland and looks like he’ll be a solid catcher and hitter for us.
With Austin Hedges waiting to be called up soon though, who knows how often or how long it’ll be Norris behind the plate. Hedges has been a rumored trade piece recently when the Padres attempted to acquire Cole Hamels. So if that happens, we can be sure Norris will be more worth your investment.
Will Middlebrooks is another player with great upside we’re hoping can bounce back after a lackluster season. He’s shown he can win on the big stage (WS with Red Sox) and since I played the hot corner in Little League I’ve always been a fan of guys who can take the heat. If I were a buyer, I would wait and see how things go with Middlebrooks this season before opening my wallet.
Lastly, we come to the big-fish free agent signing, James Shields. Shields is a proven work-horse and I’m sure he’ll give his all for the Padres. That said, pitcher jerseys do lack a certain something, right? This is baseball and guys who get the hits and score the runs are celebrated more than pitchers; unless they reach that legendary status like Jake Peavy or Trevor Hoffman, which I’m sure we all hope Shields does.
So, what do you guys think? Cast your vote and let your opinion be known in the comments below. I say, if you’re in the market for a new Padres jersey right now, then I would go with a Blue Alternate Kemp.
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