General manager A.J. Preller was active in his first offseason under the helm, changing the team’s look with a multitude of trades and free-agent signings.
Chairman Ron Fowler and the rest of the ownership group allowed Preller to go after high-profile talent by raising the team’s payroll to a record $109 million.
In their first series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodgers Stadium, the Friars lost two out of three.
Here’s a look at the team’s roster heading into the home opener at 3:40 p.m. in Petco Park:
Derek Norris — Norris was acquired from the Oakland A’s during the offseason in the slew of trades pulled of by Preller. He had his best year as a pro last season with a career high 10 homers and .270 batting average. He was also selected to his first All-Star game. Norris will bat second in the order, at least to begin the season, and will serve as the team’s starting catcher.
Wil Nieves — Tim Federowicz was supposed to be the team’s backup catcher after being acquired from the Dodgers, but he was placed on the 60-day disabled list due to a knee injury. Nieves began his career with the Padres back in 2002 and has jumped around many teams as a backup catcher since. He will serve as a backup, yet again, for Norris until Federowicz is healthy.
Yonder Alonso 1B — Alonso is one of the few position players that Preller kept from last season’s team. Without a true backup on the team, Alonso should be starting just about every day. Something that could keep him from that would be injury problems, which riddled him for most of last season. Alonso’s left-handed bat is one of just two that the team features in its starting lineup.
Jedd Gyorko 2B — Like Alonso, Gyorko is one of the few position players that was retained from last season. Also like Alonso, Gyorko was hampered by injuries for most of last season. These injuries contributed to a .210 batting average. However, in his rookie season he belted 23 home runs and batted .249. He will serve as the team’s starting second baseman.
Alexi Amarista SS — With the departure of Everth Cabrera the starting shortstop job became Amarista’s. Amarista has served as a utility man during his four years with the Padres, but will be playing primarily shortstop this season. At 5-foot-6 he is the shortest player on the team, which has garnered him the nickname “Little Ninja”. He will split time at shortstop with Clint Barmes.
Will Middlebrooks 3B — Middlebrooks takes over as the team’s starting third baseman after being acquired from the Boston Red Sox in the offseason. He blasted a career-high 17 home runs in 2013 with the Red Sox. He is expected to split time with Yangervis Solarte and Cory Spangenberg.
Yangervis Solarte 3B — Solarte lost out on the starting third base battle to Middlebrooks during Spring Training, but will get a chance as the team’s utility man. The switch hitter will see time at third and could also see time in the outfield, second base and possibly first base.
Clint Barmes SS — Barmes was one of the first players to sign with the team during the offseason after spending last year with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Barmes, 36, provides veteran depth at the shortstop position and will split time with Amarista.
Cory Spangenberg 2B, 3B, OF — Spangenberg, 24, made his first Opening Day roster thanks to his defensive versatility. He was selected by the Padres with the 10th pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. He will see time at second base, third base and outfield this season, along with being a pinch-runner from time-to-time.
Matt Kemp– Kemp was acquired from the Dodgers in the offseason in the first of several high-profile acquisitions from Preller. In nine seasons with Dodgers Kemp established himself as one of the most talented outfielders in the game, appearing in the All-Star game in 2011 and 2012. He will be the team’s everyday right fielder and will bat third in the order on most occasions.
Wil Myers– Myers will be the team’s everyday center fielder after being acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays in the offseason. He won the 2013 American League Rookie of the Year award with the Rays. He spent most of his time in right field with them, but was converted to a center fielder by the Padres.
Justin Upton — Upton was acquired from the Atlanta Braves, but Padres fans may remember him from his six seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Last season he belted 29 home runs and has averaged 26 per-season over his career. He will be the Padres everyday left fielder this year and bat fourth on most occasions.
Will Venable — Venable appeared in 146 games last season, mostly as a starter, but will serve as a back up this season. Venable provides a left-handed bat and quality defense to an outfield that is right-handed heavy and has been questioned for its defense.
James Shields– Shields got the start for the team on Opening Day after signing the biggest free agent contract in team history this offseason. Shields was an All-Star in 2011 while with the Rays and has logged at least 200 innings pitched in eight straight seasons. In his first start with the Padres he struck out eight batters over six innings and allowed two runs.
Tyson Ross– Ross made the All-Star team last season for the Padres and had a 2.81 ERA with 13 wins. He struck out four batters over six innings and allowed two runs in the team’s 7-3 win over the Dodgers on Tuesday, but did not factor in the decision. He holds a 2.95 ERA in the three seasons with the Padres.
Andrew Cashner — Cashner has been one of the team’s most dominant starting pitchers since switching over from the bullpen full-time in 2013. He has a 3.06 ERA in three seasons with the team, but injury issues have kept him from reaching high win totals. Cashner’s control was on display last year with a strikeout to walk ratio of 93:29.
Ian Kennedy– Kennedy was the only pitcher in the starting rotation to throw 200 innings and strike out 200 batters last season. After struggling with Diamondbacks right before his trade to the Padres, Kennedy has put together nice numbers during two seasons with the team, going 17-15 with a 3.76 ERA.
Brandon Morrow– Morrow beat out Odrisamer Despaigne to become the fifth starter in the rotation. He was signed by the team this offseason after spending the last five seasons with Toronto Blue Jays. He displayed his power arm while with the Blue Jays but has been hampered by injuries throughout his career.
Craig Kimbrel — Kimbrel was acquired from the Atlanta Braves last Sunday, a day before the season started, and will be the team’s closer. He has established himself as one of the premier closers in the game, making the All-Star game four seasons in a row. Over his career he has averaged 43 saves-per-season and a 1.43 ERA.
Joaquin Benoit– Benoit was slated to be the team’s closer before the arrival of Kimbrel, but will now serve as the set up man. In his first season with the Padres last year he had 11 saves and a 1.49 ERA.
Dale Thayer — Thayer has pitched in the middle of the Padres bullpen the last three seasons, and will serve that role this season as well. Last year he held a 2.34 ERA in 65 1/3 innings pitched.
Nick Vincent — Much like Thayer, Vincent will serve a middle relief role this season, much like he has in his previous three seasons with the team. Last season he pitched 55 innings and had a 3.60 ERA.
Shawn Kelley– Kelley was acquired from the New York Yankees in the offseason to provide middle relief depth for the team. He appeared in 59 games last year for New York and held a 4.53 ERA.
Frank Garces — Garces is making his first appearance on an Opening Day roster and will serve as the team’s left-handed specialist this year. He had a 2.00 ERA in nine innings pitched with the team last season.
Odrisamer Despaigne — Despaigne was considered for fifth starter role during Spring Training but will serve as the team’s long reliever this season. In his first season with the team last year he started 16 games and had a 3.36 ERA.
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