In case you missed it, Jayson Stark of ESPN posted his assessment of the various offseasons had by the five NL West teams. For the Padres, he broke it down like so:
The good: Should be much better defensively up the middle, with Hudson, Bartlett and Maybin.
The bad: Substituting Harang (18-38 with a 1.44 WHIP the past three years) for Garland has a chance to get messy, though that magic Petco Pitcher Elixir won’t hurt Harang.
Now the ugly: Exit Gonzalez, stage right. Enter the new first-base platoon of Hawpe and Cantu, who combined for five homers, a .222 average, .295 OBP and 331 SLG after the break last year — and now have to play half their games in Petco.
Overall, Stark gave Jed and the boys a C and overall, I can’t really disagree.
As I myself broke down a couple of days ago, the Padres are going to need some lucky bounces if they’re going to perform an encore in 2011. Players like Ludwick and Bartlett are going to have to go above and beyond to help replace Adrian’s production. But Stark’s take seems apropros. His positives are positive and his negatives are negative, but they both come with reservations.
Over their careers, Harang and Garland have both been worth +23.2 WAR, though they’ve taken different routes to get there, with Garland taking the slow and steady (2029.1 IP) and Harang powering his way (7.47 K/9). For what will likely be the third or fourth starter’s spot, the change should be seamless (assuming Harang’s healthy again).
Having said that, I think Stark is underrating how good our defense was last year. Up the middle, the team had a combined +26.5 UZR. Despite their reputations, the team can’t expect Hudson (+2.2 UZR/150) and Bartlett (+4.5 UZR/150) to anchor a squad that matches that, especially with Maybin being the unknown quantity that he is.
I’ll tell you like I told my parents: a C ain’t so bad. Jed busted out his bag of tricks this offseason, making some shrewd signings but he took some risks as well, and risks don’t always work out. Ultimately, though, this offseason sits in the shadow of Adrian Gonzalez and, until the calendar turns to October and we find out just what they’re made of, the entire team will be right there with it.