Well as much as it pains me to do this, and beleive me it does, here are the following grades as this friar fan sees it.
1b - A+ Well we might as well start off with one of our only shining spots of the season in Adrian Gonzalez. This guy continues to be an amazing player and put up outstanding #'s in his 3rd full season. He hit for a career high in HR's in one of the toughest hitter parks in MLB, and career highs in RBI on a team that sported one of if not the worst OBP in baseball. That means he was driving in runs almost every time he could. I'm not sure the team could have expected anything more from this position this year.
2b- C- This 2nd base started out the year as a complete disaster as Tad Iguchi, brought in specifically to shore up this hole, got off to a horrible start eventually landing on the DL. The only reason this grade is up at all is due to the emergence and pleasant surprise of Edgar Gonzalez. He was called on to start when Iguchi went down, and was able to hit over .300 for a sustained period of time, before finally tailing off toward the end of the year.
3b- B- Kevin Kouzmanoff played a full season, and posted career highs in HR's and RBI, but also saw his OBP drop below the .300 mark by the end of the season. It was his 2nd full season at the big league level, and many were hoping for much more from the hitting side, but what they got instead was excellent defense. What was his biggest knock, became his biggest strength in 2008, and might just have put Kouz on the ML map for 3bags. If he is a Padre next year, I fully expect to see big #'s from this guy as his 3rd year could very well be his break out season.
SS- F What a huge disappointment Khalil Greene was this year. Posting career lows in just about every category, he seemed to only regress from every angle ultimately landing on the DL after having a meltdown, punching a wall, and breaking his hand. Luis Rodriguez filled in regularly after that, and while LRod can play defense fairly well, the lineup suffered greatly.
LF- C Once again the mess that is the LF corner reared its ugly head this year. The Padres couldn't decide whether to give the spot to Scott Hairston who plays solid defense, has some speed, showed tremendous power, but was very inconsistant at the plate.....or to go with Paul McAnulty who could very well be a good ML hitter, yet can't run or play Defense like Hairston. Finally they settled on bringing up Chase Headley, and giving the rookie his shot to play everyday. The one thing to take away from this position this season is that at least Chase got to play full time at this level and now knows what it takes to play at the ML level. Hopefully that will translate into a great 2009 from this kid whether it's in LF or at 3rd.
CF- C+ Jim Edmonds was a complete disaster and turned out to be a total flop trade for the Padres. He was a shot in the dark and our 4th option for a CFer going into last year, and just didn't pan out. However once the Padres finally severed ties with the veteran they handed the reigns over to a guy on the comeback trail, Jody Gerut. In Gerut the Padres found gold ! Coming off multiple knee injuries the jury was still out on if he could still play, but those questions have all been answered ......and it's a resounding YES ....... He will likely be the starting CFer going into 2009 and hopefully for a few years to come.
RF- A The model of consitency, and prototype ballplayer that this organization needs. The only shame is that we can't clone him and run him out to all the OF positions. Brian Giles had another fantastic season hitting over .300 with an OBP right at .400. True his HR power has been lost to age, but this guy can still play an outstanding RF. He's got an option for 2009, and I for one sure hope that the Padres don't screw around and hurry to pick that option up.
C- D+ The combonation of Bard and Barrett was very disapppointing, and once again Barrett left much to be desired and didn't live up to his career norms. This position had it's major challenges this year also however as it was ravaged by injuries ultimately counting on a AAA and AA catcher to platoon and get the job done, and the positon remained another huge hole in the lineup. Hundley and Carlin were able to do one thing however and that was stop the opposing running game, something Bard and Barrett were unable to accomplish.
Bullpen- G The G is for complete and utter failure where an F simply wouldn't suffice, which is what our bullpen was this year. They blew lead after lead, let runners score at will.......and seemed unable to slam any door shut. Kevin Towers has had remarkable success building bullpens year after year with what many consider castoffs, but this year just about everything they tried ended wrong. The long bright spot was the emergence of Mike Adams. Hopefully he can build on his 2008 season have a full season of success in 2009.
Bench- D Between guys like Crabbe, Myrow, Huber & Clark its easy to understand just how bad this bench was this year. And in a season filled with so many key injuries it stuck out like a sore thumb when it was called on to fill in regularly. This cannot repeat itself next year if the Padres have any hope of competing.
Rotation- C- Peavy, CY, Maddux, Wolf, Estes ......... The season started with expectations of a totally dominant rotation, but those hopes quickly fizzled when Peavy, CY & Estes all got injured. Luckily Peavy's injury wasn't as bad as originally thought, and we were also lucky that CY's injury to his face seems to have no lasting effects. However relying on Maddux and Wolf as our 1-2 punch with a load of castoffs filling in the blanks took it's toll and the results were disasterous for the season. By the time Peavy got back, even the staff ace couldn't make up the difference. In the end the Padres traded away both Maddux and Wolf, in favor of brining up a few young kids to give them a taste of the bigs. Wade LeBlanc , the changeup artist, appeared overmatched, during the majority of his outtings, but Josh Geer might be a guy to keep an eye on. Having no special pitches, Josh appears to have a great baseball head, and seemed to approach each batter with a plan.
Overall- D This season was entered with huge expectations, mainly that holes had been plugged, and the needed fixes were made from the season before where the Padres fell short of the playoffs by one game........Clearly this was not the case, and it's back to the drawing board for the Brain Trust. The best thing to take away from this season might be how many young players got some amazing exposure to the big leagues. Hopefully that will help show them what it takes to play at this level, and they can take that with them back to the farm and build on it.
Play Ball !!!