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.

Report: Phillies close to signing Joaquin Benoit

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Joaquin Benoit #53 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the seventh inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim  at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 15, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.

Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.

Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.

The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.

Report: The new collective bargaining agreement reduces players’ meal money

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JAN. 18-19 - This Jan. 15, 2014 photo showing new baseball union head Tony Clark during an interview at the organization's headquarters, in New York. Clark has big shoes to fill _ and not just as Michael Weiner's replacement as head of the baseball players' union. Moving from Arizona to New Jersey, the former big league All-Star also needed to find size 15 snowshoes.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
AP Photo/Richard Drew
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ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.

Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.

Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.

EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.