Spring Training is underway and thus begins another MLB season. Expectations are high across the country as players do their best to perfect their craft and be the best baseball player they can possibly be heading into 2016.
Rookies and veterans will be showcasing their talents in an attempt to impress coaches, teammates, and fans alike as the anticipation builds for the start of the regular season. Organizations are doing everything possible to prove to the nation that they are ready to compete with the other top-tier teams of today. The San Diego Padres currently are not one of those teams. However, how far away are they?
The 2015 season for the San Diego Padres was one of the most anticipated in history. General Manager A.J. Preller made headlines as he acquired a bevy of players via trades and free-agent signings last off-season. These moves excited the fan base, intrigued the media, and made the once irrelevant Padres, a seemingly very dangerous team that forced the baseball world to take notice.
Sadly, Padre fans were left quickly questioning the rationale of these moves as the team struggled the vast majority of the year which culminated in a fourth place finish and a 77-88 record.
Not only did many of the moves made by Preller not go the way he and the fans had hoped, they also cost the Padres many of their young minor leaguers such as Trea Turner, Joe Ross, and Matt Wisler. After the abysmal 2015 season had come to an end, the once celebrated rookie GM was now the subject of ridicule as fans and media members questioned if the “win now” path that Preller was taking his team down was a wise one.
Now the 2016 season is right around the corner. The offseason for San Diego was a much quieter one. Instead of bringing in high-caliber players like Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers in an attempt to create buzz, Preller traded away big name relievers Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit to bolster the previously depleted farm system.
Moves such as these are usually associated with teams that are in a rebuilding mode and while management continues stress that they are NOT rebuilding, many have their doubts. Media figures and most projection websites have pinned the Padres to win somewhere between 70-79 games with another fourth place finish. Could it be possible for San Diego to overcome the projections and prove the doubters wrong? Probably not. However, they may be in a much better place than some think. There are a few positions and players that may be worth a deeper look as to what they can bring to the table.
Wil Myers is poised for the best season of his career. All signs point to him having a breakout year offensively as well as defensively. As of now, Myers is a fairly average defensive first basemen. Though, given his athleticism, he could grow to be very good.
Myers showed flashes of brilliance in his brief time at first even without much preparation. He has stated that first is his prefered position and The Padres hope that keeping him in one place will relieve all stress that could interfere with him at the plate, which is where he is most valuable. San Diego needs Wil to stay in the lineup as much as possible to replace any lost offense with Justin Upton now in Detroit.
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