Sunday, March 21, 2010

Is Mauer's 8 year/$184 million contract good for baseball

Sunday March 21, 2010

In case you are the one baseball fan that has not heard yet, Joe Mauer signed an 8 year/$184 million extension with the Minnesota Twins today.

Many people are saying this contract is good for baseball because it proves that the small market teams can keep their big name talent.

1st let me say that I have an issue with calling Minnesota a small market team. Their DMA, or media market, is in the top 15 in baseball, unlike the Padres which is 29th according to Niellsen.

With their new stadium and new media contracts, the Twins revenues will rank in or near the top 10 teams.

Second, this sets a precedent that will make small market teams even less competitive.


Because no team can remain competitive for the long term with one player making such a large percentage of the ML payroll.

At $23 million, Mauer would make more than 33% of the Twins 2009 payroll of $65.299 million. Even at the $90-100 million that is being thrown around as their payroll of the future, 23 million is much more than 20%. With Mauer making $23 million, the Twins payroll has to be in the $115-$120 million range to make this contract tenable.

Otherwise it is still making up more than 20% of the MLB payroll for just one player and no team has been able to pay one player that much and stay competitive for more than one year.

According to Peter Gammons of ESPN, no team has ever made the World Series with one player making more than 20% of payroll and no team has won the World Series with one player making more than 16% of payroll.

To me the signing of Mauer will severely limit the Twins ability to contend in years to come.

To me this is not good for baseball. The Twins, long pointed to as a small market team that competes year in and year out, will likely not be able to compete after 2011.

Other small market teams forced to follow in the Twins footsteps by fan pressure to keep their top players, will not be able to compete either.

Today is a happy day for Twins fans and for the Mauer family, but a sad day for baseball as a whole.

Playing Pepper - Padres Predictions & Commentary

Sunday March 21, 2010

This article is reposted from the BBA Playing Pepper Series with a few small changes made for clarification such as adding the team name.

1) How was the Padres off-season?  What kind of grade would you give it?

The Padres had a relatively quiet, but still successful offseason. Jed Hoyer, the Padres new GM, filled positions of need with less than a handful of moves.
  • Hoyer traded Kevin Kouzmanoff to the Oakland Athletics for former Padres fan favorite Scott Hairston and top A's prospect Aaron Cunningham. Both are RH hitting outfielders. Hairston plays good defense in both CF and LF and hits LHP extremely well, plus has shown Petco power. A Rare commodity indeed.

    This trade helped the Padre more on a defensive side than offensively. Moving headley out of LF and moving Blanks into LF full time improves the Padres defense by at least 9 runs. Venable playing RF full time improves the defense by another 8-9 runs or more. And a platoon of Gwynn and Hairston gives the PAdres plus defense across the outfield in 2010.
  • Hoyer signed uber utility player Jerry Hairston Jr. Hairston Jr joined his little (but bigger) brother Scott on the Padres and brings all 4 of his gloves with him. Hairston Jr. can play all 8 positions in the field and provides plus defense at 2B and all three outfield positions. Along with his brother and Oscar Salazar, Hairston Jr. gives manager Bud Black one of the most versatile benches I have seen on a Padres team.
  • Hoyer signed Jon Garland, a very durable pitcher who has averaged over 190 IP for the past 8 seasons, for a rotation that has been decimated by injuries in recent years. Last season the Padres used 15 starting pitchers including 7 rookies.
  • Hoyer signed Yorvit Torrealba to a $750k contract to back up incumbent starter Nick Hundley. Torrealba had earlier turned down a 2 yr/5.6 million contract to return to the Rockies. He really does not have much power, but he calls a very good game and plays plus defense. He will likely start 50-70 games for the PAdres in 2010. A solid pickup for pennies on the dollar.
Overall I would give Hoyer a B- for his offseason moves.
While he failed to sign a big name FA or make a blockbuster trade that would make a splash, he did fill all the major holes on the roster and improve the team overall. Sometimes less is more.

2) What is the key to success for 2010?


Yes I know most people would say it is having the young players step up, but I believe all those young players have to do or the team to be successful is to stay healthy and do exactly as well as they did in 2009. After all, the bunch that will take the field in April are mostly the same ones that won 37 of their last 62 games in 2009.

So I say health.

The Padres have been among the most injured teams in baseball the past 3 seasons. They set the major league record for player days on the DL in succeeding years and would have broken their own record again if it was not for the hapless Mets. At one point in 2009, the Padres had 5 starting pitchers and 4 starting position players and the key bat off the bench all on the DL. 40% of the 25 man roster was on the DL. It is not a coincedence that that was the worst stretch in the season for win-loss record.

In 2010 they must stay healthy.

