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San Diego Padres
Team Page | Roster | Spring Training Schedule | Regular Season Schedule
On this page: Arrivals | Departures | Spring Cleaning | Team Breakdown | Prospects | Predictions


   Phil Nevin won the team triple crown last season, hitting .303 with 31 homers and 107 RBIs.
Harry How /Allsport

By Doug Furnad, CNNSI.com

Before the Padres can look forward to 2001, they must put the ghosts of 2000 behind. Behind is how they spent most of the season, finishing 21 games in back of San Francisco in the NL West.

They did lead in some aspects of the game, though. Matt Clement led all starters by issuing a league-high 125 walks, and the team as a whole led the league in errors. Those errors led to 84 unearned runs for a team that didn't have the power to make up the ground, finishing next to last in homers.

For the 2001 Padres, it is all about the hot corner. Phil Nevin is there now but could be on the move. He is attractive as trade bait because he carries a salary below $3 million. The Padres did agree with the Brewers on a Nevin-for-Jeromy Burnitz trade but it fell through when San Diego and Burnitz could not agree on contract terms.

Meanwhile, the future of the organization will be biding his time in Class AAA. Sean Burroughs, 20, impressed everyone with his play in the Futures Game during last July's All-Star festivities and also played well for the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic team.

 
Top Guns
Padres 2000 team leaders
Avg.  Phil Nevin  .303 
HR  Phil Nevin  31 
RBIs  Phil Nevin  107 
SB  Eric Owens  29 
Wins  Matt Clement  13 
ERA  Woody Williams  3.75 
Ks  Matt Clement  170 
Saves  Trevor Hoffan  43 
 
Go Figure

56

Players who appeared in at least one game last season, tying the major league record.
 
 

Burroughs hit just two homers in Class AA, but he wasn't overmatched as the youngest player in the league. He still projects as a high average, good power guy who should anchor the Padres for 10 years (or until he reaches free agency).

But that is not where the third base story ends. The club's first pick in last year's draft, Xavier Nady, was All-World in college in 2000 and even managed a hit in his first pro at-bat. He became the first player in 11 years to make his professional debut at the major league level (the last was John Olerud).

While third base seems to be covered, it is the position to the left that has people scratching their heads. Damian Jackson spent much of his time at shortstop last season but will move over to second base to replace Brett Boone.

The first choice to replace Jackson at shortstop is rookie Santiago Perez, who came over from Milwaukee in an offseason deal. Perez's best attribute is speed (31 SB in Class AAA).

Another shortstop candidate is Alex Arias, who has never been an everyday player but was a serviceable commodity off the bench in Florida and Philadelphia. Chris Gomez, who is trying to come back from multiple knee surgeries, is in camp on a minor league deal. And Kevin Nicholson, who was once a hot prospect, also is in the mix.

The pitching staff was injured early and often in 2000, with Carlton Loewer getting hurt in a hunting accident before the season began. Sterling Hitchcock needed Tommy John surgery just when the team was trying to deal him for some much-needed offense. Top starter Woody Williams missed an extended period after an aneurysm was found under his arm. He managed 10 victories, leaving Clement as the only pitcher to log more than 200 innings.

San Diego did sign free agent Bobby J. Jones, who had limited success with the Mets. At least the Padres still have Trevor Hoffman, who became just the third closer in history to record 40-plus saves in three consecutive seasons.

Arrivals
Pos.  Player  From  Via 
INF  Alex Arias  Phillies  Free Agency 
RHP  Kevin Jarvis  Rockies  Free Agency 
RHP  Bobby J. Jones  Mets  Free Agency 
LHP  Scott Karl  Angels  Free Agency 
SS  Santiago Perez  Brewers  Trade 
RHP  Rudy Seanez  Braves  Free Agency 
OF  Bubba Trammell  Mets  Trade 
Rick Wilkins  Cardinals  Free Agency 

Departures
Pos.  Player  To  Via 
2B  Bret Boone  Mariners  Free Agency 
RHP  Buddy Carlyle  Japan  Sold 
RHP  Will Cunnane  Brewers  Trade 
RHP  Brandon Kolb  Brewers  Trade 
OF  John Mabry  Cardinals  Free Agency 
LHP  Randy Myers  TBA    
SS  Desi Relaford  Mets  Released 
RHP  Heathclifff Slocumb  Cardinals  Released 
1B  Joe Vitiello  Japan  Sold 
RHP  Donne Wall  Mets  Trade 

