New Year = New Hope
Happy New Year everyone! Can you believe that it’s 2010 already? I certainly can’t. It’s unbelievable how fast the time is going by!
But I’m super excited about a new year, which means a new season of Padres baseball! Let’s see, it’s been about three months since I got to listen to a Padres game. It doesn’t seem like much, but it has been a really long time! On the bright side, we have just over a month until pitchers anc catchers report. This season is going to be here before we know it!
I would like to look at the team as it stands right now. I know we’ll probably make a few more moves before Opening Day, but as of right now, what does the team look like?
Pitching: I think we’re definitely going to have to add at least one more veteran guy to this rotation. Right now, we’ve got Kevin Correia, Mat Latos, Wade LeBlanc, Clayton Richard, and Chris Young in contention for the rotation, among others. Oh dear, I hope so much that CY will be able to stay healthy all year. I miss him sooo much!! These are all great guys, and great pitchers as well. That said, most of them are very young. If the Padres add a veteran pitcher or two, I think we can take that as a sign that some of these guys are going to be in the minors for the first half of the season. Latos, LeBlanc, Richard, are amazing pitchers, but there’s room to grow. I think that the Padres are going to try to get some more starting pitchers before Spring Training.
I think the bullpen is good to go, though. Sure, you can never have enough pitching, but we have a great group of guys out there right now: Mike Adams, Greg Burke, Mike Ekstrom, Luke Gregerson, Edward Mujica, Joe Thatcher, Ryan Webb, plus the closer, Heath Bell. I don’t think we’ll have too much of a problem with finding guys for that bullpen.
Catching: Catching is one of the biggest gaps that I see on this team right now. We only have Nick Hundley and Dusty Ryan on the roster right now, both very young guys. I’m still not sure how the Padres are going to sort out this position, but my best bet would be that they sign a veteran catcher. It would make a lot of sense. So, we definitely need a little help on the catching side.
Infield: I think we’re very well covered in the infield: we’ve got Adrian Gonzalez, David Eckstein, Everth Cabrera, and Kevin Kouzmanoff. All four are phenomenal defensive players, and they’re a blast the watch. You’ve got a two-time Gold Glove winner in Adrian Gonzalez. A veteran guy in Eck. A young, but excellent guy in Everth. Plus an almost-Gold-Glove winner in Kouz. I feel very safe with this infield. They’re amazing!
Outfield: Like Hyun Young said, this outfield is very, very young. We’ve got Kyle Blanks, Luis Durango, Tony Gwynn, Chase Headley, and Will Venable. Kyle really impressed last year. He’s a big kid with a lot of power, and I think he’s a fixture in the outfield.
Durango didn’t play much in the outfield when he was up here at the end of last year, but he can run. He caused quite the stir in San Diego after a few stunning games. If he gets on base, he’s going to get to second. Or third. I am really excited about seeing what this guy can do.
T. Gwynn’s been in the majors for a while, but I think he’s going to thrive here. It’s super exciting Chase has been in the outfield for a couple seasons, but is still pretty young. As long as he finds his bat, I think he’ll have a great season.
And Will. I love Will. He’s a great kid, and an amazing outfielder. I really hope he sticks around on the roster for the whole season.
We’ve got a great outfield, but very young. I think we definitely need to sign a veteran guy.
Bench: I’d say that the bench is the biggest problem. Our bench has always been terrible. We’ve tried guys like Tony Clark and Cliff Floyd, but they’ve always been hurt or not that great. It’s a really tough part to play, coming off the bench late in a game all the time, but hey, it has to be done. I definitely think that we need help in this area.
So, as you can see, things are looking pretty positive. I don’t think we’re 100%, but we’re getting close. A few pieces, and I really think that we can have a great winning season.
That’s the biggest thing that we need to work on this season: winning. The second half of last season was great. I really, really loved being a fan of a winning team. It was so much fun! But that’s gotta carry over to this season. Padres fans are getting excited about this team. Things are changing for the good, and I just really hope that we’re not wrong in placing our trust in this team.
No matter what happens, it’s going to be great to have baseball back. I miss it: the sound of a well-struck ball off the bat, long summer nights listening to Ted, Andy, and Jerry, the beauty of a ball snagged by an infielder and hurled across the infield. I miss it a lot!
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I can’t wait for 2010 Padres baseball. GO PADRES!!!