Vincent a fan of offseason moves
Reliever has a unique perspective on San Diego's busy winter
SAN DIEGO -- The bevy of offseason moves the Padres made this winter has certainly given fans a sense of optimism as the team heads to Spring Training this week in Arizona.
Not just the fans, either. Reliever Nick Vincent has watched each and every move general manager A.J. Preller has made this offseason with great interest -- and just to see who his new teammates will be in 2015.
Unlike others on the roster, Vincent is a homegrown Padre. He was born in Poway, Calif., and was then raised in Ramona, where he pitched for Ramona High and later Palomar College.
Speaking as a Padres' fan, first and foremost, Vincent admitted to being slightly stunned at all of the deals Preller has made this winter.
"Everyone I've talked to is super excited," he said. "All my buddies were as stunned as I am, saying they were going to go out and get season tickets. The town has a good vibe going around right now. I think it is going to be fun for everyone."
Watching the Padres growing up, more bad teams than good, Vincent can understand the excitement.
"As a fan, you want a team that wins," he said.
That remains to be seen, though the new-look Padres -- they could have as many as 11 different players on the Opening Day roster this season -- certainly look improved on paper.
Aside from beefing up the offense, Preller brought in two hard-throwing right-handers for the back end of the bullpen, acquiring Brandon Maurer from the Mariners and Shawn Kelley from the Yankees. That means bullpen jobs will be hard to come by for some.
There certainly figures to be a place for Vincent, who is coming off a season where he made a career-high 63 appearances, posting a 3.60 ERA. In 135 big league games over the last three seasons, Vincent has a 2.68 ERA in 127 2/3 innings.
He missed five weeks last season with right shoulder fatigue and was much more effective when he got back from the disabled list, posting a 1.61 ERA over his final 28 innings in 33 games.
Vincent would like nothing more than to help the Padres get back to the postseason for the first time since 2006. He used to go to games as a kid with his family, including his grandmother, at Qualcomm Stadium -- the team's home through 2003 before Petco Park opened in 2004.
"It was a family outing," Vincent said. "A chance for everyone to get together and hang out."
He remembers the buzz that a competitive team can create. He was 12 in 1998, which was the last time the Padres advanced to the World Series. Vincent would love to see that again -- and be a part of it.
"I remember our neighbors had tickets to a game," Vincent reminisced. "We watched it on TV. You know, it can be tough being a San Diego fan at times, Chargers and Padres. You want your hometown team to do well. And when they don't, that's hard."