After a five-day All Star break hiatus, the San Diego Padres are set to return to baseball at Petco Park on Friday against the Colorado Rockies. The All-Star break seemed longer this year, but we made it, guys. Back to baseball and the 2nd half of the season!
As you all know, the Padres first half was incredibly disappointing. Pretty much everyone underperformed and everything went wrong for the Friars, who currently sit at 41-49. The team OBP is tied for last in the league with the White Sox, and they sit in the bottom five of the major leagues in average and offensive team WAR.
The pitching has let them down as well, and although it has improved of late, it still rests in the bottom part of MLB in ERA and in numerous pitching categories. At the break, the Padres sit 10 games behind the first place Dodgers and 7.5 games out of the second wild card spot that is currently held by the Chicago Cubs.
There is exactly 13 games before the July 31 trade deadline and time is running out for the 2015 Padres. What is going to happen from here on out? I have a few predictions on what is going to happen in the upcoming week, month, and final 72 games of 2015.
1. The Padres come out of the All Star Break with a 8-2 homestand
That’s right Padres fans, this team will mess around and provide us with a little bit of hope (albeit maybe false in the end) out of the gate. In the first game of the second half, the Padres get to face the last place Colorado Rockies and SP Jorge De La Rosa, who has been hit around quite a bit by the Padres this season. The Padres also get to face Chad Bettis (who sports nearly a 5 ERA) and have another favorable matchup in the final game of the series.
I’m predicting a sweep, because I think this team is going to be fresh, motivated, and ready to roll. Justin Upton recently said that he wants to stay in San Diego past the trade deadline, so I would definitely expect a little extra edge out of him. The Giants and Marlins then come to town, and neither of those teams have been exactly scorching out of the break. I think they’ll take 2/3 from San Fran and then 3/4 from the Fish, putting them somewhat back in the race while making GM AJ Preller’s deadline decisions even more difficult.
2. Matt Kemp has a great second half of the season
This one makes a lot of sense, at least in my eyes. Kemp is traditionally a strong second half player and was even more of one last season, when he hit 17 bombs (second only to Jose Bautista and Chris Carter) and had a 170 wRC+ (second only to Buster Posey). That 170 wRC+ was about 70% better than the average major leaguer. In the last 7 games before the break, Kemp hit .345/.387/.621 with a couple of homers and 6 RBI. Kemp is too good to not get hot. He will in the second half, and the team will benefit.
3. Justin Upton and Andrew Cashner are the 2 biggest names traded
In my opinion, Justin Upton is pretty much as good as gone. With reports that the Padres have been scouting both the Astros and Mets farm, it seems like Justin will be traded at or before July 31. If the Padres truly get hot before the deadline, maybe, just maybe, Preller hangs onto him and takes a draft pick next year. In most likelihood, though, Justin Upton’s wearing a different jersey come August.
Another guy who will be traded is Andrew Cashner. In my opinion, he needs a change of scenery more than any other Padre. He is also one that will gather a pretty darn good return. Execs around the league really like Cashner, and reports are the Blue Jays are interested in him. A reunion with his former team, the Cubs, has also been thrown around. Cashner and Upton are dealt. Along with them, Joaquin Benoit, Ian Kennedy, Will Venable, Shawn Kelley, and Yonder Alonso will all be sporting new jerseys post-deadline.
I think that Tyson Ross and Craig Kimbrel are going to stay Padres for a number of reasons. I love Tyson Ross and think he’s a top-tier talent that is going to keep getting better even though his age doesn’t hint at it. The Craig Kimbrel trade doesn’t look so great now and I don’t think that Preller wants to give away the best closer in the game and risk disaster. (in my opinion).
4. Cody Decker gets called up to the major leagues
Guys, I think it’s time. It’s time to free Cody Decker and give him a shot in the majors. Sure, he doesn’t have a position, but this is a year where the Padres have played Yonder Alonso at 3B, Will Middlebrooks at SS, and Wil Myers and Alexi Amarista in CF. Alexi has even pitched!! Yes, we will see Cody Decker in the bigs, and it will be fantastic. I’m sure his twitter account (@Decker6) will be fantastic when that day comes as well.
5. Rhymer Liriano impresses in August and September on the big league club
I am a huge Rhymer Liriano fan, and I think he’s ready to show up and be a pretty good player in the major leagues. After Yonder Alonso and Justin Upton get dealt, Wil Myers comes back from injury and becomes an everyday 1B. This opens the door for Rhymer to play LF everyday for a few months. He will impress. He is ready. And his twitter fan account (@RhymingLiriano) is just rearing to go.
6. Wil Myers and Matt Kemp hit back to back home runs
Oh yes, this will happen. And ladies everywhere will SWOOOOOOOON. (No joke, I might too!)
7. The return of the brown in San Diego
Whether the all-star logo reveals brown in it or not, the Padres will bring back the brown in some way, shape or form, and plan on making it a staple and part of the 2016 uniforms. There is just too much talk for this NOT to happen. BRING BACK THE BROWN!
8. Wil Myers will appear in a Segway Commercial sometime in September.
9. Taylor Swift comes to Petco Park for her concert and is so impressed, she appears on Padres Social Hour and becomes a huge Padres fan! She also writes a new Padres anthem!
Okay, maybe not. But we can hope, right? (Team Swift Forever!)
10. The Padres will end up at 81-81
A disappointing season will wrap up with a 81-81 record. The second half will be much more enjoyable than the first half, though. The Padres tried something in 2015 and it failed, but thanks to Preller’s trade deadline, the franchise has a better direction and more hope headed into a 2016 offseason, one which sources say the Padres will be ready to spend in free agency to get some talent.
BASEBALL IS BACK! Go Padres!