Welcome, Padres fans! This post is about your team! The required admission is to think about that picture. And, no, this will never get old for me.
Last season, the Giants went 12-6 against the Padres. It sure was frustrating in 2010, when the Padres seemed to have the Giants' number. I'm thinking the Giants' number was 867-5309, but only because I'm a jerk who wants you to hum a 30-year-old song all day. Turns out that a head-to-head record is the kind of thing that fluctuates from year to year. Sure didn't seem like that when Clayton Richard was scattering six hits and a walk over seven innings every other day.
But the Padres were bad last year. Conventional sabermetrics holds that one player can't be worth 19 wins, which is what the Padres dropped between '10 and '11, so I'm thinking Adrian Gonzalez could have been worth only 16 or 17 wins, tops. And to add to that misery, they had future Giants like Brad Hawpe and Ryan Ludwick clomping around, doing all sorts of things to not help the Padres win games. It was amusingly horrific. And boring! I hear there are plans for a commemorative bobblehead this summer to celebrate the run that scored in Petco Park last August. It's in the shape of a run. You … forget it, you just have to see it.
The Padres made a plethora of moves this offseason though. They did things that indicated they were rebuilding; they did things that indicated they were going for it. They did things. Here's a look at what they did:
I'm sure I missed a minor transaction or two, but that's the bulk of it. Last year the Padres traded Adrian Gonzalez away. Nude little cherubs came down from the sky and told me so, holding a banner with the news written on it in perfect penmanship. This year, it looks like they've made far better moves. The only move that I hated of theirs was the Rizzo-for-Cashner trade. Because if I'm a team that has a hot first-base prospect, I know I'm looking for wild relievers who missed the season because of shoulder problems.
But the other moves were great, especially considering that we don't have to look at Mat Latos nearly as much. There isn't a sunblock strong enough to protect from those kinds of sneerburns. Yonder Alonso isn't a sure thing, but the Padres also got Grandal with him. That will allow them to trade Hundley soon, which could get them even more prospects. Carlos Quentin is a bit of a galoot, especially in Petco's big outfield, and his low-average stylings are going to look hilarious in Petco -- thinking .201/.320/.430 -- but he can still hit. Just eyeballing it, that guess looks like an OPS+ of about 115, depending on the league averages this year.
They didn't overpay for a closer; instead, they had a closer bequeathed to them. They have a good farm system with some majors-ready talent. I'm not going to say that the Padres are favored to win the division, but I'm more scared of them now than I was after the offseason between 2009 and 2010. They certainly had one of the more interesting offseasons in the NL West this year.
I'm not ready to declare that the Padres' front office is filled with smartypantses who will crush us all -- I really can't express how much I hated the Rizzo/Cashner trade -- but when I look at the Padres' roster, I see a lineup with players would should be in a lineup, and a rotation with pitchers who should be in a rotation. I also see a good, young center fielder that was traded after the Marlins started drunk-dialing teams. Oh, looking to acquire a center fielder now, Miami? Thinking Chris Coughlan isn't the answer, hmmm? Idiots.
The Padres aren't favorites, but I think they might have improved even after losing Mat Latos. Could be wrong. Please note that I didn't even look at their projected bullpen to see which lacrosse academies they raided. I don't want to know about Mance Halsterton until he's getting through his third 1-2-3 inning of the series, please.