Welcome to 2009! I think this will be a great year in MLB. It will just be great to have baseball back! And I’m sure Spring Training will be here before we know it! I am very excited.
So, last night the MLB Network launched. It’s really exciting for the world of baseball fans. But not so much for me, because I don’t have cable, and as a result I don’t get to watch ANY baseball on TV, not to mention the MLB Network. So, am I less of a fan because I can’t watch baseball 24/7….just kidding. If I did have it, I would be glued to the TV 24/7 and my family and friends would hate me. It would also wear severely on my education, and I don’t think my parents would let me do that. Oh well.
But anyways, 2009 is here. The Padres this year are going to look a lot different than the team last year. I would like to look at some of the players who were on the team last year, and how different it will be this year.
BUD BLACK, MANAGER
Last year, the second year manager was going into the season after a 89-74 record the year before. His team had been one game away from the playoffs. But last year, something went horribly wrong. He was put in charge of a team that lost 99 games. I really do not think it was his fault. He has the ability to coach a team far into the postseason, if he has the right pieces. He doesn’t have enough pieces here, though. In 2009, he’s going to have to lead a team made up of mostly rookies. Let’s see what he can do with them.
JOSH BARD AND MICHAEL BARRETT, CATCHERS
Josh Bard went into 2008 with a fairly good season under his belt. He was at one point in 2007 our best player with runners in scoring position. But 2008 was not so great for Bardo. He was riddled with injuries for the majority of the season. He did have a few good games, but he was not that great in 2008. Michael Barrett was not our guy. In 2007 and 2008, he was plagued with injuries, and in the time he did play, he was bad. He was very frustrating to the fans. He just never turned on. Josh Bard is going to the Red Sox for 2009. That will be very interesting, but very exciting for me. I love the Red Sox and I love Bardo, so it works out. I don’t know where Barrett will end up. Maybe he can go somewhere and have a good season. We’ll see.
CHRIS YOUNG, STARTING PITCHER
Last year, CY came into Spring Training after a frustrating oblique strain in 2007. He was able to regain his old form for part of the season, but was never the same after he got hit in the face with a batted ball. He was able to salvage a bit of the season though. Going into 2009, he will be the #2 starter behind Jake Peavy. Hopefully he will be able to stay injury-free this season. This guy is a good pitcher, and he’s a solid part of our rotation. If he can stay healthy, he will be a positive part of this rotation.
JAKE PEAVY, STARTING PITCHER
Jake went into the 2008 season with the NL CY Young award and a new contract extension. Things did not go very well for Jake, though. He was out with an injury, and his offense couldn’t score runs for him. He did do a fairly good job, considering, but he finished the season with a 10-11 record. You know that Jake was not happy about that. After enduring trade talks for the past few months, hopefully he is here to stay for the 2009 season. Believe me, we need this guy in our rotation. He brings so much to the team, and it would be a huge blow to give him away. Hopefully he can return to his form of 2007.
ADRIAN GONZALEZ, FIRST BASEMAN
Adrian was really good in 2007. He was amazing in 2008. He was such a positive on this horrible team, it was incredible to see. Adrian’s all about teamwork, the team effort, but he had a wonderful season induvidually. 36 home runs, 119 RBIs, and he won a Gold Glove. I don’t think he had a game off during the season. He doesn’t complain, he just goes out there every day and plays baseball. He’s very humble, and he does a lot of charity work. It’s pretty amazing. This year, he will be the first baseman. He’s almost becoming a veteran on this team of young guys!
SCOTT HAIRSTON, OUTFIELDER
Last year, Scotty was fighting for a spot in the outfield. This year, he will be doing the same thing. He will probably be on the bench (again), but he’s not a bench player. He does a lot better when he can play every day. Unforunately, our outfield situation is pretty much locked up with Chase Headley, Jody Gerut, and Brian Giles. But we’ll see. Hopefully Scotty can find a spot on this team. He really is a great player; he’s hit 4 or 5 walk-offs for us in the last two years. Plus he can play a wonderful center and left. He filled in very nicely when Jody Gerut needed a day or two last year.
EDGAR GONZALEZ, INFIELDER
Last offseason, Edgar was signed to a minor league deal with the Padres. This was pretty exciting because 1) He has grown up watching the Padres, and 2) he would be joining his younger brother Adrian. Edgar didn’t make the Opening Day roster, because Tadahito Iguchi had his position of second, but when Iguchi went down with an injury, Edgar was called up. He made his major league debut after 8 years in the minors. How incredible is that? And doing it on his younger brother’s team no less! He was really good with us, too. This year, he looks to be the starting second baseman.
TREVOR HOFFMAN, CLOSER
Last year, Trevor was coming off a heartbreaking blown save. He did get a little cleanup surgery for his elbow in the offseason, and he was as good as new going into 2008. He wasn’t the best record-wise, but he was so sharp mechanics-wise. In fact, his stuff was the best it’s been in years. But the Trevor-bashers were out in hordes. A blown save, and they screamed to kick him off the team. It was pretty sad. Trevor finished pretty well. He had 30 saves. He is the best closer of our time, with 554 saves in his career. It’s pretty amazing. After bad negotiations with the Padres, he is now a free agent. Maybe the Padres will still be able to get him back. We’ll see. The fans would really like him back!!
HEATH BELL, PITCHER
Last year, he was just getting ready for his role as set-up man to Trevor Hoffman. This year, he might have to replace Trevor Hoffman. How do you replace a guy like Trevor Hoffman? Heath has 1 career save; Trevor has 554. Heath has the closer’s mentality. He’s said that he would be willing to replace Trevor someday…but only if Trevor handed off the role to him. I’m sure Heath would be content with staying in the set-up role if Trevor was able to come back. But right now, it looks like Heath will be the closer for this team. That’s pretty sad. I mean, it’s great for Heath, but the Padres have had 1 closer for 15 years. We want that closer back.
Many other players have taken different directions, are doing different things. This team will be very different. But general manager Kevin Towers has said that the majority of our signings will be late January to early February. We could still have a great team. And I think it will be a pretty good year of Padres baseball.