TMS Team Preview: The 2016 San Diego Padres

February 29, 2016 | Comments (2) | by Rich Funk

Over the coming weeks, Thunder Matt's Saloon will have previews of all 30 MLB teams. We're starting at the bottom and working our way up based on the current Vegas odds for winning the 2016 World Series.

Today we throw things back to Cali (ugh) with the San Diego Padres!

2015 Finish: 74-88 (4th place in NL West)

So Long: Dale Thayer, Josh Johnson, Ian Kennedy, Nud Borris, Justin Upton, Cory Luebke, Joaquin Benoit, Craig Kimbrel, WIll Middlebrooks, Yonder Alonso, Jed Gyorko

Welcome: Josmil Pinto, Philip Humber, Drew Pomeranz, Jon Jay, Fernando Rodney

Projected Lineup (via
1. Cory Spangenberg 2B
2. Derek Norris C
3. Wil Myers 1B
4. Matt Kemp LF
5. Yangervis Solarte 3B
6. Alexei Ramirez SS
7. Melvin Upton RF
8. Jon Jay CF

Starting Rotation: James Shields, Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Robbie Erlin, Brandon Maurer, Colin Rae, Drew Pomeranz, Brandon Morrow (really??)
Setup: Jon Edwards
Closer: Fernando Rodney

Rap Lyric That Sums Up Their 2015 Season: 
"Rumor has it, I steer the ship with my eyes closed"
    - Drake, 'Charged Up'

Holy crap, could the Padres use some new direction.

It seems like every year, there's at least one team that barely did better than expectations the season before and blindly goes all-in during the offseason trying to buy their way to a playoff berth. Remember when the Marlins signed Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle before the 2012 season only to trade both of them just a few months later? Or the spending spree the Diamondbacks have gone on this offseason? That was the Padres prior to last season, beating out the Cubs to sign James Shields to a long term deal. But the Padres weren't done, trading not only for Craig Kimbrel to shore up the bullpen, but also Wil Myers, Justin Upton and Matt Kemp, hoping they would provide enough offense to snag at least a Wild Card spot.

That did not happen. While Kemp had one of his better seasons in recent memory, Myers hurt himself and Jed "Gyork Store" Gyorko proved that his rookie season was a complete fluke and the Padres fell apart. The only thing keeping them from finishing in the basement of their division was the grease fire that is the Colorado Rockies.

So the Padres pushed all their chips in and traded most of their future for Kimbrel/Upton/Myers/Kemp and it blew up in their faces. Where do they go from there? If you guessed 'sink further into the toilet', you win! Justin Upton left as a free agent, so that was a complete sunk cost. Trading Kimbrel brought back nothing of note in return. And Matt Kemp's awesome hamstrings are due for a blowout any day now. Seriously, look at that lineup. Spangenberg? Yangervis? Sorry, but I don't watch that show. And judging from the team they're putting on the field this year, neither will anyone in San Diego. Oh least they still have the Chargers, right? Right?

Reason To Watch: Honestly, there are none. Kemp may be their best player, but his best days are way behind him. Wil Myers can't stay healthy. They have no 'ace' in the rotation (The closest thing is Tyson Ross and he's halfway out the door). Honestly, if you can name one legitimate reason to watch this team,...AJ Preller will probably trade half his roster for it and cover 30% of their remaining contracts.

Reason To Drink: Take your pick. There are about 10 things that immediately come to mind that could cause even casual Padres fans to drink straight gasoline before swallowing a match and going all Thích Quảng Đức on the Saigon World Tour. One of the worst is that after trading away most of their assets, the Padres still don't have a single prospect in the top 50 of Baseball America's rankings, and just 3 amongst the top 100. So not only are the Padres terrible now, but they're going to be bad until...always?

The Fans: As a San Diego resident for a few years, I can say that the Padres fans I met were all very passionate and knowledgeable and realistic about whatever their team's current state was. And there are about 32 of them total. I'm not kidding.

Their Worst Contract: Honestly, there's not a single awful contract on this team. Sure, James Shields and Matt Kemp both making $21 million each isn't great, but both can provide decent seasons, even at their current advanced ages. And having Justin Upton at only $15.4 million is a steal!

Wait...they're paying MELVIN Upton $15 million? The other Upton? The TERRIBLE Upton?

PICTURED: 2016 Padres fans. And the 2016 Padres season.
Fantasy Standout: Tyson Ross is good. On one hand, he has no idea where any of his pitches are going. On the other hand, he does it in the old Kerry Wood way where it leads to a ton of strikeouts. I have no idea how he throws as many sliders as he does without having his elbow go all Scanners. Hey, the Kerry Wood comparisons might not be finished!
Tyson Ross' elbow come June or so

Fantasy Bust: Some people are going to be targeting James Shields thinking he'll have a bounce-back from his sub-par 2015. Those people are going to be kicking themselves when he has the same inflated home run rate while striking out even less batters.

The Pop Culture Equivalent To This Team Is: Shameless on Showtime. Sure, it's still going, but is anyone actually watching it? Either way, it's best times are in the past. Yeah, you can watch it, but don't expect to be able to talk about it with anyone at work because they aren't.


Unknown @ 9:49 AM, February 29, 2016

They have a nice stadium and tickets are cheap. However, my travel budget is frozen. Best of luck, Padres.

Pink case @ 3:54 PM, February 29, 2016

I don't care. I hate the Padres and always will.