Sunday, May 23, 2010

Why Padres are being patient with Poreda

Sunday May 23, 2010

Why are the Padres still waiting on Aaron Poreda?

36 base runners but only 4 earned runs in 18 IP. A 2.0 ERA with a 1.775 WHIP for the San Antonio Missions, the Padres AA affiliate.

At age 23, Poreda has such filthy stuff that he has given up 15 hits, 17 walks, and 4 HBP in 18.0 IP, but has only given up 4 earned runs.

AA hitters cannot get hits off him at all and with runners in scoring position they are hitting under .100 off him.

That is why the Padres are patiently waiting to see if he can gain more control.

If he walked even 3 per 9 innings instead of 8.5, he could be a devastating reliever. A top notch closer. Maybe even a great starter.

Left hand pitchers that throw high 96-100 MPH are few and far between. Those that can throw that hard with movement are even rarer. Poreda is one.

Padres have a few more years before they need to make a call on him, and he is still good trade material at 23 years old.

Patience could pay off big time with this one.

- Vic Power

Oswalt wants out of Houston. Good Fit for Padres?

Sunday May 232, 2010

How nice would Roy Oswalt look in a Padres uniform?

Yesterday Roy Oswalt, the Houston Astros star pitcher asked for a trade. Oswalt, 32, is the ace of their staff and one of the top pitchers in the NL.

This season he is sporting a 2.66 ERA/3.28 xFIP with a 1.07 WHIP and .217 BAA and still has a 2-6 record over 8 starts. The team is a hearty 14-27 and has lost 6 of their last 10.  No wonder he wants out of Houston.

Oswalt has a full trade clause, so we don't know if he has given Ed Wade a list of teams he would accept a trade to or if he just wants out period. I would bet he just wants out.

So how nice would he look in a Padres uniform for the rest of the year?
Yes, I realize that he makes Peavy money, but just think about this rotation:


I like that. In fact, that looks like a playoff rotation to me.

So how has Oswalt done at Petco?

2.51 ERA .347 slg .653 ops in 5 starts.|SAN02|oswalro01|pitch|AB|

In a word. Exceptional.

Next question. Can the Padres afford him?

Right now the short answer is no. The Moores' divorce is not final and the payroll is still locked at $40 million.

The good news is that the two sides have come to an agreement on terms and all that remains is for the judge to agree and the papers to be signed.

It’s been 3 months now since the agreement was reached after 2 years of acrimonious arbitration and divorce proceedings, so I hesitate to say when the divorce order may actually be signed and the Padres pursestrings unstrung. If the Moores' divorce is finalized by the end of June, then the Padres may have the payroll flexibility to go after Oswalt.

Adding $7-8 million for the balance of Oswalt's 2010 salary puts the Padres at only $45-46 million in payroll. Even a 2 home game playoff run would earn the team $15+ million. Great pitching and plus defense will win you games even with a mediocre offense.

The Padres would also be on the hook for $16 million next season and at least the $2 million buyout on 2012.

What would Padres have to give up to get Oswalt?

That depends on what the Astros are willing to pay of his remaining salary. The more they pick up, the better the package they will get in return.

Regardless of the money the Astros pay, its going to take a lot of good prospects to get Oswalt. Oswalt is a premier pitcher. A Stopper.

What are the Astros needs?

Houston is a very old team on the field with, as often as not, every player in the starting infield being 30+ years old. The only infielder under 30 that has any considerable tim on the field is SS Tommy Manzella,  who has played in 31 games, but Manzella is only hitting .196 in 97 ABs.

Berkman,34, is already talking about retirement at 1B and Pedro Feliz at 3B is older than Berkman at 35.

They have a couple of highly regarded prospects in the middle infield, but the Astros really need corner infielder prospects to fill the holes in years to come.

The middle to back end of the Astros starting rotation is also hurting and they really don’t have any great prospects coming any time soon. Felipe Paulino (0-6) has a 5.36 ERA in 8 starts and Bud Norris is at a robust 6.75 ERA in 8 starts. Opposing batters are hitting .300 against the 25 year old righty.

Back of the rotation pitchers is something the Padres are pretty deep in.

As a Padres fan, I would like to see the Padres only have to send a ML or ML ready starting pitcher and a couple of A ball prospects for Oswalt.

