I have to admit, I missed most of yesterday's games. The Chargers' loss was simply too painful. If I watch the Superbowl (let's face it, no one is watching the Pro Bowl next week), it'll probably be for the commercials. I am done with football for now. After living through horrendous seasons, I can definitely say that losing to the Jets is probably the most painful loss in recent Chargers history. Ugh.
Okay, onto baseball (normally, I'd say basketball, but since the Kobe rape trial, I've "divorced" the Lakers, and have no attachments to any team), to carry my interest and hopes. Now, while the Padres didn't do well last year, they were the hottest team in the Majors at the end of the season. Recently, Gaslampball, a blog covering the Padres, offered their descriptions of the Padres starting players.
I beg to differ. . .somewhat. Here are my views of the Padres starting position players:
Catcher - Nick Hundley - A good defensive catcher, iffy offensively, but has shown promise. All in all, a solid starting catcher.
First Base - Adrian Gonzalez - Good to great player with great defense and pretty good offense (which would probably be better outside of Petco). Perenial all-star.
Second Base - David Eckstein - he's not the all-star he used to be, but is still pesky, still works hard, and is a good influence on the kids. Jerry Hairston will see time at this position too.
Third Base - Chase Headley - Getting out of left field is a major plus, as he was a horrible outfielder. He can probably spend more time in batting cage. But he's an upgrade over Kouzmanoff. Headley had a higher OBP, SLG, and batting average, if I'm not mistaken. While Kouz hit more home runs, Headley had more doubles. Plus, Kouz led the league in hitting into double plays.
Shortstop - Everth Cabrera - the kid flies on the basepaths, plays good defense, and has shown surprising hitting ability. If he progresses, we're set at shortstop until he gets too expensive.
Left Field - Kyle Blanks - For a guy the size of a tight end - scratch that, Blanks is actually BIGGER THAN ANTONIO GATES - he moves amazingly well, and unlike Headley, can actually play the outfield. I just hope his injury wasn't caused by all the running. Anyway, we don't know how good the kid is, but he hits for enormous power. A true wait and see.
Center Field - Tony Gywnn, Jr. - he didn't hit too badly last year, and is the kind of slap hitter that the Padres need. We'll see if he can maintain it. On the plus side, he could platoon with Scott Hairston, who's a bit more proven. Wait and see.
Right Field - Will Venable - Venable plays good defense, and hit surprisingly well last year. I say surprisingly because he hit better than he did in the minors. Hairston can provide insurance at this position too.
Overall, the Padres are a "don't know" kind of a team. They could surprise everyone and have a 2008 Tampa Bay Devil Rays kind of season, or a look like the Padres last year. Likely, we're looking at a 70-75 win season. I love the Kouzmanoff for Hairston trade, as I see Headley being an upgrade at third. My gut says that Cabrera, Headley and Blanks play better than they did last year, and that Venable and Gywnn play worse.