A few weeks ago, when Kevin Towers said he expects the Padres to be "pretty good" in 2010, many scoffed at the notion. ESPN's Buster Olney teams up with Baseball Prospectus and a few other members of the ESPN Insider staff to take a look at the Padres, what went wrong, what to expect in the future, and why there may be some hope for the Friars soon. ESPN Insider is required, but here's the highlights for those without:
- No surprise to see Olney say that the divorce of then-owner John Moores hit the team hard. That's a large part of the payroll cuts, and being forced to part with both Trevor Hoffman and Jake Peavy.
- Olney says that after going 32-21 since July 28, it's unlikely that the Padres trade Adrian Gonzalez this offseason. The Padres do feel they have a chance to be good.
- Olney likens the Padres free agent spending this offseason to going into a candy store with 50 cents, only being able to buy one thing. To put it another way, the Padres have a little to spend, but can't miss like the Rays did with Pat Burrell.
- Marc Normandin Baseball Prospectus highlights the contributions of young talent, such as Everth Cabrera (16.4 VORP), Will Venable (14.9) and Kyle Blanks (9.8). While Kevin Kouzmanoff and Chase Headley have disappointed, Normandin points out Kouzmanoff's strong second half. To his credit, Headley goes unmentioned but has tallied a very nice line of .305/.378/.445 in 66 second half games himself.
- The report suggests fielding offers on Heath Bell in order to allow pursuit of top free agents such as Randy Wolf or possibly even John Lackey and Chone Figgins. Bell's value will never be higher, and according to the report, many in the San Diego area expect Kevin Towers to listen on the All-Star closer. Interesting thought, but it's hard to picture the Padres in serious talks for Lackey or Figgins.
- Miguel Tejada is also mentioned as a possibility through free agency, to compensate for a lack of power in the middle infield.
- If what Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has to add to the report is true, the Padres may not be as in need of a frontline starter as some would think. Goldstein quotes one front-office official hailing rookie Mat Latos as a potential ace if his change-up develops more. "Seeing him in person was one of those 'holy [crap]' moments," the official said.