Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Pad People

There's something uniquely enjoyable about watching the Padres slide into the spotlight in the offseason. Usually that slot goes to the Red Sox and Yankees (and maybe the Dodgers and Angels), who are inevitably in on every big free agent out there; the A's and Rays' payroll contortions as detractors revel in the sell-off and supporters struggle to divine the logic; and the sad-sacks like the Phillies and the Marlins and the Mets, who only make offseason news for the wrong reasons.


But now it's the Padres' turn. They've snagged themselves an All-Star catcher, three All-Star caliber outfielders (to go on top of the half dozen or so already on the roster) and a former Red Sox prospect to man third base. They've done it without stripping either their rotation or their farm system, they've done it in a way that leaves them the possibility of future moves, and they've done it in a way that is going to keep them in the spotlight until spring training. The Dodgers and Giants have largely just lost pieces this off-season, which means suddenly everyone's reacting to the Padres.

The last time that happened, they were shooting ground balls through Leon Durham's wickets.

As a fan, I love it. I love something other than the rote recitation of Scott Boras-mystery team-Red Sox are in  that we seem to get every year. I love seeing commentators look like they've been pole-axed because in their wildest dreams, they didn't see San Diego picking up the good Upton brother and had nothing canned. And I love hearing Padres fans getting deliriously optimistic in comments sections as they imagine an outfield manned by Matt Kemp and Wil Myers and Justin Upton and Seth Smith and Cameron Maybin and the rest of the Mormon Tabernacle Outfield.

But that's tomorrow's problem to solve. And maybe they'll solve it with a trade for Cole Hamels. Or a new defensive alignment. Or....

You know what? I'm just going to sit back and watch.




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