2007 San Diego Padres

Alright, time for another one of these Team Outlooks.

Kevin Towers’s contract obligations:

C – Josh Bard – $0.3534MM
C – Rob Bowen – $0.33MM
1B – Adrian Gonzalez – $0.3275MM
2B – Josh Barfield – $0.327MM
SS – Khalil Greene – $0.405MM
3B –
IF – Russell Branyan – $1.25MM
LF –
CF – Mike Cameron – $7MM
RF – Brian Giles – $9MM
OF – Terrmel Sledge – $0.3475MM
OF – Ben Johnson – $0.3275MM

SP – Jake Peavy – $4.75MM
SP – Chris Young – $0.6MM
SP –
SP – Clay Hensley – $0.329MM
SP – Mike Thompson – $0.33MM
SP – Cesar Carrillo – $0.33MM

RP – Trevor Hoffman – $6.5MM
RP – Scott Linebrink – $1.75MM
RP – Cla Meredith – $0.33MM
RP – Jon Adkins – $0.33MM
RP – Brian Sweeney – $0.33MM
RP – Scott Cassidy – $0.33MM
RP – Justin Hampson – $0.33MM
RP – Mike Adams – $0.335MM

C – Mike Piazza – $0.75MM
1B – Ryan Klesko – $0.5MM

It seems that the Padres have a mere $36MM tied up after entering 2006 with a $70MM payroll.

Behind the plate, the Padres got enormous production from the Piazza/Bard combo.  Bard’s previous body of work may not be starting catcher-worthy, but it should be worth a shot.  Of course, if Piazza wants to play for one year and $3-5MM, you can’t turn that down.  He was a steal at $1.25MM in ’06.

Powered by a huge June-July stretch, Adrian Gonzalez finally justified his first overall selection in the 2000 draft.  Kevin Towers made out like a bandit in the Adam Eaton deal, netting Gonzalez and Chris Young.  This isn’t hindsight, either – the deal was a clear win for San Diego the day it was made.

With Barfield at second, it’s important to remember that he’ll be entering his age 24 season.  He’s solid, he’s cheap, and he should keep getting better.

The Pads didn’t get any offense from the shortstop position – a .699 OPS in total.  If Greene’s finger heals up this winter, he should get one more chance to establish himself as a healthy, productive player.

Another glaring hole is, of course, third base.  Reasonable solution: Japanese player Akinori Iwamura.  Like Kenji Johjima last winter, Iwamura looks like a bargain from where I sit.  You can forget silly A-Rod fantasies, but there are other decent options.  Adrian Beltre has been on the radar for a while now, and a swap for Mike Lowell is feasible.  Of course, that means giving up talent and decent money for league averageish production at the position.  Like I said – Iwamura.

The Pads are also in need of a decent backup infielder.  Tony Graffanino, Craig Counsell, and others are floating around.

Left field: Dave Roberts did a decent job as the team’s leadoff hitter this year.  But given the free cash, I think the Padres should inject this power position with, well, power.  Here I have 16 impact hitters listed who could be acquired.  Setting the sights a little bit lower, there’s Moises Alou, David Dellucci, Luke Scott, Pat Burrell, Adam Dunn, Frank Catalanotto, and Luis Gonzalez.  Adding one of these guys over Roberts would sacrifice some defense, however.

In the rotation, there’s a need for at least one guy – two if you don’t want to give a spot to Thompson or Carrillo.  Carrillo, one of the team’s better prospects, is currently rehabbing a sore elbow. 

The Padres seem to be the favorites for Barry Zito, but don’t expect their usual hometown discount.  I think this would be a good signing.  Right right, he’d be overpaid.  But the Padres have the need and the money.  Sometimes you have to overpay.  Peavy/Young/Zito would be a fearsome front three, and Hensley is an above average #4.

Really can’t complain about the bullpen.  Linebrink might get relatively big bucks as a free agent after 2007, but right now it’s a solid group.

If I was Kevin Towers, I’d probably sign Zito, Iwamura, a backup infielder, and a mid-tier left fielder.  If I had money left over and Piazza was the right price I’d bring him back.

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