Tomorrow is the start of the unofficial “Second Half” of the baseball season. 2012 has been a roller-coaster of sorts filled with entirely more downs than ups for the Friars due to the things we discussed in our “Mid-Season Grades.” Nevertheless, there is still a large amount of baseball to be played and still plenty of reasons to watch. So with the All-Star Game in our collective rear view mirrors’, I thought it would be nice to go over some things for us Padres fans to look forward to until the regular season ends.
1. Trades! Trades! Trades!
While Josh Byrnes might want to create the illusion that his franchise is not a “seller” this trade season, it is simply not the case in my opinion. San Diego’s three best players not only command some of the club’s highest salaries, but also are being coveted by contending teams that can always use the things which these players provide.
Chase Headley is a steady hitting, solid fielding Third Baseman whose offensive numbers should skyrocket in an actual ballpark. Carlos Quentin gives a steady veteran bat with a good deal of power to any lineup in need of some extra pop, and Huston Street is a reliable Closer who has had himself an All-Star and bounce-back season.
I am not saying that dealing all if any of these players will be the correct decision, but what I do believe that there will be a large and willing market for their services’. If the opportunities arise and some are entirely good to pass up, the Padres should at least consider take advantage of them. It would not be a bad thing if San Diego can put themselves in a position to gouge some other organizations for one or more of these guys. Plus, the possibility of this team acquiring a high level prospect or two to add to their already stout farm system would not hurt at all as this franchise stocks itself for the future.
2. New Ownership Group
For those of you which are unaware, the Padres still are searching for an owner/ownership group to purchase the team. As of now though, it appears that a group led by the O’Malley family (the O’Malley family which once owned the Dodgers), is trying to get back into baseball and leading the charge to buy the Friars. While nothing is set in stone yet and the team is still up for sale, the O’Malley group has the inside track to acquiring the team and has engaged in exclusive negotiations according to CBS.Sportsline’s Jon Heyman.
It will be interesting to see how fast as well as when a deal for the purchase of the club gets done, but the interesting parts will occur after the sale is complete. I personally cannot wait to see the new ownership group do a number of things from: working with the Front Office and making roster decisions and trades, reducing/increasing payroll, moving the fences at Petco in, etc.. Until a group buys the franchise though, we will all have to wait and see what happens. Nevertheless, we should all be on the lookout for news and updates on this topic.
3. Watching Talent Develop
This is by far the thing I will be watching for the most over the next few months. At 34-53 and already riddled with injuries, the Padres have their collective fates pretty much sealed as far as postseason contention goes. Nevertheless, the Friars have a great deal of young talent on their team and should have more called up by the end of the season. With this in mind, we will all be getting an extended look at the future of the franchise as the season winds down.
We already know about Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal, but there are others which should be making their big league debuts at the end of the season too. As far as minor leaguers go, Jedd Gyorko the Third Base prospect is a name which comes to mind, Left Fielder/First Baseman Matt Clark should be receiving a September call-up, and Centerfielder Daniel Robertson could also get a late season big league nod if the Padres decide to move some Outfielders or bench others. In addition to the Rookies, other the younger guys already on the roster should see extended playing time, as Alexi Amarista and Logan Forsythe will probably see even reps in the middle infield as the season winds down.
Evaluating all the talent on the roster will be huge for this coaching staff until the regular season ends. This team should be preparing for 2013 as we speak, and will likely be looking at how all the current and future pieces fit into place over the next few months. While it will not be pretty to watch at times, these “growing pains” will give the Front Office and Bud Black and Co. exactly the type of looks at these players they need to know whether or not they fit into the franchise’s long term plans.
I know it has been tough to be a Padres fan this season, but hey, there are usually more “L’s” in the column than “W’s.” Plus, in a rebuilding season riddled with injuries it has been a tad shocking to have seen this team win 34 games. Nevertheless, although it seems like there is not so much to get excited about and watch for until the regular season ends, it is simply not the case. Sure, the postseason may be out of reach, but there are still reasons to tune in and stay updated.