The Bar: Who Can the Padres Least Afford to Lose?

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

With recent injuries to Chase Headley and Cameron Maybin the organization’s depth is being tested early and often. Fortunately it is only March, but as the Padres push towards opening day, a legitimate question presents itself:

Who can the Padres least afford to lose in 2014?

Ghost of Ray Kroc

The trainer.

Vocal Minority – Nate

Will Venable. With Maybin out for a good chunk of the year, Venable will need to step in and play just about every day in CF. Without him, the team would be looking at Rey Fuentes and Alexi Amarista in center, and as much as I like Fuentes, that would likely be fairly disastrous. They also need Venable to continue to be the guy he became in 2013 without significant regression, but that’s another story.

Avenging Jack Murphy – AJM

Everth Cabrera would be the easy choice as we saw what happened to the team when he missed time with a pulled hamstring in 2013. It’s so easy in fact, that I have no choice but to go with Cabby! He showed an ability to get on base at a higher rate in ’13 and he started to make the routine plays in the field too. The loss of Everth Cabrera would be devastating for a pitching staff that will rely heavily on defense in 2014.

 The Sacrifice Bunt – Dustin

It’s tempting to go with an up-the-middle budding star like Jedd Gyorko or Everth Cabrera, but I’ll side with Andrew Cashner here. While the Padres have plenty of starting pitching depth, there are question marks all over the rotation. Can Ian Kennedy rebound from last year’s disaster? Can Josh Johnson stay healthy/effective? Can Tyson Ross and Eric Stults build on their collective 2013 performance? If a couple of those answers are “no,” the rotation suddenly becomes a liability. The Padres can get by without Cashner, but everything would have to break just right. Hopefully, he’s able to put shoulder issues further out of mind and break the 200-innings barrier for the first time in his career.

Ghost of Ray Kroc

Like Nate, I’m going with Venable. I don’t know if I can handle another season of watching Amarista running around the outfield in circles. If Venable goes down, at best Norf will get the majority of time in center, with Kyle Blanks likely getting into right. That’s a corner outfielder in center and a first baseman in right field. At best.

The Sacrifice Bunt – Mel

I’ll agree with the Avenger on this one, production at shortstop drops off the most when Everth Cabrera is replaced by the next best player on the Padres’ roster. Be it Ryan Jackson‘s projected ~70 wRC+ next year or Alexi Amarista‘s slightly less bad hitting combined without much defensive value at shortstop, the alternatives are not inspiring.

Vocal Minority – David

I think it’s Will Venable, though I’ve already decided it was Cabrera once and came back to Venable. At first glance, you say Venable goes down Chris Denorfia hops in and your outfield becomes Quentin/Norf/Smith. Which isn’t exactly what you want, but it’s not atrocious. Certainly better than how the infield looks if Cabrera were to miss significant time. When you consider Quentin’s inevitable DL stint, your outfield likely becomes Blanks/Norf/Smith or Smith/Fuentes/Norf…

Actually, that’s still better than what would be replacing Cabrera. Damn it.

And the argument for Cashner isn’t bad, either.

This team is a house of cards.

RJ’s Fro – Rick

I was going to say Effren Cabrera as well. He adds a spark to the lineup that no one else can and the replacements are severely lacking.

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Pull up a stool and lament the hypothetical loss of players with us . . .

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  • Sac Bunt Melvin

    I have no idea if it’s true, but if anything the Padres might be better off without the current trainers.

  • Schlom

    Great article, now we know which Padre will get injured next!

  • Laurence Adams

    ummmmm, I kinda look at things, as follows…

    1) the success of this pitching staff, is CONSIDERABLY more vital, than on any other team in this division. I read on blogs where people are saying, we have more depth than at any other time, since they moved downtown….especially with the pitching. While I agree, with that…I’ll also say this…..if Cashner or Johnson or Ross or Kennedy goes down, you’re then facing an adjustment phase that their replacements are going to go thru. Just sticking someone like Birch or Weiland or even the much hyped, Wisler, out there, with the expectation that they’ll just start rolling out wins, is almost ludicrous in my mind. So, the real question is, “how many starts will they lose, before they are relatively comfortable going out there every 5 days?….because, bottom line, NONE OF THEM HAVE MUCH BIG LEAGUE EXPERIENCE AT ALL…and in the meantime, can your lineup buffer their inevitable anxiety, by putting some runs on the board?. What you REALLY dont wanna see happen, is for TWO STARTERS, go down near the same time, because them you’re facing sticking two, inexperienced replacements in there. So, again….the health of this pitching staff is EXTREMELY crucial. And at some point, there will be an injury in that rotation. Its gonna happen.

