The San Diego Padres enter 2017 with few players with significant name recognition. Despite this, the team can excel and change this sooner than many think.
Get used to it, Padres fans. The narrative from the national media suggesting that this team is going nowhere is not going to change.
And the jokes will continue about how few players on the roster the average baseball fan has even heard of.
“How many Padres rotation members can you name?”, the headline read. And the sarcastic tone continued all throughout.
"“Unless you’re a Padres fan — and honestly, maybe even then at this point — you probably don’t know who is in San Diego’s projected rotation. Given that, you probably also don’t know who they’ve lined up behind the current starting five in case slash when some of them falter. As a baseball fan, though, you probably do know who all of these dudes are, you just don’t know how or when they ended up trying to pitch for the Padres. It’s a real mess that says pretty clearly that San Diego isn’t serious about 2017, and none of the names they’re still trying to get change that perception whatsoever.”"
There is no doubt that the Padres lack the big name starter. After all, Clayton Richard will get the Opening Day nod in all likelihood. But this doesn’t make San Diego any less serious about contending in 2017 and beyond.
Players such as Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, and Ryan Schimpf are developing before our very eyes. Veterans Wil Myers and Yangervis Solarte are returning to the club and staying for the long term. This isn’t just a roster overhaul. It’s a well thought out plan by general manager A.J. Preller and the front office unfolding on schedule.
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The pitching staff, of course, is still a work in progress. But even there, additions such as Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Cahill, Tyrell Jenkins, and now possibly seasoned veteran Jered Weaver should cancel out the loss of Tyson Ross and Edwin Jackson, especially since Ross started only one game in 2016.
But the Padres still aren’t going to get any respect any time soon. All of these young budding stars will remain no names in the time being. This is something fans will just have to get used to.
The bottom line is, winning is the only way to grab attention. But when a club wins, it’s easier to grab this attention than many realize. The Cubs, for example, were full of no names before Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Javier Baez, and Kyle Schwarber burst onto the scene. Now, these young superstars can easily be considered household names among baseball fans.
San Diego lost 94 games last season. Most look no further than this alone. But for those of us who do, the future is bright. And when the no names become household names, there will be no sweeter feeling.