NL West preview: Padres take first steps toward postseason
The Padres are in rebuilding mode, that is clear. They have not made the playoffs since their 2006 National League Division Series loss.
This means 2017 marked the eleventh straight year that San Diego was not a part of postseason play. They are, however making steps in the right direction in hopes of ending this long drought.
San Diego made a splash in free agency this offseason, signing former Kansas City Royals All-Star first baseman Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144 million deal. This marks the largest free agent deal in the franchise’s history, and also shows a commitment to winning more baseball games in the near future.
Hosmer was a World Series champion with the Royals in 2015, and appeared in another World Series in 2014. He certainly knows how to win, including in the postseason.
Additionally, the Padres have a great deal of young talent. Center fielder Manuel Margot, catcher Austin Hedges and starting pitchers Dinelson Lamet and Luis Perdomo are all already important pieces of the big league club, each 25 years of age or younger.
Hosmer will be able to provide a veteran presence in the locker room for these young players, while still being almost two full years shy of his 30th birthday. Chase Headley returns to the team this season after being part of an offseason trade from the New York Yankees, and will provide a consistent bat as well as another solid veteran team. Starting pitchers Clayton Richard and Tyson Ross will help to both anchor the rotation, and help youngsters Lamet and Perdomo learn the ropes of a big league club.
San Diego mustered a measly 71 wins in 2017, and has not had a winning record since a 90-72 season in 2010, resulting in a missed playoff berth — by just one game.
The Padres are certainly looking to put up a better record this season, but getting to the playoffs will be tough. They are probably still a year or two removed from seeing its next postseason appearance, but the fans know how to be patient.
Moves have been made to better the team, and to place veterans among all the young talent on the team. The future looks bright for the Padres, and the team should show glimpses of that future in 2018.
Projected record: 77-85
Projected Starting Rotation