When I got recruited to work on this blog some four months ago, I assumed I’d be spending the next couple of years discussing the future of the Padres and how equipped the minor league system was to turn a losing team into a contender.
And then the Padres got off to a fast start. That was interesting, but I didn’t think much of it. After all, the Padres were a team with so many offensive holes, and a team that called Jon Garland and Kevin Correia their 1-2 punch in the rotation. What sort of contender is that?
The AccuScore system, which looks at teams’ chances of making the playoffs, agreed, and even when the Padres seized control of their division, the system put their odds of hanging onto that lead at 10 or 15 percent every week. As recently as June 14, the system gave the Padres an 11.5% chance of winning their division, and an even 20% shot at the postseason.
Well, here we are two weeks later, and the Padres have opened up a 4 1/2 game lead in the West.
AccuScore now puts San Diego’s chances at 41.5% now, just behind LA’s 45%. That’s still very pessimistic for the Padres, given the current state of affairs, put the point is that there’s no ignoring the possibility of making the playoffs any longer.
Look, I’m the first guy to advocate for going young and getting trade value for veterans, but at this point, I can’t really advocate that, at least in Adrian Gonzalez’s case. If the Padres go into freefall the next three weeks, they still need to be open to that, though.
More likely, though, they’ll stay in contention. In that case, they should see if they can package some of their unbelievable relief depth (say, Heath Bell, Craig Italiano, and Aaron Poreda) for a solid outfield bat.
When it’s at the point where even I’m switching from “sell” mode to “buy” mode, you know this really could be for real. The 2010 Padres are contenders, not pretenders. Even the most skeptical of observers have to admit that at this point.