Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Look back and a Look forward - Part III

December 30, 2008

A Position by Position Look at 2008 and My Thoughts About 2009

Part Three – The Bullpen

The Bullpen is even more of a mystery than the starting 5.

Yahoo currently lists it as:
H. Bell (Closer)
C. Meredith
M. Adams
J. Hampson
J. Thatcher
M. Worrell
S. Patterson

Mark Worrell has been a successful minor league pitcher. We will have to see if he can do the job at the major league level. Obviously, Yahoo believes he will make a very weak and shallow bullpen for the Padres. Worrell is best known for his complaining in the press (alot of people say whining) about not being brought up by the Cardinals for more than a few appearances after two years in AAA.

Recently Chris Britton was signed to a minor league deal after being non tendered by the Yankees. Britton is a soft throwing (89-90 mph fastball) fat man (6'3" and 280 lbs) that has done very well well in the minors.

River Ave Blues has had an ongoing discussion of him that they call "Brittongate" since the Yankees never seemed to be willing to bring him up for more than a cup of coffee regardless of how well he did in the minors.

The Padres also signed another Yankees throwaway, Oneli Perez, to a minor league deal. The much traveled Perez was waived prior to the beginning of the 2008 season by the White Sox, then by the Indians early in the 2008 season then by the Yankeees in June and picked up by the White Sox to finish out the season. He spent parts of the year with the Indians and White Sox AAA teams and the Yankees AA team.

Apparently none of those teams thought much of Perez, so I can't say what Towers sees in him other than the fact that he is 25 and has fairly decent but not great record as a reliever at AA and below. He has been lit up in AAA giving up 48 hits and 17 BB in 39 innings for 2008.

RotoWorld was not impressed with him either.
"The White Sox were never high on Perez, and they were quick to take him off the 40-man roster after he opened this season with a 9.53 ERA at Triple-A Charlotte. The soon-to-be 25-year-old isn't known for his conditioning and doesn't have closer-type potential... he's struggled in Triple-A for both the White Sox and Indians this season. The Yankees have no shortage of better relief prospects."

Mike Adams is hurt and not expected back until Mid year at best.

Justin Hampson and Joe "Becky" Thatcher were optioned or out-righted to the minors.

That leaves 4 guys in the pen for 2009 right now with a possible 5th if Britton makes the big league squad.

Of those 4, Worrell has potential but is still unproven at the ML level, Patterson, who got his first taste of the majors in 2008 did well as a Padres in his 3 appearances, but will be 30 next season and Meredith has been struggling.

Kevin Towers has an incredible track record of bringing in relievers for little to nothing that perform well in a Padres uniform, so any of the 3 he signed may just be another diamond in the rough. Or they may be just more coal in our stockings. If nothing else, these three signings give the Padres depth at the minor league level.

We can certainly hope that there are more signings to come.

I've had my say. Now what do you think?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Look Back and a Look Forward – The Padres Starting Pitchers

December 24, 2008

A Position by Position Look at the 2008 Padres and My Thoughts about 2009.

This is the second part of a three part post.

Part Two – The Starting Pitchers

The Starting Rotation is a mess.

More than half of the players on the roster to start last year are gone.

A large portion of the players on the roster to END the season are gone.

The Starting Rotation as of today looks like:
Peavy - 2.85/1.18/.229 with 166 SO in 173.2 innings
– Had an off year in 2008 on the road and the trade rumors this off season had to have been draining, but Peavy is a true ACE and should bounce back with another sub 3 era, double digit win season in 2009

CY - 3.96/1.29/.221 with 93 SO in 102.1 innings
– Hit in face by batted ball and missed 17+ starts. Dropped his era from 4.91 to 3.96 in last 4 starts of season when he was awesome. Health is all he needs to have another double digit win season.

Baek - 4.62/1.33/.273 in 20 starts
– In his first year as a regular starter, Baek was an enigma. One game he would be brilliant, going 7 and giving up only 3 or 4 hits. The next he would give up 7 runs in 3 innings. You never seemed to know what you were going to get. If he is going to be holding down the #3-#4 slot in the rotation in 2009, let’s hope that we see more of the dominating pitcher he was in about half his 21 starts in 2008.

Reineke – 5.00/1.44/.219 in 3 appearances and 2 starts
- Reineke was on the DL with a stress fracture of his scapula to end the 2008 season and I have not heard yet if he will be available for the 2009 season. Let’s hope Reineke does not end up being a part of the rotation to start the 2009 season. To paraphrase an old saying, he is a jack of many pitches, master of none.

Geer - 2.67/1.41/.269 /LeBlanc - 8.02/2.06/.330/Inman
– Geer looked good in his 5 starts, LeBlanc looked bad 3 of his 4 starts, and Inman has never pitched above AA. At this point I would have to give the nod to Geer until his results say he not the one.

I can only hope someone is brought in as a middle of the rotation inning eater.

Would have loved to see the Padres sign Daniel Cabrera, but he signed a one year deal with the Nationals so he could stay in the DC/Maryland area.

Maybe Brad Penny can be convinced to take a one year deal with lots of incentives like the one Wolf signed last year, just to get a chance to kick the Dodgers behind a few times in 2009?

KT, if you read this:
1) Trade Kouzmanoff and a prospect for starting pitching. Someone who can fill that #3 slot behind CY and throw 200 innings. The Padres need an inning eater. The Twins seem to have the young starting pitchers the Padres need and they need a 3rd baseman.
2) Sign Kevin Corriea, Shawn Estes and Mark Prior to minor league deals just in case. The rotation needs the depth.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Look Back and a Look Forward – Position by Position

December 23, 2008

A Position by Position Look at the 2008 Padres and My Thoughts about 2009.

This is the first part of a three part post.