Something like Kevin Correia, Edinson Rincon and either a pitcher like Cesar Carrillo or another corner infielder like Craig Cooper.

I would even be up for sweetening the pot by throwing in Aaron Poreda for a 4-1, but I tend to think it’s going to take a bigger name.

A major league pitcher like Correia plus a Forsythe or a Darnell plus at least one other good pitching prospect like Castro or Pelzer. A three for one trade with the Astros picking up $5+ million of the $25 million left on Oswalt's contract.

Are you willing to make that trade? Would KT have done it?

For me the answer is yes. A legitimate run at the playoffs and a legitimate top of the rotation pitcher means a lot more than the promise of prospects.

Correia is an eminently replaceable pitcher. Stauffer will be back by July and can take a spot at the back of the rotation for 2010.

Forsythe or Darnell are great prospects, but they are still prospects. No prospect is a sure thing. Oswalt is a known quantity and what is known is awesome.

So yes. Make that trade.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Time to fish or cut bait. Better yet cut Stairs.

Friday May 14, 2010

Its official. Matt Stairs is worthless. Time for him to retire.

Actually its probably a couple of years past time for him to retire, but he is not contributing anything to the success of this Padres team right now.

Stairs is hitting .167 after tonight's game and his OPS is under .500. The "close-your-eyes-and-swing-as-hard-as-you-can" routine is just not working anymore.

The Padres have a guy in Chris Denorfia that was once very highly regarded before succumbing to years of injuries, that is doing very well in AAA. .321/..382/.527/.909  with 15 xbh and 7 sb. I would really like to see him get a shot at playing OF in a Padres uniform. He reminds me alot of Jody Gerut who also spent many years injured then did very well in a Padres uniform.

So Jed, cut Stairs, send Blanks to AAA to find his confidence again and bring up Denorfia and Baxter or Cooper. Denorfia becomes the 4th OF and Baxter/Cooper becomes the bat off the bench and backup at 1B.

They certainly can't do any worse than the .167 Stairs is contributing.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Padres and Yankees

Thursday May 13, 2010

I wonder how many people would have been willing to bet on April 1st that the $38 million Padres would have the same record as the $213 million Yankees on May 13th?

The Yankees huge payroll gives them depth the Padres could only dream about, but at this point and with all the Padres injuries and misfortune, the teams records are still the same.


Reasons Dodgers will not win the West - part deux

Thursday May 13, 2010 

 Reasons the Dodgers will not win the NL West part deux

The Dodgers have gone 7-3 in their last 10 games and have been playing well. Manny just came off the DL. Ethier is in the lead in all Triple Crown categories. So maybe some of you are thinking that the Dodgers poor play to begin the year was an aberration. That they are on a winning streak and will soon take the NL West lead back.

As Web would say - Braaaaaaak! Sorry wrong answer. Please Play again.
(Yes. The guy did watch way too many game shows while on the road.)

The very fact that the Dodgers have key offensive players doing so much better than they have in any other season is more of a reason to believe that those players will slump towards their career averages and then the Dodgers will not be able to sustain their current winning ways.
  1. Ethier's line - .390/.446/.729/1.175 with 10 hr in 31 games with a BABIP of .391 & an ISO of .339. Look for Ethier's BABIP to drop 60-100 points before seasons end and along with it his batting average, OBP and OPS.  His career ISO is .207 and his best season so far was last year with a .237 ISO and 31 hr, so look for his power numbers to drop drastically as well.
  2.  Manny's line - .396/.507/.585/1.085 in 17 games with a BABIP of .380 Manny WILL hit .300-.330 for the season, but his batting average will drop 60 - 90 points along with a big drop in his OBP and OPS.

    Wait for it...the list of overachieving players on a losing team continues...
  3. Loney 's line - .326/.361/.474/.835 with a BABIP of .376. His power numbers are right on his career averages, but he has been lucky to the tune of 57 points. Even if this is a career year, his BA and OBP will drop 25-30 points. Its more likely we will see a 40+ point drop.

