I can’t believe I didn’t jump at the opportunity to issue the latest installment in this 29-part series immediately after Yangervis Solarte was traded to Toronto, but better late than never. Now I only need excuses to do ones for the Orioles, Angels, Pirates, Astros, and Cardinals, and I’ll be done. For those unfamiliar with the premise, what I do is start by using Baseball Reference’s Multi-team Finder, then chisel out the best 25-man roster possible. When selecting players I focus on their peak and career as a whole, not necessarily how they performed with either or both teams.
More Combined Teams: Padres/Phillies Padres/Expos Padres/Red Sox Padres/Rays Padres/Mariners Padres/Dodgers Padres/Rangers Padres/Braves Padres/A’s Padres/Mets Padres/Rockies Padres/White Sox Padres/Twins Padres/Royals Padres/Giants Padres/Indians Padres/Diamondbacks Padres/ Marlins Padres/ Brewers Padres/ Reds Padres/ Cubs Padres/ Tigers Padres/ Yankees
C - Benito Santiago
This team was one of those that had an obvious answer at just about every position. In fact, before I even looked up the pool of available players, I already wrote down the player for every position except third base and center field. Santiago, who nearly lost his leg during his time with the Blue Jays, was the clear choice to start behind the plate.
1B - Fred McGriff
This starting lineup contains three Hall of Famers, and Fred McGriff is not one of them. If he ever joins the club, it will be by way of whatever is serving as a veterans’ committee at that point, since he’s been maxing out around 20% in his eight years on the regular ballot. Some of that is due to the rule of ten and a glut of qualified players, but still not enough to make a difference.
2B - Roberto Alomar
While we’re talking about Hall of Fame voting results, I’m obligated to recall how livid I was when Roberto Alomar didn’t get in on the first ballot. That was finger-waggng at its worst, “punishing” him for the spit thing. Like, Ty Cobb did worse things than spitting on an umpire every day before breakfast.
SS - Tony Fernandez
Tony Fernandez isn’t enshrined in Cooperstown, but he did get four votes his one year on the ballot (the year Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, Jr went in), and is in the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. A four-time Blue Jay (1983-’90, 1993, 1998-’99, 2001), Fernandez was added to the team’s Level of Excellence upon his retirement.
3B - Doug Rader
I first became aware of Rader from the book Ball Four, as a member of the Astros. After nine years in Houston, where he won five Gold Gloves, he spent one and a half seasons in San Diego before finishing up with the inaugural Blue Jays. He later managed the Rangers, White Sox, and Angels in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.
LF - Rickey Henderson
No explanation is ever needed for Rickey. Rickey transcends words.
CF - Jose Cruz, Jr
Junior Cheo never lived up to the astronomical expectations placed on him, but he did have a 30-30 season among the dozen years he spent in the majors, and at his peak added plus-defense at any of the three outfield spots.
RF - Dave Winfield
That picture is worth more than a thousand words, and it would be really arrogant of me to think I could compete with that using my words. Next.
C/3B - Michael Barrett
I was sitting here trying to think of something to say about Michael Barrett, and the first thing that came to mind was that anyone who got ran out of Chicago for fighting Carlos Zambrano can’t be too bad.
2B/3B - Orlando Hudson
At his best, Hudson was an All-Star and perennial Gold Glove-winning starting second baseman on contending teams. At his worst, he shot his mouth off a lot between apathetic (and just regular pathetic) displays on the field, and showed why no team before the Padres had ever given him anything longer than a one-year deal.
SS/2B - David Eckstein
That picture is David Eckstein at his most David Eckstein. I have never seen anything quite so David Eckstein.
[Preemptive substitution for Eckstein] IF - Yangervis Solarte
Solarte is a vastly superior hitter to Eckstein — and a switch-hitter, to boot — and provides more defensive flexibility, with experience at all four infield positions rather than just the middle two, so as soon as he becomes eligible by playing his first game with the Blue Jays, he’ll bump The Gritty One.
OF/1B - Matt Stairs
Stairs gets the nod over right-handed hitting Joe Carter, who was somehow even more of a defensive liability as well as less valuable with the bat.
OF - Melvin Upton, Jr
Melvin Upton has had a weird career. It was nice to see his resurgence in San Diego, but disappointing to see him struggle in Toronto. He’s going to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee with Cleveland, so hopefully he’ll earn his way back to the bigs.
Boomer is the ace or, at worst, second starter on so many of these combined teams.
Not just a reliable, albeit possibly boring, choice as number two starter, Williams was also fairly decent with the bat.
Morrow has made his name and his money as a reliever, but he had a few decent years and one rather good one as a starter during his time with the Jays, and there’s more need for him in that role on this team.
Latos left his better days on the shore of the Ohio River. Promising in his two full seasons with the Padres and three with the Reds, he spent 2015 through ‘17 getting shelled with six different major league teams, most recently the Blue Jays.
Hamilton’s best days came in San Diego; he was an integral part of the 1996 division champions and ‘98 league champions. After five years away, in Toronto and Cincinnati, he re-signed with the Padres before the 2004 season, but didn’t make it out of AAA Portland before he was released.
Myers would be the closer, as he was nearly every step of his career, including his first stint in San Diego, right until his final step. He was brought back in 1998, in one of the most infamous waiver-wire trades, and there was already a closer settled in, one Trevor William Hoffman, who wasn’t coming off that ninth inning for another 11 years.
Cal Quantrill’s dad spent 14 years quietly pitching high-quality middle relief. He did make the All-Star team in 2001, still a rarity of sorts for non-closer relievers. That was the first of his four consecutive seasons leading his league in games pitched.
Blue Jays fans saw Benoit at his absolute best. In his 25 games with the team after a mid-2016 trade, he allowed just one earned run in 23.2 innings. It was quite reminiscent of Fernando Rodney’s time with the Padres earlier that same season. Benoit was the antithesis of that last year with both Pennsylvania teams, and is now a free agent.
Roy Lee Jackson
Jackson never had any standout season, he just put together nearly a decade of reliable, unflashy, above average relief for the Mets, Jays, Padres, and Twins.
A solid lefty-killer for quite some time, Rzepczynski is best known for his last name, which is always discussed at measure by national announcers every year he’s in the postseason - a problem he never had in his time with the Blue Jays or Padres.
Now the Blue Jays’ pitching coach, Walker had a few solid seasons as a swingman with the team for the bulk of his career, along with short stints with the Mets, Padres, and Rockies.
Aside from his final season, Villanueva was reliable filler, that guy who could go out and put in innings in any role. You were never quite comfortable with him taking a spot start or coming in for the sixth inning of a tie game, but there were always worse alternatives.
C - Greg Myers, Yorvit Torrealba, Bob Davis, Henry Blanco, Kyle Phillips
1B - Kevin Barker, Kevin Witt
IF - Carlos Garcia, Chris Gomez, Ed Sprague, Alex Gonzalez, Hector Torres, Jorge Velandia
OF - Joe Carter, Derek Bell, Darrin Jackson, Bobby Brown, John Scott
P - Justin Germano, Wil Ledezma, Shawn Hill, Jason Kershner, Scott Cassidy, Leonel Campos, Willie Blair, Dave Maurer, Thad Weber, Carlos Almanzar, Ben Van Ryn, Paul Menhart, Matt Whiteside, Colt Hynes, Tom Davey, Mark Wiley, Jerry Johnson, Matt DeWitt, Dave Freisleben, Drew Carpenter, Chad Gaudin, Dirk Hayhurst