Let's dive into another edition of the Inbox to answer your questions.
Hey Corey, I'm wondering what your take is on Jesus Guzman? It seems like he has too many offensive skills to sit on the bench. Do you see him getting abundant playing time? If yes, where do you play him?
-- Ken H., Mahanoy, Pa.
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You're right about Guzman's best asset -- his bat. He was clearly the best hitter on the team from June on, though that's really the only sample size we have to go on (I'm dismissing Minor League statistics here. The chasm between Triple-A and the Major Leagues has never been greater, so let's not go there). I think the team might have to be creative to get Guzman his at-bats this season -- some infield, some outfield, at-bats off the bench, and also the chance to serve as the designated hitter in American League ballparks. Guzman showed he belonged in the Major Leagues with his performance last summer. That said, he's going to have to show he can do it again to stay there.
Were the acquisitions the Padres made this offseason made more with an eye on winning future pennants or being contenders in 2012?
-- Zach C., San Marcos, Calif.
Ideally, from the perspective of the front office, those deals were done to win now and win later. Certainly, we can all agree that there is some exciting Minor League talent in the farm system and some players who are low on service time (Yonder Alonso, Cory Luebke come to mind) who figure to play prominent roles in how the Padres fare moving forward -- 2012 and beyond. I think this team will be better than the one that went 71-91 a year ago. That said, I think this team could really make a push for the top of the National League West in 2013, when some of the young players have more big league service time and experience.
Will the Padres sign Mark Teahen as a backup third baseman and utility man? Maybe he can serve as the designated hitter in Interleague Play as well.
-- Marsel T., Guadalajara, Mexico
I don't see Teahen as being a fit for this team. Earlier this month, Teahen was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays after posting a .200/.273/.300 line for two teams in 2011. He wouldn't help the team much defensively, not nearly as much as someone like Logan Forsythe, who will go to camp next month with a chance to win a job as a reserve infielder. Forsythe is considered a plus-defender at third base and can play second base as well. Simply put, there are better internal options at this point for the Padres -- as well as cheaper ones in Forsythe, Everth Cabrera and, to a lesser extent, Andy Parrino. If Teahen were willing to sign a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invitation, that would be another thing, a low-risk move for the team.
What are the chances the team trades Chase Headley, since we have so much potential depth in the Minor Leagues, in addition to Jesus Guzman, who could also play there? It's tough to have a singles hitter at third base.
-- Mark H., Cardiff, Calif.
I would say there's little to no chance that the team moves Headley in a deal -- either now or later. Honestly, I have a little trouble understanding the criticism of Headley. Sure, he doesn't hit home runs and plays a position that traditionally been a power spot. His power is no doubt muted by playing at Petco Park. His left-right splits improved a year ago, he runs the bases well, he'll take a walk and he told me at the end of the season that he expects more of himself in 2012, that he's determined to be more of a run-producer. OK, got off on a rant there. As for Guzman, there's a spot for him on this team. I just think the team is skeptical of his defense -- wherever they stick him. Guzman is nowhere near the player defensively that Headley is.
After not re-signing Aaron Harang and trading Wade LeBlanc and Mat Latos, what does the Padres starting rotation look like, and who will fill the missing spots?
-- Jesse M., San Diego
Good question, Jesse. The Padres will have to replace some serious innings from the ones Harang, Latos and, to some extent, LeBlanc, provided in 2011. That's a concern moving forward, though the Padres feel they have the depth to fill those innings. Let's start with Tim Stauffer and Cory Luebke at the top of the rotation, two guys who should log 200-plus innings. Clayton Richard, healthy after shoulder surgery, threw 201 innings two seasons ago. Edinson Volquez will need to show he's healthy (and effective), but he should hold down a spot in the rotation. I would expect, sitting here today, that Dustin Moseley and Anthony Bass would compete for the fifth spot in the rotation. After that, you have Minor Leaguers Joe Wieland, Robbie Erlin and Casey Kelly getting close to the big leagues. Those three still need Minor League seasoning, though not much.