MLB season preview: Yes, the Padres are going to be as bad as you think
You remember that scene in “Major League” when fans of the fictional Cleveland Indians are looking at their hodge-podge roster in astonishment.
“I never heard of most of ’em,” one says.
Then a few others say some more profane things we can’t reprint here. Well, that’s about the same thing you could say the 2017 San Diego Padres. And Padres fans, they’ll definitely be using some profanities this season.
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The Padres have Wil Myers, who is now their All-Star and face of the franchise after a breakthrough season of health and productivity in 2016. They recently signed Jered Weaver, who could be their Eddie Harris with enough luck and Crisco. After that? It’s a mixture of hanging-on veterans and young go-getters dressed up as a baseball team and hoping to win 62 games.
Prospect hunters will recognize names like Hunter Renfroe and Austin Hedges, but your average fan? The likes of Travis Jankowski, Ryan Schimpf and Yangarvis Solarte won’t exactly see their jerseys fly off the shelf this season either.
And that pitching rotation, ouch. It’s like the worst possible fantasy baseball autodraft, yet it’s actually what the Padres are working with this season. Godspeed, Padres fans, this one is going to be rough. (Mike Oz)
ADDITIONS & SUBTRACTIONS
Key additions: Jered Weaver, Trevor Cahill, Jhoulys Chacin
Key subtractions: Tyson Ross, Derek Norris, Jon Jay
Yeah, this is a rebuilding club. The Padres didn’t make any huge additions of subtractions during the offseason, and that’s just fine. There was no need for this team to go out and spend a ton of money in free agency. Instead, the team focused on finding veteran rotation options who can give them enough innings to get through the season and maybe provide leadership for the youngsters.
The Padres’ losses weren’t all that great, either. Ross could come back to hurt them, but he was injured last year. Jay was too old to be part of the team’s next competitive club, and San Diego already has a replacement for Norris in Hedges. (Chris Cwik)
Third baseman Yangervis Solarte is definitely the guy to watch in the 2017 season. Yeah, he’s slightly older (he’s 29), but after being given the chance at third base (after years in the minors), Solarte has started to thrive. He hit .286/.341/.467, his best triple slash ever, with 26 doubles and 15 home runs. He had a career high batting average with balls in play, .306, which is up from .279 in 2015, and while some of that can be attributed to luck, some of it is due to a higher contact rate. He’s making more contact, giving the ball more chances to find holes in the field. With third base being such a crucial infield spot, Solarte’s competence at the hot corner is vital, and he handled himself capably. There isn’t much to look forward to on the Padres in 2017, but Solarte should definitely be a bright spot. (Liz Roscher)
PROJECTED LINEUP & ROTATION
1. Manuel Margot, CF (.243/.243/.405, 0 HR, 3 RBI)
2. Travis Jankowski, LF (.245/.322/.313, 2 HR, 12 RBI)
3. Wil Myers, 1B (.259/.336/.461, 28 HR, 94 RBI, 99 R)
4. Yangervis Solarte, 3B (.286/.341/.467, 15 HR, 71 RBI)
5. Ryan Schimpf, 2B (.217/.336/.533, 20 HR, 51 RBI)
6. Hunter Renfroe, RF (.371/.389/.800, 4 HR, 14 RBI)
7. Austin Hedges, C (.125/.154/.167, 0 HR, 1 RBI)
8. Erick Aybar, SS (.243/.303/.320, 3 HR, 34 RBI)
1. Jhoulys Chacin (6-8, 4.81 ERA, 144 IP, 119 K)
2. Clayton Richard (3-4, 3.33 ERA, 67.2 IP, 41 K)
3. Jered Weaver (12-12, 5.06 ERA, 178 IP, 103 K)
4. Trevor Cahill (4-4, 2.74 ERA, 65.2 IP, 66 K)
5. Luis Perdomo (9-10, 5.71 ERA, 146.2 IP, 105 K)
The Padres are a rebuilding franchise without much short-term of upside. The best they can hope for in the big picture is the continued development of top prospects like Margot and Renfroe, in addition to smart decisions geared toward the future. In the standings, it would take a lot surprises to climb past 70 or out of last place in the NL West. (Mark Townsend)
One look at the roster suggests this team is ticketed for at least 95 losses, with 100-plus also a strong possibility. Landing a top draft pick is not necessarily a terrible scenario, but any season wallowing in irrelevance is bad for business. (Townsend)
PRESSING FANTASY QUESTION
Was Wil Myers’ breakout for real?
There’s nothing performance-related from Wil Myers’s breakout year that looks especially unrepeatable— his average and OBP were around career marks, and a power jump wasn’t that surprising given how Petco Park has been more homer-friendly in recent years. The 28 stolen bases also seem real, given an 80-percent success rate over Myers’s career, tired to his raw speed, instincts and athleticism. But how much health risk are you willing to bake into Myers’s cost? He only played 147 games in 2014-2015, before logging a full season (157 games) last year.
Myers makes more sense in a medium or shallow mixed league, where you acknowledge his upside but have a high replacement value if he gets hurt again. He’s more volatile in deeper-mixed and mono-league formats, where one injury can torpedo your draft plan. His ADP in the high 50s is reasonable, a test of your risk-reward tolerance. (Scott Pianowski)
Jered Weaver is the newest Padre, and he’s pretty new to Twitter, as well. After claiming the handle @Weave1036, he’s only been posting for a few weeks, but he already seems to have the hang of it.
I've met 167 people over the last two days.. my worst attribute: remembering names! pic.twitter.com/BJ8FuMbf51
— Jered Weaver (@Weave1036) February 21, 2017
Awesome GIF plus a real life problem? That’s a pro move. Weaver spent the past 11 years with the Los Angeles Angels, and since he’s with a new team now, we should be getting a lot of great firsts from him as he gets to know his team and a new city. And hopefully he starts remembering a few of those names. (Roscher)
BEST REASON TO ATTEND A GAME
Look, the product on the field isn’t going to be great, so you may want to focus on other things while you’re at the ballpark. Thankfully, the city of San Diego can provide plenty of fun distractions. The weather will most likely be perfect and Petco Park is beautiful. For those Padres fans who need a little something extra to watch this team, the Padres consistently rate near the top of the league when it comes to craft beers. If you have to watch bad baseball, at least you can do so with a Double Apricot IPA. We imagine the beer selection will be a huge positive for anyone willingly watching the team this year. (Cwik)
ALSO IN THIS SERIES: San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics, Milwaukee Brewers, Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta Braves, Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, New York Mets, Houston Astros, Washington Nationals, San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs
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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @MikeOz