Well, it's that time of year. The end of baseball. The end of baseball for the Padres, that is. Ten other teams will head into October to see who can be the most resented team next year. The five NL slots are all wrapped up while the AL division leaders have been determined but the two wild cards are still up for grabs between three teams with one day left.
I took a look at the rosters of the teams that get to keep playing, keeping my eyes peeled for former Padres. I found seven players who spent time in San Diego who will be on a postseason roster, another who might, and a handful of guys who spent time in the minors for the Padres organization but got their first shot in the bigs elsewhere.
Six of the seven playoff-bound players are National Leaguers, and those six are divided between four teams. The Braves and Pirates have no former Padres on their rosters. The Cardinals have reliever Edward Mujica, who the Padres sent to the Marlins in the Cameron Maybin trade. Mujica served as the Cardinals' closer most of the season, saving 37 games and making the All-Star Game, but was relieved of his duties about a week ago after a few rough outings. Manager Mike Matheny has gone to a committee approach since then. St. Louis also has third baseman David Freese. Freese never played a game for the Padres before he was traded. You may recall that we got Jim Edmonds in return. If you had been able to forget about that, I truly apologize for reminding you.
The Cardinals aren't the only red-clad, postseason-bound team in the NL Central with a former Padre on their roster. The Reds have them beat, boasting both Mat Latos and Ryan Ludwick. Well, I guess Ryan Ludwick isn't someone to boast about, but he's there. He injured his shoulder on Opening Day and hasn't hit like he's capable since he returned in early August. To put it another way, he's hitting even worse than he did down the stretch after the Padres acquired him in 2010. As for Latos, he's been incredible, just like you'd expect. However, Johnny Cueto will be getting the start in the one-game Wild Card playoff, as Dusty Baker said Latos's arm was "barking". Hey, how about that, Dusty Baker taking precautions to protect a young starter's arm. Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks.
In the Padres' backyard, the hated Dodgers have three jerks we used to have to cheer for. Adrian Gonzalez is making his first playoff appearance since 2006 when the Padres fell to St. Louis in the first round. Hat model and terrible pitcher Edinson Volquez last saw postseason action with the Reds in 2010, when he got shelled for four earned runs and got the hook without getting out of the second inning. Smug, holier-than-thou, quote-fabricating liar Jerry Hairston saw October action for the Yankees in 2009 and the Brewers in 2011. He's a .362 hitter with six doubles in 47 postseason at-bats.
Over in the American League, the Red Sox have Jake Peavy and... well, that's just about it. The Central-winning Tigers have no former Padres on their roster, nor do their division-mates in Cleveland, where the Indians are one game up in the Wild Card chase. The Rangers and Rays are the other two teams fighting for those two final spots; Texas also has no ex-Padres, and Tampa Bay has lefty reliever Cesar Ramos, who spent 19 games with San Diego in 2009 and '10.
Out west, the division champion A's have four former Friars on their 40-man roster, but Pat Neshek, Andrew Werner, Andy Parrino, and Evan Scribner will all miss out on making the postseason roster. Rookie first baseman Nate Freiman and second baseman Eric Sogard spent time in the Padres system but debuted with the A's. Freiman was a Rule 5 pick and Sogard was traded to the A's before the 2010 season with Kevin Kouzmanoff for Aaron Cunningham and the second coming of Scott Hairston.
Of all of these players, I'd have to say that Mat Latos is the only one I'll be rooting for. I'm a fan of the guy and I don't mind the Reds. I guess if Tampa Bay sneaks their way in I'll be pulling for Ramos, although I'm not exactly keeping my fingers crossed or wearing an inside-out Rays hat about it. How about you guys? Any Jake Peavy fans out there who are pulling for the Red Sox now?