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The San Diego Padres look like a team with a sense of urgency, making a couple of big offseason splashes that they hope will finally vault them into playoff contender status once again.
The Padres made trades to acquire both Justin Upton and Matt Kemp, two superstar outfielders that should give them a big boost offensively. The Padres always struggle to score runs, so they should make a difference.
Upton is certainly the safer bet than Kemp, who is injury-prone and has been inconsistent the past couple of years. Are they getting the Kemp that was one of the most feared hitters in the game or the guy who struggles to say on the field?
There's also a question of whether Kemp will hurt the team defensively. That doesn't even mention the fact that Upton is a free agent after the 2015 season, and it seems unlikely that the Padres will be able to outbid bigger market teams for his services.
The pitching staff doesn't have an ace, but both Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross are young and talented. Either or both guys could take that next step this year and become one of the top pitchers in the division.
There's little doubt that the Padres will be better and more entertaining this year, but will that be enough to really catch teams like the Dodgers and Giants in the NL West? It seems highly unlikely.
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