Spring Cleaning
 
Tony Gwynn
  • The Padres need to sort out their crowded outfield. Tony Gwynn will play fine as long as his knees hold up. In center and left, it looks like a three-way platoon with Eric Owens, Mike Darr and Bubba Trammell. Darr hasn't shown much power or speed, but he is solid and manager Bruce Bochy likes his style. Owens was the team's sparkplug the past two years and deserves a chance. Trammell is the most intriguing, with 40 homers and 132 RBIs in 850 career at-bats.

  • Oh yeah, doesn't this team still have Ruben Rivera? He may get some at-bats, but will continue to be just as bad for the Padres as Hideki Irabu was for the Yankees.

  • The starting pitching gets a boost from Jones, and Clement looks to continue to improve, unless he is traded away, in which case he will improve faster. Adam Eaton is a good young arm, but he wore down late, posting a 10.89 ERA in September. Hitchcock is on the comeback trail and is expected back about midseason, but the Padres may be out of it by then.

  • Bochy must decide who will catch. Ben Davis was a stud prospect but hasn't been able to hit consistently in the majors, while Wiki Gonzalez is a fine defensive catcher. As for his bat, did I mention that he was a fine defensive catcher? Davis hit .223 with three homers; Gonzalez .232 with five. Only the Marlins' catchers were worse, but they signed Charles Johnson in the offseason.

  • Team Breakdown
    Projected Lineup  Projected Rotation 
    2B  Damian Jackson  RHP  Woody Williams 
    CF  Mike Darr  LHP  Matt Clement 
    RF  Tony Gwynn  RHP  Bobby J. Jones 
    3B  Phil Nevin  RHP  Adam Eaton 
    1B  Ryan Klesko  RHP  Brian Tollberg/LHP Scott Karl 
    LF  Eric Owens  Bullpen  
    Ben Davis/Wiki Gonzalez  RHP  Trevor Hoffman (closer) 
    SS  Santiago Perez  RHP  Tom Davey 
    Key Reserves   RHP  Rodney Myers 
    INF  Alex Arias  LHP  Kevin Walker 
    INF  Chris Gomez  RHP  Jay Witasick 
    INF  Dave Magadan  RHP  Carlos Almanzar 
    OF  Ruben Rivera  RHP  Steve Montgomery 

    Prospects to Watch
  • 3B Sean Burroughs -- Burroughs hit .291 in the Arizona Fall League and looks to build on that in Class AAA in 2001.

  • 3B Kevin Eberwein -- Eberwein, 23, is the organization's top power prospect, hitting 18 homers in the minors in 2000.

  • 3B Xavier Nady -- Nady, 22, set records for homers and RBIs for the University of California, and was the Padres' first pick in the 2000 draft. He's on the fast track and could be moved across the diamond to first base.

  • RHP Brian Lawrence -- Lawrence, 24, was impressive at Class AA Mobile, posting a 7-6 record and 2.42 ERA while striking out nearly one batter per inning. Then he moved to Class AAA Las Vegas and dominated (4-0, 1.93 ERA, 45 K, 7 BB, 46 2/3 innings).

  • Best-Case Scenario
    Jones and Williams provide 200 innings and 15 wins each. Clement stays put and wins 13 again while dropping his ERA under 4.00. Eaton remains strong, and Hitchcock makes an early return.

    Perez wins the shortstop job, adding speed to the bottom of the order, while Jackson returns to 1999 form and steals more than 30 bases as a competent leadoff hitter.

    Gwynn stays healthy and catches Willie Mays for 11th on the all-time hits list (he needs 175).

    Worst-Case Scenario
    Remember what was said about the ghosts of 2000. Well, they return, and we see a repeat.

    Hitchcock can't make it back before the All-Star break, and the Padres are 20 games out by then.

    Burroughs is rushed to the majors and is overmatched, destroying his confidence, and making him the next Scott Coolbaugh.

    Bottom Line
    The Padres open the season with six consecutive games on the road, including two day games at Coors Field and one at Pac Bell. So, they start 0-6. It will be a long season in San Diego, putting the Padres' new stadium in jeopardy and making for an unhappy ending to Gwynn's career.



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