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San Diego Padres Eager To Show Off New Team

San Diego Padres starting pitcher James Shields follows through with a pitch during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Peoria, Arizona, March 12, 2015.
Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press
San Diego Padres starting pitcher James Shields follows through with a pitch during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Peoria, Arizona, March 12, 2015.

They open the season Monday in Los Angeles with a revamped squad

San Diego Padres Eager To Show Off New Team
San Diego Padres Eager To Show Off New Team GUEST:Jay Paris, sportscaster, The Mighty 1090

THIS IS KPBS AT MIDDAY EDITION, I'M MAUREEN CAVANAUGH . JUST WHEN YOU THINK YOU HAVE DONE AN UPDATE NEWS ABOUT THE SAN DIEGO PADRES SEASON ROSTER, THEN COMES MORE. LATE YESTERDAY, THE PADRES ANNOUNCED THEIR TWO BIGGEST TRADES YET, ACQUIRING CLOSER CRAIG KIMBREL, AND CENTERFIELDER MELVIN UPTON. THE NEW NAMES AND RECORD PAYROLL HAVE CYNICAL FANS EAGER TO SEE WHAT THE PADRES WILL DO THIS YEAR. THEY WILL NOT HAVE TO WAIT LONGER, THE SEASON OPENER AGAINST THE LA DODGERS BEGINS IN LESS THAN ONE HOUR. LAST FRIDAY, BEFORE THE KIMBREL AND UPTON TRADE, GUEST HOST MARK SAUER DISCUSSES WHAT WAS ALREADY AN ACTIVE PRESEASON FOR THE PODS. HE SPOKE WITH JAY PARIS, SPORTSCASTER WITH THE MIGHTY 1090, HERE'S THE INTERVIEW. J, OPENING DAY ZERO OF THE OLD FAMILIAR SOUNDS AND SIGHTS OF PARKS ACROSS THE COUNTRY, THE PADRES ARE IN LA TODAY THEY HAD THE ARCHRIVAL DODGERS AND HOPE OPENER THIS THURSDAY AT PETCO PARK AGAINST THE GIANTS. IS THERE A REASON FOR CYNICAL FANS TO BE HOPEFUL THE SEASON ? ABSOLUTELY. I CAN'T BELIEVE THE ANTICIPATION AND THE BUZZ AROUND THE COMMUNITY FOR THE PADRES. AND THEY DIDN'T ADD BIT PLAYERS OR GUYS WHO ARE PROSPECTS. THEY ADDED BONA FIDE, MAJORLY, ALL-STARS AND THAT'S GOING TO BE THE DIFFERENCE. SOME BIG HITTERS FOR CHANGE. A BIG PART KNOWN AS A PITCHERS PARK BUT WE HAVE GUYS THAT CAN HIT THE BALL. THE CHICKS BIG THE LONG BALL. THEY BEEN SAYING THAT FOREVER. MATT KEMP, RUNNER-UP NATIONAL LEAGUE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER OF COUPLE YEARS OBAMA WILL SHIELDS AND CENTERFIELDER CAME OVER AMERICA WILL LEAD YOU WOULD GIVE EAR. JASON UPTON, THUNDER AND THE BAD FROM THE BRACE. AND DON'T OVERLOOK DEREK NORRIS, A NEW CHECK -- CATCHER FROM OAKLAND WAS A GOOD HITTER AND AN ALL-STAR. THROUGHOUT THE LINEUP NOW YOU HAVE BUT A BLACK, THE MANAGER HAS CARDS AND WEAPONS. SLOBBERS COST