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San Diego Padres Begin Spring Training
Spring is around the corner, which means more sun, less rain, and baseball! While the Padres may have just started their spring training, the season is fast approaching. Soon Petco Park’s opening day will be here, and warm summer nights spent at the ballpark will finally be back.
The Padres are warming up for their season in Peoria, AZ. The whole team’s first workout was this past weekend on the 18th, leading up to their first practice game series this weekend. The Padres will face the Seattle Mariners on the 25th at 12:10 pm.
While the team’s last winning season was in 2010, and they haven’t reached the postseason since 2006, there are surely things to be hopeful about in this 2017 team. Pitcher Jered Weaver, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels, signed onto the team for $3 million on the 18th. Weaver is a seasoned, right-handed starter, and brings depth to the team. Analysts have said that one of the Padres biggest weaknesses is starting pitchers, so Weaver’s consistently rising ERA is promising. He finished last season with the Angels with a 5.06 ERA in 31 starts.
In an unorthodox fashion, the team is experimenting with player Christian Bethancourt. He played catcher and outfield for the Padres last season, spending 322 innings at catcher, 42 innings in left field and 31 innings in right field. But Bethancourt pitched 1.2 innings last season over two appearances, and didn’t allow a run. While he hasn’t thrown from the pitcher’s mound yet during training, there is definitely potential for the 25 year old.
In the last eight months, the Padres have signed 45 players from outside of the United States. The team has found promising, young talent internationally, and were able to spend their money on more players for less, instead of less players for more. The Padres have a training facility in the Dominican Republic, which they spent $10.7 million to build. It’s an investment for the team, and 14 Dominicans are signed as players–65 are under contract organization-wide.
Sports Illustrated gave the Padres a preliminary grade of C+, a pretty average grade, on the cusp of becoming something better. Along with starting pitchers, weakness also lies in the shortstop position, which manager A.J. Preller has been struggling with since taking over the team. But, rebuilding a team like Preller is attempting to do doesn’t happen within one season, so 2017 will likely be an interesting transition year for the young team.
Keep an eye out for what the Padres have in store this season, and keep the faith in our young team. It can only get better from here.
The Padres opening day of the regular season is on April 3rd, on the road at the Los Angeles Dodgers. The home opener is on April 7th against the San Francisco Giants, with the first pitch thrown at 3:40 pm.