Legends On Deck

How They Were Built: 2015 San Diego Padres

Starting Pitchers

James Shields – Signed a four-year free agent contract with the Padres with a club option in 2019.  A team that has had the most makeover this offseason has to be San Diego.  Shields provides the Padres with an innings-eater and one of the most durable starting pitchers in the game today.  Shields hasn’t pitched less than 200 innings since his first year in the major leagues where he made just 21 starts.  The Padres haven’t seen someone pitch over 220 innings since Jake Peavy nearly 10 years ago.  Shields was 14-8 in 2014 and will most likely do about this same in 2015, but could reach 17 wins.  This was a solid signing by San Diego as they look to change their fortunes.

Andrew Cashner – Acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs in 2012.  Cashner is entering his sixth year in the major leagues.  He made his debut in 2010 with the Chicago Cubs mainly as a relief pitcher.  The next couple of seasons he did the same starting a few games but mostly appeared as a reliever, until 2013 when he made the change full time.  Cashner started 19 games in 2014 and posted a 5-7 record with an ERA of 2.55.  The big right-hander should enjoy a bit more success with the revamped offense and could see career high’s in wins with 12-15.

Tyson Ross – Acquired in a trade with the Oakland A’s in 2012.  Ross’ name has been surfacing in trade possibilities this offseason and you can see why.  He made 31 starts in 2014 with a record of 13-14 and an ERA of 2.81.  Ross made the All-Star team in 2014 and finished the season with 195.2 innings registering 195 strikeouts.  Padres should expect more of the same as long as he remains a part of this team when the season starts.  Ross and the Padres avoided arbitration in January agreeing to a one-year $5.25 million deal.

Ian Kennedy – Acquired in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2013.  Kennedy was another pitcher that seemed to come up in trade rumors this season.  The 30-year old is a former 20-game winner who is also an innings eater.  In 2014, Kennedy went 13-13 with an ERA of 3.63.  He recorded over 200 strikeouts for the first time in his career with 207 in 201 innings last season (9.3 K/9).  He is 66-53 in his career so far with an ERA of 3.93.

Brandon Morrow – Signed a one-year $2.5 million free agent contract with San Diego in 2015.  Morrow is a guy that could start the season at the back-end of the rotation but may not finish there.  He has been on the decline the last several years, but could still be a serviceable starter if needed.  He is 42-43 in his career with an ERA of 4.28.

Josh Johnson (DL) – Signed a one-year $1 million free agent contract with incentives with the Padres in 2015.  Johnson is a textbook low-risk high-reward player.  He is coming off Tommy John surgery, but when healthy could be seen as one of the better pitchers in the game.  He has made the All-Star team twice in his career and has a top-five Cy Young finish to his credit as well.  His return is uncertain as of now but could be a nice addition if no setbacks.

Cory Luebke (DL) – Drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft by the Padres.  Another pitcher on the comeback trail from TJ surgery.  Luebke last pitched in the major leagues in 2012 when he was 3-1 in five starts.  It is unknown when the soon-to-be 30-year old will return.

Bullpen

Joaquin Benoit (CL) – Signed a two-year $15.5 million free agent contract in 2013 with an option for 2016.  Benoit is entering his 14th season in the major leagues, and second as a member of the Padres.  He appeared in 53 games in 2014 saving 11 of them, with an ERA of 1.49.  The closer role should be Benoit’s as the main closer, Huston Street, was dealt last year at the deadline.

Kevin Quackenbush – Drafted in the eighth round of the 2011 amateur draft by the Padres.  Quackenbush made his debut in 2014 and appeared in 56 games.  He ended the season with a 3-3 record and an ERA of 2.48.

Dale Thayer – Signed on as a free agent with the Padres in 2011.  Thayer appeared in 70 games for the Padres last season.  He is a relief pitcher that has seen quite a bit of work since signing on with the Padres a few seasons ago.  There has been slight improvement during that time frame as well.

Alex Torres – Acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays in January 2014.  Torres saw his workload almost double since coming over to San Diego.  The only problem with that is his ERA as done the same.  He appeared in 70 games in 2014 with a record of 2-1 and an ERA of 3.33.  One of the lone leftys in the bullpen the start the year, Torres should continue to see about the same amount of work in 2015 as he did in 2014.

Odrisamer Despaigne – Signed as an amateur free agent with San Diego in 2014.  Despaigne was seen as a possible starter prior to the Shields signing, but could potentially win that spot out of spring training.  He made 16 starts in 2014 going 4-7 with an ERA of 3.36.  Not a large sample size on a team that is much improved going into 2015.  It will be interesting to see what happens as spring training progresses.

Starting Lineup

Derek Norris (C) – Acquired in a trade with the Oakland A’s in December.  Norris is an All-Star catcher entering his fourth season in the major leagues.  He showed that he could hit for average (.270) and has some pop in his bat belting 10 home runs in 127 games.  One of the new members of this team that should make an impact in 2015.  Norris is a nice addition after last year’s catcher Yasmani Grandal was shipped away to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yonder Alonso (1B) – Acquired in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds in 2011.  Alonso is a good defensive first baseman.  2014 was cut short due to a wrist injury, but has shown if given the chance to play every day and be healthy he can deliver at the plate as well.  In his first full season with the Padres he finished sixth in Rookie of the Year voting and tallied 150 hits.

