Padres' new additions bring playoff clout to revamped club
Shields, Kemp enter camp providing plenty of October experience
PEORIA, Ariz. -- When first-year Padres general manager A.J. Preller set out to remake the team's roster for 2015, his first order of business was adding production.
That said, seven of the players Preller added this offseason come with postseason experience, which was no fluke.
"It's something we've talked about from a baseball ops standpoint, from a scouting standpoint," Preller said. "It's something we stressed and we think that it's important. It's not a coincidence. We have a current group that is hungry to get there.
"It was a big part of what we were trying to do this offseason."
The Padres, attempting to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2006, have added pitcher James Shields, catcher Derek Norris, infielders Clint Barmes and Will Middlebrooks and outfielders Wil Myers, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton to the roster -- all players who have reached the postseason.
Some have more playoff experience than others, but all of them have played for winning teams.
"Anytime you've been through that [postseason], it's great," said Padres manager Bud Black. "And going through that as players, they speak the same language with each other, which is a good thing."
Shields, Norris, Kemp and Barmes were in camp Thursday, the report date for pitchers and catchers to the team's Spring Training facility in Peoria -- a facility that got a major makeover last year, one year ahead of the revamped roster.
Shields, who agreed to a four-year, $75 million deal last week, has pitched in the World Series twice -- including last season against the Giants. The roster makeover signaled to Shields that Preller was serious about winning.
On Thursday, he unpacked his bags and moved around the clubhouse, shaking hands and introducing himself to his new teammates. He almost felt like a kid again.
"That first day … you get the anxiousness going," Shields said. "Right now is the time to get to know these guys, to mesh as a team. It's going to be fun."
Kemp was essentially in the same boat, as he handed out a few handshakes to unfamiliar faces with whom he will share the next six weeks in Arizona -- followed by the next six months during the regular season. He arrived early, itching to get started.
"It's fun to be with a new team and that they've put their faith in you to win some ballgames. I'm up for the challenge," Kemp said. "I've been working hard in the offseason.
"I'm ready to get on the field with my new teammates and get ready for these 162 games and more."