The San Diego Padre fans are done losing, they're done with empty promises that have yet to be fulfilled. Could things possibly be changing with a new regime coming into their first official off season?
As the baseball season wraps up, with the New York Yankees just one game away from walking away with yet another World Series championship to add to their trophy case, Padre fans watch and wonder when that's going to be their team.
When is it going to be their time to celebrate a World Series Championship not just another NL West crown? When are they going to have a full season to be excited about? When are they going to have that celebration through the streets of downtown San Diego and not just a "we'll get 'em next season," celebration?
These questions are just some of the ones being asked by the Padre fans. They're being asked because they've grown tired of all talk and not much action. But with a new regime in place going into this off season, things could possibly be changing and in a big way.
What we know so far are the players that could be back next season. Guys like Heath Bell, Adrian Gonzalez, David Eckstein, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and more. What we don't know is if any of these guys will actually be in Padre uniforms when the season opens in April of 2010.
There are decisions that need to be made and most of the decisions center around the pitching staff as well as the bullpen. Questions about right hander Chris Young and his ability to stay healthy for a full season, something he hasn't done the past two seasons.
Besides Young and young right hander Mat Latos, who made a name for himself during his fast start after being called up last season, who will round out the third through fifth spots in the rotation? Will Kevin Correia be one of those guys, especially after the kind of year he had for the Padres in 2009?
The outfield is also a point of contention for this team, having four young and talented players that can play the positions. Guys that made a huge impact through the last month and a half of the season.
Kyle Blanks, Chase Headley, Tony Gwynn Jr, and Will Venable are four guys that can be in the lineup on an every day basis. Only problem is, you can only play three of them at any one time.
The odd man out, according to a lot of rumors that have floated around, could be Chase Headley. Headley can play both the outfield and third base but his time at the hot corner hasn't been without defensive struggles. That could lead to the Padres making the tough decision to trade him for a young pitcher or possibly another role player, opting to hang on to current third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff.
Another decision that seems to be another question mark for the 2010 team is who will be the team's full time catcher? It seems like the Padres could re-sign veteran catcher Henry Blanco after impressing the Padres' brass as to how he handled the pitching staff this past season. It doesn't look like the Padres are ready to hand the reigns over to Nick Hundley just yet.
There's a lot to be done before these players report to spring training in February of next year. This team may not look anything like the team that closed out the 2009 season.
Don't be surprised if there are a few trades made and possibly a significant free agent signing before the winter and General Manager's meetings are done.
It could be an interesting off season for the San Diego Padres. But the fans are done with the talk, they want action and that time could be closer than they think.
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