The San Diego Padres have died, for the purposes of the remainder of the 2012 season, as they were mathematically eliminated Monday. Let us eulogize the season that was.
What went right
San Diego went 39-27 in the second half , following a 34-53 start. The biggest difference in the second half of the season is the team's offense, as Cameron Maybin, Logan Forsythe, Will Venable and Yasmani Grandal have bounced back. Add to that group the steady play of Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin and Yonder Alonso and you have a pretty decent offensive club. The team averaged 3.5 runs per game in the first half and 4.7 in the second.
What went wrong
If what went right was the second half, it was the first half of the season that went wrong. The Padres put 10 players ont he disabled list in the first six weeks of the season, losing Corey Luebke, Dustin Moseley and Tim Stauffer for the season in the early going. In all, the Padres used 15 different starting pitchers.
MVP: Everyone was sure the team would trade Chase Headley at the trade deadline -- but they surprised everyone by holding on to him and keeping him in the long-term plans. Headley's arbitration eligible and he'll have a good case, putting up a .281/.370/.486 line with 29 home runs (11 at home).
LVP: As noted, the team used 15 different starting pitchers -- and it wasn't all because of injury. Some earned their demotions. Former Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf started the season with Boston's Triple-A team before being released in June and he signed with the Padres. He made nine starts for San Diego, going 2-4 with an 8.10 ERA as a starter and he then made four more games out of the bullpen (2-0, 6.23 ERA). The outrighted him to Triple-A earlier this month. He wins this "honor" over the likes of Jeff Suppan (2-3, 5.28 in six starts) and Kip Wells (2-4, 4.58 ERA).
Free agents to be: RHP Jason Marquis, OF/1B Mark Kotsay
Gameplan heading into the offseason
The Padres already extended closer Huston Street and Carlos Quentin, and appear to plan on keeping Headley through arbitration. What's left is going through free agency to sign a starter or two. Not counting Headley's significant bump in pay for 2013, the team has only around $28 million committed to 2013, so there's plenty of money available for the likes of Hiroki Kuroda, Edwin Jackson or Kyle Lohse. They can either gamble big or wait it out and see if anyone is leftover that wants to sign a one-year deal and boost their stats by pitching at Petco Park. Regardless, the team has a nice start for the offseason already.
Ridiculously premature prediction for 2013
The Padres followed a 36-52 start in 2009 to finish the second half 39-35, using that as a springboard to a 2010 season that saw the Padres lead the NL West until the last week of the season. With a solid base and money to spend, the Padres are once again a factor in the NL West.