Sound off on the Padres

Originally Published: March 26, 2007
ESPN.com

Bud Black couldn't have scripted it much better. The rookie manager walked into an ideal situation in San Diego. After winning back-to-back NL West titles, the Padres may be the most underrated team in baseball.

The offense should score more runs with Marcus Giles at the top the lineup. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff has been better than advertised. Terrmel Sledge's wheels make up for the loss of Dave Roberts. Catcher Josh Bard is an up-and-comer, and Adrian Gonzalez (.304 BA, 24 HRs last season) will be hitting for a long time.

Their starting pitching is as good as any rotation in the National League. Having Greg Maddux around will benefit Jake Peavy, Chris Young and the entire staff. David Wells isn't done yet.

The bullpen will be strong again. Cla Meredith and Scott Linebrink are premier setup artists, while surefire Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman (482 career saves) remains as consistent as sunrise.

Will the Padres win the West for a third straight season? Can they make some noise in October? Let us know what you think.

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