The San Diego Padres are a team to take seriously this year. For the first time in about 3 years I can say with confidence, the San Diego Padres will make the playoffs this year. Let’s look at the reasons why I believe the San Diego Padres will make the playoffs in 2014.
The Pad squad went out and signed former ace Josh Johnson. Josh was in Toronto last year in a very disappointing season with the Blue Jays where he went 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA with only 81.1 innings pitched. What’s wrong with him? Remember, this is a guy who was a Cy Young winner in 2010 with an 11-6 record and 2.30 ERA. I think what is truly wrong is his confidence. And the fact he needed surgery on his elbow to remove a bone spur. Remember Petco Park is a place where John Garland and Aaron Harang remade their careers, and I think Josh Johnson wins comeback player of the year.
I think the rotation looks like this on opening day: Cashner, Johnson, Kennedy, Ross, Stults. That gives manager Bud Black a filthy rotation. Not to mention they have a very good young lefty waiting in Cory Luebke. Once he comes back to form he will be the 5 starter right behind Ross and the rotation will be one of, if not the best rotation in baseball, and I truly do believe that.
Another great move was signing Benoit this offseason and acquiring left handed specialist Alex Torres who was absolutely shut down last season posting a 1.71 ERA with 62 Ks in 58.1 innings pitched. The Padres bullpen is stronger than I have seen it in sometime. If this team has a lead going into the 6th inning, the Padres will have a very good chance of winning. Bullpen consists of: LHP Cory Luebke and Tim Stauffer, LP Alex Torres, RP/SU Nick Vincent, Dale Thayer and Joaquin Benoit, CP Huston Street.
The Padres also went out and acquired Seth Smith from the Oakland A’s who is very good at hitting right handed pitching, which the Padres were so very desperate in finding. Padres opening day lineup should look something like this: E. Cabrera, S. Smith, C. Headley, C. Quentin, J. Gyorko, Y. Alonso, C. Maybin, N. Hundley.
I think the lineup is very underrated as they were top 10 in the league at scoring runs before Yonder, Jedd and Quentin all got hurt last year. I think the biggest X Factor this year will be Cameron Maybin. If he can stay healthy and play the way he did back in 2010, the Padres will have a very good team this season.
I’m projecting the Padres at 90-72 and getting third place in their division, only behind Dodgers and D-backs, all three of which will have over 95 wins. This means that the NL West will have 3 playoff teams.