Has it started already? Is the Padres' pitching staff already set up for failure before the 2013 season starts?
Casey Kelly, the Padres' fourth-best prospect according to MLB.com, is likely to start the season on the disabled list and might need season-ending Tommy John surgery on his sore right elbow to make things worse.
According to Corey Brock of MLB.com, tests performed on Kelly's elbow on Tuesday came back questionable and have doctors "concerned" with the results.
"The doctors are concerned [about] what the tests look like," said Padres manager Bud Black. "It's the part of the elbow we're concerned about."
Kelly, who was acquired along with Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes and Eric Patterson for All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, was competing for a role in the Padres rotation this spring and was considered a strong favorite to win the No. 5 spot.
In a now very questionable trade that has still yet to pay dividends for the Padres, it makes me wonder as a fan if the team will ever profit from letting Gonzalez go for a group of unproven prospects.
Rizzo, now with the Chicago Cubs, had a nice year last season and is projected to have an even bigger year in 2013 now that he has experienced a full season of play and shortened his swing.
Andrew Cashner, who was acquired for Rizzo in another controversial trade, has not only suffered from injury, but has yet to prove that he can be an effective starter over a full season.
Patterson is no longer with the club and Fuentes (though he has great speed) has yet to prove that he can hit for average and has dropped in the club's list of top prospects.
So what have the Padres really gained from trading Gonzalez? At this point, absolutely nothing.
As a fan, I'm hopeful that Kelly will have an opportunity to one day prove himself in the rotation, but the way his progress has gone so far, I'm pessimistic at best.
With a starting rotation full of question marks and uncertainty, it makes you wonder if the team will ever develop a staff that will push it back to the top of the National League West.
Uncertainty aside, this recent news couldn't have come at a worse time for the Padres, and though I'm excited to see how our bats will produce this season, I'm terrified to see how the rotation will hold up.
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