MONEY, -- SLUGGERS COST MONEY. WE HAVEN'T HAD THEM. ONE OF THE KEY THINGS OF THE AJ MANAGER, HE DIDN'T WRITE MASSIVE CHECKS. HE GOT THE DODGERS TO PAY MOST OF MATT KEMP'S SALARY. WIL MYERS, A YOUNG PLAYER UNDER CONTRACT AND THE ORIGINAL DEAL JASON UPTON IS GOING TO BE A FREE AGENT SO HE IS PLAYING OUT HIS DEAL. BUT THIS WASN'T AN EXTRA MONOCLE -- ASTRONOMICAL LEAP OF THE PAYROLL. WHO OWNS THE TEAM NOW? RON FOWLER, OF BEER BEARER IN TOWN FOR A LONG TIME. A GREAT GUY. THE SEIDLER FAMILY, PETE, TOM SEIDLER AND OTHER MINORITY GUYS. THOSE ARE THE MAIN GUYS THAT I THINK THE MAIN ONES GOT TIRED OF LOSING LAST YEAR AND THEY GOT TIRED OF IT BEING BORING. BASEBALL BLUEBLOODS ? PETER SEIDLER NAME FOR HIS UNCLE PETER O MILEY. BIG BASEBALL NAMES. YES I'M A GRUBB DODGERS BUT THEY SWEAR THEY BLEED PADRE BLOOD. AFTER PETCO PARK OPENED A DECADE AGO DOWNTOWN THE POTTERS AT COMPETITIVE TEAMS IN THE PLAYOFFS. DIDN'T GO VERY FAR. WHAT HAPPENED ? OWNERSHIP. ANYTHING OR BUSINESS OR COMPANY ONLY AS GOOD AS THE GUYS WRITING THE CHECKS AND THE OWNERSHIP UPSTAIRS AND THEY WENT THROUGH MOORAD, JOHN MOORE, AND NOW YOU HAVE A THIRD OWNERSHIP GROUP. SO THERE IS NO MISSION STATEMENT OR PHILOSOPHY IF YOU WILL YOU CAN SINK YOUR TEETH INTO A LOOK AT BUT BLACK, HE HAD THREE GENERAL MANAGERS LAST YEAR. THAT IS ONE YEAR. IN ONE SEASON. IN ONE SEASON. SO HE WAS FRUSTRATED. IT ALWAYS SEEMS LIKE EVERYBODY'S BETTING ON THE CUP -- WELL IF THE PROSPECT DEVELOPS WE HAVE A SHOT, INSTEAD IT HAS GUYS THAT ARE IN THE BACK OF THE BUBBLEGUM CARD SHOWING GOOD NUMBERS. WE WILL TALK IN A MINUTE ABOUT THE BASEBALLS ECONOMICS AND WHY IT IS TOUGH FOR THE PADRES IN THE DIVISION THEY ARE IN BUT I WANT TO GET DOWN TO THE WHOLE IDEA, WE ARE ON RADIO SO WE LIVE IN AN AGE WHERE FANS CAN GET GAMES ON HIGH DEFINITION TV ON TABLETS, SMARTPHONES, RECORD THEM, WATCH ENDLESS HIGHLIGHTS. BASEBALL RADIO STILL A BIG ATTRACTION FOR MANY PEOPLE WHAT YOUR TAKE ? IT'S A SOUNDTRACK OF SUMMER. SITTING OUT BACK AND SIPPING A SOCIAL SPARKLER OR ENJOYING THE DAY OR HOW MANY PEOPLE TAKE THE RADIO TO THE BEACH? IT'S A SAN DIEGO SAYING, ALL ACROSS AMERICA THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT LISTENING TO THE BASEBALL AND RADIO. I THINK A LOT OF IT IS THE PACE OF THE GAME. YOU CAN TELL STORIES. BASED ON TOM -- THERE'S DOWNTIME. THE THEATER OF THE MIND IS WORKING. YOU PAID A GREAT PICTURE AND WE HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE TO HAVE TED LIGHTNER NO LONGER HERE, JERRY COLEMAN. ONE SAN DIEGO A SMALL ICON WE WILL MISS, JERRY COLEMAN, THE