San Diego Padres
The Padres made big news before the season with their signing of free-agent Manny Machado, but one player does not a team make. Fortunately for San Diego fans, the Pads are on track to compete with more than Manny. Like the Mariners, San Diego is semi-rebuilding, building a young team around veterans Machado and Eric Hosmer with an eye toward contending in seasons to come rather than this season. Their hot start (11-5) appears to have fizzled out, but they could still rebound; only three regulars in the Padre lineup are hitting—Machado, rookie phenom Fernando Tatís Jr., and perpetual trade rumor Wil Myers—but the young starting rotation has been productive (3.60 ERA, .233 batting average against) and the more veteran bullpen, led by outstanding closer Kirby Yates (10 saves, 0.75 ERA), has been solid on the whole.
Tatís, all of 20 years old, is the new face of the franchise, not Machado. Son of former Cardinal/Expo/Met Fernando Tatís Sr., the younger Tatís is a bona fide five-tool player with impressive power and speed. Having skipped Triple-A entirely, he's outhitting his stats from Double-A last season in the big leagues, including a .360 on-base percentage. Myers is the next-best Padre in the early going and the only one currently batting over .300; he's got a big-bucks contract extension that kicks in next year, and the Padres seem to be regretting it as Myers' name pops up in trade rumors fairly often (he was even linked to the Mariners at one point last fall). He's not exactly a liability in the outfield, but he is a below-average defender wherever you put him.
On the mound, the Mariners will face the two youngest and most promising Padre starters in this series. 23-year-old lefty Nick Margevicius made a huge jump from Class-A ball to the Majors; he spent last year at two Class-A stops in the Padres' system, going 10-8 with a 3.60 ERA in 135 innings and has matched that performance in his first four big-league games. His last start, at home against Colorado, was his first poor one—he allowed five earned runs in just four innings, ballooning that ERA from 1.69 to 3.60. Right-hander Chris Paddack, also 23, similarly made a big jump from the low minors, having pitched very well at Class-A and Double-A last season. Paddack's first Major League decision came in his last start, a loss to Cincinnati that saw him go six innings and give up three runs, a solid effort in which he got no run support. They will be opposed by the two extremes in the Mariners' rotation, rookie Erik Swanson and The King 2.0, Felix Hernández.
Mariners vs. Nick Margevicius (CAREER)
Mariners vs. Chris Paddack (CAREER)
Players to Watch
Fernando Tatís Jr.: Only 20 years old, the Padres' new shortstop is perhaps the best player on a team that also includes Manny Machado. Tatís hits for average, hits for power, runs fast, plays exceptional defense, and has a strong throwing arm—all five "tools" available to a position player. Acquired from the White Sox for James Shields in 2016, Tatís played three consistent seasons in the low minors before making the jump all the way to the big leagues, bypassing Triple-A altogether.
Manny Machado: San Diego was a somewhat surprising destination for Machado, one of the most sought-after free agents in years. The Padres landed the four-time All-Star with a ten-year, $300 million contract offer that he may opt out of after five years should he so choose. Just 26, Machado began his Padre tenure with more of a whimper than a bang, but thanks to a week-long stretch early this month in which he reached base 50% of the time, his numbers have been respectable.
Eric Hosmer: The former Kansas City Royals star and Gold Glove first-baseman has been a disappointment for San Diego. Signed to a giant eight-year free-agent contract prior to last year, Hoz had he worst season if his career since his sophomore campaign in 2012 and is producing at an even worse rate thus far in 2019. He's too good a player to expect him to stay down, but for now he has to be considered one of the worst free-agent signings in franchise history.
Andy Green: If you saw the name Andy Green and went, "Who?" you're not alone. Green has been the Padres' manager since 2016, but has next-to-zero national recognition. Having led the Padres to three 90+ loss seasons, Green was previously a coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks and manager in the Pioneer and Southern Leagues after a playing career that included 140 games in the Majors over four seasons, most with Arizona. A utility infielder, Green was the Pacific Coast League MVP in 2005 and began 2006 with the Diamondbacks, but only managed a .199 career average before Arizona agreed to sell his contract to the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Green hoped to succeed in Japan in the way that other so-called "quadruple-A" players Wladimir Balentien and Andy Sheets had, but never had the chance, as injuries relegated him to the Japanese minors for most of his year with Nippon Ham.
Green won Southern League Manager of the Year honors with Mobile in 2013 and 2014. The Friars' brass thinks enough of Green to have extended his contract through the 2021 season, giving him the opportunity to see the rebuilding effort through to completion.
Adam Warren: A trade-deadline acquisition for Seattle last year, Warren was adequate as a Mariner reliever but is mostly remembered for the two games in which he didn't get anyone out. His third Mariner appearance, against Texas, saw him give up a hit, a walk, and a hit batter for two runs; and against the Orioles he came into the game to start the 7th inning leading 1-0 and faced three batters, allowing two singles and a home run to lose the game. It's a bit unfair, as those two appearances were the only poor ones he had with Seattle, but he and the other July trade acquisitions for good or ill tend to be identified with the disappointment of 2018's second-half collapse for the Mariners.
|San Diego Padres||(1969 - present)|
|League Champions:||1984, 1998|
|Division Titles:||1996, 2005, 2006|