Trevor Hoffman is back in a San Diego Padres uniform!!! However, his return to San Diego now is working behind the scenes as a special assistant to baseball operations. While the former great closer and all time saves leader is not picking up a baseball and throwing up warm-up tosses in the bullpen this spring, this is a phenomenal addition to the Padres organization. I for one think it speaks volume about the kind person Trevor is as well as the direction this franchise wants to go.
Hoffman is now one of the most recognizable athletes of our time regardless of the club one cheers for. The fact Trevor choose to go back to the club he spent most of his career in will continue to display Hoffman as a role model for both current major leaguers in addition to the young people who idolize and strive to become as good if not better than him. It is only a matter of time till a Hoffman statue joins the Tony Gwynn one outside PETCO Park. And Gwynn as many know is also involved in the organization covering TV broadcast of Padres games.
I am a huge fan of clubs incorporating their long time devoted players into the organization. Having the old guys around is a positive asset as the young players in my opinion learn and grasp more from the retired veterans than any coach or veteran teammate. In addition, it shows the heart organizations have towards their most recognized franchise athletes by bringing them back and reinforcing to fans the impact they had for their team instead of disassociating once a player’s contract expires.
Having Trevor in the dugout or bullpen would make any club better as he is one of the classiest guys in MLB, and every player regardless of age in San Diego will look up to him as many enter Spring Training growing up watching him pile up saves. I personally wish more franchises would bring back their most well-known players as it would teach the young fans some of the history of their favorite team, but, more importantly, I think it would help clean up the game. Current players around the league would have more veterans to look up to, and realize they play for themselves, the fans, but more importantly for past players who have made the organization what it is today, and more appreciative of being a part of the team they play for regularly. Good move San Diego.
The San Diego Padres had a rough off-season to say the least, and this upcoming 2011 season will not be nice to the Padres either. The club is mess right now with questions at virtually all positions.
It will be interesting to see who fills out the starting rotation this spring. As of now, Clayton Richard and Matt Latos will respectively be at the bottom of the rotation. With Tim Stauffer and the acquisition of Aaron Harang most likely going to be starters, the Padres still do not have number one or two starter. Stauffer right now might have the edge of being the number one starter, but Harang is not the ideal second starter even though pitcher friendly PETCO Park will be kinder to Harang this season. San Diego is very lucky to have closer Heath Bell to secure games as a majority of their games this season will be close with a depleted offense.
Another 90-win season and fight for a Wild Card berth will not be happening in San Diego this year. The Padres are going to miss 1B Adrian Gonzalez’s bat too much this year. For many games while he wore a Padres jersey, he was their offense and reason for many of their wins. San Diego enters Spring Training also needing to fill in the spots at second base and shortstop with the departures of David Eckstein and Miguel Tejada. Only third basemen Chase Headley and Nick Hundley, who was recently announced as the full time catcher, are guaranteed to be starting will be starting on Opening Day. Outfielder Ryan Ludwick needs to make noise, however, his bat alone cannot carry this team. With the loss of Gonzalez, a low payroll, and not enough fire power at the other positions, the Padres do not have much of a chance of competing in the West. The Padres will battle with the Arizona Diamondbacks for fourth this season.
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