Tue, 30 May 2023

Padres roll out loads of talent, expectations vs. Rockies

Field Level Media
30 Mar 2023, 03:40 GMT+10

In his decade managing the Oakland Athletics, Bob Melvin developed a stellar reputation for doing more with less.

Now he gets to operate with talent aplenty in his second season with the San Diego Padres after the front office went on another spending spree this past winter. San Diego is biddingto put a dent into the Los Angeles Dodgers' dominating run in the National League West.

The Padres put their shiny new look on display at home Thursday in the season opener against the Colorado Rockies.

"Expectations are high and they should be," Melvin said. "Everyone in the clubhouse knows that."

Everyone, including Melvin.

"This is a team with a lot of stars, which I have not had a lot of," he said. "And it's a team with a very high payroll, which I have not had a ton of."

The goal of Padres owner Peter Seidler was simple: "I want to give San Diego its first (championship) parade. We want the Padres to be good year in, year out ... for a lot of years."

During the offseason, the Padres extended the contract of third-baseman Manny Machado through 2033 and signed free agent shortstop Xander Bogaerts to a 10-year deal. Right-hander Yu Darvish got an extension that will take him through the end of his career and Joe Musgrove is committed to pitching in his hometown for another five seasons.

And then there is Fernando Tatis Jr., who returns from an 80-game PED suspension on April 20. His contract runs through 2034.

The Rockies' commitment to splashy roster building is spotty at best. They signed third baseman Nolan Arenado to a huge contract then traded him away. Two offseasons ago, they signed Kris Bryant.

Not only were there no big moves for the Rockies this offseason, there was a rash injuries in spring training to players like outfielders Randal Grichuk (sports hernia) and Sean Bouchard (biceps), left-hander Lucas Gilbreath (elbow) and most crushing of all, second-baseman Brendan Rodgers (shoulder).

"What the Padres are doing, I don't 100 percent agree with, though I know that our fans probably agree with it," Colorado owner Dick Monfort said. "We'll see how it works out. I look at the Padres and they have a really talented team, but they have some holes too. They have spent a lot of money and they will have to spend a lot more if they want to keep (outfielder) Juan Soto. But it does put a lot of pressure on you. Yes, it does."

Rockies additions include right-hander Michael Wacha and utility man Rougned Odor. Former Padre Jurickson Profar was signed late in the spring.

The Padres open the season with the third-highest total payroll in the major leagues at $237 million, according to Spotrac, while the Rockies are 15th at $166.3 million, which is just above the MLB average.

The Rockies will send right-hander German Marquez to the mound Thursday, while the Padres counter with left-hander Blake Snell.

The 28-year-old Marquez was 9-13 with a 4.95 ERA in 31 starts last season for Rockies. He is 9-3 lifetime against the Padres with a 4.47 ERA and is 5-2 at Petco Park with a 3.71 ERA, a 1.069 WHIP and an .216 opponents' batting average over 53 1/3 innings.

Snell is not the Padres' first choice for Opening Day starter, but Darvish needs more preparation time after pitching less than expected for champion Japan in the World Baseball Classic. Musgrove isn't ready after a left big toe fracture.

A notorious slow starter Snell, 30, closed strong in 2022 and finished 8-10 with a 3.38 ERA.

--Field Level Media

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