We're only a week into 2016, but baseball fans are eagerly awaiting the beginning of spring training and the onset of another season. As we near closer to pitchers and catchers reporting, let's take a look at the Padres' resolutions for the New Year.
Getty ImagesAndy Hayt
Myers settles in at first
There's no denying that Wil Myers is a below-average outfielder. The Padres' experiment with the 25-year-old slugger at first base last year will likely be continued in 2016, and could eventually evolve into Myers becoming San Diego's everyday first baseman. While his fielding is subpar, there's no denying Myers' ability at the plate, which is why it's imperative the Padres find a spot for him in the field where he's comfortable. With Yonder Alonso being traded to the A's and the Padres having a handful of top-prospect outfielders who can contribute at the major-league level, first base is the place for Myers. If he can find his niche at the position and sustain his productive bat, the Padres will be a much better team in 2016.
Getty ImagesDoug Pensinger
Kemp keeps it up
There was plenty of concern as to how Matt Kemp would perform in his first season with the Padres, particularly after medical details were leaked during trade rumors between the Dodgers and Padres that revealed he had arthritic hips. However, Kemp proved he's still got it by playing in 154 games and driving in 100 runs in his first campaign in San Diego, his highest such total since his career year in 2011 with Los Angeles. Although the Dodgers are eating up a portion of Kemp's salary, he is still owed $18.25 million annually by the Padres over the next four seasons, which makes it vital that he continue to produce at a high level. With Justin Upton likely signing elsewhere in free agency, Kemp is one of the only true power hitters in the Padres' lineup, and his production at the plate will be important to San Diego's success in 2016.
Colin Rea, the Padres' top pitching prospect, performed relatively well in his abbreviated first major-league season last year, compiling a 2-2 record with a 4.26 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in six starts. The Padres will likely lose a few starters from their rotation this offseason, whether to free agency or by trade, which could thrust Rea to the major-league club as a back-end starter in 2016. Now that opposing teams have had a chance to see Rea on a major-league mound, he'll need to make adjustments this coming season in order to build upon what he started last year.
Getty ImagesDenis Poroy
Ross becomes the ace
Tyson Ross has been one of the most underrated pitchers in MLB during his three seasons with the Padres, in which he's compiled a 26-34 record with a 3.07 ERA and 1.23 WHIP over 99 outings, 80 of which have been starts. At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Ross is a physical specimen on the hill who has the potential to do special things in his upcoming age-29 season. In a search to free up payroll, the Padres might part ways with James Shields, which would plant the expectation for Ross to become the ace of San Diego's rotation. If he embraces that role – whether or not Shields remains with the team – the Padres pitching situation will be in good shape in 2016.
Getty ImagesNorm Hall
Green bolsters club
There's no telling how Andy Green's first season as Padres manager will go. Although San Diego's brass believes he's the right man for the job, he has no major-league managerial experience, and only spent a season as a major-league coach despite playing in the majors. If both experienced manager Bud Black and former minor-league manager Pat Murphy couldn't rally the Padres to performance that pleased the front office, there's no outstanding evidence that Green will either. However, if Green can enable the Padres to start fresh and play to their potential, 2016 could be a much better year for the Friars.