This morning the position players, starting pitchers will follow later today and the bullpen asap.

Part One – The Position Players

1B was GREAT! Adrian Gonzales was among the best in baseball with 36 hr and 119 rbi
- NO Changes Needed

2B was bad hitting .244/.304/.333 overall with 9 hr and 54 rbi.
- See below. Lots of youngsters fighting for this position in 2009.

SS was a black hole going .244/.291/.348 with 10 hr and 49 rbi
- See below. Not enough youngsters fighting for this job in 2009!

3B was decent hitting .260 with 25 hr and 87 rbi
- No Changes needed unless Kouzmanoff can be traded for starting pitching

LF was not great but certainly better than 2B or SS hitting .258/.345/.422 with 19 hr and 69 rbi. Headley's .275/.346/.417 in 82 games in LF was encouraging.
- No changes needed unless Kouzmanoff is traded and Headley is moved to 3B.

CF platoon of Gerut/Hairston was among best in MLB hitting a combined .305 w/26 hr and 60 rbi in 131 games in CF. Venable filled in well in 26 starts. Edmonds was pitiful.
- Gerut will start in CF and if he stays healthy I would project him at .290/.350/.500 with 20 hr and 75-80 rbi and plus defense. Great production from that position!

RF Giles was among the best in baseball .306/.399/.458/.857 w/12 hr in 144 games in RF
- No Changes needed.

C was a black hole going .204/.269/.297 Hundley was the lone bright spot hitting .239 and playing good defense. How often is .239 a bright spot?
- See Below. Hundley and the invisible backup catcher.

– Hairston, Egon, Venable, Backup Catcher – Ausmus?, Denker/Cabrera/Antonelli

So the areas of greatest needs in the field are 2B, SS and C.

I would like to see Hundley get 90-100 starts in 2009 so the Padres really only need a decent backup catcher that can tutor Hundley. Recently they signed 30 year old career backup Eliezer Alonzo to a minor league deal. I think Ausmus would also be a good choice at backup catcher.

2B is a position where the Padres have 2 real good 23 year old prospects in Denker and Antonelli and one Rule V pick in Cabrera plus a good bench player in EGon that all may make the opening day roster. Let’s hope one of them steps up to the plate (pun intended) and does well. My money is on Denker.

SS is still a very weak position. LRod is the only real ML player who can play the position well and swings a decent, not good, bat. Everth Cabrera is making a jump from Low A ball to the majors, something that has been successfully done by a position player only once that I can find, and he is really a 2B, not a SS.

Kazmar doesn't seem ready and Drew Cumberland is the next SS prospect in the farm system and he played in Low A ball in 2008.

I think the Padres were hoping to find a starting SS and let LRod play 2b with Egon backing him up.

Eckstein or Vizquel might be good one year transitions to the next generation or a stop gap until the Padres can make a trade for a young starting SS.

I hope that the Padres are not done wheeling and dealing. Still too many question marks and not enough proven depth.

KT, if you are listening, here are my thoughts on position player moves.
1) Trade Kouzmanoff and a prospect for a starting pitcher that can fill the #3 hole and throw 190-200 innings.
2) Sign Eckstein or Vizquel or ??? to a one year deal to fortify the middle infield.
3) Sign Ausmus to backup Hundley – He would be a great teacher.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Padres Contract Projections

Monday December 15, 2008

San Diego Padres 2009 Contract Projections

Players with guaranteed salaries for 2009
Jake Peavy – $11.0 million
Chris Young – $4.5 million
Adrian Gonzalez – $3.0 million
Brian Giles - $9.0 million with $3 million buyout.

Total $ Guaranteed - $27.5 million

Arbitration Eligible Players
Jody Gerut $0.700m (2008) - 2009 Est - $1.5 - $2.5 m
Scott Hairston $.406m (2008) - 2009 Est - $.750 - $1.5 m
Heath Bell $0.420m (2008) - 2009 Est - $2.0 - $2.5 m
Luis Rodriguez $0.4025m (2008) 2009 Est - $0.410 - $.600m
2008 salaries - $1.9825 million Est 2009 Salaries - $7.1 million (worst case)

On 25 Man Roster & Under Team Control - 2008 Salaries Listed
Kevin Kouzmanoff $0.410m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Edgar Gonzalez $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Chase Headley $0.410m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Nick Hundley $0.410m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Mike Adams $0.410m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Cha Seung Baek $0.3925m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Josh Geer - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Justin Hampson - $0.4025m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Cla Meredith - $0.415m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Scott Patterson - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Matt Antonelli - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Will Venable - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Travis Denker - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Drew Macias - $0.390m (2008-not arbitration eligible)
Total 2008 Salaries*- $6.395 million
* if remaining 3 slots are at major league minimum

Total Current Player Projected 2009 Salaries -
With 3 roster spots open - $40.995

Some of those players won't be on the 2009 Roster opening day roster and other minor league minimum types will be on the 2009 roster.

A 2nd catcher has to be added whether from the minors or from FA.

The Padres remaining Free agents Hoffman and Prior, are not on that list.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Daniel Cabrera Non Tendered by Orioles

December 13, 2008

Will the Padres be in the hunt for Cabrera?

He was mentioned as someone of interest to the Padres in the off season, but 2008 was a very poor year for him with the Orioles.

Maybe pitching in Petco would be the remedy for his flagging confidence.

$4 million is what he was expected to make in arbitration, but as a Free Agent he may take less per year on a 2-3 year deal.

Is that affordable enough for the Padres for a player once thought to be among the top prospects in baseball?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Padres get Two A Ball Players in Rule V Draft

December 12, 2008

The Padres two draft picks in the Major League portion of the Rule V draft has left me wondering what the heck the guys in the Padres Front Office were thinking?

