SAN DIEGO -- The calendar flips to 2018 on Monday, and the Padres are optimistic the strides they made this year will carry into the new one.Following a season that saw the Friars hand regular playing time to a host of youngsters, here are the five most important moments --
SAN DIEGO -- The calendar flips to 2018 on Monday, and the Padres are optimistic the strides they made this year will carry into the new one.
Following a season that saw the Friars hand regular playing time to a host of youngsters, here are the five most important moments -- in chronological order -- from the year that was.
Myers receives an extension
The Padres always viewed William Myers as their cornerstone, and in January they ensured he'd remain under contract through 2022. Myers signed a six-year, $83 million deal with a team option for a seventh season, essentially lining up his tenure in San Diego with the arrival of a number of talented young players from the Minor Leagues.
Myers got off to a quick start in 2017, but he mostly struggled after that. The veteran first baseman hit 30 homers, but his batting average cratered to .243, and his on-base percentage dipped to .328. He'll be looking for a bounceback effort in '18.
Margot arrives in style
Rookie center fielder Manuel Margot wasted no time endearing himself to the Petco Park faithful. In the home opener against the Giants, Margot led off the first inning with a home run, and he went deep again in the third. In the process, the 22-year-old speedster became the first rookie in franchise history to homer twice in the home opener.
Margot played beyond his years for the rest of the season, too. He battled a calf injury early, but starred defensively afterward, while posting a .263/.313/.409 slash line. Margot would finish sixth in National League Rookie of the Year Award voting, and he figures to man center field in San Diego for years to come.
Myers goes for the cycle
In August 2015, Matt Kemp became the first Padre in the franchise's 47-year history to hit for the cycle. It didn't take nearly as long for cycle No. 2.
In the season's second week, Myers accomplished the feat, doing so in nearly identical fashion to Kemp. Both made their bits of history at Coors Field. And both did so with a triple to center field as the clincher. Leading off the eighth inning, Myers scorched a rocket that split the left-center-field gap. He stumbled a bit rounding second, but he reached third standing up.
Brad Hand's eventful July
Never mind that he was in the midst of a 24-inning scoreless streak, pitching arguably as well as he ever has. The chatter around Hand this past July revolved squarely around his candidacy as a trade chip. Half the league inquired about the Padres lefty reliever ahead of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Yet come Aug. 1, Hand was still a Padre.
General manager A.J. Preller opted to hold onto his relief ace, and Hand finished the season in impressive fashion, posting a 2.16 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 79 1/3 innings. Hand is under contract for two more seasons, and he's sure to attract interest in 2018.
Green and Preller locked down
The Padres assured themselves of some stability in the organization, handing three-year extensions to Preller and manager Andy Green. Preller's deal now runs through 2022, while Green's lasts through '21.
For two seasons, the Padres have committed to building from within, acquiring young talent and developing that talent throughout the system. The contract extensions signified ownership's trust in that plan. Preller and Green, it seems, will get to see their vision through.