Q&A: Padres manager Bruce Bochy

San Diego Padres manager Bruce Bochy answered questions about Sean Burroughs, Adam Eaton and the NL West on Sunday at the MLB Winter Meetings:

What were your impressions coming into the Winter Meetings?

I was curious to see what teams were going to do. I thought, this division is so competitive. We didn't know which way some clubs were going, but obviously they have some money to spend. We just have to get smarter and play better.

Is part of that to improve upon your home record?

We've got to play better at home. If we can have the kind of record we should have [at home], we could probably win our division.

What do you think about your NL West neighbors and what they've done so far?

The Giants had to address their needs and they got themselves a front-line closer (Armando Benitez) and a real solid shortstop (Omar Vizquel). The closer is huge, because that was a big problem for them. The Dodgers get a big bat like Jeff Kent, and that's going to make them better no matter if other guys sign. I don't think Arizona is finished spending what they can spend. They're going to be different ballclubs. But I think the Giants filled a key hole there.

What can you expect from Sean Burroughs?

We're looking for improvement. He made a lot of improvement at third base, and is a good defensive third baseman. He's got to show a little more improvement with the bat – he's a good hitter, but we need to see the slugging part. He's got that in him. He's going to keep getting better and I think he's at the stage where he'll show improvement in his overall game. He hit two home runs all of last year, and I don't expect him to only hit two all year this year.

What do you project Burroughs as doing power-wise?

It's hard to say. I'd think 10 to 15 [homers]. But to me, power isn't home runs, it's hitting the gaps for doubles and raising that slugging percentage a little bit. He's very capable of that. There's not a harder worker in that clubhouse, in season or out of season.

How about Adam Eaton?

He has the stuff to be a very good front line starter. His stuff is like a No. 1 starter, that's how good I think he can be. I'm looking for big things from him this year.

What were your impressions of Akinori Otsuka?

He has a closer's mentality. He probably felt more pressure over in Japan (during the post-season series) than he did here. I've never seen him nervous – I bet he felt added pressure.

Do you think Barry Bonds will feel added distraction when he comes down to San Diego as a result of everything going on?

I don't think he'll be distracted. He's been going through this the last couple of years – every time you saw him, he had the media around him and the fans on him. He has a remarkable ability to stay focused on the game and tune out the distractions around.

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