A strong second half, fueled by Chase Headley's breakout season, showed that there's promise for the low-budget San Diego Padres.
That hope was strengthened when the Oakland Athletics, who had baseball's lowest player payroll, won the AL West.
Says Padres general manager Josh Byrnes: "We want to be that team."
The Padres, who had the second-lowest payroll, went 42-33 after the All-Star break. While far better than their awful start, it wasn't enough to prevent them from finishing 76-86, their fourth losing record in five seasons.
While the Padres gave contract extensions to several players during the season. Headley wasn't among them and stands to cash in via arbitration after leading the NL with a career-high 115 RBIs. He also set career-highs with 31 homers, 173 hits and 95 runs scored.