They drafted a Sally League 2B (low A) with a mediocre arm (his arm strength is why he normally starts at 2B and only a few games a year at SS) and a Florida State League pitcher (high A)?

TWO A ball players? WHY? HOW are they supposed to help at the MAJOR league level?

NEITHER of them were even mentioned on any of the pre-draft discussions on Baseball America or Baseball Analysts or Baseball Prospectus or even ESPN. We have seen a rumor posted after the draft that the Blue Jays wanted Cabrera, but its just that, an unsubstantiated rumor. AFTER the draft Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus commented about Cabrera, but NOT in his pre-draft RULE V Draft article.

The Padres certainly should have better scouting than I do, but WHY would they even scout players at that level who have little to no chance of producing immediately at the major league level?

Obviously a Rule V draftee HAS to produce immediately at the major league level since they have to be kept on the major league roster all season.

Padres personnel, please explain what were you thinking, because for the life of me I can't figure it out.

It just makes no sense whatsoever.

And Mr. DePodesta, while we appreciate that you actually HAVE a blog, your blog post about this draft does not clear the confusion at all.

Despite your assertion, Everth's stats don't bear out that he will be a Furcal type player. At the same age and at HIGH A and AA, Furcal hit 40 points higher, his obp was 30 points higher, he stole 25% more bases and his slugging was only 10 points lower(that is just two extra base hits over a season).

That is a huge difference in production.

As for Nova, where exactly can we see him listed as a top prospect for the Yankees as DePodesta claims in his blog post? I can't even find a mention of him on the prospect lists on Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus or John Sickel's Minor League Ball. None of them considered him a Top Yankees prospect.

Even Kevin T. Czerwinski & Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com, the Yankees Beat Writers, didn't consider him a Top PITCHING Prospect in their system.

The only place I can even find him mentioned was in the Baseball America 2008 Prospects Handbook where he was initially ranked 18th among Yankees prospects, but that was revised with him out of the top 20 in February 2008.

Nova is not a strike out pitcher and he has not shown he has good control and he just gave up a .294 baa in High A Ball with no appreciable improvement over the 2007 season in Low A Ball. Just what did the Padres see in him that no one else saw?

It seems to me that the Padres drafted these guys just to send them BACK in a couple of months like they did with their Rule V draftees last year. Will these two even make through spring training as Padres? What good does that do the team? All they are doing is wasting 25 man roster slots.

I could see drafting a high potential player, but I don't see where anyone but the Padres front office thinks they actually HAVE potential.

I can certainly HOPE that I will eat my words when Cabrera morphs from a marginal 2B with speed into a Furcal type SS.

I can certainly HOPE that Nova suddenly starts allowing LESS than a .294 BAA in the major leagues.

But I am not going to hold my breath.

I've had my say. Now what do you think?

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Rule V draft is coming

December 3, 2008

On December 11th the Rule V Draft will be held.

To refresh your memory, the Rule V Draft is of minor league players that were not added to the 40 man roster of the Major League club and that have:
a) played 4 years since signing their initial contract if they were signed out of high school or signed as an international free agent.
b) played 3 years since being signed out of college in the draft.

Any player picked up must be kept on the ML roster for the entire season or offered back to the team they were drafted from for $25,000.

Last season the Padres picked up 3 players in the Rule V draft. Two directly, utility man Callix Crabbe from the Milwaukee Brewers and RHP Michael Gardner from the New York Yankees; and one via trade with the Florida Marlins, RHP Carlos Guevara.

Crabbe and Gardner were returned to their original teams and Guevara was purchased from the Reds so he could be sent down to AAA without returning to them.

This season could again be one where the Padres are major players in the Rule V draft.

Sandy Alderson said in an interview on XX Radio today that the Padres would be going after bullpen depth in the draft.

Marc Hulet over at Baseball Analysts did a great piece on the pitchers available in the 2008 Rule V draft.

It would be my guess that if they are available, the Padres will go after more than one pitcher, possibly including Eduardo Morlan or Chris Mason from the Tampa Bay Rays organization and Donald Veal from the Cubs.

I have had my say. Now what do you think?

Looks like the Padres found a buyer for Khalil Greene

December 3, 2008

Joel Sherman of the NY Post is reporting that the Padres have found a taker in a trade for shortstop Khalil Greene.

Corey Brock of MLB.com has also posted today about the possibility of Greene being traded prior to the start of the Baseball Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Nevada starting Monday.

Two teams have been mentioned in Hot Stove league rumors today, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Baltimore Orioles.

The St. Louis Cardinals are reportedly offering 2 pitching prospects, Mitchell Boggs and Tyler Herron for Greene.

The Orioles have been rumored to be offering 2 young pitching prospects as well, although at this point I have read nothing specific. Would Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta be asking for too much? It is Christmas after all.

Well, maybe it is but a man can dream can't he? How about Arrieta and Troy Patton?

I have had my say. What do you think?

Monday, December 01, 2008

As expected, Padres don't offer arbitration to Hoffman

December 1, 2008

Although it was widely expected, today's news that the San Diego Padres did not offer arbitration to Trevor Hoffman shut the door to an era of San Diego baseball with a resounding clang.

It said loud and clear that we would never hear Hell's Bells to signal Trevor's entrance into a game.

It clearly showed the direction of the team and shown a bright light on the insincerity of any attempts by the Front Office to even say they tried to sign the future Hall of Fame player and Padres Icon.

Goodbye Trevor.

You were loved by many and will be missed by all.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Now the offseason starts in earnest

November 30, 2008

Every year we see the same pattern on most major signings and trades.

Teams wait until they know what they they will have to give up for Type A Free Agents before making their big moves.