That starts with the pitching staff.
Chris young, the Padres Ace by default, has been snake-bitten for the past 3 seasons. He needs to make 30 or more starts and return to his pre-2008 form.

Mat Latos, the Padres budding ace, has never pitched more than 123 innings in a professional season due to injuries. While he has overpowering stuff, he must stay healthy.

Overall the Padres set a ML record by having 15 pitchers start games in 2009 and 15 players made their major league debut for the team.

3) What will be the Padres team strength?

The Bullpen.

The Padres had a great pen in 2009 ending up 7th in ERA and OPS allowed and they all return. Bell, Adams and Gregerson made up perhaps the toughet 7-8-9 combination in baseball.

In the Peavy and Hairston trades in 2009 the Padres added several good power pitchers for the bullpen in Adams and Russell, and they have two former 1st round picks  that may make the bullpen out of camp in Stauffer and Poreda plus a former top prospect in Sean Gallagher that is out of options.

And some of the Padres best pitching prospects are also relievers. Evan Scribner, Wynn Pelzer, Craig Italiano, among others.

4) What could be the Padres Achilles' heel?

Health and youth.

If the pitching staff cannot stay healthy and young players such as Cabrera, Blanks, Venable and Latos are not able to repeat the level of play they had in 2009, then the Padres are in for a long and disappointing season.

5) Who will be the Padres team MVP?

IF, and its a HUGE if, he is a Padres all season, Adrian Gonzalez will be the teams MVP.

If he is traded, my pick would be Kyle Blanks.

6) Will a rookie make a significant impact on the Padres in 2010, and if so, who?

Most of the top young players exhausted their eligibility as rookies in 2009. Everth Cabrera, Kyle Blanks, Clayton Richard, Mat Latos, Will Venable and Luke Gregerson all had enough IP or at bats to not qualify as a rookie in 2010.

In 2010 I do not see many rookies making the team. Possibly Matt Antonelli at mid-season if he finally gets it together at AAA or Lance Zawadzki if there are injuries on the Padres squad in the middle infield or possibly a reliever such as Evan Scribner if Heath Bell is traded away, but there just are not that many rookies who will make the major leagues youngest roster in 2010.

7) Who will be the breakout player for the Padres?

Kyle Blanks. I believe with a full year of at bats and getting to play just one position all season will give Blanks the confidence to excel. I predict "Gigantor" will explode in 2010, hitting 30+ hr and driving in 80+ runs.

8) Which player will drop off the most from 2009?

This is a very young team that should improve in 2010, but if I had to pick one player it would be Tony Gwynn Jr.

Jr. had never hit above .260 in parts of 3 ML seasons prior to joining the Padres and was on a high joining the team he grew up watching his father play for and getting to play in front of his hometown. He hit for a .270 or so average in the minors, so we know what kind of player he has been throughout his professional career. He may have a slight slump in 2010.

I am not predicting that will happen, mostly because he will be platooning with Scott Hairston in CF. He will have an opportunity to hit mainly against RHP and he has excelled at hitting RHP to this point in his career. Its LHP that have given him fits, so if he becomes the starter, he could struggle alot in that area.

9) Who is the most likely Padres player to be dangled as trade bait?

Adrian Gonzalez is the obvious choice here. Most people feel that a trade of Gonzalez is inevitable because the Padres just cannot afford the $20+ million salary he would command once his current contract is up after the 2011 season.

I also think that Heath Bell, Chris Young, Jon Garland, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Yorvit Torrealba could also be up for grabs if the Padres are struggling going into the All Star break.

10) What will be the Padres final record and divisional standing?

I am very optimistic going into this season. My prediction for 2010 is 81 wins and 3rd in the NL West.

How to get your comments published - A primer

Sunday March 21, 2010

Every blog wants to get comments. It means people are reading what we have to say and we welcome any comments you would like to send us.

It doesn't really matter to me or the other writers on this blog what the contents of the comments are as long as we are getting readership. Our readership is increasing (yesterday it was 217 of you) and we are very grateful for each an every person that takes the time to read our blog.

As Dale Earnhardt once said, ‘I learned a long time ago, as long as they’re making noise …’.

We write for this blog because we love baseball and want to get our ideas out there. We want to entertain, to provoke thought and to build a community of people who love baseball as much as we do.

Now that does not mean we are going to post every comment.

1st off, we almost never post anonymous comments. The instructions to the writers here is to delete them. If you want to see your post on the blog, put your name to the post.

Other things that will get you deleted are if you post something like "You are an idiot" or "buy this product" or even posts that contain profanity, vulgarity or other things we would not want our kids seeing. We will not post those comments.

If you have so little to say about baseball or what we are discussing that you have to stoop to insults or vulgar language, please do not expect it to be posted.