    I believe in this team…but we might be asking too much of these young bucks, too soon. We have “physical question marks” with every single pitcher in the rotation, minus Ian Kennedy. I dont care what kind of team you have, be it offense-focused or defense-focused, that is never a good thing.

    2) Everth Cabrera gets looked over time and time again, when we talk about the long term success of this team. As far as Im concerned, he’s more important than anyone else in the lineup, because their offensive output, basically depends on him getting on base, MOST OF THE TIME. And the importance of his glove, cant be overstated enough. I think Ryan Jackson will contribute, but he wont contribute like Cabby..end of discussion.

    3) I think we may also be overlooking the question mark, named Huston Street. And I think a lot of that ambivalence, is due to fear and paranoia. What am I talking about?..well, most of us would rather not think about the inevitability of him going on the DL, yet again…we got Benoit, and we think everything is hemmed up with the back of the bullpen issue. Yea, some of that is true…but every team needs a dependable closer. Especially if that team wants to go the post season. Having a team watch its closer go to the DL time and time again, makes everyone on the dugout, edgy. What I will say about this scenario is ths…if at some point, Street begins to look as rocky and messy as he did last season, especially in holding situations, I think they should just go to Benoit, ON A PERMANENT BASIS!..the shame of it all, is Benoit not really wanting to be a permanent closer. So, you’re left, once again, pondering who will nail the closer job down. And thats not good either.

    4) last but not least…we need AT LEAST 20 homers and 80 rbi, from the infield corner spots. Sorry, Yonder…I love ya, kid and I do think you’re a doubles machine. But lets be honest, you’re also getting paid to, drive in runs and hit the ball out of the ballpark. Thats what first baseman are supposed to do, sorry.

    And the same has to be said for Chase Headley. I know these players play with unrealistic expectations..and I know we heap too much pressure on them to do what we want them to do. But the same Headley that pushed his way to the front of the line, and hit more ribbies than any other guy in the NL, is the same guy that has to show up two yrs later. Anything less than 20/80 from him, is all the more reason to say, ” he does not deserve the extension that Fowler talked about giving him”…

    but he wont be staying here anyway, when the season is over, because in my heart of hearts, I dont believe he wants to stay here…no way. Even with the new ballpark adjustment, this is still one of, if not the most, pitcher friendly ballpark in the majors. And Im supposed to believe that her wants to stay here, thru his peak yrs, in a ballpark that SUPPRESSES offense?..come on, now.

    Chase Headley is gone, already…we just dont know which jersey he’ll be wearing in 2015.

    my final analysis of this ballclub is as follows:

    something is gonna happen this season to take the wind out of this team’s sails. It might be Cashner getting seriously hurt…it might be Gyorko, slumping horribly…it might be Alonso being another Sean Burroughs..it might be yet another important guy, getting busted for PEDS..and it might be something as unexpected as this totally revamped bullpen, just not being able to shut it down, when these starters hand games over to them. But something BIG AND NASTY is going to happen…there will be no “nice and easy” with this team. Padre teams never, EVER, do anything, nice and easy (see: Proud Mary, Tina Turner, intro to song)

    And then, I wanna see just how adept this team is, at looking itself in the mirror, and bouncing back, in spite of that adversity. What we think will happen, never really happens..something ALWAYS throws a glitch in things, when we least expect it. How else do teams like the 2005 and 2010 ballclubs, make it as far as they did, when they were not expected to?. Lord knows, both of those team dealt with some big injuries, at the wrong time..but they looked themselves in the mirror, and kept it moving, anway.

    just sayin..

    • Team Everth!

    • I got more joy out of reading this comment than I did “writing” my last post. Good on you, Laurence.

    • Laurence Adams

      Jed, has slumped horribly..Cashner has been hurt quite a bit (and I still think, were looking at another Tommy John surgery, when the season is done. Im just calling it like I see it.. I had no idea, so much of what I said, would come to fruition…very interesting. (7/5/2014)

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      …were truer words ever spoken? (7/5/2014)

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      …can we not attribute A LOT of why we havent produced as much as we should have, with the current lack of production we are seeing or not seeing from Cabrera? (7/5/2014)

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      …….so far, its looking like I may be wrong abouta couple of young bucks, stepping up to fill in for the starters that have gotten hurt. I dont mind this at all…things are working our WONDERFULLY with Hahn, Despaigne and Ross. (7/5/2014)