So it's apparent that the San Diego Padres will go into the 2013 season with Chase Headley returning at third base.
As a fan, I'm excited to see what he will do this season.
However, the Padres are also inching closer to the moment where they are going to have to make a choice on what to do with the 2012 Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner.
Sure, they could trade him and obtain more prospects in return. While further bolstering the farm system with players that could potentially be stars is always a good thing, let's keep in mind that they are called prospects because they have yet to prove themselves in the majors.
On the other side of the coin, the Padres could extend Headley and begin the process of building a team around him in hopes of competing with the rest of the National League West.
If the plan is to retain Headley, they need to immediately create a game plan for building a winning team.
The first area the Padres would need to put a strong focus on is their starting pitching.
What are the Padres' biggest needs for the future?
Let's be honest here—Clayton Richard was the one bright spot in the Padres starting rotation in 2012.
Not only did he stay injury free and pitch every scheduled start, but he had a respectable 14-14 record with a 3.99 ERA in 218.2 innings pitched. Not bad for a guy pitching for a team that had a virtually non-existent offense in the first-half of the season.
And though Edinson Volquez did an adequate job in his first year with the Padres staff, his performance would still be considered mediocre with most competitive teams in the league.
If the Padres are going to win, they need to find solid pitching to bring them late into games—bottom line.
The problem is, the front office seems okay with a platoon starting rotation filled with guys who were either has-beens with other teams or have yet to prove themselves in the major leagues.
This is not a solid game plan moving forward into the future.
At the beginning of the season, the fans were told that two solid starting pitchers would be added to the rotation. I'm sorry, but Jason Marquis and Tyson Ross are just not going to cut it.
The Padres need to add two reliable starting pitchers to the starting rotation and let the current group of potential starters either platoon at the No. 5 spot, find their way to the bullpen or be traded away or released if the Padres are going to win.
Next, the Padres need to add another offensive threat to the middle of the lineup.
I am a Carlos Quentin fan and believe that if he can stay healthy for a full season, he can put up some fantastic numbers for the Padres batting behind Chase Headley.
However, if the Padres want to win, they need to add another bat in the middle of the lineup to knock in runs and take some of the pressure off of both Headley and Quentin.
There was some speculation about Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton being traded to the Padres for a package of prospects, but in all honesty, that idea seems more like a dirty rumor created to get Padre fans excited over nothing.
Hopefully guys like Jedd Gyorko, Rymer Liriano and even Cory Spangenberg (later on down the line) will help contribute to the Padres offense in the future, but speculation aside, the Padres could still use a reliable bat in the middle of the order as soon as possible.
New ownership needs to realize that if the Padres are going to contend, they need to drive in more runs, and adding another bat to the middle lineup will be key to the success of the team.
With these two very glaring needs that need to be addressed, the Padres certainly have some work cut out for them. However, I don't think it will be long before the team has a competitive team back on the field as long as the front office steps up and takes care of what I think we all know needs to be handled.
And one last note—only 16 more days until catchers and pitchers report for spring training!