If this headline doesn’t read as a big fat red “DUH!” I don’t know what does. The statement is true no matter the day or time. However, it’s worth stating right now because the Padres are in the midst of utter turmoil adn an uncertain future. With that being the case, it is obvious that the San Diego Padres will be making moves and those moves might change and alter the potential futures of some former Fort Wayne Wizards.
Wiht the Winter Meetings kicking into gear this week, here’s what we know so far:
- Trevor Hoffman will not be the closer in 2009. This is probalby 99.9% certain. He has not signed with another team yet, so I guess there is a glimmer of a chance he’ll be back, but don’t bet on it. That means there will be an opening for a closer. I’ve speculated on this previously, and I probably didn’t give Heath Bell a fair look, but my money is still on former Wizard, Greg Burke.
- The rest of the bullpen needs a little shoring up too. Reliable setup man, Mike Adams is likely out until the All-Star Break, so there are some spots up for grabs there too.
- Kahlil Green will be the starting shortstop . . . for St. Louis (where he may be playing next to former Wizard, David Freese who went to the Cardinals as part of the failed Jim Edmonds experiment. Freese has a very good shot at playing with the Cards in 2009. Back in San Diego, they will need a new starting shortstop. Unless there is a trade, The heir apparent is Luiz Rodriguez, but don’t count out former Wizard, Sean Kazmar.
- Former Wizards Pitcher, Jake Peavy still has a good chance of being traded (most likely to the Cubs). But, even if he remains with the club, the team still needs pitchers to fill the number three and four slots (Chris Young at number 2 and Cha Seung Baek as the number five guy). If he is traded, that leaves three openings. Maybe one or two of those slots will get filled from the ranks of the minors, but I expect trades and/or Rule 5 Draft picks to be used here. Former Wizard, Wade LeBlanc is likely to earn one of the spots up for grabs IMHO. Former Wizar, Josh Geer also would be likely, but there’s a chance he may be heading for Tommy John surgery, which will kill his 2009 season (if anyone has any updates on this, please comment below). Former Wizard Mike Ekstrom may also be a dark horse contender.
- Former Wizard Jon Ellis are unprotected in the Rule 5 Draft and could potentially be snagged by other clubs. The sidearmer is an interesting gamble for a club who is willing to take a chance and I suspect he’s as good as gone.
- The catching corps is owned by former Wizards. Right now, it looks like the starting gig will go to Nick Hundley, with Luke Carlin serving as backup unless a veteran presence is added. Wonder why Colt Morton never gets much consideration. Jose Lobaton probably has a pretty solid chance and playing with the big club in 2009 too.
- Ironically, the Padres seem to have an excess of outfielders. This time last year, they were converting former Wizard, Chase Headley from third base to outfield. Now, they have Headley, and fellow former Wizard Will Venable to slot into the outfield with Scott Hairston, Brian Giles and Jody Gerut. Couple that with an emerging former Wizard outfielders Drew Macias and Chad Huffman, and you have a couple odd men out (yes, that’s seven guys for three slots). It’s still likely that Giles will get traded (proably during the 2009 season). Moving Headley back to third and trading incumbant third baseman Kevin Kousmanoff is an option, but not one that the club seems to endorse.
- Second basse and first base seem to be in good hands with Edgar Gonzales and Adrian Gonzales respectively. Former Wizard Matt Antonelli might serve as a backup or utility player at second. If San Diego doesn’t move Adrian and he stays healthy, first base remains blocked for uber-prospect Kyle Blanks, so you may see him traded. But I suspect Blanks will play a full season at triple-A in Portland and then the club with consider their options at first for 2010.
So there you have it. The Padres season outlook remains dim, but the bright side is that they don’t have a lot of bad contracts and they are in a highly winable division if the Dodgers don’t run away with it early. Methinks, barring any huge trades to fill holes in the field, suspect we’ll see a roster witha lot of former Wizards.