So the Padres are starting off the season injured and/or recovering for injury and in the grand scheme of things, it's never really too early to imagine what 2013 could've been. Here then are the injuries that are the most disappointing and the fantasies what might have been... if only... if only... if only I could do my best Cracked impersonation for an hour or so while I write this stuff down...
1. Chase Headley and his MVP run
Once upon a time, there was a man (if one could call someone half man and half machine a "man") who, despite being told that he played half of his games in a place where it's tough to hit, within a division that exemplified pitching, for a team lacking in supporting offense... There was a man named Chase Headley. Those two NL Player of the Month Awards from last season came just as Chase was explaining to us that the coaching is taking and that the real deal was the man we saw in the last half of the season. Chase (allegedly) turned down fair deals with the Padres in the hopes that 2013 would really show what he was capable of, which, if it was even 75% of those two months carried over across the entire season would mean MVP numbers. And now that MVP season lives within my imagination as Chase isn't due back for a month.
In my imagination... Chase has started the season with a 3 for 4 day en route to an April NL Player of the Month Award, which would've led directly to All-Star Game at which point the Padres sign him to a 6 year deal and he wins the MVP. Headley goes on to do truly miraculous things like play third base and reveal himself to actually be inside the Famous Chicken costume, seemingly at the same time in the same game.
2. Casey Kelly proves he's an Ace
So we started the season with Edinson Volquez as our ace, but it was not meant to be. Our former number one prospect should've had that spot. Or at least today's spot. Or some spot in the rotation. But instead, we hear sore elbow and the year of 2013 is wiped off of the map. So instead of seeing what was deemed the best fastball in the Red Sox system, we see nothing. Not even a speck of that magical curve ball or the amazesauce change up that was supposed to vault him to be a #2 if not top of the rotation kind of guy.
In my imagination... Casey loses out the opening day start because it would be rude to give it to him and we don't want to totally overblow the dude's ego, and he doesn't start the second game just because Bud Black is like that, but in the third game of the season, he pitches to the tune of two hits over 8 innings en route to a 16 win season in his first year of full work. Earns the nickname "Mighty".
3. Andrew Cashner demonstrates the benefit of half of a season of minor league starts and a full Spring Training
Andrew Cashner is not technically hurt anymore. And technically he could be considered part of the rotation. And technically, nothing bad has really happened yet as he has yet to make a start and his first appearance wasn't half bed. But still... If he ends up starting the season slow at all, or takes forever to break the rotation, it will just bring up all the old criticisms of "This dude is a relief pitcher" and "We traded Anthony Rizzo for this" and "Somebody should point out that there are men called butchers who will cut meat up however you want the meat cut up".
In my imagination... Cashner appears as the Home Opener Starter and earns himself an 11 strikeout performance. This will eventually lead to a 71 pitch complete game throwing nothing but heat (a la Andy Ashby) and the breaking of the Padres single season strikeout record held for 14 years by Kevin Brown. By the All-Star break, Cashner also scores a guest appearance on a celebrity knife throwing show.
4. Logan Forsythe makes amazing things happen
So you get injures and then the silver lining is that other people step into roles, maybe earlier than expected, maybe just out of the blue. And in stepping into those roles, those people thrive and become something special in their own right. This would've been a great time for Logan Forsythe to make something like that happen. Slotted to try his hand out at third in order to avoid confusing Jedd Gyorko's assignment, Logan Forsythe went ahead and got himself a foot injury. Le Sigh.
In my imagination... Logan Forsythe does a crazy super-sub thing while batting .308, amazing fantasy baseball players everywhere as they have no idea how he's able to register counting stats on his off-days.
5. Yasmani Grandal has the sophomore season he's supposed to have
Wait. I know. We have to start with In my imagination part 1... Yasmani Grandal has an injury at some point in his college career, which results in his developing a dependence on pain killers and steroids in an attempt to recover from this injury. Ummm... Because he has a sick grandmother that he has to take care of. And a village of orphans relying on his major league success... And ummm... if he doesn't do this, then the guy who would become a Major Leaguer in his place is a total douchebag and he saves us from that as well.
In my imagination part 2... He never develops that supposed dependence on the juice and never gets suspended for the 50 games, allowing him to continue his onslaught as a devastating bat in the lineup, further justifying the Mat Latos trade.
In my imagination part 3... Yasmani Grandal's rookie season is what it is whiteout the assistance of the PEDs he took as a result of what happened In my imagination part 1...
6. & 7. Joe Wieland/Cory Luebke blossoms into the unexpected star that we were all secretly hoping he would become
For as much as we have grown to love the Edinson Volquezes of the world, and for as much as we're looking forward to the Casey Kellys of the world, there are a bunch of guys who project to be number 3s and 4s in the system that we're all really hoping just kinda figure it out and actually become ones and twos. Like when sixes and sevens discover cute bangs and/or bow ties and become nines and tens. In reality, we're left with surgeries and DL time and me not quite being able to tell them apart except from what I remember, Cory Luebke was a bit handsomer.
In my imagination... The need to have Edinson Volquez be the team ace is as laughable as it really should be. I mean really. Edinson Volquez is our ace? How did we get to that point? Wait... Imagining... Imagining...