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No. 28 San Diego Padres


In Focus: Matt Clement
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The Padres expect right-hander Matt Clement to emerge into the staff ace. Start
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2000 Record: 76-86 (5th in NL West)

Just three years after making it to the World Series, the San Diego Padres are probably still three years away from serious contention. That's a shame, because Tony Gwynn's Hall of Fame career is coming to a close.

Gwynn is entering his 20th season as a Padre, but there won't be much to celebrate this season other than his continued assault on the all-time hits list.

San Diego has made no significant changes to an offense that finished 12th in the NL in runs scored last season. Only Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin provide legitimate power threats; Ruben Rivera continues to disappoint and guys like Eric Owens would be bench players on most other teams.

The pitching outlook is brighter. Trevor Hoffman should continue to dominate the ninth inning. Also, Matt Clement, Adam Eaton and Woody Williams form a solid top of the rotation. These three notched nearly half of the Padres wins last season. Clement will be counted on to be the ace. Putting the 26-year-old In Focus shows that he'll have to be more consistent this year. Clement went 9-7 with a 4.84 ERA in the first half last season, but slumped in the second half going 4-10 with a 5.52 ERA.

Even if the staff comes through, the offense will be a major stumbling block for this team. That's why I rank them the 28th best in baseball.


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