I Can See Clearly Now…Almost Part II

While it may seem that a team that could lose 100 games this year couldn't possibly be a contender for next year, I am here to tell you that the San Diego Padres could and should contend next year. I really believe this team is not far away and with a few key acquisitions, could be right in the thick of things.

The pitching staff…

First things foremost, I really believe we need a #1 starter for next season. I think we need someone who can challenge the other teams #1 starter, a la 1998 when Kevin Brown was here. We won a lot of games by 1 run that year with him on the hill. There are some good ones out there this off season.

As it is right now, we have Brian Lawrence, who has had some incredible bad luck this season and is good 3 or 4 starter.

Jake Peavy is good as well, and I think he can be a solid 2 or 3, when he fully matures.

Oliver Perez, in my humble opinion, is the jewel of the young starters. His slider is downright nasty. The thing to remember is he is only 21 years old. When he matures, and really learns how to pitch and can avoid those walks, he is going to be a force to reckon with. Hopefully, he will continue to grow.

Let's remember that when Randy Johnson came along, he really struggled with wildness. It wasn't until his 5th season that he got his walks under a 100, and he had 99 that year. Now, I am not saying that Oliver Perez is going to be the next Randy Johnson. I am just saying it is something to think about.

Adam Eaton reminds me a lot of Andy Ashby. Loads of potential that wasn't fully reached until he was coddled by a #1 starter who taught him the way. I really believe that Adam Eaton has the stuff to be a star. His curveball has a mighty break and his fastball is in the 90's. I think he just also needs to learn how to pitch, which is exactly why I would love Dave Stewart to be our pitching coach, but that's another article.

The bullpen…

Yikes! In need of a major overhaul! I really hate to see where we would have been without the pickup of Rod Beck. I really hope that we resign him, even if Trevor Hoffman does come back. One, who's to say that Hoffman will be the same, and secondly, what's wrong with having two guys who can help close out games. Or, Beck can set up, although, I am not sure if he will flourish in that role.

I think the Jaret Wright experiment is done. It just seems like the guy cannot pitch an inning without giving up a run. His current ERA of over 7 can attest to that.

Scott Linebrink has been steady, if nothing else, but he must be among the lead leaders in allowing inherited runners scored.

Luther Hackman has been okay and I think he can be effective in a smaller role. I think he has really been overworked and I think his arm tired. I think he can be a vital role in our bullpen.

Mike Matthews is a lefty and that's about as much good as I can say about him. I really hope we can bring some new blood for our relief corp. It really is important to have a good bullpen.

Last year, the Angels and the Giants had 2 of the best bullpens in baseball. Coincidence that they both were in the World Series last year? I think not. So, I really hope Towers addresses this need for next year.

Lauren Arfman II can be reached at lauren3919@yahoo.com

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