Restoring the rosters: No. 28 – San Diego

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This is part of a series articles examining what every team’s roster would look like if given only the players it originally signed. I’m compiling the rosters, ranking them and presenting them in a countdown from Nos. 30 to 1.
No. 30 – Cincinnati
No. 29 – Kansas City
While most of the other teams at the bottom of these rankings would also find themselves rankings among baseball’s worst franchises of the last five years, the Padres had a pair of first-place finishes in 2005 and ’06, flanked by an 87-win season in 2004 and an 89-win season in 2007. That they’ve collapsed since shouldn’t be a huge surprise given the team’s track record when it comes to developing players.
Rotation
Jake Peavy
Oliver Perez
Mat Latos
Rodrigo Lopez
Tim Stauffer
Bullpen
Doug Brocail
Greg Burke
Clay Condrey
Shawn Camp
Justin Germano
Leo Rosales
Wade LeBlanc
One elite pitcher, one guy who is being paid like a pretty elite pitcher and not much else. At least Latos is providing hope for the future, and Stauffer’s sudden reemergence makes the end of the rotation look a little less disastrous.
The bullpen is a problem. The Padres’ ability to turn scrap-heap relievers into legitimate setup men has prevented them from developing many bullpen guys themselves. Joakim Soria would make things look a whole lot better, but he was actually a Dodger originally before being released, catching on with the Padres and later being plucked in the Rule 5 draft by the Royals.
Lineup
SS Jason Bartlett
CF Will Venable
1B Derrek Lee
RF Xavier Nady
LF Chase Headley
3B Khalil Greene
2B Josh Barfield
C Nick Hundley
Bench
1B-OF Kyle Blanks
OF Gary Matthews Jr.
C George Kottaras
3B David Freese
1B/OF Paul McAnulty
The Padres do have some depth on offense. Instead of going with this configuration, they could also put Headley at third and Blanks in left field. When the bullpen needs help holding a late-inning lead, Matthews can go play center, with Venable moving to left. Greene’s ability to play shortstop should lessen the need for a true utilityman — and there aren’t any good choices anyway — so Freese and McAnulty are kept to provide additional firepower off the bench.
Barfield may be a problem at second base, but it’s hard to know for sure given the way the Indians have used him. He’s worthy of one more chance in another organization. Ideally, Matt Antonelli would have overtaken him by now, but the 2006 first-round pick followed up a disastrous 2008 with an injury-ruined 2009.
Summary
Besides their decent track record, the other thing that differentiates the Padres from the other teams at the bottom of the rankings is that they’ve had the same general manager for 14 years. Kevin Towers has put together some quality teams with shrewd pickups, but he’s made more bad trades than good ones and he’s presided over one of the game’s weakest farm systems for several seasons. With the Padres having a new CEO in place in Jeff Moorad and another last-place finish likely on the way, Towers’ days may well be numbered.

The Braves cave, a little anyway, on their outside food policy

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On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.

The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.

Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:

While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.

Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.

Donald Trump may throw out the first pitch at the Nationals opener

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It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.

With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.

Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.