Jedd Gyorko (2B) – Drafted in the second round of the 2010 amateur draft by the Padres.  After battling injuries most of 2014, Gyorko is looking for a bounce-back in 2015.  The second baseman played in 111 games in a season he would gladly forget.  He struggled at the plate and in the field as well committing 11 errors at second base.  Gyorko signed a six-year $35.5 million contract extension in April of 2014, so look for him to have something to prove this season.

Yangervis Solarte (3B) – Acquired in a trade with the New York Yankees in July of 2014.  Taking over the hot corner for Chase Headley, Solarte was given a chance to play every day for the Padres.  He had a decent year hitting .267 with four home runs in 56 games with the friars.  It looks as if the job is Solarte’s to lose with Will Middlebrooks being some of the competition for the position.

Alexi Amarista (SS) – Acquired in a trade with the Anaheim Angels in 2012.  Amarista is a decent defensive short stop that has some struggles at the plate.  He is a career .234 hitter but has some speed as he swiped 12 bases in 2014.  It obvious that he will need to do a better job getting on base this season and should have some luck at the bottom of the lineup.

Justin Upton (LF) – Acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Braves.  New to the outfield in San Diego, Upton is a welcomed addition.  He is a player that has the ability to do pretty much every thing including hitting for power and getting on base.  He has stolen bases in the past but those numbers have come down.  Upton is in the final year of the six year $51.25 million contract he signed as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010.  He could hit in the cleanup spot and very likely will behind Kemp.  It is going to be an exciting outfield to watch in 2015.

Wil Myers (CF) – Acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays this offseason.  Myers was one of baseball’s top prospects before making his debut.  He lived up to the hype surrounding him in 2013 as he won Rookie of the Year with the Rays.  2014 was a different story as his average dipped from .292 to .222 and his home runs went from 13 to 6 in just about the same amount of games played.  The Padres are going to need him to return to his 2013 form and could do it surrounded by veterans on the new Padres.

Matt Kemp (RF) – Acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Kemp gives the Padres something that they have lacked since Tony Gwynn retired.  Relevancy.  Kemp brings with him All-Star appearances, Gold Gloves, and Silver Slugger awards to San Diego and potentially becomes the face of the franchise.  Baseball was buzzing when this deal happened and I am pretty sure ticket sales went up as well.  After an injury-filled 2013, Kemp bounced back in a big way in 2014, hitting .287 with 25 home runs and 89 RBI.  If Kemp stays healthy he could reach the 200 career home run mark in late August, and with the protection in the lineup he could eclipse the 100-RBI mark once again.  Kemp is signed through the 2019 from a contract extension he signed with the Dodgers in 2011.

Projected Bench

Tim Federowicz (C) – Acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The 27-year old Federowicz is a decent backup catcher who is entering is fifth season in the major leagues.  He has appeared in 89 career games and is a .194 hitter.  He can be looked to playing in 25-30 games depending on if Norris stays healthy.  He has also played first base, but it isn’t likely he will see any time there this season.

Clint Barmes (IF) – Signed a one-year $1.5 million free agent contract with an option with the Padres.  Barmes is a guy that can pretty much play anywhere in the infield which will be valuable.  He has struggled at the plate the last several years and his playing time has decreased, but with the youth in the Padres infield, he could see a bit more this season.  The soon-to-be 36-year old is entering his 13th year in the major leagues.

Cameron Maybin (OF) – Acquired in a trade with the Miami Marlins in 2010.  Maybin seems to be the guy left out after the trades the Padres made this winter.  He was regarded as a top prospect while in the minors but has since slipped.  He signed a five-year $25 million contract extension with the Padres in 2012 with an option in 2017.  He is making quite a bit of money to sit on the bench so he could be a player moved if the right deal comes around.

Will Venable (OF) – Drafted in the seventh round of the 2005 amateur draft by the Padres.  Venable hasn’t been as consistent as he would need to be to stay in the big league lineup everyday.  He has shown signs of power hitting over 20 home runs in 2013, but has dipped since.  One of the things that makes him valuable is his ability to play all of the outfield positions.  Venable is in the final year of the two-year $8.5 million contract he signed in September of 2013.

Carlos Quentin (OF) – Acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox in 2011.  Quentin certainly seems to be the odd man out in San Diego and if he is healthy could be dealt sometime in 2015.  He is a two-time All-Star that can hit for power but has a lower average.  His production has taken a downturn over the last few seasons as well as his health.  He signed a three-year $27 million extension with the Padres with an option for the 2016 season.  He is owed $8 million this season and has no-trade protection which may act as a roadblock to get a deal done.

John Ginder

Site Co-Founder/Senior Editor and Co-Host at Legends on Deck® The Podcast
In the past John has been a part of such successful sites as MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net.John was born and raised in upstate New York and has a love of all sports but mainly baseball. He has grown used to heartache with his teams as he roots for the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres too.John has a loving and understanding wife and is the the proud father of two amazing boys.He also loves heavy metal music.

You can also reach out to John at jginder@legendsondeck.com