Last year’s starting rotation was a disaster. The Padres used 15 different men in that role, with only Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez making their full complement of starts.
Jeff Suppan, who hadn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2010, started six games. Kip Wells, who hadn’t done so since 2009, started seven.
Despite playing half their games at cavernous Petco Park, the Padres saw their starting pitchers post the fourth-worst ERA (4.44) in the National League. Only the Cubs (4.52), Astros (4.62), and Rockies (5.81) were worse. You may recognize those as teams that will pick ahead of San Diego in this year’s June draft.
And of course, Petco will be less cavernous in 2013. This should make things more interesting, if not necessarily better, but we’ve been over that.
What did the Padres do to address their rotation? They traded for Tyson Ross, re-signed Jason Marquis and Tim Stauffer, and signed Sean O’Sullivan and Freddy García. Money may have been a factor.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, this is duct tape on an open wound and may not have been the best message for new ownership to send its remaining fan base. Subduing the enemy without fighting sounds noble, but there is little to suggest that Sun Tzu’s strategy will work in this context.
Excluding Andrew Cashner, Joe Wieland, and Cory Luebke, who will start the year on the disabled list, here are the big-league stats of each of the current rotation candidates over the past two seasons:
Good news: There are plenty of options. Bad news: Uh, look at those options.
Kelly and Erlin have futures. So do Cashner, Wieland, and Luebke if they return to form when healthy. The rest of these guys have–well, they have arms.
If nothing else, this promises to be a good stress test for the new dimensions at Petco Park. Hopefully the club has Shawn Estes and Cha-Seung Baek on speed dial.
Estes and Baek. Ah, 2008 was the best. Nothing like 99 losses to get the blood pumping.
The Padres could reach that total again in 2013, although as Bryant notes, 82-88 losses is more likely. It’s nice to think that their strong finish last season indicates better things to come, but even in March I’m struggling to locate my optimism.
Still, you should feel inspired. Note that the question of what you should feel inspired to do is left intentionally vague.
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