BELOVED LONGTIME PADRES BROADCASTER DIED IN JANUARY 2014. NOW A SPORTS FACILITY AT THE MARINE CORPS RECRUITING DEPOT IS BEING NAMED IN HONOR OF THE OLD KERNEL, THE WARTIME AVIATOR AND THE HERO. I SPOKE WITH JERRY AT THE OPENING OF THE 2013 SEASON. ABOUT THIS QUESTION, BUT WHY HE THOUGHT BASEBALL ON RADIO STILL ENDURES. HERE IS WHAT HE HAD TO SAY. I THINK IT IS AMAZING BECAUSE ON RADIO YOU CAN GO ANYPLACE, BE ANYWHERE, YOU CAN PICK UP THE BALL GAME. EVEN DRIVING A CAR. YOU CAN'T DO THAT ON TELEVISION QUITE OBVIOUSLY BUT I THINK THERE'S A RELATIONSHIP DEVELOPING THROUGH THE YEARS, YOU GET THE PREGAME, PART OF WHAT'S HAPPENING, POST GAME AFTER IT'S OVER, YOU GET THE PREY -- PLAY-BY-PLAY IN BETWEEN AND I WOULD SAY LUCKILY HAVE BROKEN WITH THE GUY, MEL ALLEN, AND RED BARBER, THOSE TWO ARE THE GREATEST BROADCASTERS IN THE 30s AND 40s OF ANYBODY IN BASEBALL AND IN THE UNITED STATES. SO I HAD A GREAT CHANCE TO GET INTO IT. I FELT WHAT WAS GOOD ABOUT BROADCASTING BASEBALL ON RADIO IS YOU GET TO TELL THE PEOPLE WHAT'S HAPPENING. ON TELEVISION YOU HAVE TO WAIT FOR IT TO HAPPEN BEFORE YOU CAN TELL THEM. ABSOLUTELY THEY CAN SEE IT SO YOU HAVE TO TELL THEM. ABSOLUTELY. I THINK THAT'S THE BEST PART OF IT BECAUSE THERE'S A DRIVE TO RIGHT FIELD, YOU KNOW WHERE THE BALL IS GOING ON TELEVISION. YOU HAVE TO SEE WHETHER THEY WILL CATCH IT OR NOT. FRANKLY, I THINK RADIO IS A GEM AND PERFECT FOR BASEBALL ALL THE WAY. BASEBALL AND RADIO -- ON RADIO IS MATURING IN THE 30s AND 40s WHERE YOU ARE YOUNG. DID YOU LISTEN WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG ? WHEN I GROW, WE HAD DIFFERENT BROADCASTERS. WE WERE PART OF THE TEAM, REALLY. WHILE I GOT TO THE BIG LEAGUES, I SAID WE HAVE RED BARBER, MEL ALLEN, PHIL RIZZUTO, JOE GARCIA LOVE, AND IT WAS GREAT BECAUSE WE JABBERED BACK AND FORTH AND GOT SO MUCH MORE TO GAIN THAN IF YOU WERE WATCHING ON TELEVISION BECAUSE ON TELEVISION, YOU HAVE TO LOOK AND SEE EVERY WORD AND TALK ABOUT IT. YOUR FAMOUS FOR SEVERAL PHRASES NOTABLY THIS FAMOUS MOMENT IN PADRE HISTORY LET'S LISTEN TO THIS. NETTLES BACK AT THIRD. WIGGINS TO SECOND. CARLY BEHIND THE RUNNER AT FIRST. THERE'S THE GHOST. A 11 PITCH. A ONE HOP AND ANOTHER, AND THE PADRES HAVE THE LEAGUE PENNANT. YOU CAN HANG A STAR ON THAT, BABY. WE GOT A TWOFER. OH, DR. AND YOU CAN HANG A STAR ON THAT BABY. I'M SURE YOU REMEMBER THAT MOMENT WHEN THE PADRES WON THE FIRST PENNANT IN 84 AND ONE ONTO WHEN THE TIGERS. -- PLAYED TELL US WHERE A DOCTOR AND YOU CAN STAND -- HANG A STAR ON THAT THEY BE O DOCTOR. CASEY STENGEL, I