The Bar: Spring Training Hero

This is where we gather from time to time to talk about something big in the Padres world or just the Padres or just baseball. It’s a roundtable discussion. Except, you know, no round tables. This is a Public House . . . so we’re at the bar.

Old-Fashioned-Bar

As the Cactus and Citrus Leagues open their doors each spring, fans across the country are filled with a renewed sense of hope and optimism. But it’s not just fans who bask in the promise that accompanies a new season – ball players young and old trying to earn a job at the big league level are consumed with it too. And each spring one of these players, whether it be a prospect or a non roster invitee, will accumulate such gaudy stat lines that fans will cry, “This guy is awesome! He should totally be on the 25-man roster!”

With games set to begin today, which player on the 2014 Spring Training Roster will blow us away with a super hero stat line this spring?

Avenging Jack Murphy – AJM

On February 12th, 1991 – The Year of the Horse according to the Chinese Zodiak – the world welcomed Reymond Fuentes into its fold. As the young, fleet-footed Fuentes enters his 23rd year on Earth he does so in Peoria, Arizona . . . where it is again, The Year of the Horse.

This is not a coincidence.

Rey Fuentes, the center-fielder known to San Diego as the lesser part of the Adrian Gonzalez trade with Boston, is destined to set Arizona afire this spring. While Cameron Maybin receives the bulk of the repetitions to see if his body is right, Fuentes will find himself starting every split squad game in CF where he will compile numbers with the unbridled energy of a wild stallion.

After tallying hits in 13 consecutive games, a stretch that includes 9 successful steal attempts and 4 HRs (1 inside-the-park job), fans will wonder aloud why a guy hitting .382/.431/.449 can’t receive serious consideration as the regular CF once camp breaks. As the fan commotion reaches a crescendo, El Caballo Joven will receive his papers to roam the desert confines of El Paso . . . and we fans will be left to remember the greatness Rey Fuentes left behind in Arizona’s harsh desert clime . . . during The Year of the Horse.

Avenging Jack Murphy – Oscar’s Thoughts

It’s March 23rd, a week away from opening night/day/whatever. Yonder Alonso is scuffling. For whatever reason, he can’t seem to make solid contact in the friendly Arizona environment. Maybe it’s syphilis he caught while partying with A-Rod. Maybe it’s all the attention he inadvertently received while hanging out with Manny Machado. Maybe he just misses his fedora. Who knows.

With the season quickly approaching, people are starting to get concerned. The fear, however, does not last long, as a new hero has emerged. Arriving on horseback: TOMMY MEDICA *fireworks*. Medica has crushed 10 home runs, putting up a .388/.442/.619 slash line as Buddy tries desperately to get him at-bats.

Fans are growing restless. They’re tired of waiting on a 1B who might never be better than replacement level. They want a real hero. They want Tommy Medica.

*Medica is DFA’d*

Vocal Minority – David

The trucks are packed up and pulling away from Peoria Sports Complex as Josh Byrnes gathers the media for a casual summary of Spring Training, as well as discussion about the upcoming season. An unusual sight, Byrnes has a cigar in hand as he discusses various performances, as well as his decisions to send Rey Fuentes to El Paso and DFA Tommy Medica. He places the cigar down on his desk, saying “let’s get down to brass tacks, fellas. I’d like to announce contract extensions with both Andrew Cashner and Jedd Gyorko. We’ve contracted both of them through their second year of free agent eligibility, the details of each individual contract will be spelled out in the forthcoming press release. Thank you.”

The Hero of Spring Training, he looks at his victory cigar. He doesn’t smoke it, but he does smile at it.

Oh, it’s supposed to be a player? Shit…

Ghost of Ray Kroc

After Josh Byrnes trades Kyle Blanks to the Cubs for a couple of AA relief pitchers and a fringe 2B prospect in A-ball, the Padres are hit by season-ending injuries to Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, and Yonder Alonso in late March, throwing all of Bud Black‘s plans out of equilibrium, as they had each put up superb numbers in the Cactus League.

So My Spring Training Hero, Mark Kotsay, comes out of retirement to come off the bench, spell new starting LF Seth Smith occasionally, and not hit once again. #WhyNotKotsay?

RJ’s Fro – Rick

After a Spring in which he has thrown out a staggering 99.99% of would be base stealers (in an odd Grapefruit vs Cactus league game, Jose Altuve steals a base against him resulting in the .01%, since he’s, you know, short and stuff) and blasting back at the critics by swinging a hot stick, slugging 7 home runs and posting a .437/.480/.660 line and injuries to both Nick Hundley and Yasmai Grandal clearing the path, rookie catcher Austin Hedges is destined to make the Opening Day roster. But like all the other players whom Padres fans love he succumbs to….. no ….I don’t like this topic anymore. Next topic please.

Son of a Duck

Leonel Campos and Kevin Quackenbush both bear watching. They are part of the reason San Diego could move so many relievers this offseason to patch up other holes. Also, if Chase Headley’s injury keeps him out a while, Jace Peterson becomes an interesting name.

Ghost of Ray Kroc

If Xavier Nady doesn’t make this team as a “veteran presence,” then we will all know that the importance of veteran presence is just a bunch of bulls**t.

RJ’s Fro – Rick

I have one more take. Xavier Nady is possessed by the ghost of John Roskos* and has a monster Spring. But the Padres have already given lifetime contracts to Venable, Norf, Quentin, Maybin & “The Final Piece” so there’s no spot for him despite outperforming each one. Frustrated, he turns to full time home brewing and hangs up the cleats for good. His beer, called “Put Me In Boch”, a tasty Double IPA, is a huge hit with the fans and X becomes a famed brew master.

*Nady is considerably more talented than Roskos ever was, I just had to mention him in a Spring Training post since no one else brought him up.

Ghost of Ray Kroc

“Put Me In Boch” sounds more like a sour beer to me.

Son of a Duck

Without a comma before “Boch,” it sounds a lot worse than that. #BarrelAged

RJ’s Fro

Good catch, GY. Yikes!

***

We’re just hours away from the Padres meeting the Seattle Mariners at Peoria Sports Complex for the first game of spring – Who’s your pick for Spring Training Hero?

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  • Sean Dreusike

    Wait, who was Yonder Alonso scuffling with? Did anybody get a black eye?

  • Billy Lybarger

    After career ending and season ending knee injuries to Carlos Quentin and Seth Smith respectively, Josh Byrnes desperately searches for a corner outfielder to little avail. Finally, NRI Rickey Henderson comes out to Peoria to save the day. As Rickey would tell you, Rickey can still run, and Rickey now hits for even more power (don’t ask). Rickey thinks he is in the best shape of Rickey’s life, and demands the staring job after posting the slash line of .200/.333/.833. That’s right, two hits (both HRs) two walks and 4 runs scored in 12 PAs. Alas Bud Black and Byrnes both think the team is better off going with Norf, Maybin & Venable, with El Rey as the 4th OFer.
    Rickey retires again, and joins X Nady at his brewery. He heads up marketing and convinces X to change the name of his DIPA to “Put me in, Boochie” and it rivals Pliny the Younger as greatest beer EVAR.