Following a dreadful offensive season in 2014, Preller came out guns blazing last offseason, acquiring all sorts of hitters in an attempt to improve one of the league’s worst offenses. While that obviously didn’t work out the way Preller had hoped, the offense was at least a little better last year, even if the team did lose more games than in 2014 due to regression in other areas. The approach this offseason was a more balanced one, a more clear attempt to create a more balanced offensive attack. Despite the losses of quite a few key offensive contributors, including Justin Upton, Jedd Gyorko, and Yonder Alonso, the Padres will be bringing back most of their offensive core from last year, including Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Derek Norris, Yangervis Solarte, among others.
With 2015 clearly in the rearview mirror, the Padres have made some additions that should impact their offense in 2016. Alexei Ramirez is the Padres new starting shortstop and should provide more offense than the Padres got at the position last year from the combination of Clint Barmes and Alexi Amarista. Beyond that, the Padres also added Christian Bethancourt from Atlanta and, although he struggled offensively in Atlanta, he should provide enough offensive value as a backup next season. Finally, the Padres also made a few outfield additions as well, including Jabari Blash and Jon Jay. Both will be vying for playing time in both center and left field, and both should be able to make at least some offensive impact next season.
With all the focus on upgrading the offense last offseason, A.J. Preller and company almost completely ignored the team’s defense as well as the repercussions that would come with some of the decisions that were made in that regard. From acquiring an outfield of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, and Wil Myers, and playing Myers out of position in center field, to taking a step back defensively with Derek Norris, the Padres front office seemed to have little to no regard to their defensive alignments on a nightly basis. With such a disregard, the team suffered more than it should have.
Despite the mistakes made in 2015, the front office seemed intent on remedying the situation this offseason. Nearly all the acquisitions the Padres made also improved the team’s defensive outlook. In the outfield, both Blash and Jay should be upgrades over either Myers or Upton in the outfield, even with Kemp’s poor defense coming back in right field. The Padres should also be better off with the sure handed duo of Alexei Ramirez and Cory Spangenberg up the middle, setting the team up well in terms of infield defense. Add Bethancourt to the mix as a backup catcher and the Padres should be a lot better defensively in 2016.