PLAY FOR HIM FOR 10 YEARS. THAN WHAT HE WOULD SAY, YOU GOT WHAT I MEAN, DOCTOR. HE KEPT SAYING YOU GOT ME DR. ALL THE TIME. SO BECAME A DOCTOR. THAT'S WHERE IT CAME FROM. I WILL -- IT WAS AN ORIGINAL BUT I WAS ORIGINAL AND YOU CAN HANG A STAR ON THAT, BABY BECAUSE WHEN I WAS IN JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL, THE SPELLING TEST AT THE END OF THE WEEK AND YOU GOT ALL 20 QUESTIONS RIGHT, AND WROTE IT PROPERLY, YOU GOT A GOLD STAR. I NEVER GOT A GOLD STAR. AND I THOUGHT THAT WITH THE PITY ME OF EXCELLENCE. BUT YOU HUNG A LOT OF STARS AND GREAT PLAYS WITH PADRES OF THE YEARS. YES A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY THAT WASN'T -- HE CALLED IT WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT. [ LAUGHTER ] YOU CALL YOUR SHARE OF MEMORABLE MOMENTS WE JUST HAD ONE THE 500 HOME RUN BY YOUR OWN YANKEES TEAMMATE MICKEY MANTLE. AND THE 3000 HIT BY PADRES GREAT TONY GWYNN. THE PLAN FOR SUCH MOMENTS ARE YOU JUST CALL THEM AS YOU SEE THEM ? WELL, I MEAN, HOW DO YOU PLAN FOR A HOME RUN WHEN YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT'S GOING TO BE HAPPENING. IT MIGHT BE A METAPHOR COMES UP. AND WHEN HE HIT IT I DON'T KNOW WHAT I SAID, BUT, TO ME IT WAS A MAGICAL MOMENT IN BASEBALL ESPECIALLY FOR A GUY LIKE MICKEY MANTLE, THE MOST DOMINANT PLAYER AT THE TIME. TONY THE 3000 THEY SAID, I SAID WOULD YOU SAY ABOUT A GUY WHEN HE GETS HIS HEAD? HE HAD IT IN MONTRÉAL. I LET HAPPEN WHAT HAPPENED. MOST OF WHAT I HAD SAID AND DONE JUST CAME FROM NOWHERE. IT WAS UNPLANNED, NOTHING ABOUT WHEN IT HAPPENED, I SAID WHAT I THOUGHT. WE STILL DO AS YOU KNOW, MS. JERRY, HE'S SUCH A PRESENCE IN THIS TOWN. HE WAS THE MOST VALUABLE PLAYER OF A WORLD SERIES, PLAYED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE YANKEES WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TEAMS AND THAT IS ABOUT THIRD PARAGRAPH IN HIS OBITUARY. HE WAS A WAR HERO. HE STOOD UP TALL AND ONLY SET THE PROUDEST DAY OF HIS LIFE WAS WHEN HE GOT HIS WINGS TO FLY. WHAT I LOVED ABOUT JERRY IS YOU WOULD SEEM IN THE PRESS BOX AND WHATEVER IT TIME IT WAS HE WAS EIGHTH ABOUT TIME YOU GOT HERE. [ LAUGHTER ] WHAT A CHARACTER. THAT'S THE THING ABOUT BASEBALL. HE CARRIES ON HE'S STILL WITH US IN SOME WAY. NOW, A MEDIOCRE TEAM ON THE FIELD TRANSLATED DIRECTLY TO HOW MANY FANS ARE IN THE SEATS. HOW DO YOU STRIKE THE BALANCE IF THE OWNERSHIP OF THE SMALL MIDMARKET HOWEVER YOU WANT TO CHARACTERIZE IT HERE HOW DO YOU SAY, ALL RIGHT, WE'RE GOING TO SPEND THIS MUCH AND TRY TO GET COMPETITIVE BUT IF WE