Padres Fan, let's all agree on some terminology because it's been driving me crazy over the last few weeks as the team has been making moves.
Specifically, the concept of "loaded". I've been hearing it on the radio and I read it in comments that the Padres are "loaded" at some positions. I realize that what's driving me crazy is people consider "loaded" in a bunch of different ways, and those ways are different from mine. I'm sure your definition of "loaded" works for whatever context you were describing, but to me, "loaded" means that you have the following 3 things:
- A bona fide starter. Ideally a top third of the league top of guy at his position. Dude has to have demonstrated this for at least one season, if not more. The one season cannot be an outlier out of 5 or 6 seasons.
- A qualified backup. A backup player that comes in and immediately becomes a top half of the league type of guy.
- Minor league strength. A top prospect at the AA or AAA level who will be ready to go at the big league level within the next 3 years. Somebody that we would bring up when rosters expand. Behind that top prospect, there need to be serviceable guys who are on good development paths, i.e. players who aren't stuck at a level for more than 2 years because of slow development and not just being blocked.
To stick with the gun analogy, "loaded", to me, means we have one in the chamber, ready to shoot, and a full clip behind that first one in case we miss. And I mean a full clip. Like you should be able to hit the mark and still have bullets left.
I see some critique that we didn't "need" Yonder Alonso at first base because we were already loaded, which is hogwash. At first base we were loaded with rubber bullets and blanks.
So what are we at first base? I'd say we're flush. And just like in poker, you can be flush in different suites. Our suite is potential. We have four guys who could potentially be great over the course of 2012-2013: Jesus Guzman, Anthony Rizzo, Yonder Alonso and Kyle Blanks with Old Man Mark Kotsay sitting in the clubhouse rubbing a cow's femur against their bats.
Flush can turn into "blocked" if more than one of these guys turn out great considering they're somewhat close in age, but that's a Good Problem To Have. I like flush. The Padres don't need to be loaded at every position to have a successful season, but if we're flush with potential at every spot like we are at first base, then I like our chances of getting north of .500 sooner rather than later.