    Web would probably call this "regression towards the mean".
  4. The Pitching Staff is performing right now about the same pace we expected they would for the year. The noted exceptions are:
  • Kurodi will probably see a slight rise in his ERA. There have been a lot of errors committed behind him so his Earned Runs are down, but his Runs Allowed is at almost exactly the same rate we saw from him last season.
  • Billingsley will likely have a 30 point drop in his 4.85 ERA to closer to his 4.56 xFIP. Still not good pitching from the guy that was supposed to be an ace.
Replacing Randy Wolf and Jon Garland with Vicente Padilla and Charlie Haeger was a failed experiment early. John Ely has pitched well, but when/if Padilla returns what you have seen this season is the real Padilla. Its what the Rangers saw from him in 2007, 2008 and 2009.  The Dodgers have shown they really don't have much depth of pitching.

Other than Sherrill, no one in the pen is doing substantially worse than most people were expecting from them, especially the relievers whose arms were tasked with and taxed by 70 appearances last season.

What does that all end up to mean? The Dodgers current 8-3 win streak is not sustainable. .500 is a good goal for them to shoot for over the course of the season. If the Padres are going to be caught in the NL West, its not going to be by the Dodgers.

- Vic Power

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Can you build a team to win in Petco?


Wednesday May 5, 2010

This is another of those answers to questions Web posed to me along the way before I started writing for his blog. I thought it might be of interest, especially since the Padres are showing they can win both at home and on the road so far this season.

Can Hoyer Build a Team Designed to Win at Petco with Speed, Defense and Pitching ?

I don't think the question has ever been can you build a team designed to win in Petco around speed, defense and pitching. It has been can you build a team that can win consistently in Petco's unique circumstances and still win elsewhere.

In the past 3 years the Padres have been a very good hitting team on the road and sat in the middle of the pack in runs scored on the road.

It was when that team returned home that they struggled to score runs. Every one else also struggled to score runs in Petco, but the Padres were slightly worse than their competition at scoring runs in San Diego even though although they do have a winning record at home.

So what do you have to do to both win at Petco AND win on the road?

I think the Padres are taking a lesson from Bud Black's old team in Anaheim and building a team that can play both small ball, be patient at the plate/bunt/steal a base/put pressure on the basepaths/hit to the opposite field; AND play for  a "walk and a dong" when the situation presents itself.

They have the right kind of power players for Petco, RHB with pull power like Kyle Blanks and Scott Hairston and LHB that have opposite field AND pull power like Adrian Gonzalez and Will Venable.

In the past they have had mediocre to good pitching at home and poor pitching results on the road. Their defense has left something to be desired. Not horrible, just not good.

Now with Headley at 3B and Blanks/Scott Hairston patrolling LF, with Gwynn/Scott Hairston in CF and with Venable playing RF regularly, the Padres outfield defense is well above average. The infield has improved with the addition of Jerry Hairston and moving Headley to third, while adding a few errors, has not added many runs scoring on hits to 3B. Overall the defense is much improved.

With just a few judicious moves and a change in attitude, Hoyer has created a team that can win in Petco with speed, defense and pitching and win on the road.

- Vic Power

The Effect of the McCourts Divorce on the Dodgers

Wednesday May 5, 2010

Do you think the Moores divorce had a huge effect on the Padres payroll?

The McCourts divorce has resulted in a drop from their season ending payroll of  $131,507,197.00 in 2009 to an estimated $83.0 million to begin the 2010 season.

That is a $48.5 million drop in payroll. A 36.9% drop.

While the Padres had a larger percentage drop of 40.6% in going from $73.677 million in 2008 to $43.734 million in 2009, a $29.937 million drop, the dollar figure of the Dodgers drop is $18.5 million or 38.3% larger.

Think about it, the Dodgers drop in payroll from the end of the 2009 season to the start of the 2010 season is larger than the Padres, Pirates or Marlins entire 2010 payroll.

And remember, no team has won the World Series since the advent of salary arbitration in 1973 with one player making more than 16% of the payroll. Manny Ramirez $20 million salary is nearly 25% of the Dodgers $83 million payroll for 2010.

The future for the Dodgers?

While the Padres were adding scouts and crosscheckers, the Dodgers were firing them.

