The San Diego Padres are taking the next step in their rebuild with first-year skipper Jayce Tingler replacing the fired Andy Green. General Manager AJ Preller made six trades in the offseason to add veterans to their major youth movement.
Now they will look to target .500 and above and have become the darling sleeper pick to make the playoffs. They appear to have a fantastic blend of young talent and veteran leadership in the lineup, but the offense is ahead of the pitching staff in development while the Padres play in a notorious pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
Looking at the betting odds, the Padres are expected to improve. The BetUS World Series odds have San Diego at +4000, the same odds as division-rival Arizona, which went 85-77 last year to San Diego’s 70-92.
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San Diego Padres 2019 Results
The fourth season under manager Andy Green ended with a 70-92 record, and Green’s tenure in San Diego ended with a 274-366 mark.
A young team filled with promising prospects, San Diego started strong in 2019 with a 3-1 March and a 14-12 April. They were 42-41 at the end of June, but that’s when the wheels fell off.
San Diego struggled to an 8-16 July before a slight bounceback at 13-15.
But they went 7-20 in September to finish 22 games under .500. That record was a four-win improvement from 2018 but still had San Diego in last place, one game behind Colorado and 36 wins behind the division champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
Overall, the Padres were 45-49 before the All-Star break but 25-47 following the Midsummer Classic.
San Diego went 36-45 at home and 34-47 on the road. They were 33-47 against the NL West, including a rough 6-13 mark against the Dodgers. San Diego did have success in interleague games with an 11-9 mark against the American League.
Closer Kirby Yates was San Diego’s lone All-Star last year, while shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
San Diego Padres Key Additions
Preller made trade after trade in the offseason and added three players through free agency. He also hired Tingler, the former Texas Rangers field coordinator, as a first-time manager.
The first offseason trade came Nov. 27 when the Padres dealt infielder Luis Urias and pitcher Eric Laurer to Milwaukee for right-handed pitcher Zach Davies and outfielder Trent Grisham.
Davies made 31 starts for Milwaukee as a 26-year-old, going 10-7 with a 3.55 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 159 2/3 innings. As a 22-year-old rookie, Grisham hit .231/.328/.410 with six homers, six doubles, and 24 RBI in 51 games.
On Dec. 2, the Padres traded pitcher Austin Allen to Oakland for infielder Jurickson Profar. Profar helped Oakland to the playoffs in his only season in the Bay Area, batting .218/.301/.410 with 20 homers, 24 doubles, and 67 RBI.
Four days later, the team traded outfielder Hunter Renfroe and two prospects to the Tampa Bay Rays for outfielder Tommy Pham and infielder Jake Cronenworth. Pham hit .273/.369/.450 with 21 homers, 33 doubles and 68 RBI.
Cronenworth is ready to make his MLB debut after batting .334/.429/.520 with 10 homers in Triple-A last season.
The Padres hooked up with the Rays again Feb. 8, sending outfielder Manny Margot for pitcher Emilio Pagan. Pagan is on his fourth franchise in four seasons with single years in Seattle, Oakland, and Tampa Bay.
Last year, he saved 20 games for the Rays while going 4-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 66 outings.
On June 30, San Diego acquired infield prospect, Jorge Mateo, from Oakland for a player to be named later. A participant in the 2019 Futures Game, Mateo tested positive for the coronavirus in July and will not be ready to start the season.
Just last week, they traded outfielder Franchy Cordero to the Kansas City Royals for pitcher Tim Hill. Hill went 2-0 with a 3.63 ERA in 46 outings last year for the Royals while striking out 39 batters in 39 2/3 innings.
On the free-agent market, Preller added pitchers, Drew Pomeranz and Pierce Johnson. Pomeranz pitched for the Padres in 2016 before going to Boston, San Francisco, and Milwaukee. Last year with the Giants and Brewers, he was 2-10 with a 4.85 ERA in 46 games and 18 stars.
Johnson, a Cubs first-round draft pick in 2012, last pitched in the majors with San Francisco in 2018. That season, he was 3-2 with a 5.56 ERA in 37 games.
Big Losses for 2020 San Diego Padres
On the trade side, the Padres lost Renfroe, Margot, Urias, Lauer, Allen, and Cordero along with prospect Xavier Edwards.
Renfroe led the 2019 Padres with 33 home runs, but he hit just .216/.289/.489. The 27-year-old added 19 doubles and 64 RBI in 140 games.
Margot hit .234/.304/.387 as a 24-year-old outfielder last season. He had 12 homers, 19 doubles, 20 steals, and scored 59 runs.
Urias appeared in 71 games last season on the Padres infield batting .223/.329/.326 with four homers, eight doubles, and 24 RBI.
Cordero, a left-handed hitting outfielder, played nine games as a rookie in 2019. He hit .333/.450/.400 with one RBI.
Laure made 39 starts last season going 8-10 with a 4.45 ERA. The left-hander struck out 138 batters over 149 2/3 innings while walking 51.
Allen caught 34 games last season batting .215/.282/.277 with three RBI.
Infielder Ian Kinsler retired this offseason after a 14-year career that included stints with Detroit, Texas, Boston and the Los Angeles Angels. As a 37-year-old last year, the second baseman hit .217/.278/.368 with nine homers, 12 doubles, and 22 RBI in 87 games.
