I don't really know what to say about this team, but here, have about 300 words on them anyway. They're returning pretty much the same crew that went 76-86 in 2012; that was a five-game improvement over 2011.
When the Padres came to Wrigley at the end of May 2012, the Cubs swept them -- the first three-game sweep (and three-game winning streak) for the Cubs all year -- and the Padres looked miserable, 17-35, 16 games out of first place, even worse than the Cubs (who were 18-32 at the time).
But from that date to the end of the year, San Diego went 59-51, the second-best mark (behind the Giants) from June 1 to season's end in the NL West. They have a couple of decent starting pitchers in Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez, a very good closer in Huston Street and one of the best players in the league in third baseman Chase Headley. The Padres probably should have extended him if they weren't going to deal him, because if Headley has a 2013 anywhere close to his 2012, it will cost them a fortune to keep him.
Honestly, I really don't have a lot more to say about the Padres; hang in there, just about 100 words to go. They're pretty anonymous. Another 76-86 season would not surprise me in the least. They'll have to do without their talented young catcher, Yasmani Grandal, for 50 games due to a suspension for PED use. Nick Hundley, who was very good as San Diego's mostly-starter in 2011 (.288/.347/.477 with nine home runs in 82 games) but awful last year (.157/.219/.245 in 58 games) as Grandal's backup, will fill in until Grandal returns. Bud Black begins his seventh season as San Diego manager. Did you even notice?
The Cubs will see the Grandal-less Padres April 29 and 30 and May 1 at Wrigley Field, then not again until August 23-24-25 in San Diego.
Our look at the NL West teams concludes tomorrow with a preview of the San Francisco Giants.