Gentlemen, drop your bats and gloves
2009 season for the Padres officially came to an end. This year wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad at all. Padres have a lot of young guys who are climbing towards the top to have the capability to become a solid baseball player. Part of achieving that is of course, getting big help from experienced players like David Eckstein and Henry Blanco.
This club bounced back from last season which was a disaster. Padres started off hot in 2009 by remaining first place for few weeks but cooled down in the middle due to ton of injuries. Last two months however, they turned things around and finished the rest of the season strong. What I’m looking for a team is a strong finish and the Padres did that. Even though they lost game 162, I’m just proud with all of them.
As I was mentioning earlier, group of young kids stepped up and proved to the fans they have the stong desire to play like an experienced player. When vetran outfielder Brian Giles hit the disabled list and never came back, two young outfielders stepped up their games and they did very nice jobs filling in the missing hole. They are: Kyle Blanks and Will Venable. Kyle can play firstbase as well, but he looks stonger in the outfield. I saw few actions from Will last year and he turned things around throughout 2009. When Brian Giles returns next year, I will be a little bit disappointed because he didn’t do much of a thing that helped the club. I would personally see Kyle Blanks and Will Venable getting more playing time. With Gwynn Jr. in the middle of course.
For the infield, it’s looking very strong and solid. We have: Adrian Gonzalez at firstbase, David Eckstein at second, Everth Cabrera at shortstop, and Kevin Kouzmanoff at the hot corner. I pay attention to middle infield very carefully and examine it while taking notes. With the mixture of youth and experience (Everth and David), this combo is going to remain next year and will amaze the fans by eye-popping plays. Kevin is straight-up gold glove candidate. If you don’t know much about him, please look at his numbers. He only made three errors in over three hundred chances. That is so amazing. Kouz is going to stay hot and I know it. As for Adrian, 2008 gold glove winner, impressed me as well and Padres’ firstbase is continuing to be strong.
Starting pitchers and bullpen has been the most shaky position this season. Kevin Correia was the only survivor from opening day’s pitching rotation. He started off slow but got better as the season progressed. I’m looking at him as a number two starter next year. He impressed me so much. For some reason, I had high expectations from him when he signed a minor league deal in spring training 2009. I will be thrilled if he comes back next year. When the Padres traded away 2007 NL Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy and talented outfielder Scott Hairston, they recieved total of seven, young pitchers. Not all of them are strong obviously, but pitchers such as Clayton Richard and Adam Russell is going to look great. Lefty Clayton made me so proud that I completely forgot about Jake Peavy few times. (Sorry Jake. I still miss you!)
The offseason began for San Diego but we already made a big move before the season’s end. Padres finally released general manager Kevin Towers. He was the GM for the Padres since 1996 and it was time for him to move on. I say this is the right move because I disagreed with him most of the time. We just could not agree with each other most of the time. Padres are defintiely going to have a brand-new GM by end of October. I hope the new general manager will bring mostly positive move to the club.
Padres season may be over but there are still plenty of major league baseball action in October. Twins became AL Central Champions and I applaud them for a win against the Tigers in dramatic walk-off style. However, I’m rooting for the Cardinals and I really hope they will be World Series winners again. Last time they won the World Series was back in 2006 and my dear David Eckstein was the MVP. 2009 postseason will definitely have twists and turns with nail-biting moments and eight remaining teams will fight to win the ultimate prize.