February 25, 2006

The Fathers

We now move to the reigning NL West "champs," the San Diego Padres. They won the division last year, despite barely even having a winning record. It wasn't just that there was parity in the division (all the teams were bad) but they got knocked around by everyone else too.

Their team has defnitely declined from last season. Aside from Peavy (a genuine ace) their pitching is lousy despite the fact that they play in a fantastic pitcher's park. I wouldn't take any of their non-Peavy starters on the road if my life depended on it. You're in trouble when Woody Williams is your #2 starter, and your rotation is rounded out by the incomparable (except maybe with each other) Chan Ho Park and Shawn Estes. Their bullpen is quite terrible too, with a declining Trevor Hoffman the only pitcher of note.

Offensively, they have improved. They kept Brian Giles, will hopefully have a healthy Dave Roberts this year, and have made a huge upgrade with Mike Cameron in center field. In a wash, they traded away their disappointing 3b prospect Burroughs and replaced him with the aging Vinny Castilla, who I bet will have a terrible year in Petco. They signed Piazza, who is declining but could probably reproduce Hernandez's numbers. His defense is terrible, but luckily(?) his body is so worn out that he can only catch so many games this season anyway.

This team is still better than the D-backs or the Rockies, but San Fransicso and LA are clearly the 'class' of this division, and the Padres will likely be lucky to be less than 10 games out of second place at the end of the season.