Good thing I was sitting on the floor last weekend when I noticed the San Diego Padres had signed pinch-hitter Matt Stairs to a contract. If I had been sitting in a chair or standing up, I would have collapsed to the ground in laughter.

Last thing a team with several holes needs to do is waste a roster spot on a guy who turns 42 next month and hit . 194 last season. Particularly a guy who needs to catch a taxi to first base to beat an outfielder’s throw should he not hit the ball over the fence.

But new general manager Jed Hoyer recovered nicely a few days later with the free-agent signing of righthander Jon Garland to bulk up the pitching rotation.

The 30-year-old Garland has a 117-102 career record and he’s durable in an age where too many pitchers break down like a water-leaking Pinto in the desert. He has made 32 or more starts in each of the past eight seasons.

Garland won 18 games for the Chicago White Sox in both 2005 and 2006 and should provide good leadership for young starters like Clayton Richard and Mat Latos.

Throw in former All-Star Chris Young and Kevin Correia (the Padres’ top pitcher in 2009) and the Padres at least have a better than average starting rotation to go with a top-notch closer in All-Star Heath Bell.

There’s no big-time ace like Jake Peavy in the group but Latos, who will be in his first full major-league season, has a chance to develop into one.

 The Padres still need some offensive help — yeah, All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is going to have to go at it alone again — to be able to make a move upward in the National League West. But at least they have added another quality starting pitcher for their pitcher-friendly ballpark.

Call the signing of Garland the best move Hoyer has made in his first few months on the job.


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