San Diego Padres: From Bottom Dwellers to World Series Contenders

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Photo taken from AP Photo/Denis Poroy

Padres celebrating clinching a playoff spot after a victory over the Mariners in San Diego. After fourteen years of missing the playoffs, the Padres will finally play October baseball.

Jason Chase, Staff Writer

The San Diego Padres are officially back in playoff baseball. On Sunday, Sept. 20, the Friars clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2006. That wasn’t the Padres main goal. The Padres are hoping to do something that hasn’t been done before in the history of the San Diego Padres: bring a world series trophy to the city of San Diego.

“We’re aiming for everything.” Fernando Tatis Jr told MLB.com reporter AJ Cassavell. “The boys are ready. We have a very good team out here. The new guys that have come in, they’re adding to our game.”

Eric Hosmer hits a grand slam against the Rangers in Texas. This grand slam made history as the Padres hit a grand slam in four consecutive games for the first time in MLB history, earning the nickname “Slam Diego” and showing why they are one of the most exciting teams in baseball.

For those who don’t follow baseball, Tatis is one of the brightest stars in MLB. He burst onto the scene in 2019 but was sidelined due to a couple of injuries however was phenomenal when he took the field. He repeated his performance in 2020, winning the National League Player of the Month award in August and will certainly be in the conversation for MVP.

The past few years have certainly been disappointing for the Padres, only placing last or second to last in the National League West for the past five years. This doesn’t mean that Padres showed they weren’t looking to compete. The past couple offseasons they have spent like a big market team, giving a $300M contract to third baseman Manny Machado, a $144M contract to first baseman Eric Hosmer, and giving an extension to Wil Myers, and now, their big acquisitions are paying off in big ways.

“It’s definitely more exciting after going through those years of struggling here in the rebuilding process,” Myers spoke to Cassavell late last month. “It’s finally here. We have the team they’ve been assembling for those years.”

Machado also spoke to Cassavell in a separate interview about his individual success and the team’s success. “My mindset is just going out there and winning that ballgame today,” Machado said to Cassavell. “We have a great team here. We have 28 MVPs on our ballclub if it’s up to me.”

The Padres front office and decision-makers can agree on this mindset as well. Last offseason, they were quite active trading for pieces like Tommy Pham to bolster their offense and relief pitchers Drew Pomeranz and Emilio Pagan to solidify their bullpen and also doing the same at the trade deadline acquiring one of the best starting pitchers in Mike Clevinger and closer Trevor Rosenthal to further solidify their bullpen.

Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. hitting a grand slam in a blowout win against the Rangers in Texas. Tatis sparked a massive debate in the baseball world since he broke an unwritten rule in baseball, showing how young exciting players like him are transforming baseball. (Photo taken from of NBC 7 San Diego)

“This bullpen is special, and it’s had a chance to be special for a long time,” righty reliever Emilio Pagán said to Cassavell “It’s had a chance to be special for a long time. It’s starting to show.”

The Padres didn’t just introduce new players. The entire coaching staff was revamped, starting with manager Jayce Tingler. His coaching staff plays a big role in the Padres success this year.

“We want to be able to beat you in a lot of different ways,” Tingler told Cassavell.

The Padres have done just that. They’ve constructed one of the deepest lineups in baseball, a deep rotation, and one of the better bullpens in baseball. All of that makes Padres fans very excited.

“I think this Padres team is really exciting,” said junior Bryce Gilmore, “It’s the most promising team that we have had in years and it’s been a super exciting team to watch.”

Fellow junior Shane Sakata had similar words.

“They are energetic and passionate,” said Sakata. “They’re winning the World Series.”
The 2020 Padres ballclub has been one of the best in franchise history. They have one goal in mind now, best summarized by Tatis Jr in an interview with Cassavell.

“I think we’re aiming for the big cake, and why not? Let’s go win the World Series.”