The San Diego Padres offseason was as quiet as one would expect for a team that enters spring training with the second lowest payroll in the National League. There were no major additions made by GM Josh Byrnes even though the team went 47-36 from July 1 to the end of the season. Stuck in the hyper competitive NL West, the Padres have limited resources to attract impact players and their organization is not loaded with premium talent.
For the 2013 season, the Padres renovated Petco Park. The Bizarro World pitchers park in a bandbox universe had its dimensions reduced and the height of its walls shortened. Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin may enjoy better years and the Padres should have better luck in the future attracting free agent sluggers.
The biggest offseason news of the positive variety from San Diego was the signing of 3B Chase Headley to a one year $8.6 million dollar deal. Headley had a career year in 2012, posting a .498 slugging percentage, hitting 31 homers and leading the NL with 115 RBI. The one year deal was prudent considering Headley hit a combined 27 home runs in the previous three seasons and has a lifetime slugging percentage of .418.
The offseason news of the negative variety pertained to Yasmani Grandal. Grandal had an 8 HR/36 RBI/.469 stat line in 192 at bats in 2012 and is considered a core player in San Diego’s future. Unfortunately, MLB announced in November that Grandal tested positive for PED’s and will be suspended for the first 50 games of 2013. His name has also been linked to the BioGenesis Clinic PED investigation.
Infielder Jedd Gyorko has the potential to be an impact player in 2013. He hit 24 home runs and slugged .588 at Tuscon of the Pacific Coast League, being named the #10 prospect in the PCL by Baseball America. Gyorko should push for playing time at second base or a corner outfield position.
The Padres #1 prospect according to Baseball America could make a push for a rotation spot sometime in 2013. Casey Kelly had a strong 2011 at Double A San Antonio but missed much of 2012 with an elbow injury. He pitched well at the Double and Triple A levels, but struggled in 6 six starts with the Padres in 2012.
Another prospective starter Andrew Cashner suffered a lacerated thumb in a hunting accident. He may miss the first month of the season. Despite the strong finish a Padre miraglo will be needed to compete in the NL West. Byrnes was wise to save the organizations resources and attempt to build from within. University of Miami teammates Grandal and first baseman Yonder Alonso must take the next step in their development. Hopefully for the Friars, Jedd Gyorko can transfer his hitting numbers from the PCL to Petco and provide a legitimate presence at either second base or right field. Pitching prospects like Casey Kelly and Cory Luebke must also pan out for the Padres to have a realistic chance at competing.
Even if Padres fans prayers are answered, and everything breaks their way, anything above a fourth place finish should be considered a small miracle.