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The San Diego Padres made a surprise push for the division title in 2010, but a major offseason trade will likely relegate them back to the middle of the pack this season.
After the team was rumored to be interested in trading first baseman Adrian Gonzalez for more than a year, the Padres finally pulled the trigger in a deal with the Boston Red Sox this offseason. The result is an infusion of talent into their farm system, but loss of the only real power bat in their lineup. The Padres already had trouble scoring runs with Gonzalez, so you can only imagine the problems they will have without him in the lineup.
The team also lost pitchers Chris Young and Jon Garland via free agency. Young is coming off of an injury, but has a lot of upside. Garland thrived pitching in San Diego and could be a significant loss.
The Padres did add Aaron Harang to their starting rotation after he had a poor season in Cincinnati. Maybe the switch to a much bigger, more pitcher-friendly ballpark will help Harang bounce back in 2011.
The Padres are actually due for a significant tumble down the standings after last year's surprise run. Not to take credit away from them, but they won a lot of close games, which suggests they were fairly lucky.
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