- Gary Gillette, ESPN.com MLB insider contributor
Ramon Hernandez, C
Two stints on the disabled list due to a sprained wrist derailed Hernandez's season. A mistake hitter with some power, Hernandez is a good receiver with a plus arm, though his percentage of runners thrown out has declined in the past two seasons to 26 percent.
Key stat: Hernandez put together a strong finish with a .359 BA, five homers, and a 1.013 OPS in 78 September at-bats, after coming off the DL.
Mark Sweeney, 1B
After the departure of Phil Nevin, the Padres cobbled together a first baseman out of the left-handed-hitting Sweeney and right-handed-hitting Xavier Nady, with Robert Fick logging some time as well. It worked well enough, as all acquitted themselves well around the bag. However, all of them tailed off offensively in the second half and all three slugged less than .300(!) in September.
Key stat: Sweeney hit .302 with eight homers in 199 at bats against righties for an .894 OPS.
Mark Loretta, 2B
A smart, competitive, fundamentally sound ballplayer, Loretta is still taking walks, but he's not doing too much else offensively and hit only three home runs all year. He has a plus arm and good hands and can turn the DP, but his range is now below average. Loretta is a good bunter and an aggressive baserunner.
Key stat: If one is looking for a silver lining, two of Loretta's homers were in September after he went 138 at-bats without one.
2dKevin Van Valkenburg