Since the Padres are currently amidst a split-city four-game series with the Mariners, now seemed like an appropriate time to post this, the sixteenth installment in a series of 29. For those who are unfamiliar, it's a very simple premise. I start out by consulting Baseball Reference's Multi-Team Finder to see which players have suited up for both the Padres and the team they're playing at the moment, then carve out a 25-man roster. There have been 95 guys who have played for both the Friars and M's, resulting in a decent talent pool to draw from. As always, I selected players based on their full careers and/or peaks, not just how they did for the two teams in question.
Rick Wilkins is one of a whopping 15 catchers who have played for both teams, and the only one who did not spend most or all of his career as a poorly hitting backup. Of course that's exactly what he was when he spent 24 and 12 games with Seattle and San Diego, respectively, but no one can take away his .303, 30-homer 1993 season with the Cubs. There were no "true" first basemen to choose from, but Dave Magadan was the best of those who played there along with another position. While he never hit for the power expected of a cornerman, he had excellent on-base skills. As much as I personally wanted to write Joey Cora in as the starting second baseman, there was no way I could relegate Bret Boone and his monster peak to the bench - especially since Boone played only eight of his 1,780 games at a position other than second. Aurilia, Cirillo, Rickey, and Cameron were no-doubters, and two-time All-Star Ruppert Jones made his case over Seth Smith with more consistency, a stronger peak, and the ability to put on a fielder's glove without eliciting pity.
|OF||Jose Cruz, Jr||S||12||102||19.5|
Manager Dick Williams would have a lot of options for any offensive situation, with three switch-hitters on his bench. He would also have a great deal of defensive options to choose from, as Branyan is experienced at all four corners, Mitchell at three of the four, and Cora could step in at any infield position other than first base, although he would likely never be needed at third base due to the wealth of players on the roster with experience there. Jose Cruz, Jr could play any of the three outfield positions and play them well, which, along with his ability to hit from both sides got him the nod over Seth Smith. Former NL MVP Kevin Mitchell would likely start somewhere more often than not, as he possessed obscene offensive talent and could give Cirillo, Henderson, Jones, and even occasionally Aurilia and Magadan a rest whenever needed.
Valdez is the lone member of the rotation without an All-Star appearance, but he did have a strong peak, tallying an impressive 10 WAR in 1996 and '97 alone. Perry's plaque in Upstate New York speaks for itself, and Tom Petty lookalike Mark Langston racked up a number of impressive credentials including three strikeout crowns, seven Gold Glove awards, and four trips to the Midsummer Classic. Benes also led his league in strikeouts once and finished as high as third in Cy Young Award voting, while Young allowed the fewest hits per nine innings in both 2006 and '07 with San Diego, long before being named American League Comeback Player of the Year in 2014 with Seattle.
Despite the strong starting lineup, deep bench, and formidable rotation, the most impressive part of this team might be its lights-out relief corps. Like Henderson and Perry, Gossage is enshrined in Cooperstown; while his fellow relievers never received that honor, they all had long and outstanding careers with two exceptions. Nick Vincent is in just the fifth year of his career, but his numbers are far to exceptional to discount. The first Dave Roberts of three who have played for the Padres was the best available left-hander. Both he and Oliver Perez had more success out of the bullpen, with early-career troubles as starters pulling their total stats down, but Roberts had the slight edge.
Along with the aforementioned Seth Smith, it was tough to have to squeeze three-time All-Star Jason Bay and 1998 postseason hero Sterling Hitchcock, along with personal favorites like Mark Grant, Chris Denorfia, and Roberto Petagine, but there just wasn't room for them. What would you have done differently? Let us know in the comments.