In my first blog, I gave reasons for optimism for the 2013 Padres. Last time, I spent an extended period of time on the greatest reason for optimism: Chase Headley.
Today, we’re going to look at the downside; things that could hold the Padres back. I wince as I write, not wanting to see my beloved friars go down in flames, but I must be honest. So, here we go:
- The starting pitching is a mess. On most other teams, Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez would be solid #3 starters. But they have to be our top two. Coming out of spring training, and assuming they don’t make any more moves, they will be followed by any three of the following: Jason Marquis, Freddy Garcia, Eric Stults, Casey Kelly, Anthony Bass, and Tim Stauffer. That is hardly an awe-inspiring bunch.
- Injuries to pitchers. This is a big one. Last year, Cory Leubke was the one bright spot for the Padres in April. In five starts, he had a 2.61 ERA and 1.16 WHIP, with a 3-1 record. Then, Tommy John came calling. Hopefully, he’ll be back in July. Joe Wieland, another young arm with great potential, will likely have to wait until 2014.
- Andrew Cashner, on two counts: first, he disregarded the team’s suggestion that he play winter ball, and thus prepare for next season. Second, he hurt his thumb in a hunting accident, and so now he will likely miss the first month of the season. Not good. I was always taught that if management makes a suggestion, it’s actually a command. Too bad Cashner didn’t feel that way.
- While Kelly has great potential, he missed a great deal of 2012 with injuries. Thus, he would probably be better served starting in AAA. But because of the Padre’s needs, he will probably begin with the big club, which could mean a rocky April.
- Promising young catcher Yasmani Grandal tested positive for PEDs, and will miss the first 50 games. This is heartbreaking, and was totally preventable. Missing the first third of the season is bad enough; but when he comes back, he will have to regain the trust of his teammates and fans. This will put him under a great deal of pressure.
- Since Grandal won’t be able to play until June, the Padres will have to begin the season with Nick Hundley (.157 last year) and career backup John Baker. Silvery lining: Hundley has been granted a mulligan, and the opportunity to prove that his ’12 season was a fluke.
- Even after surgery, Carlos Quentin still has bad knees, which means he will likely only play 120-130 games…assuming that he doesn’t go on the DL.
- There is doubt as to whether Everth Cabrera is an everyday shortstop. While he does make the occasional flashy play, he is erratic. In 2/3 of a season last year, he committed 16 errors. That’s far too many. He also hit just .195 against lefties.
- Cameron Maybin still has not put it all together. While he has the tools, he has not been a consistent hitter in either of his first two seasons in San Diego.
- When are the Padres going to realize that Will Venable is at best a fourth outfielder? Yes, he did better last year than in previous seasons, but every year, it’s the same old story: “This is Venable’s make-or-break season with the Padres.” To be fair, Rymer Liriano is their RF for the future, and he will probably make the big club out of spring ’14, so maybe this time, the Padres really mean it.
Next time, I will make my prediction about how I believe the Padres will perform in 2013.