And they don't know that until after the Free Agents are either offered arbitration or allowed to leave without compensation.

Some teams will not offer arbitration on players they don't have in their future plans or that would be prohibitively expensive.

Others will be offered arbitration either in hopes of giving the team more time to negotiate a long term deal or to ensure they receive a 1st round draft pick and a sandwich pick as compensation if that player leaves in Free Agency.

A good example of a Type A free agent player that likely will not be offered arbitration is Trevor Hoffman.

As Tom Krasovic of the Union Tribune and Corey Brock of MLB.com have said, Hoffman would likely garner a larger salary in 2009 than either the $4 million he was offered or the $7.5 million he made in 2008 making him much to expensive for the salary cutting Padres.

Kerry Wood of the Cubs would be another player likely not to be offered arbitration. Wood would likely receive $9-10 million in arbitration and the Cubs have recently traded for closer Kevin Gregg, although Yahoo seems to disagree with just about every other media outlet on this matter.

Type A Free Agent players that are expected to be offered arbitration include those that are likely to sign high dollar value, long term contracts.

CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Edgar Renteria, Manny Ramirez, AJ Burnett and K Rod are just a few that are expected to receive an arbitration offer tomorrow.

After that, the fun begins and the hot stove begins to heat up.

Are you ready for some baseball?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Peavy trade is NOT dead!

Tuesday November 18, 2008

I keep hearing rumors that the Peavy trade is dead. That he will be a Padre next year.

I don't think anyone who follows baseball closely thought Peavy would be the first deal of the year. So why are so many lamenting or celebrating the fact that he hasn't been traded already?

Of the big deals to be made CC will sign undoubtedly first and set the tone and ceiling for all the other signings and trades.

Once CC has found a $140+ million home, then all the other guys will have an idea of what they can ask for.

Burnett, Lowe and company will have a better idea what they are worth in this market once Sabathia is signed. Once those guys get serious offers and the Braves/Cubs/Mets/etc... can't match them, THEN Peavy will be traded to the Braves or Cubs or whomever.

I read that Wren said they were not actively pursuing a trade for Peavy.

I read where Towers said the trade with the Braves was dead and that the Cubs were the only option.

Do they all think we are stupid?

Of COURSE Atlanta is still in the running for Peavy. They are POSTURING! They are trying to say, "we have other options to pursue" so we won't give as much as you are asking for.

Well, unless they are going to outbid the Yankees, then they are not going to sign Sabathia, Burnett or Lowe.

Who else could possibly be an option that would preclude trading for Peavy? No one!

We know the Braves don't WANT to give up top prospects, who does, but they WILL give up top prospects for a pitcher of Peavy's caliber when push comes to shove.

With the recent signing of Dempster and the offers we have seen from the Yankees to Sabathia and Burnett, it is highly likely that the Braves will break down and give the Padres what they are asking for, regardless of what Wren is trying to feed the media.

Dempster signed for 4 years at $13 million per year.
Sabathia was offered 6 years/$140 million earlier this week.
Burnett was offered 5 years/$80 million today.

So what is a CY Young winning, 27 year old pitcher worth over the next 5 years? Certainly more than the $78 million contract he is currently signed to.

I would guess more than the Braves were offering the Padres for him prior to the start of free agent players being able to negotiate with every team on the 14th.

And I am not the only one that thinks that that a trade for Peavy will eventually happen before teh start of the 2009 season.

Petter Gammons seems to think so.
Frank Wren apparently told Peter Gammons he thinks the Braves will get the trade done. Yes the same Braves GM Wren who said just 3 days ago that active negotiations were over.

In a conversation with Corey Brock of MLB.com, Kevin Towers said that he wasn't ruling out continued negotiations with the Braves.

So please, no more about this trade being done. Its still November. We won't even see pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training until February. If you see Peavy reporting to the Padres camp in Peoria, then it may be dead. until then it is very much alive.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Padres withdraw contract offer to Trevor Hoffman

The San Diego Padres withdrew their offer to Trevor Hoffman today.

I really don't understand this move.

The Padres make an offer that pretty much exactly met what many of us have predicted in terms of dollars and length. An offer that was $3.5 million less than his 2008 but certainly not unexpected.

Hoffman then asked to meet with John Moores, Sandy Alderson and Kevin Towers. Reportedly not to discuss money, but to discuss the direction of the team and his role.

It seemed that Hoffman was ok with making $4 million with a team option for a 2nd year at $4 million. The Padres contract offer to Hoffman was well below the market value for a 30 save, 3.77 era closer with a 5/1 k/bb ratio, league leading 3.45 pitch/ab,and the NL's 2nd best save percentage.

Hoffman reportedly simply wanted to hear from the Padres front office directly whether or not the team was going to be competitive. Seems a completely reasonable request from a future Hall of Fame player and the face of the Padres franchise since Tony Gwynn retired in 2001.

In the San Diego Union Tribune today, Tom Krasovic quoted Trevor Hoffman's agent, Rick Thurman as saying:
“Trevor would like to talk to them about the direction of the team and whatever his role is,” Thurman said.

The agent also expressed disappointment that the Padres haven't responded to the request. “Trevor's always had a tremendous respect for John and I think that's part of why he'd like to meet with him,” Thurman said. “He's always had a great relationship with John and his family."

The next move by the Padres front office was totally inexplicable. Towers said Hoffman never responded to the offer, when it was widely reported that Hoffman had already asked for a meeting.

Then, instead of meeting with Hoffman, the Padres pull the offer entirely VIA FAX and Towers won't even make a comment about it.

In the midst of what is already being described in the media and by most fans as a fire sale, can you think of a better way to deep six any attempts at selling season tickets for 2009?

