What if: David Wells Fails

We all remember the famous <i>What if</i> comic books series from the late 80's that depicted such events as <i>‘What if the X-men failed on their first mission'</i> and <i>‘What if the Archangel fell from grace'</i>. Now we mold that to the 2004 San Diego Padres and ask the question, what if David Wells fails as a Padre?

David Wells was signed to an incentive laden deal this offseason to be the number one pitcher in the Padres rotation and a sorely needed left hand to throw every five days. He has been a staple of efficiency when healthy…and the Padres season is said to ride on his 15 wins.

But Wells is now on the wrong side of 40 years old and coming off surgery this offseason. While the incentive laden deal is nice, counting on him to win 15 could be detrimental to this team, which is on the cusp of the playoffs.

Wells has gotten into shape this offseason by dropping some weight from his frame, but that has been a part of his success for the past five years. By losing weight, will he also lose his game?

What if Wells fails in his bid to win 15 and comes up with a 9-15 season? Will the young arms of Jake Peavy, Adam Eaton and Brian Lawrence be able to make up the difference?

Then there is the potential for Wells to miss time from injury. With the arthroscopic back surgery in December, Wells said he would be ready come March. What if that is pushed back and he loses starts, or what if he injures himself during the season?

The whole concept of Wells as a number one starter disappears and pressure goes on the young guys and a player that the team started the year without confidence in.

Maybe Petco Park plays different than the team first thought and lefthanders get slammed with long shots ringing off the Metal Supply Building.

Six wins could very well be the difference in what is shaping up to be a tight NL West division. With the Giants out of the pursuit for Greg Maddux, the situation is slightly better for the Friars should Wells fail. If the win total drops from 90 to 84, it ensures the Padres will be on the outside looking in.

The Padres must gain the top seed in the West or fail to make the playoffs. The wildcard team in the National League will likely be out of reach for the West, meaning top seed or no seed.

With the team in its first year in a new ballpark, the buzz could quickly wane as it has in other newer stadiums around the league. The promised revenue and escalating salary budget for the team could go down in future years instead of rising with the promise of contention year in and year out.

The fans will quickly point to the team that gets Maddux and his win total. They will point to failed promises by ownership and when the awe of a new stadium subsides, the fans will stop fighting the downtown traffic and lack of parking and watch the games from the comforts of their homes.

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