DON'T SPEND THIS WAS, WE WILL MARKET FANS AND HAVE REVENUE. IT'S A REAL BALANCING ACT IT IS. BASEBALL HAS DONE A GOOD JOB WITH REVENUE SHARING AND YOU MENTIONED HOW BASEBALL CAN BE ON TABLETS AND EVERYTHING. IT'S A GROWTH BUSINESS. PEOPLE KEEP TRYING TO DIRT -- THROW DIRT ON BASEBALL, SLOW, DULL. $9 BILLION LATER, PEOPLE ARE STILL WATCHING A LOT OF BASEBALL AND THEY EMBRACED THE NEW TECHNOLOGY AND IT IS WHY IT'S SO POPULAR. YOU BRING UP A GOOD POINT. IT'S ABOUT -- IS NOT ABOUT SPENDING MONEY, IT'S ABOUT SPENDING MONEY WISELY AND GETTING BANG FOR YOUR BUCK. PRO FOOTBALL AND BASKETBALL PRO HOCKEY ALL HAVE SALARY CAPS AND THE TEAM -- NO TEAM CAN SPEND MORE THAN ANOTHER TEAM AND BASEBALL DOESN'T HAVE THAT WHY ? THEY HAVE A LUXURY TAX. IF YOU GO OVER A CERTAIN AMOUNT, YOU HAVE TO PAY THOSE TEAMS THAT ARE NOT REACHING THE LEVEL. THAT'S WHY THE WORST TEAMS ARE AMONG THE MOST PROFITABLE. THE HAVE A LOW PAYROLL AND THEN THEY GET THE LUXURY TAX MONEY AS WELL. LET'S BE CLEAR, MONEY BUYS A LOT OF THINGS BUT IT DOES NOT BY LOVE OR WORLD TITLES. ANOTHER YANKEES HAVE WON 27, BUT REALLY THEY SHOULD HAVE ABOUT 100 BY NOW BECAUSE THEY SPEND -- OUTSPEND EVERYBODY. LET'S TALK ABOUT BASEBALL THAN ATTRACTION. SAN DIEGO VICTORY SAY, CONVENTIONEERS, DOES THE SPIRIT THAT GOES INTO IT A GAME AT PETCO NEW APART, DOES THAT DRAW FOLKS AS -- REGARDLESS OF WHO'S WINNING OR LOSING ? IT DOES. YOU HATE TO THINK ABOUT THE GAME IS BACKGROUND MUSIC BUT THERE'S PEOPLE THERE FOR THE EXPERIENCE AND FISH TACOS AND THE COLD BEER AND DRAFT BEER. SAN DIEGO, PADRE ORGANIZATION DOES A WONDERFUL JOB OF MAKING IT AN EVENING OUT. IT'S NEED TO GO TO THE BALLPARK. THIS YEAR, THEY PUT IN A NEW SCOREBOARD IN LEFT FIELD BIGGEST ONE IN NATIONALLY. IT'S HUGE. IT'S IMPRESSIVE. HD. IT ADDS TO THE EXPERIENCE OF THEIR LUCKY TO BE RIGHT THERE AT THE FRONT OF THE -- GOING TO THE GAME IS FUN BUT MORE FUN WHEN YOU ARE CHEERING TO WHEN. WHEN IT'S TENSE AND IS THE TEAM GOING TO PULL IT OUT IN THE NINTH. IT'S INTERESTING IF YOU ARE BACK TO THE 60s, 70s AND SAT DOWN AT A GAME IN AMERICA ANYWAY TODAY, IT'S SUCH A DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE WITH ALL OF THE SOUNDS AND YOU MENTIONED THE SCOREBOARDS AND REPLACE -- KISS CAMS. [ LAUGHTER ] AND THE COMPETITIONS AND THE HAD RACES. ALL THAT STUFF. IT'S A MEDIA EXTRAVAGANZA. HE USED TO BE USE UP THERE AND LISTEN TO THE GUY PLAYING THE ORGAN. [ LAUGHTER ] NOW YOU ARE BOMBARDED. THEY COULD BACK OFF A LITTLE BIT EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, BUT THERE IS NO DOWNTIME