Season ticket sales just started less than 1 week ago. Season ticket holders had to make their payments by November 5th and from what I understand renewals are down. At this point last season, ticket sales were reportedly down 20% compared to the year before. It almost seems the Padres brass want a bigger decrease for 2009.

Are they deliberately trying to erode the fan base?

Is Moores trying to erode the value of the team so he can draw out his divorce and then give his wife less money for her half of his share of the Padres?

Yes I know that sounds crazy, but so is the Padres recent behavior.

So please, explain it to me Mr. Alderson, or Mr. Towers, or Mr. Moores.

Padres fans deserve at least that much in the face of possibly losing the 3 most popular players on the team - Peavy, Greene and now Hoffman. Tell us why we should buy season tickets. Why should we show up at Petco. If you don't WANT fans to come, this is a real good way to demonstrate your desire that they stay away.

Tell us, WHY did the Padres withdraw their contract offer to Trevor Hoffman?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wednesday November 5, 2008

Is there a Penny in the Padres Future

From Rotowire.com

Update: The Dodgers declined their $9.25 million 2009 option for Penny on Wednesday, making him a free agent, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Recommendation: He may be forced to take a short, incentive laden deal to prove that he can still be a healthy option for a full six-month season, but Penny is unlikely to return to the Dodgers after team officials blamed his work ethic for his struggles in Los Angeles, rather than his shoulder issues last season.

(If you are wondering why no link - Blogger won't post it. Makes it invisible.)

Hmmmmmmmmm The Padres are the KINGS of picking up pitchers on short term, incentive laden contracts.

Is there a Penny in the Padres Future?

Penny certainly seemed awful angry at the Dodgers and what better way to get back at them than to pitch against them 5-6 times per season.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Tuesday November 4, 2008

From Tim Brown of Yahoo:

The Padres offered Trevor Hoffman a one-year contract for significantly less than the $7.5 million he made last season. Hoffman did not dismiss the offer, but 10 days ago requested a meeting with John Moores, Sandy Alderson and Towers. The meeting hasn’t happened yet.


I would think that the Padres would act fairly quickly to at least talk to Hoffman, the longest tenured player and all time MLB saves leader.

Last time the Padres tried to negotiate in the media. This time Hoffman might just return the favor and tell everyone exactly what they offered if they don't meet with him soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thursday October 30, 2008

For some reason I keep reading that the Padres won't bring back Giles and sign Hoffman if they trade Peavy.

Everyone from the casual fans to those in the media seems to think that trading Peavy is a sign that the Padres are giving in and saying we can't win with the team we have and its time to rebuild.

Well maybe there is a different reason.

Maybe the Padres would only trade Peavy and still pickup Giles option and sign Hoffman if they thought they could still be competitive without Peavy.

Sacrilege I know. I must be crazy, right?

Please hold tight and hear me out. Before you all lynch me, I better let you all know that I am not in favor of trading Peavy unless the trade is crazy good in favor of the Padres.

So here goes.

The Padres had a MLB record for injuries in 2008. 1244 player days on the DL is the number that I have heard, although I have not seen it in print.
They not only set a new record, they obliterated the old record my more than 100 DL days.
They almost TRIPLED the average of 440 days for MLB.
They averaged more than 7 players on the DL for each game.
They used 32 pitchers in 2008.
They used 27 position players in 2008.
That's a total of 59 players to fill a 25 man roster.

No team; not the Red Sox, Phillies, Rays or Yankees can win with that many injuries.

Even the cursed Padres are not likely to be unlucky enough to have that many injuries again in 2009. Players that were not able to contribute for large portions of 2008 like Chris Young, will more than likely be able to contribute in 2009.

Young missed 17-18 games in 2008 due to a freak accident, not a failing of his arm, elbow or shoulder. Young pitching those missed games at the same win % for the season gives the Padres another 8-9 wins with no other changes to the team. 71 wins with that one person staying healthy.

With MLB average health for the Padres team in 2008 and they may have won 70+++ games just from one player not getting hit in the face with a batted ball.

We should also be able to expect some improvement from Headley and Hundley who got a chance to get some real time at the ML level in 2008.

IF, and it is still a big if, the Padres trade Peavy it will be in such a blockbuster deal that it will fill several holes in the Padres major league lineup immediately.

Many are trying to write off the idea of a trade being completed with the Braves because their GM came out and said some undefined players are untouchable.

That brings me to point #3
More often than not baseball General Managers and other Front Office personnel lie when asked about possible transactions. Ok, maybe lie is a strong (if accurate) word. Maybe a better one is posture.

They are NEGOTIATING! Of course they are not laying all their cards on the table. Why would they? They want to get the best deal and saying that a player is untouchable or unavailable may make that player MORE valuable to other teams.

Frank Wren, the GM of the Braves, has said that a nebulous "core" of players were untouchable without saying who those players are and all the while knowing he has already made an offer to the Padres that included at least some of the guys mentioned in trade rumors. He specifically said and emphasized in his interview that MOST of the trade rumors were off base. He never said all.

One trade that has been mentioned and that most closely resembles the Dan Haren trade in compensation value has been one that would bring Kelly Johnson, Jordan Schafer, Tommy Hanson or Jair Jurrjens and several other top prospects including Cole Rohrbaugh or Kris Medlen to the Padres from the Braves.

If Jurrjens is part of that trade scenario, the Padres would get a very good and very young #2/#3 starting pitcher, a good young starting 2B, and a 5 tool starting CF for 2009 along with several other prospects.

Obviously Hanson is a few years away, but he is expected to be a team ace type pitcher and is expected to be called up sometime in the 2010 season. It would be worth the one year wait for him.

