San Diego banking on young arms

The Padres are counting on youngsters Adam Eaton and Jake Peavy to be front-of-the-rotation starters.

Updated: April 30, 2004, 11:34 AM ET
By Jerry Crasnick | ESPN Insider
Padres general manager Kevin Towers believes the designation of No. 1 starter must be earned with time, consistency and a track record of clutch performances in big games. For every Roger Clemens or Greg Maddux who embraces it for 15-20 years, there's a corresponding Steve Avery or Rick Ankiel with a sad, unfulfilled story to tell.

Can Adam Eaton and Jake Peavy be front-of-the-rotation starters for a contender? Towers is convinced they have the temperament and stuff to do so, but he wants them to develop at their own pace. So he tried to take some pressure off by signing Maddux as a free agent last winter, only to discover the price was too high. Then he opted for Plan B in David Wells, the world's first 250-pound security blanket.

"I wanted a guy the media would come to so the younger guys could settle in and go about their business,'' Towers said. "I knew this was going to be a big season, with a lot of expectations. I didn't want those guys to feel the weight of the season on their shoulders. Wells kind of takes that away from them.''

Jerry Crasnick

ESPN Senior Writer