ANYMORE. BECAUSE THE GAME IS STILL ENDLESSLY FASCINATING. IT IS. LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ALL-STAR GAME IS NOT COMING TO SAN DIEGO THIS SEASON BUT IT IS COMING NEXT YEAR, THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WILL WITH THE PADRES WILL FOLLOW UP WITH SAN DIEGO IN THE SPOTLIGHT THERE IN THE MIDSUMMER CLASSIC.. WILL THAT BE A BIG DEAL ? IT COULD TRICKLE DOWN TO THE TEAM BUT IT IS A JEWELRY THAT. QUALCOMM STADIUM HAD TWO, 78, 92 THIS WILL BE THE FIRST ONE PETCO PARK. SHOWING OFF THE BEAUTIFUL PART AND HAVE PEOPLE DOWNTOWN AND YOU WILL HAVE THE BEST PLAYERS IN THE GAME. MAYBE THEY HAVE NOT BEEN TO PETCO BEFORE MAYBE NOT FAMILIAR WITH HOW THE POD WASTE -- PADRES SWITCH. MAYBE YOU CAN GET INTEREST DOWN THE ROAD OR IF NOT THEN THEY GO BACK TO THE CLUB AND THEY SAY YOU HAVE BEEN TO PETCO PARK? IS GORGEOUS . AMERICAN LEAK PLAYERS DON'T PLAY THEIR VERY OFTEN BUT INTIMATE PLAY. LET'S TALK ABOUT THE MANAGER. BUT BLACK. HE HAS BEEN HERE HOW LONG AND HOW IS HE COPING WITH LOSING ? HE'S BEEN HERE EIGHT YEARS AND HE THOUGHT HE WOULD BE BUT GRAY BY NOW. [ LAUGHTER ] HE STILL BUT BLACK. THIS WILL BE HIS NINTH SEASON AND HE'S THE LONGEST TENURED MANAGER IN ONE CLUB WHO HAS NOT MADE THE PLAYOFFS. IT'S BEEN A BIT OF A DROUGHT, BUT IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE INGREDIENTS COME IT'S TOUGH TO COOK A GOOD MEAL. HE HAS NOT HAD A LOT TO WORK WITH IN THE PAST USE. HIS SHARP. A SHORT TIME LEFT. ANY PREDICTION ABOUT HOW THE PADRES WILL FINISH ? HOW MANY GAMES MIGHT BE QUICK I THINK THEY GO FOR WILD-CARD SPOT. DOCTORS ARE TOP OF THE HEAP AND DID NOT GET -- THEY ARE NOT WORSE THAN WHAT THEY WERE LAST YEAR SO IT WILL BE TOUGH TO KNOCK THEM DOWN. TO WILD-CARD SPOT, THE PADRES CAN TUNE FOR ONE. THE GIANTS WON THE WORLD TITLE . TWO OF THE LAST. THREE THE LAST FIVE. THEY WENT IN AS A WILDFIRE AND THE DODGERS WON THE DIVISION, WORLD CHAMPIONS WITH US AND PHYSICAL GIANTS. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL. THANK YOU SO MUCH. SPEAKING WITH JAY PARIS WITH THE MIGHTY 1090. OPENING DAY ALWAYS EXCITING. ON THE ROAD TODAY AND HOPE OPENER THURSDAY AT PETCO PARK. I MARKS OUR PICNIC IS A MUCH. CHAIRS. -- CHEERS. THE PADRES SEASON OPENER AGAINST THE DODGERS STARTS AT 1 PM TODAY AND IT WILL BE BROADCAST ON FOX SPORTS, SAN DIEGO. BE SURE TO WATCH KPBS EVENING EDITION FIP IN AT 638 KPBS EVENING EDITION FIP IN AT 6:38 PM ON KPBS TELEVISION. JOIN US FOR DISCUSSIONS ON MIDDAY EDITION. RIGHT HERE ON KPBS FM. I'M MAUREEN CAVANAUGH. THANK YOU FOR LISTENING.