Lets assume for the sake of argument that Jurrjens is included in the trade. The Braves keep then get to keep their top 2 prospects in Tommy Hanson and Jason Heyward and another great young prospect in 17 year old Julio Teheran, as well as Gorkys Hernandez, Brandon Jones, Jeff Locke, and Brent Lillibridge.

Maybe THOSE 7 are the "core" of untouchable young players Wren is speaking of.

If the trade with the Braves is made, holes at 2B and starting pitcher would be immediately filled, a true 5 tool center fielder would be brought aboard and an already talented team even more talented. The Padres would also fill holes in the farm system.

As I have discussed in my first post of the month, bringing a CF on board would give the Padres the opportunity to trade Kouzmanoff and move Headley to 3B. Kouzmanoff would bring back at least a #2 or #3 pitcher, if not more.

So lets just pretend it happened. Peavy was traded and the Padres got Jurrjens, Schafer, Johnson and 3 minor league prospects.

Lets also suppose Kouzmanoff was also traded and the Padres got a good young #2 or #3 like Ervin Santana or Francisco Liriano. I bring their names up specifically because the Angels have publicly expressed interest in Kouzmanoff before and during the 2008 season and the Twins were in the market for a 3B for most of the 2008 season and kept Liriano in the minors for almost the entire season.

So now the defensive lineup would look like this:
(ages to start the 2009 in parentheses)
1B - Gonzales (26)
2B - Johnson (27)
SS - Greene (29)
3B - Headley (24)
LF - Gerut (31)
CF - Schafer (22)/Gerut
RF - Giles (38)
C - Hundley (25)

Travis Denker (23)
Edgar Gonzales (30)
Scott Hairston (28)
Luis Rodriguez (28)
Backup Catcher -

Starting Rotation
RHP - Young (29)
RHP - Jurrjens (23)
RHP - Santana (26) or LHP - Liriano (25)
(or Blackburn from the Twins or Danks/Floyd from the White Sox)
RHP - Baek(28)
LHP - LeBlanc(24) /RHP - Inman(22)

CL - Hoffman (41)
- Bell (31)
- Hensley (29)
- Patterson (29)
- Ekstrom (25)
- Greg Burke?/Reineke?/Hampson?/Haeger?
- Other young players in Trades or FA

With a few minor signings for the bullpen or the back of the rotation, that is a team that is young and could win alot of games.

No, it probably would not win 90+ games, but then the Padres play in the NL West so it will probably only take 84-85 games to win the division.

And that is just two possible trade scenarios.

We don't know what the Padres are asking for other than it has caused other GM's to say its too much. I like that fact.

It means that the Padres FO is not willing to just give up Peavy to save money. It means that IF they trade Peavy, they want to bring back the quality and quantity of players that would give the Padres a chance to win now and win in the future.

Ok, I have had my say.

What do you think?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday October 27, 2008

The Padres seem to be moving forward with moving the fences in!
Saturday at the Season ticket holders Day on the Field we saw the surveyors marks in right field indicating where the new fences are going to be.

We confirmed it with people we know inside the organization.

The Walls are coming in.

The right field wall will extend straight out from the corner of the Petco porch along what is now the edge of the warning track into right center.

While I didn't have a roller to measure it, the surveyors line was just over 4 strides in from the current wall. Maybe 12-14 feet. At the sign that currently says 400 feet in right center there was a little jog in the line laid out. The beach will be a little bigger than in years past.

From what I understand from people I spoke with, they are going to lower the outfield wall in RF and put rows of seats in front of what is currently the first seat.

Here are some pictures:



Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday October 25, 2008

Earlier today as we prepared to go to the Season Tickets Holder’s day on the field at Petco, my buddy and season ticket holding partner sat down and did something we had never done before in 14 seasons of sharing a season ticket package and 30+ cumulative years as Padres season ticket holders.

We discussed whether or not we were going to renew our season tickets.

Normally there was not even a discussion. One or the other of us simply put the tickets on our credit card and let the other know they were paid for. We would catch up on the money later because, well, it wasn’t really as important as getting our season tickets.

We had automatically renewed our tickets through winning and losing. After good and bad seasons. After 1995 and 2002 and after 1998 and 2006.

There was never even a second thought.

This year we found ourselves having to talk ourselves into buying the tickets.

I was being my typical logical self and saying things like “well we keep our seniority” and “we can always sell some of the tickets if we don’t want to go, they are in the front row after all” and “the Giants and Dodgers tickets will sell well and those fans are a pain anyway”.

When my long time friend turned to me with a tear in his eyes and a catch in his voice and said, “You know, I love baseball”.

That was it. Discussion over.

Of course we would renew our season tickets.

That got me to thinking. You know we really are PRIVILEGED to get to see Major League Baseball. Regardless of how good or bad the team we root for does each year, it is a labor of love every time we go to the ball park because of how we feel for the GAME of baseball.

My buddy and I make it a point to visit a ballpark that is new to us around the country each year, and everywhere it is the same among long time season ticket holders.

In places like Wrigley (2002 & 2006), Fenway (2003), Camden Yards (2004) and Pittsburgh (2006), Philadelphia (2007) and Tampa Bay (2007) where winning it all, or winning AT all, had not been a part of their recent pasts and sometimes long histories we found kindred spirits.

They are not there every game because their team is good or bad. They, WE, are there because we all share something very precious to us, our love for BASEBALL.

So when the 2009 season starts look for me in my front row seats at Petco.

I will be there, like BASEBALL fans in ballparks across the country, that stands and belts out the national anthem with a tear in his (or her) eye, and heartily cheers his guys as they come onto the field to start the game, and who yells his fool head off whenever my 63-97 or 97-63 team does something good.

Because I too LOVE baseball.

See you at the ballpark.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday October 23,2008

A Reality Check on Believing ESPN writers without checking what the real stats and rankings are your self.

