Since the Red Sox are in town for a rare trip to Petco Park, it's a good time for the eighteenth installment of my 29-part series in which I construct 25-man rosters made of guys who played for both the Padres and whatever team they're playing. I start by using Baseball Reference's Multi-team Finder to get the list of players who have spent time with both clubs; in this case there was 104 to choose from, including 54 pitchers. A few other teams have shared as many players with the Padres, but none have had such a deep well of talented players. In fact, there was so much talent to select from that I was able to construct a second, lesser "AAA" squad which would probably beat most if not all of the previous topline combined teams. As always, I judge players on their peaks and entire careers, not just how they did with one or both teams in question.
The two shallow spots in the talent pool were catcher and shortstop. There were numerous backup catchers to choose from, but none that had a sustained run as a starter, so esteemed journeyman David Ross gets the Opening Day nod here over platoon-mate Josh Bard. Since there were no "true" shortstops, I went with Jody Reed and his 236 games (201 starts) over the offensively superior Carlos Baerga, who only played 50 of his 1,366 games there, starting just 14.
The rest of the starting lineup is full of absolute no-brainers. Some might argue for Jack Clark at first base, but Gonzalez gets the nod by virtue of being left-handed and worth nearly an extra half of a win per year, not even taking into account Clark's toxic presence. Nobody who has called Tony Gwynn "a selfish mother" and possibly hanged him in effigy has a place in my clubhouse, and that's just the tip of the iceberg with the petty and repellent Clark. Loretta and Mitchell both had stellar peaks, and while Mitchell was never the most graceful third baseman, the numbers show he was less of a liability there than in left field, and he has the bat to atone for any defensive miscues and then some. Also, left field is already held down by one of the greatest players to ever step foot on a diamond. The only way Rickey would have any competition for his job is if I included players from the old Pacific Coast League Padres, but that was a completely different team despite the current ownership's blurring of the lines by including Ted Williams in the team's hall of fame. The other two outfielders are indisputable as well, with Fred Lynn sliding over to his secondary position in deference to Cameron's far superior defensive skills.
All of these players could be starters on most combined teams. I originally had the grossly underrated Shane Mack penciled in for the final bench spot, but realized it would be advantageous to have another left-handed bat instead. It was a tough call between Floyd and the hard-swinging, hard-living folk hero Matt Stairs, but I ultimately decided on the guy with the more well-rounded game instead of the one with the more well-rounded frame. Ask me again tomorrow and I might have changed my mind again.
This is the most formidable rotation I've put together since I started this series, and that's just looking at the starters' full bodies of work; each at their best were nearly, if not actually, unhittable. All five were All-Stars; Peavy and Wells were selected three times, Siebert and Wise twice, and Hurst once. Four of the five received Cy Young Award votes in at least one season, with Peavy winning it unanimously in his Triple Crown year of 2007; Wells finished third twice, and Hurst and Wise got as high as fifth and eighth, respectively. While Siebert never got any Cy Young votes, he did get some MVP votes in 1966. While it's well known that no one has thrown a no-hitter in a Padres uniform, Wells, Siebert, and Wise did the deed with other clubs. Wells threw a perfect game with fellow Point Loma High School graduate and perfect game artist Don Larsen in attendance, and Wise famously supported his cause by hitting two home runs in his no-no. While Hurst never held an opponent hitless, he is one of just three Padres pitchers to throw two complete-game one-hitters, with Randy Jones and Andrew Cashner being the others.
You'll have to break out your flashlight to read those names, because that is one lights-out bullpen. Once opposing offenses made it past that day's stellar starter, they would be up against at least one of four All-Star closers, and three other guys who were far from slouches. Breslow would handle the LOOGY role, since Thornton has put up fairly neutral platoon splits over his career. It was tough to leave off fellow lefty Tommy Layne, but I ultimately decided to leave him waiting in the wings at AAA since he hasn't proven himself for as long as Breslow did.
Speaking of which, here is that AAA squad. As I said earlier, this second-tier collection of Padred Sox would still be a force to be reckoned with.
AAA starting lineup:
I originally had the versatile Jackson penciled in on my major league bench, but he became the nerd version of cut on the last day of Spring Training. I relented and put Jack Clark in the AAA lineup; after all, it's not like he killed anybody. Speaking of which, you'll notice the absence of Jim Leyritz, the Tony Stewart of baseball.
|OF||Jose Cruz, Jr.||S||12||102||19.5|
Bellhorn, Cruz, and Stairs were all considered for the main team, and would be shuttled back and forth during the season when needed. Doug Mirabelli could have possibly edged out Moses, but he's not as good as Jack Clark to merit overlooking his obnoxiousness.
This is a solid rotation. It was difficult to relegate Vicente Romo to this team due to his status as the Walter Johnson of Mexican baseball, but I wasn't sure how to translate those numbers, so decided to confine my focus to his results as a swingman in the major leagues.
|Greg A. Harris||S||15||112||19.3|
Along with Layne, Harris and four-time Padre Seanez were tough to leave off the big league roster. As was the case with the starting position players, bench, and starting pitchers, all of these guys were good enough to make other combined teams.
This is the most ambitious one of these I've done yet, and I feel good about my final decisions. What would you have done differently? Let us know in the comments.