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.