A reality check on Peavy rumors

By Keith Law

Thursday, October 23, 2008 | Feedback | Print Entry

Some of the projected "offers" I've seen for Jake Peavy just don't make sense. Look at what we've seen in the past few major pitching deals involving front-line starters:

• For a half-season of CC Sabathia, Cleveland got one top prospect (Matt LaPorta), an A-ball arm (Rob Bryson, who subsequently hurt his shoulder), a "AAAA" pitcher (Zach Jackson) and a player to be named who did not turn out to be a top prospect.

Matt LaPorta was THE #1 prospect in the Brewers organization and is a Top 25 prospect in all of baseball. Both Rob Bryson (20 yrs old) and Zach Jackson (25 yrs old) were top 20 prospects in the Brewers organization at the time. Bryson was ranked 9th – 11th depending on the service and Jackson was ranked 14th to 18th. Rob Bryson is a highly touted draft and follow by the Brewers and in just 2 professional seasons has a 3.34 era and a 1.12 whip with over 11k/9 and a k/bb ratio of nearly 4/1

Zach Jackson has 16 starts and a 5.49 era over parts of 3 seasons already.

Does this guy even CHECK his info before publishing?

• For three years of Dan Haren, signed cheaply, Oakland got one starter with big-league experience (Dana Eveland) and one big-league-ready starter (Greg Smith), neither of whom has a high ceiling or is a top prospect. On the minor-league side, the A's got two top prospects in outfielder Carlos Gonzalez and left-hander Brett Anderson, and two lesser prospects in outfielder Aaron Cunningham (fringe starter or good fourth outfielder) and first baseman Chris Carter (big raw power and a ton of strikeouts, with defensive problems).
For Dan Haren the A’s got Outfielders Carlos Gonzalez (#22 according to BA and the Dbacks #1 prospect) and Aaron Cunningham (#6 in Dbacks system); Pitchers Brett Anderson (#36 according to BA and #3 in Dbacks system), Major League Starter Dana Eveland and ML Ready Greg Smith; and 1st baseman Chris Carter (#7 in Dbacks system). What he means by lesser prospects I simply cannot figure out. The A’s got 4 of the top 7 in the entire diamondbacks system AND a Major League Starter.

• For one year of Johan Santana, the Twins got a good center-field prospect (Carlos Gomez), two back-end pitching prospects who were not major-league ready (Phil Humber and Kevin Mulvey) and a 19-year-old pitcher with upside (Deolis Guerra, who instead found his downside this year).

Gomez is the 52nd ranked prospect in Baseball and the #3 ranked prospect in the Mets organization. Deolis Guerra, 18 at the time of the trade and the youngest starting pitcher in high A ball by two years this season, is ranked as the 35th best prospect in the country this year and was the #2 rated prospect in the Mets organization. Not just a “pitcher with upside”, a top prospect expected to be an ace in the. 25 yr old Phil Humber was the 7th ranked prospect in the Mets organization and pitched in the Majors this season AND the year before that AND the year before that. Not ML ready? Mulvey, at 23 the 2nd youngest starting pitcher in the International League, is pitching extremely well in AAA and is stuck behind a bevy of other good young pitchers in Minnesota including Humber.

• For a year and a half of Rich Harden, who had a history of injuries at the time of the deal, the A's received a young big-league starter (Sean Gallagher), a bench player (Matt Murton), a fringe hitting prospect (Eric Patterson), and a very good catching prospect (Josh Donaldson, having a horrible year at the time).

The A’s got the Cubs #5 prospect and top starting pitching prospect in the organization in Gallagher, a former ML everyday player in Murton who was replaced in the lineup by the big dollar Fukodome, the Cubs 2nd best OF prospect the organization in Patterson who spent 43 games at the big league level in 2008, and the Cubs #7 prospect and #2 catching prospect in Donaldson (Geovany Soto who started the year with the big league club being #1) who hit .330/ .391/ .564/.955 at high A ball at age 22. Some services like Minorleagueball.com had Gallagher and Patterson ranked 3 and 4 in the organization prior to the year.

The team acquiring Peavy would get something similar to what Arizona got financially in Haren -- three years of control at below-market prices -- but they're not getting the same pitcher on the field. Peavy missed time this year with elbow trouble after notching a career high in innings in 2007. When he did pitch, his strikeout rate was down, his walk rate was up, and his home run rate was back up after being exceptionally low in 2007. His velocity was about normal, sitting 92-93 mph on the four-seamer, a few miles per hour below that on the two-seamer, but his slider didn't have the same bite. He uses the slider often, which isn't good for the elbow, and without that as a primary weapon, he's not going to be as effective.

Peavy has also benefitted tremendously from his home environment. Petco Park is one of the toughest places in baseball to hit a home run, good news for pitchers like Peavy who don't keep the ball on the ground. In fact, Peavy has allowed far more home runs (81) in his career on the road than he has at home (47), despite throwing 95 more innings at home. And that's before we consider the soft competition that he's faced, between the National League and the weak offenses in the NL West.

The team that gets Peavy will get FIVE years of control at below market prices. 2009-2013. Lets compare apples to apples on stats – for their careers Peavy has been better than Haren at Petco - 2.77 era 1.09 whip .219 baa vs 2.70 era 1.16 whip .263 baa.

In 2008 Peavy was still better than Haren in ERA-2.85 to 3.33, K/9-8.60 to 8.58 and BAA- .229 to .247. And please don’t try to say it’s because Haren plays in a hitters park at Chase Field. Haren’s road numbers were almost identical - 3.32 era, 1.25 whip, & .246 baa including 3.21 era 1.21 whip and .291 baa at Petco as compared with Peavy’s 1.74 era, 0.97 whip, and .205 baa at Petco.

