Author's Note: This is part of a five-part series examining players on the San Diego Padres roster who need to improve during this offseason if the Padres are to be successful, and if the paychecks given to these players are to be legitimately earned. The other players examined are Orlando Hudson, Will Venable, Edinson Volquez and Jason Bartlett.
After a surprising 2010 season in which they narrowly missed a postseason berth, the San Diego Padres and their fans entered the 2011 cautiously optimistic, despite the loss of Adrian Gonzalez.
That optimism was misplaced, however, as the Padres finished the season with a 71-91 record, good enough for dead last in the NL West.
The offseason so far has also been rocky, as the Pads have lost their top two starting pitchers from last season, Aaron Harang and Mat Latos. The transactions the club has made so far this offseason bode well for the future but make the forecast for the upcoming season quite bleak.
If the Padres are to have any hope of once again pulling off a surprising season and overachieving, they are going to need several of the players currently on their roster to step it up big time and improve dramatically during this offseason.
One of those players is outfielder Chris Denorfia.
Denorfia is tied with Mark Kotsay for highest-paid outfielder on the San Diego roster, making $800,000 a season. While that may seem like a reasonable amount for a starting outfielder in the current MLB, a look at Denorfia's stats shows that he probably doesn't even deserve a starting spot, let alone $800,000 a season.
The whole Padres offense is anemic, but Denorfia was below average offensively last season, even by Padres standards. In Denorfia's defense, he did bat .277, which isn't horrible.
However, given how atrocious Denorfia's other stats are, his batting average would have to be approaching Tony Gwynn levels in order to justify his salary. In over 300 at-bats, Denorfia managed only five home runs. That lack of power would be usually be acceptable, given that the Friars don't exactly play in a homer-friendly park.
It would be acceptable, if not for the fact that Denorfia totaled an absolutely pathetic 19 RBIs in over 300 at-bats on the season. That's probably about the same amount of RBIs as the Padres would get from their bat boy if they sent him to the plate over 300 times.
Unless Denorfia wants to be replaced by a seven-year-old bat boy, he needs to put in a lot of work this offseason.