As promised, here is the Padres’ entry in the Needs and Luxuries series.
C – Josh Bard
1B – Adrian Gonzalez
2B – Matt Antonelli
SS – Khalil Greene
3B – Kevin Kouzmanoff
LF – Scott Hairston
CF – Jason Lane
RF – Brian Giles
SP – Jake Peavy
SP – Chris Young
SP – Greg Maddux
SP – Justin Germano
Setup: Heath Bell
Closer: Trevor Hoffman
The 2007 Padres were 15th of 16 NL teams with a .322 OBP. They were 12th with a .411 SLG. Those numbers may be misleading – looking only at road games, the Padres were 6th in OBP and 3rd in SLG. Still, you’d like to have a few regulars top a .760 OPS at home next year (no one pulled it off in ’07).
Center field, left field, and second base are question marks heading into ’08. There are viable in-house options. Antonelli was named "the best second base prospect in the game" by Kevin Goldstein after a breakout year. He played college ball; he’ll be 23 in April. He’s only got 49 games of Double A experience under his belt, so the Padres could bring in some veteran competition this spring.
Hairston and Lane are both interesting outfield candidates, perhaps for a left field platoon. If Hairston can stay healthy he may finally establish himself as a regular. Kouzmanoff could enter the LF mix as well with third base prospect Chase Headley coming on strong. Intriguing one-year option: Barry Bonds.
As for center field, that’ll be filled from the outside. Kosuke Fukudome could play there for a year and shift to right field after that. Kevin Towers may make a huge one-year offer to Andruw Jones; Boras has scoffed at the one-year idea but you never know. Trading for Coco Crisp doesn’t make sense; the Friars need to add offense. Aaron Rowand could be a consideration.
It’ll be interesting to see how Kevin Towers fills his fifth starter spot. He could sign Josh Towers if he’s non-tendered. He could go for rehab projects like Matt Clement, Mark Prior, or a million others.
Towers continues to create solid relievers out of nowhere. Many have seen success vanish after San Diego, but there will still be a market for guys like Heath Bell (1.46 ERA in 49 road innings). The Padres could use Bell to pursue Adam Dunn or Jason Bay. It would take more, but that could be a starting point.
Kouzmanoff or Hairston could also be expendable. Chase Headley hit .330/.437/.580 in 433 Double A at-bats and plays solid defense (Kouz does not, by most accounts). Kouzmanoff has more value than Hairston right now, and this is a great time to have an extra third baseman. The Twins and Phillies could have interest. After an awful April, Kouzmanoff hit .303/.355/.504 in 110 games.
The Padres entered ’07 with a $58MM payroll, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see $10-12MM added to that. Expect one major acquisition this winter, with Fukudome the favorite.