A catcher is an indispensable part of a successful pitching staff. The Padres already look to have an outstanding pitching staff. Will Derek Norris enhance it? Norris actually looks to be a downgrade defensively from former Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal. He was an All-Star last season, but that was because of his bat. The Padres certainly don’t figure to rely on him for their offense …
The Red Sox were high on him when he made his debut in 2012, batting .288 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs in only 267 at-bats. After trending downward the last couple of seasons, a change of scenery for the 25-year-old third baseman might bring on another breakout season.
The 2013 AL Rookie of the Year brings youth and offensive potential to the Padres. Like Norris, though, his defense may be lacking, especially because he’ll be playing in a new outfield position -- center field. Like Middlebrooks, he had an off-year following a breakout rookie season, but perhaps a different setting will trigger another breakout season.
He’s a two-time All-Star and former MVP candidate who has averaged 26 home runs and 84 RBIs in eight major-league seasons. He’s a solid middle-of-the-order hitter, which the Padres had been lacking. Will he bat third or fourth?
As if adding one outfielder who is a multi-year All-Star and former MVP candidate averaging 26 home runs and over 80 RBIs per season wasn’t enough, the Padres added a second one by the name of Matt Kemp. Kemp may be a more significant acquisition because of his leadership potential over the more soft-spoken Upton. Being traded away from the division-rival Dodgers might also give him an extra edge -- a chip on his shoulder.
The acquisition of Craig Kimbrel may be the most shocking -- certainly because of the timing. Kimbrel is considered the best closer in the game. His 1.43 ERA over the last five seasons (minimum 250 IP) is by far the lowest of any pitcher. He’s led the NL in saves each of the past four seasons, and he’s only 26. He stands right now as the cherry on top of a litany of offseason moves that have brought offense, starting pitching and now top-notch relief to San Diego. He might prove to be the most important Padres acquisition this offseason.
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James Shields holds as the Padres' most significant acquisition this offseason. Not only is he the top-of-the-rotation guy the Padres needed, he’s also been durable, and he brings postseason, including World Series, experience. He also brings a leadership mentality. The fact that he’s moving from the American League to one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the National League also bodes well for him and the Padres.