The Curse of the Padres

Scott Miller over at CBS Sports wrote an article “The Anti-All Stars: Position-by-position, this season’s most disappointing players.” Not shockingly, this list has ‘PADRES’ written all over it. Past and present alike. Here are the cliffnotes on the current Padres players, and very recent Padres players. Hey, any national attention is good national attention, right? Right?

Catcher: Nick Hundley, Padres.

More than a new suit for travel, what Hundley really needed coming into this year was an emergency disaster preparedness kit. Poor guy spent the better part of the past four years in the majors, earned a four-year, $9 million contract this spring … and currently is earning it in Tucson, Ariz. Before the Padres mercifully shipped him to Triple-A in late June, it reached the point where Hundley may as well have taken a table leg, ala the late Norm Cash, to the plate instead of a bat.

He was hitting .166 when dispatched to Tucson … but it was a soft .166. Then Yasmani Grandal, Hundley’s replacement, joined the Padres in Colorado and became the first player in history to homer from each side of the plate for his first two major-league hits. Can you say “Wally Pipp”? The Cubs’ Geovany Soto (.163, five homers, 9 RBI in 38 games) was considered, but he came with a doctor’s note: He gets a break because of his back injury.

Not a perfect Wally Pipp analogy, but you get the point. Grandal’s been nails…and sadly, Hundley has been abysmal. Hope the kid can rebound.

Third base: Orlando Hudson, White Sox.

The David Copperfield of the Anti-All Star team: Hudson has managed to make two jobs disappear even before the All-Star break. After losing the second base gig in San Diego, he played his way out of the third base role in Chicago and the Sox acquired Kevin Youkilis. This is one of the most staggering realities of the season: Hudson has been so bad that the Padres elected to waive him and eat what was left of his $5.5 million deal even though they’re maintaining the majors’ lowest payroll. They’re struggling to make ends meet, and they still told him adios. Signed last year to be a positive veteran presence, he instead contributed to the Padres sinking to 91 losses after winning 90 in 2010. His lowlight: Flipping the ball into the stands last July after catching a popup for the second out of an inning, costing the Padres a run — after which, he explained it away by saying “that’s baseball” and he “thought it was funny.” Yeah, some veteran influence.

Oh, O-Dogg… mow my lawn.

Center field: Cameron Maybin, Padres.

In smashing the longest homer in baseball this season, a 485-foot shot in Colorado on Monday, Maybin only caused more folks to scratch their heads. What’s happened to this guy? He’s regressed badly, both offensively and defensively, after signing a five-year, $25 million extension this spring. Instead of a launching pad for Maybin, last season looks more like a mirage. At this point, the Swingin’ Friar could do more damage.

Low blow with the Swingin’ Friar comment. Shocked I didn’t come up with it first.

Closer: Heath Bell, Marlins.

There are lots of reasons why the Marlins are the most disappointing club this side of the Phillies, and they’re not all Bell. But his late-innings failures are a big part of it, especially considering the three-year, $27 million deal he signed last winter. The latest debacle came the other day in Milwaukee, when the Marlins trailed 9-2 into the seventh, stormed back to take the lead in the 10th inning … only to watch Bell surrender a two-run, game-losing homer to Aramis Ramirez. He’s blown five saves, lost four games and has compiled a 6.19 ERA. Soon, David Caruso and the rest of the CSI: Miami gang will be investigating.

Poor, Heater. I’m actually offended by the David Caruso comment… aren’t you?


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