Peter Gammons said - "The Dodgers have an $83M payroll. They couldn't offer salary arbitration to Jon Garland and Randy Wolf because ownership didn't want to pay for additional Draft picks, and have spent the least money on Draft and international signings of any of the 30 teams the last two years"

Their once loaded farm system has seen the best prospects graduate or be traded away and are now ranked 24th by Baseball America.

Prior to the season I wrote to Web that I thought Kershaw would have trouble this season and that Billingley could very well show his true colors as a middle to back of the rotation type.

My reasoning at the time?

"Kershaw - His xFIP of 3.90 and his BABIP of .274 point towards a regression in 2010. Look for his ERA to rise about a point from his 2.79 over 30 starts if he stays healthy.

Billingsley - His xFIP of 4.04 and BABIP of .294 say his ERA of 4.02 was a pretty true indication of his value. In other words average."

How prescient was I?

Kershaw has a 3.07 ERA through 5 starts and 29.1 innings, but has walked 22 and his WHIP is 1.53 which is much more in line with his 4.77 xFIP.

Billinglsley has a 4.85 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP through 5 starts and 26 IP. Taken along with his 4.32 xFIP they combine to paint a picture very much inline with my preseason take.

These two are the future of the Dodgers pitching and represent what were thought by most in the organization to both be future top of the rotation pitchers. They are looking more and more like 2-4 types.

Beyond Ethier and Kemp there are no young position players of All Star caliber in the system above High A. In other words 2-3 years away. Even amongst pitchers, only Scott Elbert is thought to be anything more than a back of the rotation type.

In the field Ramirez and Furcal are both injured and the team itself is filled with journeymen such as Casey Blake, Ronnie Belliard, Jamey Carrol, and Reed Johnson; AARP card carriers in Garrett Anderson and Brad Ausmus; and mediocre youngsters such as Xavier Paul and Blake Dewitt.

After the 2010 season Ramirez, Kuroda, Padilla, Ortiz, Belliard, Johnson, Weaver, Ausmus and Anderson will all be free agents. 9 of the 25 players on the roster.

Sherrill, Martin, Billingsley, Loney, Kuo and possibly Kershaw will be eligible for arbitration.

After 2010, the Dodgers are in serious need of a transfusion of big league talent without the capital to go after it either in trade chips or in dinero.

Is a return to the mediocrity we saw after the 1988 WS championship headed to Chavez Ravine? If the McCourts divorce is not settled soon and payroll AND money for signings of amateur talent is not freed up, then the Dodgers will have a hard time competing in the years to come.

- Vic Power

Monday, May 03, 2010

Hecklers Corner - the Muskrat Edition

Monday May 3, 2010

Hecklers Corner - The Muskrat Edition

Tonight the Padres matchup against the hot Ubaldo Jimenez. Due to his 5-0 start with a no hitter already, this game sure looks bleak for the home town team.

Jimenez seems to be the "real deal" and is an early favorite for the CY Young.

This is a game where hecklers have a little say in the outcome. If you have seats that allow verbal access to the pitcher Jimenez, then you have a prime time opportunity to effect the game.

So get after him!

  • Straight in straight out Jimenez. Straight in Straight out.
  • 3 balls for a dollar. Yuck yuck yuck yuck.
  • When a man gets on base - There he goes! 
  • Holy Jimenez

Anything to get in his head.

Or just talk about his bizarre 1st name. Ubaldo, Waldo.

Next home stand I will have much, much more for you and my buddy the 'stache will have his say too.

Aloha - Muskrat

5 Reasons Why the Padres will be Better in 2010

Monday May 3, 2010

Web gave me a couple of subjects he had wanted to cover and asked me to take a stab at them in his absence.

Today I chose to cover a subject that most people were saying was not possible. From what we have seen from the first month of baseball is not only possible, Its happening.

5 Reasons Why the Padres will be Better in 2010

#1 - The Padres had a .284 babip in 2009 - the 2nd lowest in baseball.

They were unlucky to the tune of 15 points. As Web would say, they are due for a regression towards the mean.

#2 - The Padres had a 96 OPS+ in 2009. Good for 8th best in NL.  While all the "experts" on ESPN, MLB Networks and the other sports media were saying the Padres were the worst offensive team in NL, they went out and ranked right in the middle of the pack in park adjusted offense. Park Factors are still beyond the understanding of many in the media.

