Padres Will Again Reside in Last Place

by publicationarchive

I am as big a Padres fan as anyone, but as far as I am concerned,this year looks bleak. The main reason for my pessimism” The Padresplay in the toughest division in baseball.

Butthey aren’t a bad team.

The National League West had four of its five clubs finish withwinning records. The only team that had a losing record was — youguessed it — San Diego. To help put that in perspective, the othertwo divisions in the N.L. combined had four organizations finishabove .500.

The N.L. West also featured the team with the best record in theNational League, the San Francisco Giants.

This season also marks the beginning of the unbalanced schedule.This means clubs will play their division counterparts 22 more timesthan last season. So while the Braves and Mets are beating up on theMarlins, Phillies and Expos in the N.L. East, the Padres will bebattling against four tough teams out west.

I said earlier I am a big Padres fan. So when asked by a colleaguewhere I thought the team would finish, I was optimistic and saidthird or fourth. He then posed a question that got me to rethink myinitial optimism: If the Padres were to crawl out of the basementthis season, who would take their place at the bottom of the heap?

I was stumped.

The obvious choice would be the team that finished just ahead ofthe Padres. The Colorado Rockies however, saw to it this off-seasonthat they would not be near last place when they signed two of thetop free-agent pitchers available, Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton.

Maybe the Padres could top Arizona. The Diamondbacks are the onlyteam in baseball with every projected starter over age 30.Unfortunately they have Cy Young winner Randy Johnson as their stafface and Curt Schilling backing him up, which means they won’t finishlower than third.

I always want to think the Padres can beat the Dodgers and LosAngeles is notorious for underachieving. They made one move thisoff-season to cause me worry, when they signed former Padres pitcherAndy Ashby.

The team that looks the worst on paper is probably the team thatfinished atop the division last season. The Giants pitching rotationwouldn’t appear to matchup against the others in the division andthey lost Ellis Burks, one of their top sluggers, to free agency.Rest assured that Dusty Baker, the top manager in baseball, will keephis team competitive.

If everything that could possibly go right for the Padres does goright and everything that could go wrong for the other four teamsdoes indeed go wrong, then of course the Padres can win the division.

Call me crazy, but I just don’t see that happening.

Trevor Hewey is a junior and a staff writer for The Daily Aztec.He can be contacted at sdgrifter@hotmail.com.