Despite losing GM Jed Hoyer to the Cubs, the San Diego Padres managed to put together one of the best, and most underrated, offseasons of any team in baseball.
The Mat Latos trade was good for everyone involved, but without a doubt the Padres won that trade.
First, it allowed them to add two huge offensive prospects. Yonder Alonso has a huge power ceiling and could be A-Gon 2.0. Yasmani Grandal has a lot of power and patience, though with Nick Hundley behind the dish, it remains to be seen how the team will manage the depth chart.
San Diego also managed to add powerhouse Carlos Quentin. Injuries have caused Quentin struggles, but when healthy he can drive the ball really well.
One last player worth mentioning is Chase Headley. Headley enters his fifth season at the hot corner, and it seems he's constantly improving his game. At 27, he's a player worth watching all season long.
The other thing the Latos trade did was actually improve their pitching. Yes, they did acquire Edinson Volquez, but despite his wildness in 2011, he's still got a huge ceiling.
But, the bigger ripple is how the acquisition of Alonso made Anthony Rizzo expendable. That allowed San Diego to flip Rizzo to the Cubs for pitching prospect Andrew Cashner. Cashner joins Casey Kelly as two prospects who could pay huge 2012 dividends.
The biggest concern for the Padres pitching is innings. None of their current rotation arms pitched 200 innings last season. Petco Park allows pitchers to shine, but they have to put in the innings.
All-in-all, San Diego is an improved club that makes the NL West that much better.