Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Padres will win the pennant before the Red Sox, Cubs or Mets

Call this a hunch.
Call this a long shot.

But I think I am right about this.
I think the San Diego Padres will be in a position to be in the World Series BEFORE big market teams like the Red Sox, Cubs or Mets.

Yeah yeah yeah, I know. The Padres were a whole lot of suck last year. And I know their penny pinching ways aren't going to end in 2012.

And their chances of winning in 2012 are slim to none.
You know... like the Diamondbacks' chances were in 2011.

I know the Padres will be in full "Let's see what we've got in the minor leagues" mode in 2012 and the mantra will be "Patience while we give some talented players some experience."

But guess what? That's a better place than the Red Sox, Cubs or Mets will be in for 2012.

The 2012 Red Sox will still be reeling from a September that took them from a potential World Series to the scorched Earth purging of the front office and management. Nobody even knows who is running the show.

The 2012 Cubs have a nice story with the arrival of Theo Epstein. But when he took over the Red Sox after the 2002 season, they had just won 93 games and were a contender until the last week of the season. This Cubs team is a 91 loss mess with the Soriano and Zambrano contracts making it damn near impossible to make any major moves this season.

And those two teams are locks for the playoffs compared to the Amazing Messed Up Mets. They have unmovable contracts, injured stars, their marquee player (Jose Reyes) is a free agent and who knows what their financial situation is. Will they be sold? Will MLB focus on the Mets after the Dodger debacle is cleared?

The Padres are in a much better place. They KNOW what they are doing. They are playing young prospects and have a low payroll.

Heath Bell could leave via free agency and give them even more payroll flexibility and draft picks. Or he could stick around and anchor the bullpen and give the young pitchers some built up confidence.

Mat Latos had a step back season but still wasn't bad. And he will only be 24 next season. Clayton Richards, Cory Luebke, Josh Spence and Ernesto Frieri are all young and pitching in one of the best pitchers parks in the league.

Um... that is potentially a staff 6 pitchers deep.
Can the Red Sox, Cubs or Mets say that? Honestly?

Plus they have young Robert Erlin, Anthony Bass, Joe Weiland and Casey Kelly not far away.

They have the likes of Cameron Maybin and Kyle Blanks who seem to have been around forever but they are both still only 25 years old.

They have the young Anthony Rizzo who has already made his big league debut. So did another minor league stud, James Darnell. Third baseman Jedd Gyorko is working his way up the system.

Mix that all in with the fact that they play in a totally unpredictable division.

Between 2005 and about 2 weeks to go in the 2007 season, it looked like the Padres had control of the NL West.

Oh wait! The Diamondbacks won the 2007 Division title and about midway through the 2008 season it looked like it was theirs for a while.

Oh wait! The Dodgers won it in 2008 and 2009. And for many years to come it was going to be the Dodgers' division.

Except that the Giants won it all in 2010. And their repeat in the NL West was preordained...

But nobody told the Diamondbacks who suddenly became the Division standard bearers again.

Throw in a pennant and a Wild Card in Colorado and this Division is anyones.
Teams turn around, flame out and turn around again quickly in the NL West.

And the Padres would have almost all of the names I mentioned controlled for a few years and be allowed to gel and have a few reasonable additions to the payroll. By 2013 or 2014 they will have a legit shot at the playoffs.

As we saw by the last few Octobers, a team can make it to the World Series if they get on a roll.

The Padres have a DIRECTION.
Can you honestly say that about the Red Sox? The Cubs? The Mets?

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  1. Anonymous8:35 AM


  2. That may be true.
    I may be a wanker

    But is what I wrote wrong?

  3. Anonymous3:17 PM

    I hope you're right. Padres fan here...hope they can step it up in the next couple years.

