With the Padres in St. Petersburg visiting the Rays, it's time for the seventeenth installment of my 29-part series in which I assemble teams comprised of guys who played for San Diego and whoever their opponent is at the time. I use Baseball Reference's Multi-team Finder tool to see who has played for both clubs, then carve it down to a 25-man roster, using peak and overall performance as my criteria, disregarding how each player fared for each team. In the case of the Friars and (Devil) Rays, I had just 55 players to choose from, including 24 pitcher. This, as you might expect, resulted in possibly the weakest combined team so far.
|CF||Jose Cruz, Jr||S||12||102||19.5|
Flaherty is the only true weak link of the bunch, as Bartlett, Castilla, and the middling Cruz all had strong peaks, although Castilla's was decidedly skewed by playing his home games at the time in Colorado. The team is definitely not defensively minded, which would work very poorly with the atrocious starting rotation. Also, the lineup is skewed severely right-handed due to lack of options, but the inclusion of Cliff Floyd mitigates this slightly, as does the left-leaning bench. Floyd played less than a full season's worth of games in right field, but putting him there and allowing Cruz to play his natural position in the place of Melvin Upton seemed to give the team the best chance of winning.
It was tough to leave Wil Myers out of the starting nine, but his breakout season was certainly not worthy of unseating should-be Hall of Famer Fred McGriff, who had the additional advantage of left-handedness. He would likely find himself in the starting lineup spelling somebody nearly every day, and coming off the bench at some point on the the others. Fick, Blum, and Branyan provide the versatility to play many positions, albeit less than exceptionally, with Branyan bringing a big dose of pop.
This is where it gets really murky. Back in the 1950s, the Braves had a starting rotation of "Spahn and Sain, and pray for rain"; this team has "Jackson and Shields, and tarp the fields". These guys made the cut by virtue of being the only five actual starting pitchers available.
The relief corps is where this team shines, although their virtual numbers would likely get muddied by being overworked thanks to the starters getting torched on a regular basis. I went with two lefties, as Torres functions as another right-hander thanks to his reverse platoon splits.
So, what do you think? What would you have done differently? How would you arrange the lineup and utilize the relievers? Is there a Chad Qualls, Melvin Upton, or someone else you would have included, and who would you bump to make room?