who'll be 31 next year

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Notwithstanding my opinions regarding the Padre ownership and management http://www.seahawkssuperbowlxlixshop.com/Seahawks-Steve-Largent-Super-Bow-Jersey/ , my comments here will be limited to the player personnel.

Like all Padre fans, I have my opinions as to who should stay and who should go. While it's being reported that the Padres intend to substantially reduce their payroll in 2009, the club has neither confirmed nor denied it. If it turns out to be true, that means they're going with a youth movement and will not spend money on big name free agents or trade for high priced talent. If that happens, the 2009 Padres will resemble a Triple A team-which, when I think about it, is kinda what they looked like this season. Anyway http://www.seahawkssuperbowlxlixshop.com/Seahawks-Derrick-Coleman-Super-Bow-Jersey/ , my opinions are based on the premise that they will not significantly reduce the payroll and will endeavor to put a competitive team on the field next season.

I'll start off with the offense.

All one has to do is look at the stats (as of 9/24/08) to see why the Padres have the third worst record in the majors. They're last in runs scored (623) and on base percentage (.318), second to last in slugging (.391) and batting average (.251 – actually, they're tied with Washington and Arizona for that dubious distinction – only Cincinnati is worse with .247), and they rank eleventh of sixteen NL teams in home runs.

The only proven major leaguers on the roster are Adrian Gonzalez (.281, 35 HRs, 117 RBI) and Brian Giles (.306, 11 HRs http://www.seahawkssuperbowlxlixshop.com/Seahawks-Michael-Bennett-Super-Bow-Jersey/ , 60 RBI). While it's safe to assume that Gonzalez will return next year, it's beginning to look doubtful that Giles' option year will be picked up. However, if the Padres want to be competitive, they need his leadership. If they let him go, it'll cost them $3 million. For $6 million more, they can retain his services. The club will certainly save money if they choose to go with Jody Gerut (.296, 14 HRs http://www.seahawkssuperbowlxlixshop.com/Seahawks-Bobby-Wagner-Super-Bow-Jersey/ , 43 RBI), Scott Hairston (.248, 17 HRs, 31 BI), and rookies Chase Headley (.274, 9 HRs, 37 RBI) and William Venable (.277 http://www.seahawkssuperbowlxlixshop.com/Seahawks-Doug-Baldwin-Super-Bow-Jersey/ , 2 HRs, 8 RBI) as their '09 outfielders. However, how they'll perform over a full season is anybody's guess.

Furthermore, while the Padres would like to retain Gerut, he s eligible for salary arbitration, which is a procedure in which the club has historically been loath to parti[censored] te. If they can't sign him on their terms, he may not be offered arbitration http://www.seahawkssuperbowlxlixshop.com/Seahawks-Steven-Hauschka-Super-Bow-Jersey/ , and, therefore, could become a free agent.

Another factor to consider for the outfield is defense. While the Padres rank third (tied with St. Louis) in the NL, left fielder Chase Headley, a natural third baseman who's been playing out of position since joining the club, has been somewhat shaky in the field. There is speculation that the Padres would like to move him to third base-which would mean that Kevin Kouzmanoff would be used as trade bait.

Second year player Kouzmanoff (.265, 22 HRs http://www.seahawkssuperbowlxlixshop.com/Seahawks-Kam-Chancellor-Super-Bow-Jersey/ , 82 RBI) has done a terrific job at third base and has shown improvement at the plate. And although he strikes out too much, Headley actually has a higher strikeout percentage. Third base is going to be a tough decision for the Padres. While it's hard to trade away a player who might soon hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs or more, the po[censored] r Kouz could possibly bring the club a "number three" starting pitcher or a power hitting outfielder via a trade. Personally, while I'd like to see Kouz stay, I really don't want to see Headley back in left field next year. But I don't want him traded away, either.

On to the infield. I've already talked about third base, so we'll start with the shortstop position. Khalil Greene IS the Padres' shortstop. Okay http://www.seahawkssuperbowlxlixshop.com/Seahawks-Richard-Sherman-Super-Bow-Jersey/ , he had a tough year at the plate. And, as everyone knows, his poor performance was exacerbated by an idiotic, self inflicted injury. Still, I believe that Greene will bounce back next year and be the player the club and the fans want him to be. Enough said.

Although Luis Rodriguez has done a remarkable job filling in for Greene at short and could possibly be their second baseman next year, I think it behooves the club to fill that position with an established big leaguer who can provide stellar defense, speed http://www.seahawkssuperbowlxlixshop.com/Seahawks-Russell-Wilson-Super-Bow-Jersey/ , and a little power. The only free agent who fits that bill is Orlando Hudson, who made over $6 million this season with Arizona. Hudson, who'll be 31 next year, would give the Padres veteran leadership along with everything else they want in a second baseman. However, his price may be too high for the budget conscious Padres.

Edgar Gonzalez did a commendable job filling in at second base this season and I don't think there's any doubt that the personable older brother of Adrian can hit. However, the Padres see him as a reserve player. I believe the same applies to Luis Rodriguez.

Speaking of Adrian Gonzalez, the Padres only All Star will be back at first base next year. However http://www.seahawkssuperbowlxlixshop.com/Seahawks-Marshawn-Lynch-Super-Bow-Jersey/ , what I'd like to see is a bonafide power bat hitting behind him. If the Padres can find a guy like that, Adrian's numbers might be even better next season. There are several power hitting outfielders available in the 2009 free agent pool. Heading that list are Manny Ramirez, Pat Burrell, Jason Bay, Adam Dunn, and Vladimir Guer