Oh, and Haren ALSO plays in the NL West.

So PLEASE, Take what the writers at ESPN say with a grain of salt. It is far from Gospel. In fact they seem to be much worse at researching their articles to make sure they are accurate than many of the blog writers out there like Ducksnorts.com, PlanetPadres.com and thesacrificebunt.com just to name a few Padres blogs.

The Bottom line is this;

The Team acquiring Peavy should and will give something MORE than what Arizona gave up for Haren because Peavy has shown he is simply a better pitcher than Haren.

Can Peavy trade make Padres better NOW?

Thursday October 16, 2008

With all the rage about Peavy getting traded I started thinking about what trades are being bandied about and how can the Padres make the team better NOW with those trades.

In addition to Peavy, Greene and Kouzmanoff are the most likely Padres to be traded.

Let’s go through those three one by one.

Peavy is among a handful of true #1 pitchers in baseball. Aces that you can hand the ball to and expect a win every time out. His $78 million contract over the next 5 years is less than any of the big name pitchers like Sabathia, Sheets, Burnett, Dempster and Lowe will get in free agency this off season and less than Santana, Zito and Zambrano will make over the same period. With talent certainly in the class of the best of those pitchers, Peavy’s contract makes him an affordable ace for most teams.

Greene has been hit hard by the Petco effect. His away OPS is a respectable .802 while his home OPS is just .658 Why the park affects a pull hitting right handed batter so much is beyond my comprehension, but the evidence is clear.

While many are saying that 2008 killed any value Greene has in the trade market, I would suspect that a lot of teams are still looking at 2008 as an aberration and are lusting after a good defensive SS that has shown 27 hr and 97 rbi just one year previous to that.

Kouzmanoff is a 2nd year pro who was among the best defensive 3B in the game in 2008. While he was brought in for his bat, that defensive improvement shows his athletic ability in a nice light. Offensively he improved his HR and rbi totals while his OBP and OPS suffered. All in all a promising year for a player coming into his prime playing years at 27.

Now about the potential trades. I am going to start with Kouzmanoff and work back to the Peavy trade.

It all starts with a simple question, Who needs a third baseman?

Three AL East teams, the Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jay’s, have an aging and ailing 3B that I am sure they would like to replace, but that all have huge salaries due them in 2009 and beyond. So let’s write them off as a good trade partner for Kouz.

The NL east teams are set at 3B so we can dismiss them as well.

The AL Central teams other than KC all seem to be in need of a 3B.

Cleveland would probably love to have Kouzmanoff back as Marte has been a bust, but other than Carmona and Lee don’t really have the good young pitchers to send back.

Josh Fields has not lived up to his billing in Chicago so they may be in the market as well, would they be willing to part with Danks?

The Tigers have Guillen at 3B now. Would they be willing to part with Galarraga for an upgrade?

The Twins seem likely a perfect trading partner as they have no real 3B prospects and several young pitchers that I would love to see in a Padres uniform. Can you imagine Liriano or Blackburn pitching in Petco? Wow!

In the NL Central, the Cubs are set for several more years at 3B, the Reds have a good young 3B in Encarnacion, and the Cards have an option on Glaus for 2009. The Astros are more likely to move Miggy to 3B than to trade for a 3B. The Brewers have tried Hall and Braun at 3B in successive years. While both were defensive nightmares, I doubt they are in the market. The Pirates just traded for the other LaRoche brother, so that would seem to take them out of the market as well.

In the AL West the A’s have a need but are they a good trading partner? The Mariners have a 29 year old Beltre entering his walk year. The Rangers have top prospect Chris Davis so they are not really in the market for a 3B. That leaves the Angels, who may move Chone Figgins who is coming into arbitration eligibility in this off season and is does not have the power normally associated with the 3B position.

The Padres have never been a team that trades useful players within their division so the NL West is probably out as a trade partner.

I could see the Padres making a trade with several teams for Kouzmanoff.

The Twins, the White Sox and the Angels. All have a need and enough good young pitching to interest the Padres. If the Padres could bring in Danks, Liriano/Blackburn, or Ervin Santana in return for Kouzmanoff it would help strengthen the rotation immensely while only slightly lowering the 3B and outfield production of the Padres based on last years production from Headley and the outfield platoon players.

I believe that the team that eventually lands Peavy will be forced to take on Greene as part of the trade. With that as a presumption, I see only two teams that make good trading partners, Atlanta and St Louis,

Atlanta wants Peavy and have been actively talking with the Padres about making the trade happen. If they take Greene too, they may send back Yunel Escobar or Kelly Johnson as part of a 7 or 8 for 2 package.

I can realistically see the Padres getting Escobar, Jordan Schafer, Jair Jurrjens, Cole Rohrbaugh, and 2-3 other prospects for Peavy and Greene.

That would fill a #2 or #3 slot in the rotation with Jurrjens, add an immediate starter in the outfield in Schafer and fill a hole at either SS or 2B. In addition Rohrbaugh, a LH starter, is very close to being ML ready.

If the trade goes to St Louis, I can see the Padres getting Adam Everett, Colby Rasmus, Chris Perez, Bryan Anderson and 2-3 more prospects.

Rasmus would become an immediate starter in the OF, Anderson shares time with Hundley at catcher and Everett becomes the starting 2B with Luis Rodriguez holding down SS for a year. Perez is probably not far off from making the ML roster as well.

Personally, I like the possibilities the Braves deep system gives the Padres in any trades for Peavy.

If they Padres pick up a #2/#3 starter for Kouzmanoff and an OF, a middle infielder and a starting pitcher for Peavy and Greene I can definitely see them improving on their 2008 record next season with just a little luck on the injury front.

Now I have had my say. What do you think?