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 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, and 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?