In recent years, we’ve seen a few franchises – such as Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Baltimore – reach the playoffs after some lengthy postseason absences.
The San Diego Padres are trying to become one of those teams in 2015.
The Padres, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2006 or won a playoff series since 1998, have completely revamped their roster, adding Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Wil Myers and Craig Kimbrel, among others, this offseason.
Can San Diego make the playoffs in a stacked NL West? Maybe, maybe not.
“It is tough to win when you haven’t won for a long time,” former MLB catcher and manager Buck Martinez said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Of course, the Padres have really revamped their team. They upgraded their offense dramatically with those three outfielders, and now they’ve got an extra outfielder in Melvin (Upton). But I think it’s difficult to just put a team together on paper and say they’re going to win. I think too many people have put too much stock in the Chicago Cubs this year – and we saw what the Cardinals thought about the Cubs last night.”
St. Louis beat Chicago, 3-0, at Wrigley Field on Sunday night to open the 2015 season.
“I think you have to develop a team chemistry,” Martinez said. “Let your players get together. John Schuerholz, the great GM of the Atlanta Braves, always says you don’t really know what kind of team you have until they play 60 games together. That’s about June 1. So I think we’re going to see teams sorting things out the first couple of months of this season.”
Martinez cited the 2014 Baltimore Orioles as an example.
“They were at .500 right at the start of June, so it took them awhile to really get things going,” he said. “And then they had a terrific season and won the division by 12 games.”
Switching gears a bit, Major League Baseball announced last Friday that it will not punish Josh Hamilton, who had a drug and alcohol relapse during the offseason. The Angels then released a statement on Hamilton, essentially expressing disappointment in his actions.
“I think it’s really a sad story (about) a young man that has battled demons for years,” Martinez said. “He was a 19-year-old rookie my first season as a manager in 2001. He was clearly the best player in Florida in spring training that year. He was a marvelous athlete – and of course he’s had some great moments in baseball – but he’s always had to deal with these demons.”
Hamilton signed a five-year, $125-million contract in 2012.
“The Angels knew what they were dealing with when they signed him to that lucrative contract,” Martinez said. “They’ve got a couple of contracts with (Albert) Pujols and Hamilton – big, big dollars committed – and neither one of them has produced the way they had prior to signing with the Angels. So I think they’re disappointed, the Angels are. It’s a tough situation.
“But I certainly feel for Josh Hamilton,” Martinez continued. “He’s a good kid that has had to deal with these demons that I don’t think anyone can relate to unless they have had somebody that’s gone through it because it’s a daily battle. He has to battle those demons every day.”