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The line-up won’t change 

Nick Hundley

The everyday line-up is coming back almost exactly the way it was intended to be last year.  Questions, conjectures and all.  So, before we progress any further with our speculation of position players, here’s why you’ll see almost a carbon copy in the field in 2013:

In left field the decision was made, albeit and ill-advised one, to lock up Carlos Quentin.  He is your left fielder for at least 90 games in 2014.  I understand why Quentin received his contract but I don’t have to like it.  You won’t sign a free agent to play the position for less than half a year, to cover the time Quentin will be injured.

Back patrolling center will be Cameron Maybin.  He was injured all of 2013 and, given the fact he also got a guaranteed contract, he will get his job back.  I’d really like to see what the guy can do, but there’s no way of knowing that that is.

In right, you have the team MVP in 2013, who just got a contract of his own.  The thing about Will Venable is this, while he is a solid MLB-level player, he is not elite by any stretch.  Still, with his team-friendly contract, he is a guy you need if you’re a small-market team.

At third base, you have at least one more year of Chase Headley.  The catch is: he followed a phenomenal 2012 with a sub-par 2013.  You have no idea what you’re going to get out of him moving forward.  For that reason, the Padres have negotiating leverage in theory, but only in theory.  A team like the Yankees will be willing to give him whatever his agent asks for, even though the Padres will be justified to argue that he is not worth Evan Longoria-type money.

The lone All Star in 2013 will be back at shortstop.  Just like everyone else on this list, there are huge question marks surrounding whether he can repeat 2013 after getting busted for PED’s.  Even with those questions hanging in the air, a move here is doubtful, simply because of how good he was before he got the hammer from the MLB offices.

The best positional rookie since Khalil Greene will be the second baseman on opening day.  Since he’s under team control for years, Jedd Gyorko will be here a while.  However, anyone who saw his contact and on base numbers will attest that he could stand to improve in areas not relating to his power.  Even so, Jedd coming back at second base is about as close to a sure thing as exists in baseball.

Over at first you have the corner stone of the Mat Latos trade.  While I’m a huge fan of Yonder Alonso, some fans are grumbling about his lack of home run power.  This is a fair argument, but a foolish one.  Look at the doubles numbers and look at his ability to hit to all fields and you have a Mark Grace in the making.  I will take a triple slash of 290/370/480 out of my first baseman.  You’ve invested too much in him to move him.

At catcher, you have to assume either Nick Hundley or Yasmani Grandal will collect the majority of starts in 2014.  It is impossible to know which version of either one you’ll see: the 2012 Grandal that made fans cheer, or the 2013 one that made fans go “meh”.  The Hundley who can be the team’s best hitter for short stretches, or the guy who can go into a 4 for 38 slump.  Austin Hedges is not ready.  Hundley is guaranteed money.  You have to see what you have in Grandal.  Sounds like status quo to me.

In the end, even if you want to sign a free agent, where does he play?  Which one of these positions has a spot open?  The answer is: none of them.  That means the only avenue is a trade and I don’t know if these guys have much value on the open market.  So, you’re left with the same line-up in 2014.

The only other way to improve is on the mound.  I am left to assume the organization’s energies will focus there between now and February.

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About the author: Richard Dorsha

The Padres above all others. There is nothing else in sports I want more than a Padres World Series title. My sports fandom begins and ends with the Friars. A San Diegan and Padre fan for more than 30 years now. Love to view the Padres from a historical context after reading about the team's humble beginnings to the dream come true of joining the National League. Been to more Padre games than I can count, seen more hours of Padre baseball than I care to mention.

  • Your Aunt Fannie

    290/370/480 for Alonso. Don’t bogart that joint.

    He hit 11 doubles this year. Oh, he was injured? That’s not a plus. He hasn’t come close to that projection as a Padre and it’s not just because of Petco.

  • TannedTom

    ” Hundley is guaranteed money” ? OMG, let me catch my breath, I can’t stop laughing! This guy is the very defintion of “sucks”. On any good team , he would be organizational depth, stashed in AAA.
    The other assertion that was laughable is that there isn’t any open position to add a free agent. A C who was suspended and then injured, a 1B who hits like a SS (SLG pct was .368, nowhere near .480 by the way) , a SS who was suspended, a 3B who based on his last 2 years should be made to pee into a cup daily, a LF who is too injury-prone, a CF who has had one decent year but otherwise sucks, and a RF team MVP who is 31 and hits .256 with an .312 OBP. This team sucks the hind end or a yak. EVERY position should be open for upgrading.
    Start by recognizing reality:
    1) Trade Hundley. he is one of the worst catchers, gamble on Grandal.
    2) Trade Quentin. this is tough because he’s the best hitter on the team, but unless you’re moving him to 1B he really belongs on a DH team.
    3) Trade Maybin. Try someone who can actually hit a little.
    4) Trade Alonso. He might fetch a decent return because there are enough foolish GMs who think as you do, that he’s about to turn into Mark Grace. He hits more like Will & Grace.
    5) Either sign Headley and risk overpaying him, or trade him now. But nooooo, the Padres will do neither and then lose him for nothing next off season.
    6) Add 2, yes 2, middle of the order hitters. This will probably mean a real trade, and not just a salary dump. Adam Dunn can be had for nothing (let someone dump a decent player on us for a change) Curtis Granderson is available and can play LF or maybe CF. There are also Napoli, McCann, Beltran, Choo. Now admittedly these players are far from perfect, but at least they can hit the long ball and stay healthy.

    If the team is serious they’ll trade Alonso for a starting OF, trade for Dunn at almost no cost. and sign 1 free agent who can hit. The FO talks about increasing payroll, but that’s a smoke screen because after arbitration all that will allow them to do is bring back the current roster. They need to SPEND above that to bring in real player.

  • briankoke

    Cabrera’s great performance last year was after his involvment with Biogenesis. It’s not like he was suspended for testing positive this year. His involvment happened before last years production. What reason do we have to question whether or not he can duplicate last years performance?