While I'm not necessarily trying to turn lemons into lemonade, with the 2009 season winding down is anyone else seeing some real positive signs for the next season? I don't know if that means we can compete with the Dodgers in this division (which is pretty competitive with 3/5 teams in the hunt), but it means I don't think we'll just be the automatic cellar dwellers.
Some of the positives
1. New young outfield - We've got four guys for three spots and all of them have shown they can play and hit. Gwynn had a very hot few months and only cooled off when he stopped getting regular playing time. Give him some more and he could once again be very effective at the front of the lineup. Blanks has handled RF better then any of us expected and has provided some great power and surprising speed. Venable has been equally outstanding when he gets regular playing time, something few of us probably saw coming (I didn't). And of course there's Headley who looks to finally be comfortable at the major league level. Four guys, three spots
2. Evereth Cabrera - I won't rehash this because its been spoken about regularly as one of the big positives of the year. He provides speed, defense and some surprising pop on occassion and has real all star potential.
3. Bullpen with help on the way next year - While this group has had its ups and downs there's some real potential and guys really showing they could stick. Mujica has been pretty decent, as has Gregerson. Thatcher has been better lately. Adams was solid until he got put on the DL. Bell is Bell, and even with some bumps has been very good. Russell its too early to tell. Even perdomo and burke have had moments. And next year we will add Mark Worrell and Cha Sung Baek to the bull pen further strengthening it, with the possibility of adding AAA arms like de la Cruz. There's alot of good pieces here.
4. New rotation - Even with the Peavy deal there's quite a few pitchers here who could be fighting for a roster spot. Latos has been a great surprise, Young will return next year (need to see what he can do), Gallagher probably won't start til 2010 but has potential, Poreda is working on things in AAA, Russell and Stauffer have done well and we can resign Correria who was huge for us when the rotation struggled. Lot of young pitchers with alot of potential.
So does anyone else think that there's the potential to make good improvement next year or am I just blowing smoke?