UPDATE: Padres obtain Craig Kimbrel, Melvin Upton from Braves

The Padres on Sunday acquired All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton from the Atlanta Braves for outfielders Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin, plus two minor leaguers and a draft pick.

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The Padres take on $80.35 million in guaranteed salaries to Kimbrel and Upton while shedding the $24 million guaranteed still owed to the oft-injured Quentin and Maybin.

Original post:

The San Diego Padres fan rose in the Arizona sun, eager to get Bud Black's attention.

"Hey, Buddy,'' he shouted to the Padres' manager. "You got a pretty good team this year.''

Yes, he does, with Black and his players set to prove it, starting Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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In the past, optimistic statements during spring training about a good season ahead for the Padres would have been met with, well, laughter.

San Diego Padres manager Bud Black signs a ball prior to a spring training baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Peoria, Arizona, March 21, 2015.
Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press
San Diego Padres manager Bud Black signs a ball prior to a spring training baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Peoria, Arizona, March 21, 2015.

The Padres were dreadful last season, even by their standards. Not only did they finish below .500 for the fourth straight year, but they were dead last in every significant offensive category.

It's one thing to be bad. But when you’re in the entertainment business — like the Padres are — ineptness can't be matched by dullness.

Sadly for the fans, the team excelled in both of those categories, which explains why the Padres’ owners did a makeover of historic proportions.

Setting the transformation in motion was the hiring of General Manager A.J. Preller on Aug. 6. A first-time GM, Preller spent the end of last season getting a feel for the under-performing roster.

In the off season, he shook loose — like an old, dirty rug — players who weren’t doing their job or weren’t right for the team.

The players he went out and got were a cut above — and better paid — than the Padres of old. This year’s payroll will be around $100 million, about $10 million more than in 2014.

"He's our rock star GM,'' outfielder Matt Kemp said.

The former Dodgers slugger is among the key players settling into San Diego's Petco Park this year. And Kemp, a runner-up for the 2011 National League Most Valuable Player award, isn't the lone new Friar.

Preller also acquired two-time World Series pitcher James Shields, two former All-Stars in left fielder Justin Upton and catcher Derek Norris, and 2013 American League Rookie of the Year center fielder Wil Myers.

Other newcomers are Will Middlebrooks at third base and pitchers Brandon Morrow and Brandon Mauer.

For fans at spring training in Peoria, Arizona, the team’s makeover was dramatic. Players returning from last season noticed, too.

"There's a lot of big dogs in here,'' said holdover Padres outfielder Will Venable. "You walk in and there's a totally different vibe.''

Black, in his ninth season with the Padres, is eager to display his improved club.

After Monday's season opener at Dodger Stadium, the Padres face the world-champion San Francisco Giants in their sold-out home opener on Thursday at Petco Park.

"It's great for San Diego. It's great for our fans. It's great for our players — the guys that have been longtime Padres to see this new group,'' Black said.

The Padres, like most clubs, don’t have a perfect roster. There are questions at shortstop, with the outfield defense and the back-end of the starting rotation.

But this season could see the Padres playing meaningful September games. And when did a San Diego sportswriter last type that?

"We're going to be competitive,'' first baseman Yonder Alonso said. "We're going to be good.''

Just maybe that hopeful Padres fan in Arizona who told Black he had a pretty good team will still feel the same way come fall.

Jay Paris is a longtime San Diego sportswriter. Contact him at jparis8@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jparis_sports, or at the mighty1090.com.

Corrected: May 18, 2024 at 2:36 AM PDT
Associated Press contributed to this story.