Left-handed pitcher Robbie Erlin signed with the Pirates in the offseason. He was 0-1 with a 5.37 ERA in 37 outings last year with an 8.5 K/9 ratio.
Reliever Adam Warren returned to the Yankees after a 4-1 2019 season with San Diego. In 25 outings, the lefty posted a 5.34 ERA over 28 2/3 innings.
San Diego Padres Pitching
The Padres’ Opening Day starter is a 24-year-old righty, Chris Paddack. The hard-thrower went 9-7 last season with a 3.33 ERA in 26 starts while striking out 153 batters in 140 2/3 innings.
Right-hander Dinelson Lamet made 14 starts last year, going 3-5 with a 4.07 ERA. The 27-year-old struck out 105 over 73 innings for a team-best 12.9 K/9.
Garrett Richards is looking to come back from injury and is slotted into the Padres’ rotation. Last year, he pitched just three times and made just 31 starts over the last four seasons.
Left-hander Joey Lucchesi led the 2019 Padres in wins, starts, innings, and strikeouts. He went 10-10 with a 4.18 ERA over 30 innings while striking out 158 batters in 163 2/3 innings.
Davies is the lone newcomer in the rotation with righty Cal Quantrill moving to the bullpen. Quantrill was 6-8 last year with a 5.16 ERA in 18 starts and 103 innings.
Yates established himself as one of the best closers in baseball last season, with 41 saves in 60 outings. He went 0-5 but had a sparkling 1.19 ERA and 0.89 WHIP while striking out 101 batters and walking only 13 in 60 2/3 innings.
The righties in the bullpen include Pagan, Johnson, Craig Stammen, and Luis Perdomo, while Hill and Pomeranz are joined by Matt Strahm as lefties.
Stammen led the Padres last year in appearances with 76, while Strahm went 6-11 with a 4.71 ERA in 46 outings.
San Diego Padres Offense
If the Padres are to make the big jump, it will come from their offense. Tingler can put out an exciting young lineup that looks like this: SS Fernando Tatis Jr., CF Trent Grisham, 3B Manny Machado, LF Tommy Pham, 1B Eric Hosmer, RF Wil Myers, DH Josh Naylor, 2B Jurickson Profar, C Francisco Mejia.
Tatis Jr. had a fantastic rookie season both at the plate and in the field. He hit .317/.379/.590 with 22 homers, 16 steals, 13 doubles, 53 RBI and 61 runs scored in just 84 games. He will be an All-Star for years to come.
Machado quietly had a fantastic year in San Diego last season, batting .256/.324/.462 with 32 home runs, 21 doubles, and 85 RBI.
Hosmer hit 22 homers and led the Padres with 99 RBI last year. The left-handed hitter batted .265/.310/.425 with 29 doubles and 72 runs scored.
Myers hit .239/.321/.418 with 18 homers and 53 RBI in 155 games last year. The 29-year-old added 22 doubles, 16 steals and 58 runs scored.
Naylor played in 94 games last year and is a DH option for 2020. He hit .249/.315/.403 last year with eight homers, 14 doubles, and 32 RBI.
Mejia came up and played in 79 games last year as a switch-hitting catcher. He hit .265/.316/.438 with eight homers, 11 doubles, and 22 RBI.
San Diego has bench options too with catcher Austin Hedges and infielders Ty France, Greg Garcia, and Cronenworth. Hedges hit .176/.252/.311 last year with 11 homers, while France played 69 games batting .234/.294/.402 with seven homers.
Three Key Players to 2020 San Diego Padres
San Diego needs a starting pitcher or two to make the leap, and Chris Paddack could be that guy. He went at least five innings in 20 of 26 starts last year and had at least eight strikeouts seven times. With an improved offense and defense around him, this could be a big 2020 for Paddack.
Pham brings a presence to a young Padres team, joining Machado and Hosmer as experienced veterans. With speed, power, and strong defense, Pham makes the Padres better in every facet of the game. Padres fans will love the energy he brings to the game as he attempts to lead a young team to the next level.
Asking the 33-year-old Yates to lead the NL in saves again might be a little much, but he was the only reliever to get Cy Young votes last year with remarkable numbers. If he can get anywhere close to the 1.19 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 15.0 K/9 he had in 2019, the Padres will be thrilled.
2020 Padres Schedule Breakdown
The Padres went nine games under .500 against their division last year and now will face the NL West 40 times this season, with the other 20 games coming against the AL West.
San Diego starts the season with four games at home against Arizona and three at San Francisco. They will host the Diamondbacks and Dodgers a combined 13 times and travel to the Rockies and Giants 13 times.
On the AL side, they play six games against Seattle, three in each park. They will not host Oakland and don’t have to go to Houston, which is a plus.
The Padres’ BetUs over/under for MLB regular-season wins odds is 30.5, the third-highest total in the NL West behind the Dodgers and Diamondbacks. Picking up 11 games in a 162-game season would be a massive coup, so finishing .500 at 30-30 has to be considered a positive for San Diego’s rebuild.
The BetUS World Series odds have San Diego at +4000, the same as Arizona and behind the NL favorite Dodgers.
San Diego appears to be doing this rebuild the right way with a combination of draftees, international signees, trades, and free-agent additions. They have a stockpile of young talent both at the MLB level and in their farm system.
Keep an eye on this team as a postseason dark horse, especially with the expansion to a 16-team playoff format in 2020.