  4. Anonymous4:17 PM

    How long do they control each of those good young players

  5. Through 2013 or 2014

  6. For this to come true, a lot would have to go right for the Padres. Basically, all these bundles of potential that we dub 'prospects' actually have to develop into quality major leaguers, which is much rarer than people think. People always remember the one prospect that got away and developed into Cliff Lee. But what about the prospects that were shipped out for Curt Schilling? They were basically never heard from again. Fact of the matter is that the Yankees and Phillies haven't got much 'direction' other than spend money on good players and win. That's kinds of what the Sox are doing, and I think it will work sooner than the Padres' develop prospects plan. I mean, the Royals have been doing that for a long time, and they're still not close to contention. Sure the FanGraphs crowd (of which I am a member) is ready to crown them the 2013 World Champs based on prospects alone, but there are way more prospects that flame out rather than develop right.

  7. Oh I 100% agree Patrick.
    Prospects can wither and die.

    For every Ken Griffey Jr there are 4 or 5 Earl Cunninghams
    (Or Colby Rasmuses for that matter.)

    But I 100% disagree that spending more money will get the Red Sox into the World Series. Plunking in a free agent here or there works when the foundation is set.

    The Red Sox corner outfield spots are a mess.
    The bullpen could be in shambles, especially if Papelbon doesn't come back.

    Beckett is hot and cold and not getting any younger.
    And I can't trust Clay Buchholz who health wise has become the Red Sox answer to Rich Harden and Ben Sheets.

    Lester is at a cross roads. I would argue that the Red Sox need at least 5 pitchers before they become a contender again.

    Spending tons of money on free agents and thinking they were one player away is what got the Mets and Cubs into that abysmal place of being
    1. Bad.
    2. Expensive
    3. Signed for the long term

    The Red Sox, after 2 straight third place finishes, are in danger of being that.

    What needs to go right for the Padres is "The players they have in place need to click."

    For the Cubs, Red Sox and Mets it is "They need to GET the players, put them in place and hope they click with outrageous expectations."

    I would argue the Padres are the better position.

  8. Well argued, sir. But this is still a Red Sox team that won 90 games. I would say they clicked pretty well up until one disastrous 30-day stretch. All these same "too much budget, no pitching" arguments could have applied to the Yankees this past year. They seemingly only had one good starting pitcher and an aging A-Rod, Jeter and Posada. But, although overpaid, have a core that one can reliably say will be at least pretty good. And the Red Sox have a core that you can reasonably say will be good next year: Gonzo, Pedroia, Ellsbury, Lester. So no, the Red Sox should go out and pick up C.J. Wilson for $20 million a year, nor will they. Actually, the Red Sox are a bit lucky that there are no big-ticket free agents out there this offseason. That way, they are under any pressure to spend unwisely and paint themselves into a corner.

    So I disagree that the LF/RF are a mess. Nobody would say Crawford had a good year, but Beltran had a crappy first year with the Mets trying to live up to expectations too. I don't see why having Reddick and possibly Kalish ready for RF is such a terrible idea. And bullpens are about the hardest thing to predict anyway, so that honestly doesn't concern me much. Bullpens tend to be much better when the starters go longer, so if the new manager can get Lester, Beckett, etc to go more than six innings, I think the current guys will be at least average. So I think the Sox have a strong, motivated core that was clicking, de-clicked for 30 days, and can easily re-click. If those are all actually words.

  9. Sorry, just realized how long that was. I know the normal thing to do on internet blog comments is to just write "lackey iz teh gay" and call it a day. I'm out of touch on the new rules of expression.

  10. Anonymous6:31 PM

    "Between 2005 and about 2 weeks to go in the 2007 season, it looked like the Padres had control of the NL West."

    A run that sounds more impressive than it was; they got division titles out of 82 and 88 wins, respectively, then missed the playoffs the next year despite winning 89.

    The Padres just haven't been a very successful team; they've lost 93 or more games in 13 of their 43 seasons (1969-1974, 1977, 1979, 1987, 1993, 2002, 2003 and 2008), but they've won 93 or more only once (98 in 1998).

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