The San Diego Padres may not have realistic World Series aspirations, but they do have a lot to look forward to. The Pads finished the 2012 season with a 76-86 record and ultimately missing out on the postseason. However, they did play good baseball post All-Star Break. After a very unsatisfying 34-54 first half of the season, San Diego caught fire and ended up going 42-32 in the second half of the season. Including one stretch where they won 17 of 24. Though there are some high expectations to some areas for San Diego, there are many questions that must be answered before the season starts.
Yasami Grandal for starters. Last season, Grandal got the nod as the starting catcher and caught 55 games for San Diego. Solid .297 average at the plate an impressive .988 fielding percentage. During the off season, unfortunately, Grandal tested positive for high levels of testosterone. With no appeal, Grandal will miss the first 50 games of the season. Who does San Diego look to catch in the meantime? Nick Hundley and John Baker will share duties, assumingly. Comebined the two players rep a .198 average and a forgettable 3 homers. However, both have a better fielding percentage than Grandal, .990 for Bakers and .992 for Hundley. It’s almost a coin toss with the two.
Nobody in the ML walked more batters than San Diego’s own, Edinson Volquez. Being healthy and his control have been issues for Volquez for some time now. In Volquez’s defense, he hasn’t pitched a full season since 2008 with the Reds, where he won 17 games and sported a 3.21 ERA with 200 plus strikeouts. Numbers the Padres were hoping to get when they acquired him. Volquez has moments of brillance and flash but more moments of inconsistency. San Diego and Volquez are hoping those fortunes change in 2013.
The Chase Headley dilemma. As all Padres faithful know, Headley was in the middle of a ton of trade talks during last season’s deadline. He remained in San Diego and the organization even extended him! – 1 year. Common sense tells us, Headley will be in the middle of trade talks, again.
Carlos Quentin. A healthy Carlos Quentin is a very dangerous thought. When he is able to play, Quentin can put up the numbers he put up in Chicago. During his tenure with the White Sox, the slugger hit 107 home runs over 4 seasons. And in 2008 he even eclipsed the century mark in RBIs. Quentin only played in 86 games last season, but he managed to still hit 16 home runs, good enough for second on the team. If Quentin can stay healthy, the Padres can have a solid middle of the mine up.
The San Diego fanbase haven’t experienced the playoffs in quite some time now. Dating back to 2006. Six consecutive seasons without postseason play, twice being knocked out of contention on the last day of the season. If bad luck to stay away from San Diego, the Padres can make a run at the Wild Card, or dare I even say, the NL West.