Padres Preview

Posted by on March 4th, 2015  •  0 Comments  • 

It all begins today at 12-noon, the start of the Cactus League schedule, for the Padres and Dodgers, then tomorrow for the Angels.
The Padres don’t have many spots open on this roster after the off season shopping spree by new General Manager AJ Preller.  The Dodgers have holes and question marks in lots of places, as new GM-Andrew Friedman moved big names off the roster, hoping for better chemistry.  The Angels have injured players to get healthy, and a huge mental health issue with a big money-big slugger with a big dependency problem.
Wins and losses won’t mean much for San Diego.  Keeping Matt Kemp healthy, looking for consistent power in the batting order, and hoping to retain health amongst the starters, will be key.
To be decided will be whether Cam Maybin can unseat Wil Myers in centerfield.  Maybin has been hurt, and hasn’t hit much since they gave him a big contract a couple of years back.  Will Yonder Alonso stay healthy after back-to-back surgeries on his hands the last two years.  And will there be a bounce back season for 3rd baseman Will Middlebrooks? 
What type of defense will this Padres team have, with virtually no stars in the infield, and big names, but without big defensive stats in the outfield?.
Los Angeles faces huge chemistry questions.  They rid themselves of some dynamic offensive talents, Kemp, Hanley Ramirez, Dee Gordon.  It will be a very different lineup around slugger Adrian Gonzalez.  And everyone will wait to see if Joc Pederson is the next in the great line of Dodgers OFs to come thru the system, like Pedro Guerrero, Raul Mondesi, Kemp, and Yasiel Puig.
The aces of the staff have piled up lots of innings the last two years, but the bullpen is shaky with the 3-month loss of closer Kenley Jansen already, with foot surgery.
The Angels have a huge payroll, but have huge problems.  The drug relapse issue of Josh Hamilton weighs heavy on their mind, and the $95M owed on his contract is huge too.
The health of the back half of the rotation is critical too, and Garrett Richards and Matt Shoemaker will be watched closely with hopes of no setbacks in the spring.
Replacing Howie Kendrick’s production at second base will be important also.
So they head out under Arizona sunshine today and tomorrow.  Six weeks till opening day.  Hope springs eternal in the spring, but answers to real questions are what they need by the end of March.
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