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Forgotten Padres of the Recent Past

The San Diego Padres have a few things working against them when it comes to notoriety. As a West Coast, small market team, the Padres do not have as much of a national media presence as some other clubs. More importantly, the Padres have not made a playoff appearance since 2006. Since then, they have had only one winning season, going 90-72 in 2010. As a result, people that do not follow the Padres may have forgotten about some of these former Friars.

Erick Aybar (2017)

Longtime Angels shortstop, Aybar was an All-Star in 2014 and won a Gold Glove in 2011 for the Angels. Aybar last played in the MLB in 2017 for San Diego, though. After a lackluster 2016 season spent with both Atlanta and Detroit, Aybar signed with the Padres. In his lone season for the Padres, he appeared in 99 games at shortstop and even found his way onto the mound for mop up duty on two separate occasions. In 370 plate appearances, he had a slash line of .234/.300/.348 and a 73 OPS+. For the 2018 season, he signed a minor league contract with the Minnesota Twins and was invited to spring training but was ultimately released.

Kevin Quackenbush (2014-2017)

Quackenbush spent four years at the major league level (2014-2017) for the Padres after being drafted out of the University of South Florida in 8thround of the 2011 draft. While having one of the most unique last names in league history, he appeared in 193 games out of the pen over course of his tenure with the Padres. His rookie season in 2014 was his best as he appeared in 56 games, posting career best marks with a WHIP of 1.104 and 9.3 K/9. After appearing in 10 games with Cincinnati in 2018, he signed as a free agent with the LA Dodgers.

Alexi Amarista (2012-2016)

Light hitting Alexi Amarista was certainly not known for his bat. Standing only 5-6, 160lb, his versatility on the field kept him in the lineup. Amarista appeared in at least 105 games for the Padres each season from 2012-2015, never posting an OBP above .300. Amarista did, though, appear in over 125 games each at Shortstop, Second Base, and Centerfield during his tenure in San Diego. After being granted free agency, Amarista spent the 2017 season with Colorado and is currently a free agent. 

Miles Mikolas (2012-2013)

Mikolas had a breakout season in 2018 for the St. Louis Cardinals after spending 3 years in Japan. However, Mikolas began his MLB career as a Padre in 2012. As a rookie in 2012, Mikolas appeared in 25 games out of the bullpen. In 32.1 innings, he amassed 23 strikeouts and posted a 3.62 ERA. However, he spent nearly all of the 2013 season in AAA, only appearing in 2 games for the Friars. That offseason, Mikolas was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, who ultimately flipped him to the Texas Rangers. Mikolas started 10 games for the Rangers in 2014 and posted a 6.44 ERA in 57.1 innings. He was then released and spent the next 3 seasons in Japan before joining the Cardinals rotation.

Kyle Blanks (2009-2014)

In contrast to Amarista, Kyle Blanks stood tall at 6-6, 265lb. The first baseman/outfielder was the Padres’ 2008 Minor League Player of the Year and top prospect going into the 2009 season. Despite his minor league success, Blanks struggled at the major league level. Blanks showed promise in 2009, hitting 10 home runs and slashing .250/.355/.514 in 54 games. However, injuries and the arrival of Anthony Rizzo hindered his development. Blanks never played more than 88 games in a season and never again hit double digit home runs. Blanks was traded to Oakland in May of 2014 and spent the final season of his MLB career in Texas in 2015. 

Everth Cabrera (2009-2014)

Everth Cabrera joined the Padres in 2009 via the Rule 5 draft. After battling injuries and losing his starting shortstop spot to Jason Bartlett, Cabrera finally found success during the 2012 season. He regained the starting shortstop position and went on to lead the National League in stolen bases with 44 in 2012. That success carried over to 2013, where he was named an All-Star and was leading the NL in stolen bases at the break. However, in August 2013, Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for PED’s. A lackluster 2014 led to his free agency. Cabrera has since played for three different organizations, only appearing in MLB games for Baltimore in 2015.

David Eckstein (2009-2010)

After becoming a legend for Angels and Cardinals for his role in their 2002 and 2006 World Series championships, Eckstein spent the 2008 season with Toronto and Arizona. He signed as a free agent and spent his last two seasons with San Diego in 2009 and 2010. Despite only having 38 previous appearances at second base over the course of the first 8 years of his career, he was the starting second baseman for two seasons in San Diego and never appeared at shortstop again. During the final season of his career, he had a 1.000 Fielding Percentage.

Matt Stairs (2010)

Pinch-hitting extraordinaire Matt Stairs spent the second to last season of his career at the age of 42 in San Diego. Stairs played for 12 different teams over the course of his 19-year MLB career. Stairs appeared in 78 games for Padres, appearing in the field in 17 games and solely pinch hitting in 61 games. Signed for his pinch-hitting ability, Stairs posted a 116 OPS+ in his age 42 season for the Padres.

Greg Maddux (2007-2008)

Having just come off a season in which he was traded from the Cubs to the Dodgers, Greg Maddux signed with the Padres for the 2007 season at the age of 41. For the 12thconsecutive season in his career, Maddux started at least 33 games. In 198.0 innings, he only walked 25 batters. His 1.136 BB/9IP in 2007 was the 8th time in his career that he led the NL in that category. He went on to re-sign with the Padres in the offseason. He made another 26 starts for the Padres in 2008 before being traded to the Dodgers for the second time and ultimately retired at the end of the season. His two seasons in San Diego also earned him his 17thand 18thGold Glove Awards.

Featured Photo: SD Kirk, https://www.flickr.com/photos/dirkhansen/2438406058

Nick Mailman

Mathematics major and baseball player at Wheaton College (IL)

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