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After getting off to a horrible start last season, the San Diego Padres rebounded and actually played somewhat close to .500 baseball the rest of the way, leading to some optimism heading into this year.
The Padres are hoping for a bounce back year from third baseman Chase Headley, who had a power outbreak back in 2012 but completely flopped last season.
One player the Padres expect big things out of is second baseman Jedd Gyorko, who has a bit of Jason Kipnis in him, at least in terms of home run power at the position. The team also gets two more of its top young players back in shortstop Everth Cabrara and catcher Yasmani Grandal, who were both suspended for the use of performance-enhancing drugs.
The starting rotation is still an area of major concern. Ian Kennedy hasn't been the same pitcher the past couple of seasons. Andrew Cashner has a tremendous fastball and is a steady pitcher, but it doesn't look like he has enough of an arsenal to become anything more than a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
The Padres should definitely be improved and could hang around in the middle of the NL West pack, but until the starting pitching improves and they get another bat or two, the playoffs remain out of reach.
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