Has anyone watched any Padre games this season? I mean, they've probably played your team at least once, right? Have you had trouble naming/recognizing some of the Friars? That's understandable, as there are a bunch of rookies/guys from AAA that are getting some serious playing time (Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, Everth Cabrera, Andy Parrino, Anthony Bass, Brad Brach, etc.). It might also be that you just don't care to know who they are.
But there are some guys who you might not associate with the Friars who are currently on the team. Guys they acquired through waivers, free agency, or minor trades. Allow me to introduce you to them.
John Baker was acquired from the Fish for Wade LeBlanc. With Nick Hundley struggling with the bat (.169 average), Baker has been an improvement (.250), although Nick is the better defensive backstop. Jeremy Hermida was a free agent pickup who batted .250 in 13 games with the Friars before going on the DL with a strained left adductor that will require surgery.
Both Mark Kotsay and Jeff Suppan were picked up as free agents to give veteran leadership to an otherwise young team. Soup has since been released, after posting a 2-3 record and a 5.38 ERA. Kotsay is batting .278 in 54 at bats, and is doing pretty much what they wanted him to do when they signed him. I still have the excited text my little brother sent me when they signed him. Likeable guy.
Last December, Ross was released by the Bucs, and was later granted free agency by the Red Sox on June 2nd. On June 4, he became a Friar. Marquis was released by the Twins after a rough start to the season (2-4 record, 8.47 ERA). Both have had pretty good starts since donning the SD cap.
Micah Owings was also a free agent pickup during spring training. After becoming another Padre pitcher to go to the DL, he is currently re-habbing at AAA Tucson as a first baseman, since the most notable thing about Owings' play has always been that he's a pitcher who can hit well (.283 average with 9 homers in 205 career at-bats).
How big does Alexi Amarista look in this photo (not sure why it's spelled "Alexia" on this card, everything else I've seen has it spelled without the final "a")? He's listed at 5'7", 150 lbs. He was picked up in the deal that sent Ernesto Frieri to the Angels. Ernesto has done well in Anaheim (0.00 ERA, 7 saves, 4 holds, 35 K's, after 19.2 innings), while Alexi has struggled (.219 average after 28 games). Hinshaw pitched in 58 games with the Giants from '08 to '09, posting a 4.38 ERA. I'm not sure what he was doing in '10-'11, but he was signed in December of 2011 after being granted free agency from San Fran the month before.
I love the Padres, even though it seems like we're grabbing guys off the "scrap heap", trying to piece together a team from the league castoffs. I think it's pretty evident how that's working out so far. Some of these guys will do well, others won't, but for now, they're wearing Padre blue, and I'll be rooting for them.