Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An Open Letter to Steven Henson of Yahoo and the rest of the media

January 28, 2009

An Open Letter to Steven Henson of Yahoo and the rest of the media.

Not a Question, a Statement.

Do your homework.

It gets tiring constantly reading poorly researched posts you are trying to pass off as journalism.

The Padres payroll for 2009 including Jake Peavy stands at $41 million as of today and Sandy Alderson has been consistent in local interviews in saying it does not need to be AT $40 million. If you want more information on it try reading my blog. It has a complete breakdown.

Here is a quote from an article in the Union Tribune today.

"On Tuesday, Alderson affirmed what Towers recently said about there no longer being any pressure from ownership to reduce the payroll further before Opening Day."

So to say that the Padres HAVE to move Peavy to meet payroll conditions is more something you guys in the media have tried to foist off on us and not the reality of the situation. There is NO fixed budget number.

Like most of you, I too believe that Peavy will be moved. But the Padres have proven it is not just a salary dump, because they have not jumped at some of the low ball offers in terms of talent they have received.

As for Giles, the Red Sox were certainly willing to pay all of his salary at the end of 2008 and other teams were widely reported in the media to be interested in him this off season with not one single mention that the Padres would have to eat any of his salary. Where you got that little tidbit is hard to say, but it is not an opinion shared by many, if any, others. Certainly not publicly. In fact, I can't find anyone other than you who has said it.

The players the Padres set on the field in 2008 certainly showed the talent to win a very weak NL West.

- Jody Gerut (.304/.362/.509/.871 with 14 hr in 283 abs) and Scott Hairston (.305/.341/.609/.950 with 12 hr in 174 abs) had an outstanding showing in CF. In fact their CF platoon was the 3rd best in offensive production in all of baseball and that is playing in Petco Park. Simply AMAZING!
- Brian Giles was outstanding. (.306/.398/.456/.854). In my opinion, there were not many, if any, better RF in baseball in 2008.
- Adrian Gonzalez was far and away the best 1B in the NL West offensively and defensively.
- Kevin Kouzmanoff showed the power he was traded for and improved his defense immensely, putting him up there with the best 3B in the NL West. He is going into his 3rd full professional season and is 27 years old. BOTH are statistically the most likely season to see a career type year. Look for a breakout season from him in 2009.
- Tad Iguchi was quietly providing the leadoff hitter the Padres sorely needed before his injury in 2008. Gerut also proved quite capable there as well, hitting .296/.352/.492/.844 in 240 abs batting lead off.
- Edgar Gonzalez proved to be an able bat off the bench and hit .273/.328/.390/.717 in nearly 300 PA while playing 2B.
- Chase Headley came up mid year and was respectable (.275/.346/.417/.763 with 7 hr in 302 abs while playing in LF) and if he continues to follow the pattern of improvement he has demonstrated to us his entire professional career, 2009 will have him put up much better numbers.
- The pitching staff was never healthy all at once, using 32 pitchers to fill 12 slots during the season, and injuries devastated the catching corp.

The problem was not that there wasn't enough talent. After all, the Padres were picked by many to win the West prior to the 2008 season. The problem was that not enough of them were actually on the team at any one time.

The Padres set a new MLB record for player days on the DL and tied their own MLB record from 2003 for most players used at 57. The number of players on the DL at any given point averaged over 7 players per game. That is nearly 3 times the MLB average.

As for the specious statement by you that "The Padres will have a punchless offense playing in a power-sapping ballpark".

I think you missed two facts.

1 - The Padres ROAD offense was quite good, in the top half of the NL. In fact their power numbers were right there with the Cubs in 2008.
The bats that provided the power in 2008 are still on the team and are likely to improve given their ages and ML experience.

2 - At Petco NO ONE hit for power. Padres and the visitors. So its not a detriment to the Padres alone. Petco is an equalizer.

The guys over at The Sacrifice Bunt have done a great job of covering that fact, so I will simply give you this link to their site:

Click on it. You will gain valuable knowledge about the game.

A few more things you flat out got wrong or just don't care enough to actually research.
- Khalil Greene's 2008 offense won't be hard to replace. In fact everyone else that the Padres put in the position in 2008 did better. Luis Rodriguez hit .313/.351/.386/.737 in 176 abs while playing SS in 2008. Khalil's career stats (.248/.304/.427/.731) show more power, but are certainly nothing to crow about or worry about replacing for too long.
- Gerut has been named the starting CF. End of story.
- Even if the Padres have Eckstein leading off, why would you have a power bat that struck out 31.4 % of the time in 2008 batting 2nd? That makes no sense at all. It is a slot in the batting order that's primary job is to move up the runner. You need a contact hitter who can occasionally take a walk at #2.
- Kouzmanoff is expected to be ready by the start of spring training. The Padres are so sure of this that Towers has already said that Headley will not see any starts at 3B in spring training, but will continue to take ground balls at the position to keep him fresh.
- David Eckstein was signed to play 2b and took less money to have the opportunity to start at that position. With Rodriguez showing the ability to play the position defensively and hitting well and the signing of Chris Burke and the Rule V pickup of Everth Cabrera there is no reason to believe that Eckstein will be asked to play SS for the Padres.
- WTF is a soft .287? That he didn't hit for power? How many middle infielders do? How many players do in Petco? If the Padres need a little pop in the bat at the position they can run Burke out there if there is a favorable pitching matchup.
- The Padres bullpen from 2004 - 2007 was filled with players off the waiver wire, that were washed up or unwanted or unproven elsewhere, or that were picked up in the Rule V draft. No big FA signings for the Padres bullpen. In fact, Towers has been praised for his ability to find nobodies that do well in a Padre uniform for a few years and crusty old veterans that revive their careers. The one constant has always been Hoffman.

Another specious statement by you was, "Behind Peavy and Young,the rotation is unproven (Josh Geer, Chad Reineke) or proven mediocre" (Cha Seung Baek, Wade LeBlanc).

How is LeBlanc "PROVEN MEDIOCRE"? He has exactly 4 ML starts, same as Geer. If one is unproven, so is the other. You can't have your cake and eat it too.

All LeBlanc has done is win at every level prior to joining the Padres late last season, with more hits than innings pitched at every level and a K/9 of about 9. Certainly nothing to say he is "proven mediocre". Actually quite the contrary. He entered 2008 as the 4th highest rated prospect in the Padres system. . And given the fact that he is only 24, he certainly has a chance to continue improving.

The same cannot be said for your writing.

The one positive comment you had for the Padres in your post is that "Bell was groomed for the closer role and should be fine." Do you realize that first year closers have a save percentage of about 70% and that Hoffman, in what most consider a down year" had an 88.2% save percentage? I didn't think so.

Bell may have been groomed for the job, but his stats (career and 2008) and the stats for first year closers should not give anyone enough confidence to say he "should be fine". We all HOPE he will be fine, but to proclaim it as if it is fact in the face of somewhat shaky stats and history is entirely another animal.

Maybe it is time for some of the bloggers who actually have a knowledge of and a passion for the game of baseball to start writing for media outlets like Yahoo.