#3 - The Padres hit 141 hr in 2009. This was good for 13th in NL even though they play home games in Petco. Petco Park depresses HR totals 30% overall. Even playing in Petco, the Padres total was much closer to the league average of 155 than the 16th worst in NL of 95 hr. With Blanks and Venable playing a full season and the return of Scott Hairston, the Padres should produce better power numbers in 2010.

#4 - WPA - the Padres were 5th in the NL at 1.96. WPA is the measure of how well you do in high leverage situations. The Padres obviously did well despite playing half their games in Petco.

#5 - The Padres had a 16.1 WAR in 2009, which ranked 9th in the NL. WAR, or wins above replacement, measures how well a team does offensively and defensively compared to how a AAA player being called up would do. In 2010 the Padres will see improvements in offense for the reasons covered above and will improve on defense to an even greater degree just by having Venable start regularly in RF and having Blanks play in LF instead of the defensively challanged Headley.

What does all that add up to?

The Padres were unlucky offensively last season, play in the toughest park in baseball to hit in and still ended up being a league average team in almost every category.

A little luck, a litle improvement and some young players getting to play every day and for a full seasoin will = a better offensive team.

Defensively the improvement will be even greater with some talented defensive players getting to be on the field daily and Chase Headley being moved to his natural position at 3B from Lf where every ball was an adventure for him.

The Ancillary to the Padres being better?

Why these teams in the NL West will not improve in 2010.

They had a team 88 OPS+ with a .299 babip in 2009. They were neither lucky nor unlucky and they stunk with the bat. This season they added 2 players in Kelly Johnson who has an 83 OPS+ and Adam LaRoche who had among the highest Babip in the league amongst 1B at .328 and among the lowest wOBA combined with consistently below average defense for his career, that is a step backwards from a misearable 2009 campaign.

Yes I realize that Johnson has 9 HR right now, but regression towards the mean is a bitch. Expect a .240 average with 15-20 HR by the end of the season after he gets hurt again. He has already missed some games with injuries and there is no reason to believe that trend wont continue.

Los Angeles Dodgers
In 2009 they had a team 104 OPS+ with a .309 BABIP about 10 points toward lucky. They lost a boatload of position players including several starters. For Example they replaced a OPS+ 109 from Orlando Hudson with a 68 from Blake Dewitt at 2B. Their backup in the oufield went from OPS+ 105 Juan Pierre to OPS+ 89 Reed Johnson. Manny Ramirez is a shadow of his steroid self and has already hit the DL once. Same old Manny. Now they have the punch and judy Xavier Paul starting in LF and AJ Ellis backing up at catcher.

Their pitching staff is in even more trouble. They lost inning eating middle of the rotation starters Randy Wolf and Jon Garland and replaced them with Charlie Haeger and Vicente Padilla (who is already on the DL).

San Francisco
They had a team 81 OPS+ and NL worst .305 wOBA in 2009. To remedy that incredibly bad offense they added Aubrey Huff and his .297 wOBA and 81 OPS+ to bat cleanup? This guy could barely secure a starting position on the Orioles roster in 2009. The 35 year old Mark DeRosa and his below league average 97 OPS+ and .327 wOBA is the offensive savior that is giving Giants fans hope? Give me a break. He is a #6 hitter even on the Giants.

The bottom line in ATT Park? They can't hit, they can't run and they are not very good defensively. They are an old club and do not have much depth. Even with the best pitching staff in baseball, the Giants cannot afford even a single injury if they want to compete. I expect them to compete early and then fade as injuries to an old club take their toll.

- Vic Power

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Cowboy Joe West Taunting Padres Players

Here is a photo of Cowboy Joe West taunting Padres players that are in the dugout. He went over to the dugout TWICE to yell at players.

West also placed his hand on Chase Headley's chest to keep him from walking away. West needs to be suspended. Rob Drake needs to be fired. Angel Hernandez needs to be sent down to the minors to learn the strike zone.

This umpiring crew is a total joke.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The pitch that got Gonzalez thrown out.

Here is the pitch that got Gonzalez thrown out tonight. The ball is off his right hip.

Here is Strike? Three to Tony Gwynn

This was a 94 mph fastball. No break. And the umpire called it a strike.