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This is part of a series of posts in which we call out all 30 teams for their wily offseason moves and tragic offseason blunders.

padres.jpgDespite the team’s logo, the Padres rarely make waves in the offseason, usually standing pat or filling what holes arise with reasonably priced free-agents until a prospect from their own system is ready to take over.

This year has been more of the same.

Faced with a gaping hole at third base that they struggled to fill all last season and never really found the answer for, the Padres moved quickly, trading their starting second baseman Josh Barfield to the Indians for major-league ready third base prospect Kevin Kouzmanoff.

This seemed to leave the Padres with an equally gaping hole at second, but the Friars had an ace up their sleeves in the form of free agent second baseman Marcus Giles, formerly of the Braves, who desperately wanted to play alongside his brother Brian, and wasn’t going to waste too much time haggling over his contract.

Meanwhile, the Padres pulled off a minor coup by signing Greg Maddux away from the archrival Dodgers, who seemed strangely uninterested in retaining the future Hall of Famer, and don’t even have to give up any draft picks thanks to Ned Colletti’s mysterious decision not to offer Maddux arbitration.

The brothers GilesThe Padres picked up another Dodgers castoff in outfielder Jose Cruz, Jr. to replace departed fan-favorite Dave Roberts in left field, and opted to allow catcher Mike Piazza to leave as a free agent after a breakthrough season at the plate by the much younger backup, Josh Bard.

Most recently, the Padres re-signed 44-year-old control artist David Wells to a low-risk, incentive-laden contract to hold down the fifth spot in the rotation while hot pitching prospect Tim Stauffer matures in AAA.

Overall, the Padres return a team very similar to the one that won the National League West Division in 2006. Maddux should approximate Woody Williams’ numbers, Marcus Giles can be expected to provide a similar offensive contribution to Josh Barfield, and the rookie Kouzmanoff should at least equal the anemic production of the 5-headed monster the Padres tried at third base last season (Vinny Castilla, Todd Walker, Mark Bellhorn, Geoff Blum, and Russ Branyan). Bard may not quite approach Piazza’s numbers once he is exposed to the league as an everyday starter, but the Padres can reasonably expect increased production out of developing young players like Khalil Greene and Adrian Gonzalez.

Although the Padres were not able to acquire the big bat fans were hoping for to bolster a weak offensive attack, history has shown that a strong offense is not necessary to win at Petco Park, which is perhaps the best pitchers park in the game. Wisely, the Padres have been quietly assembling one of the best starting rotations in baseball over the past few years and the Maddux and Wells signings ensure that the starting staff will once again be a strength.

Overall, the Padres have done just barely enough to give themselves a reasonable shot of repeating as champions in what most people agree is baseball’s weakest division.

Offseason Grade: B

Acquisitions:

Greg Maddux, Marcus Giles, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Jose Cruz Jr., Heath Bell, Royce Ring

Losses:

Mike Piazza, Dave Roberts, Josh Barfield, Woody Williams, Ryan Klesko, Alan Embree, Jon Adkins, Scott Williamson, Ben Johnson

Projected Lineup, Rotation, and Closer

2B Marcus Giles – .262/.341/.387, 11 HR

CF Mike Cameron – .268/.355/.482, 22 HR

RF Brian Giles – .263/.374/.397, 14 HR

1B Adrian Gonzalez – .304/.362/.500, 24 HR

SS Khalil Greene – .245/.320/.427, 15 HR

C Josh Bard – .333/.404/.522, 9 HR

LF Jose Cruz, Jr. – .233/.353/.381, 5 HR

3B Kevin Kouzmanoff – .379/.437/.656, 22 HR (combined 2006 AA/AAA stats)

RHP Jake Peavy – 11-14, 4.09

RHP Chris Young – 11-5, 3.46

RHP Greg Maddux – 15-14, 4.20

RHP Clay Hensley – 11-12, 3.71

LHP David Wells – 3-5, 4.42

CL Trevor Hoffman – 46 SV, 2.14

- Hot Offseason Action Index -

12 Responses to “Hot Offseason Action: Padres”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    They still have time to add Clemens. Plus, they made out like bandits by getting good prospects for oldies. But does anyone ever expect the Yanks to get dicked on a trade? No. That’s why they’re the Yankees.

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Clearly, there can never be too many pictures of Kei Igawa looking doofusy. The man is truly photo-hilarious!

  3. Todd Schuster says:

    Your credibility is taking some serious shots. You forgot to include ARod in the Yankee’s lineup. Add to this the fact that you completely disregard the potential for breakout seasons and development by young players in your offseason recaps (especially in the instance of the braves, id say they did a pretty good job considering that they are set at the closer and setup positions for the next 5 years and that they had to do all this while slashing payroll. ) and you need to look back at your analysis and maybe actually provide some analysis instead of stating the obvious. That being said, I like a lot of your stuff.

  4. Coley Ward says:

    Todd, you’re right: I forgot to put A-Rod in the Yankees’ lineup. My bad. Thanks for pointing it out.

    On the other hand, I don’t see the potential for any young Braves to break out this year, except Jeff Francouer and maybe, MAYBE Ryan Langerhans. And I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    Also, saying that the Braves bullpen is set for the next five years is naive, at best. Relievers are notoriously hard to predict from one year to the next. Plus Wickman is ooooold.

  5. Nick Kapur says:

    Haha, I didn’t even notice that ARod was missing when I added Jason Giambi to Coley’s projected lineup and changed the centerfielder’s name from “Matt Damon.” But I guess that’s because ARod actually WAS missing from the Yankees lineup for most of last season. At least mentally.

    But in any case, Coley is totally right about the Braves. If anything, he wasn’t harsh enough. That LaRoche trade was brutal for a team that was already offensively challenged. It’s not like Mike Gonzalez is going to be the second coming of Mariano Rivera or anything.

    The Braves are going to be brutally bad this year, unless Andruw goes apeshit in his contract year and hits 85 bombs or something.

  6. Sarah Green says:

    A-Rod’s “not a real Yankee” status attains new heights!

  7. Nick Kapur says:

    hehe, at this point, even Bobby Abreu (2 months) feels like more of a “True Yankee” than ARod (3 years).

  8. You obviuosly must be a Yankee fan to grade the Yankess offseason an “A-” and the Red Sox a “B+”. Of the three Yankee acquisitions mentioned by you, which one, not to mention their three-way average, is an A-? Igawa? The new first baseman? The other new infielder? Mystery to me, that’s for sure.Get some objectivity, please.

  9. Art, Sarah wrote the Red Sox review. I wrote the Yankees review. She is a Red Sox fan. I am not a Yankees fan (go Phillies!). However, I think you can argue that the Yankees did more by staying pat than the Sox did by agressively signing free agents at insane prices. The Yankees actually managed to lower their payroll, while strengthening their defense and pitching. The Red Sox bolstered their starting staff, but their bullpen lost its stud closer, their infield defense got worse (Lugo for Gonzo) and their payroll went through the roof. So which team had a more efficient offseason?

  10. Nick Kapur says:

    Sarah and I discussed the relative grades of the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Yankees had a brilliant offseason not because of Igawa or Mientkiewicz, but because of the way they managed to load up on hot prospects in exchange for Sheffield and RJ, something Coley could have highlighted a bit more maybe.

    Basically, the Yankees got rid of two guys they didn’t even want and somehow convinced teams to give them all sorts of live young arms and bats.

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