Corey, what makes you think Chris Young is capable of being a No. 1 starter for the Padres in 2010? He's been on the disabled list almost as much as he has pitched for the Padres since they acquired him and he's won, I believe, only 28 games in 4 seasons. -- Josh W., San Diego
It's true that Young is 31-25 in 93 career starts with the Padres over four seasons. Yes, he's missed time with injuries, though only one can be classified as an "arm" injury, the one he had this season when he needed minor shoulder surgery. So this appears to be more a case of being unlucky than injury prone, in my estimation. Also, the guy has a 3.70 ERA in those 93 starts with the Padres and has always been someone difficult to hit. Foes hit .192 against him in 2007 and .221 in 2008. With Jake Peavy gone, Young has the most tenure and the best track record on the staff. As far as a staff ace goes, Young's it.
Is there any chance the Padres might sign Ken Griffey Jr. as a left-handed pinch hitter and a designated hitter for Interleague road games? The Padres have tried several players who have failed in that role recently (Cliff Floyd, the latest example). -- David L., Poway
Griffey turns 40 next month and from everything I've heard or read, he'll either retire or return to Seattle, where he has the luxury of being a designated hitter. It's also the place where he started his career and he had quite a homecoming this past season. He hit .214 with 19 home runs and can still contribute. I still think the guy can play, but the American League is a better fit for him and, really, Seattle is probably the only place he wants to play.
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Do you see the Padres keeping pitcher Kevin Correia? -- Chris S., Carlsbad
Absolutely. He's arbitration-eligible and I think after what he did last season, reaching several career-highs and providing a semblance of consistency to a rotation that sorely lacked it, the Padres will offer him arbitration and will be happy to part with more money to keep him around. Correia came to Spring Training a year ago on a $750,000 Minor League contract that grew to $1.1 million with incentives that he reached. I won't guess what he'll make in 2009, but given his production, he'll still be a bargain. Remember, this guy won 12 games, had a 3.91 ERA and logged 198 innings.
I really want to know what the Padres' intentions are for this upcoming season -- the outfield, starting rotation, etc. The only good thing we have is the infield and, honestly, I'm tired of bad seasons. We need to get back in the playoffs. -- Marsel T., San Diego
That's a fair question, Marsel. I think a lot of fans feel the same way. I can't speak as to what the intentions are of the new general manager because we don't know. That person will have the final say in the direction the team takes from here. As for the outfield, the Padres have four guys (Chase Headley, Tony Gwynn, Kyle Blanks and Will Venable) who figure to see a lot of time. The starting rotation should be in better hands than it was at the outset of 2009. The team could still add a starting pitcher, likely through a trade. That's just my guess. There are some nice pieces here now, pieces that helped the team improve 12 games from 2008 to 2009. The outgoing general manager (Kevin Towers) and several players said at the end of the season that they believed this team wasn't far off from being one that could contend in the National League West.
What moves do you see the Padres making at catcher? Do they believe Nick Hundley is the long-term answer? Are they looking to add a veteran back-stop via free agency like Ramon Hernandez? Is there a chance we'll go after one in a trade such as Russell Martin? -- Andrew M., Spring Valley
Great question, Andrew. I know Towers was thinking of this very question late in the season. They like Hundley, but would like to see him clean up a few things on the defensive side in regards to mechanics. Offensively, I think that he is getting better. Look at what he did in September (.323 average, three home runs, 12 RBIs, .565 slugging, .950 OPS). I could see Henry Blanco coming back in a reserve role. He did a nice job of mentoring Hundley last season. I know Towers at one point late in the season talked about finding a left-handed hitting catcher. We'll see what the new general manager decides to do.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.