Mailbag: Spring Training Questions

Ryan from The Padres, Chargers, Illini Blog writes:


As it stands now, it seems like the roster is more or less set to start the season, or at least more set at this stage of the offseason than in years past. Given that (apparent) certainty, what are a few things you’ll be looking for in Spring Training?

All this stability is weird, isn’t it? First, let’s take a quick inventory of the roster as I see it:


SP: Kevin Correia, Jon Garland, Clayton Richard, Chris Young
RP: Mike Adams, Heath Bell, Luke Gregerson, Edward Mujica, Joe Thatcher
C: Nick Hundley, Yorvit Torrealba
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: David Eckstein
3B: Chase Headley
SS: Everth Cabrera
UT: Jerry Hairston Jr.
OF: Kyle Blanks, Tony Gwynn Jr., Scott Hairston, Will Venable

Assuming no further moves, this leaves five from the following groups:


SP: Mat Latos
SP/RP: Sean Gallagher
UT: Oscar Salazar
OF: Matt Stairs


SP: Wade LeBlanc, Cesar Ramos, Tim Stauffer
RP: Adam Russell, Ryan Webb


SP: Cesar Carrillo, Ernesto Frieri, Aaron Poreda
RP: Radhames Liz, Luis Perdomo
C: Dusty Ryan
OF: Aaron Cunningham

Here’s what I’ll be watching:

  • The left side of the infield — Cabrera is entering his sophomore campaign after no previous experience above Low-A ball. What kinds of adjustments will he make at the plate and in the field to ensure continued success? Headley returns to his natural position after two years of exile in left field. Can he still handle the hot corner? Will he develop into the hitter many people expected him to become? Also, what effect will their inexperience have on the pitching staff? This might not be the best year to be a groundball pitcher on the Padres.
  • Four outfielders — I’m assuming Blanks will be the everyday left fielder, which leaves Gwynn, Scott Hairston, and Venable for the other two spots. On merit, Hairston and Venable should garner most of the playing time, but there are political considerations. Can those two do enough to remove any doubt that they belong in the lineup more often than not? Alternatively, can Gwynn step up his game enough to justify the amount of action he’s likely to see?
  • Three pitchers — In the rotation, the front four of Correia, Garland, Richard, and Young appear to be set. Latos would seem to be the early favorite for #5, although he could start in the minors if the Padres want to take a longer look at Gallagher and/or Stauffer, both of whom are out of options. In the bullpen, with five spots spoken for, and given Bud Black’s preference for a 12-man staff, there are two openings. Russell and Webb both pitched reasonably well after coming over in trades last summer, while Gallagher’s versatility and status could help push him into a a swingman role. There are some intriguing arms in the mix this year; it should be fun to watch them battle it out for those final vacancies.

Thanks for the question, Ryan. Now we just have to wait and see how it all unfolds…

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3 Responses »

  1. I don’t think I am ready to use the word “depth” to describe the pitching staff, but you’ve got to be pleased with the bevy of options and scenarios here. Last year we entered the season with Cha Seung Baek as our #3!

  2. Your assessment of who will start where looks pretty much in line with my thoughts. I for one can’t wait to see how Blanks does through a full season, how Cabrera adjusts to his second year and how Latos does when he gets his chance. Pretty much the young guys.