Looking back at the best Padres of the decade

December 20th, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres have overhauled their roster multiple times within the past decade. That type of dramatic turnover left them without any true mainstays during the 2010s.

If everything goes according to plan, things will look very different over the next decade -- and not just because of the new brown and gold uniforms. The current core of players is locked in for the long haul, and the Padres have reinforcements on the way from one of the sport’s top farm systems.

Still, it’s worth looking back at the 2010s and the players who comprised that final decade in navy blue. Below is a list of the Padres' 10 best players from the past decade -- taking into account both short- and long-term value.

Seasons: 2007-14, '18

There's an argument to be made that Headley authored the best season of the decade by a Padre when he batted .286/.376/.498 while winning both the National League Silver Slugger and NL Gold Glove Awards at third base in 2012. Headley racked up 6.4 wins above replacement that season, according to Baseball Reference. But his impact on the team extended throughout the entire first half of the decade. He led the organization in bWAR (17.2), hits (644), doubles (136), RBIs (303) and walks (289) during the 2010s. Not even an ugly ‘18 return to San Diego should knock Headley off his perch as the Padres' top player of the decade. He was simply too valuable over the first five years.

Seasons: 2013-16, '18

A shoulder injury put an abrupt end to Ross' first stint with the Padres, but it's worth remembering how solid the imposing right-hander was before he went down. From 2013-15, Ross posted ERAs of 3.17, 2.81 and 3.26 while racking up more than 500 innings in that span. Ross was named to the NL All-Star team in '14, and he recorded 212 strikeouts in '15. Over the course of the decade, Ross led all Padres pitchers in WAR (7.2) and strikeouts (638).

Seasons: 2008-15

A consistent presence in the Padres' outfield and atop the lineup, Venable made an impact that's worth remembering in San Diego. In his first six seasons in the big leagues, he posted a 111 OPS+ while contributing at all three outfield spots. Venable's best season came in 2013, when he was worth 3.3 bWAR and mashed 22 homers -- including a then-record 15 at pitcher-friendly Petco Park. Among Padres hitters this decade, Venable is in first place by a wide margin with 35 triples and tied for first with 316 runs. He’s also in second with 590 hits and an 11.1 bWAR.

Seasons: 2015-present

Myers is best known for his inconsistencies since he arrived in San Diego during the 2014 offseason. But there's no denying his impact when he was at his best. Myers made the NL All-Star team due to an excellent first half in '16, posting a .286/.351/.522 slash line. He's also been worth 8.5 wins above replacement since his arrival, which ranks fourth among Padres hitters this decade. Myers' 95 homers are the most on the club this decade, and he's tied with Venable atop the runs leaderboard (316).

Seasons: 2012-16

Cashner never quite lived up to his billing following the trade that sent Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs. But the hulking right-hander pieced together some brilliant moments during his five seasons in a Padres uniform, flirting with multiple no-hitters and recording the two highest game scores of the decade. In 2013, Cashner notched a 3.09 ERA, then he followed it with a 2.55 mark the following season. For a moment, he appeared on his way to ace-dom. But Cashner stumbled in '15 and '16, and his tenure with the Padres ended at the '16 Trade Deadline in the deal that sent Josh Naylor to San Diego.

Seasons: 2017-present

The Padres just keep churning out elite closers. Over the past decade, Yates was the best of the bunch. A waiver claim in 2017, Yates reinvented himself in San Diego, developing an unhittable splitter to go along with his pinpoint fastball. Yates owns a 2.31 ERA in three seasons since joining the Padres, and his 14 strikeouts per nine innings is the highest mark in franchise history. In '19, he posted arguably the best relief season in baseball with a 1.19 ERA, a 1.30 FIP, a 0.89 WHIP and 101 strikeouts in 60 2/3 innings. It all led to Yates becoming the first Padres pitcher to win the Major League saves crown since Trevor Hoffman in 1998.

Seasons: 2012-14

Speaking of dominant closers, Street was exactly that during his tenure in San Diego. He was named to the 2012 and '14 NL All-Star teams and recorded a minuscule 2.03 ERA at the back end of the Padres' bullpen. Street wasn't quite the strikeout artist that Yates was, but he still whiffed a batter an inning. And his 80 saves rank second among Padres closers this decade, behind only Heath Bell (who barely misses this list because of his slightly shorter tenure).

Seasons: 2016-18

Before Yates went from waiver claim to elite bullpen weapon, Hand did the same thing. He arrived in San Diego at the start of the 2016 season and was entrenched as one of the best relievers in the sport by the midway point of the season. Hand was more of a workhorse than either Yates or Street, as evidenced by his 213 innings in 195 games over 2 1/2 seasons. But his numbers were nearly as gaudy. Hand posted a 2.66 ERA with 280 strikeouts -- a number of them stemming from a nasty slider he perfected while with San Diego. Hand was dealt to Cleveland two days after he’d reached his second consecutive NL All-Star team with the club.

Seasons: 2019-present

This list is mostly reserved for players who built up some longevity in San Diego. But there's room for a special talent like Tatis -- mostly because of the way he captivated a city and its fanbase. In his rookie year, Tatis batted .317/.379/.590 while showcasing other-worldly athleticism on the bases and in the field. He was making a push to become the youngest batting champ in baseball history before his season was cut short due to a back injury. Ultimately, the Padres are hopeful that Tatis' 2019 arrival in San Diego (paired with that of Manny Machado) marks the start of a new era for the franchise. If there's an early favorite for the Padres' top player of the next decade, it's Tatis. Heck, if he can stay healthy, he might be the early favorite for all of baseball.

Seasons: 2010-14

During his five years patrolling the Petco Park outfield, Denorfia's steady contributions generally went unnoticed nationally. But Padres fans took an instant liking to the speedy outfielder when he arrived in 2010. In five seasons with the Padres, Denorfia batted .275/.332/.399 while bringing plenty of value defensively. In fact, his 9.8 bWAR is the third highest mark among all Padres this decade. He authored his share of big moments, too -- including dramatic walk-off hits against Aroldis Chapman in '10 and '13 and a bizarre inside-the-park home run at Dodger Stadium in '10 as well.