SAN DIEGO -- Well, here we are on the brink of another Spring Training. After a wild offseason that has seen the Padres make seven trades -- yes, seven -- it's almost time for the team to head to Arizona.
In fact, pitchers and catchers report to the team's Spring Training facility in Peoria on Sunday with the first workout set for the following day.
General manager Josh Byrnes has assembled a team that will hardly resemble the one that ended the 2011 season with a 71-91 record. And, from the looks of it, there aren't too many jobs to be won -- or position battles -- that will be expected this spring.
With that in mind, let's tackle another edition of the Inbox.
Have a question about the Padres?
E-mail your query to MLB.com Padres beat reporter Corey Brock for possible inclusion in a future Inbox column. Letters may be edited for brevity, length and/or content.
I have noticed the stats that third-base prospect Jedd Gyorko has put up the past two seasons. With Chase Headley currently blocking him, could you see Headley possible sliding over to second base to replace Orlando Hudson at the end of the year?
-- Nathan D., Lafayette,Tenn.
No. Such a move is not in the cards. Headley is a third baseman (well, he was briefly a left fielder, but he is now a third baseman -- period). For as excited as the Padres are about Gyorko, he doesn't have 1,000 plate appearances yet and, at the very least, will need another full season in the Minor Leagues before we can realistically discuss his arrival in San Diego. The Padres like Headley and thought he was making positives strides last season before he was sidelined in August with a broken finger. He's also a steady defender at third base. There's a lot to like about Headley's game.
Any chance Everth Cabrera starts at shortstop or second base over Jason Bartlett or Orlando Hudson if he has a great spring? Or will the incumbents play due to contract amount and/or to showcase them to other potential trade partners?
-- Kevin R., San Diego
Hey, Kevin, that's a fair question. I don't see it happening, though that doesn't mean that Cabrera won't make the Opening Day roster. Bartlett and Hudson will start the season with the team and Bartlett's vesting option for 2013 should kick in as well this season. The hope is Bartlett and Hudson will bounce back and have better seasons offensively. Now, Cabrera has a good shot of making the Opening Day roster as a reserve infielder, someone who could play shortstop and second base. Keep an eye on that this spring as he'll battle Logan Forsythe for that job.
How will the Padres management deal with the surplus of pitching talent we have? Casey Kelly, Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin are all on the brink of joining the big leagues but there are no glaring weaknesses in our pitching staff at the moment.
-- Andrew C., San Diego
Andrew, you make it sound like all this pitching is a real burden for the team! Honestly, this is a very good problem to have. And, of course, teams tend to go through a lot of pitching during the course of a 162-game season, so depth is important. All three of the pitchers you mentioned will start the season in the Minor Leagues but could make their Major League debuts at some point in 2012 -- either as an injury fill-in or for good based on merit.
With several pitchers poised to take Major League roles, who are the odd men out and what happens to them?
-- Max A., Leucadia, Calif.
Based on the depth the Padres have accrued in their pitching ranks, there's going to be some very good pitchers starting their season in the Minor Leagues. There are only so many spots to go around -- 12 of them to be exact (five starters, seven relievers). Either Micah Owings or Anthony Bass could begin the season in the Minor Leagues. Brad Boxberger, one of the pitchers the Padres obtained from the Reds, likely needs more Minor League seasoning. There will be a few other pitchers who have Major League experience in camp on Minor League deals -- Jeff Suppan, Matt Palmer and Dale Thayer, to name a few.
Who do you think is going to start in left field? We obviously have Cameron Maybin in center field and Carlos Quentin in right, but left field seems to be lackluster. Is it a battle between Will Venable and Kyle Blanks?
-- Bobby C., San Diego
Hey, Bobby, you're going to see Quentin in left field. The right-field job should be interesting, though it's likely going to be Venable. The Padres still like the power/speed element Venable brings, as well as the plus-defense he provides. This is a big season for him. I'll be curious to see how much outfield action Jesus Guzman gets this spring. It might not be far-fetched to think that Guzman and Venable could work as a platoon in right. Don't count out Blanks, either. It's going to be tough for him to make the team, but he's shown flashes of being good at this level.