If you just want an advertisement on the site, contact us at and we will be happy to discuss ad placement.

If you post a thoughtful comment that does or does not agree with our points, you will see it on the comments section of that post. We welcome comments that agree with us :) and comments that don't. You learn from ideas outside of your own,

So please, keep the comments coming. We will answer what we can and we will post most.

Go Padres!

Getting to know the BBA - Websoulsurfer

(This is a repost from the Baseball Bloggers Alliance website. It is a series of question and answer articles designed to introduce the readership at the main BBA website,, to the blogs that are part of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance.

I hope you enjoy learning a little more about Websoulsurfer)

Sunday March 21, 2010

Start by telling us a little about yourself .

I am 48 and by profession I am a Marketing Consultant. I am still working in the game of baseball on occasion which is why you won't see my name on my blog yet. On the blog I also have occasional ghost authors that use the blog as a public outlet.

I have been blessed to have been married for 7 years to an absolutely wonderful woman.

1) How and why did you get into blogging?

On one of the boards I posted on often, one of the members there said that I posted long winded, information and link filled diatribes that were better suited to a blog and invited me to (leave the board) and start my own blog. So I did.

Baseball has always been one of the loves of my life, much to the chagrin of my wife. I have spent a lifetime in and around the game off baseball as a player through high school, college and the low minors, then as a coach and manager, and more recently working in other areas of the business of the game. IT was a natural for me to blog about baseball.

2) Do you have any blogging projects planned for the off-season?

I have started research on a top 5 Padres Prospects by position which I hope to have ready before the Padres break camp. I am also working on a preview of the NL West for the 2010 season. In the future I would like to do a recurring feature on forgotten players. The Carmelo Martinez's and Tom Pagnozzi's of the world.

I am looking forward to the simulation software the BBA may have access to and plan on reporting on the results of a full season simulation and series by series simulations.

3) What's been your most enjoyable experience as as blogger (particularly well-received post, a high-profile link, a connection you wouldn't have had otherwise, etc.)?

I have had several times where I have beaten the national media to reporting signings and injuries, but by far the one I enjoyed the most was having my articles about Kevin Kouzmanoff's fielding linked to
in the Washington Post online. They tried to shoot down my ideas, but it was exciting to see my name in a major daily.

4) How did you find out about the BBA and what attracted you to the group?

To tell the truth I don't remember how I found out about the BBA. I had been looking for a group to join, but many wanted me to give up the copyright to my material to join, which I was unwilling to do.

I liked the fact that the BBA was founded with the idea of fostering collaboration between the blogs.

5) What do you want to see out of the BBA in the coming year?

I would like to see more cross promotion and participation. It has been amazing to see the growth and amount of sharing of a largely informal group in just a few months so far. I am excited about the
future of the BBA.

6) What sets your blog apart from the numerous other Padres blogs?

I would say the in depth nature of the articles.

Along with my occasional ghost writers, I endeavor to put up well thought out and complete articles of a type you would have seen in the newspapers of my youth.

7) What are you most looking forward to in regards to the 2010 season?

Opening Day!

Every opening day is full of hope and every team has the same record.

I LOVE Opening Day.

8) Does it get boring living in a reported paradise such as San Diego?

I travel so much that I am only in San Diego about 6 months of each year and I never get bored with living in paradise.

San Diego's weather may be boring, but only if you consider perfect to be boring.

There is SO much to do that its a wonder that anyone ever attends a sporting event.

Do you want to know how perfect this place is? I have gone snow skiing and surfing on the same day. I have experienced 80 degree temperatures on Christmas day while watching girls skating on the
boardwalk in their bikinis. And while the rest of the world is sweltering in the August heat, we are in the 70's at the beach and sunny.

As for me I came out here for a vacation in 1985 and never left. Why would I leave paradise?

But traffic is already bad enough here, so don't let me convince you to move here. Its really a boring existence here in paradise. I am sure you would rather stay where there are 4 seasons and extreme cold and heat and humidity. LOL

9) Will the Padres ever tinker with Petco to make it more hitter-friendly?

The current Padres ownership and management believes that they can build a team that is optimized to win in Petco Park.

Much like the St Louis Cardinals teams of the 1980's, I think that building a team with good pitching, speed and great defense is a recipe that will work in bringing a winning team to Petco.
The Padres brass seems to be of a like mind on the subject.

If that proves to be true over the next few seasons then the walls will likely not be brought in. If it doesn't work, well they have already had a surveyor come in and lay out where the walls would be.

10) What is it about the Padres that makes so many people want to write about them?

I am not sure why others blog about the Padres, but for me the draw is a love of the game and the fact that the Padres are my home town team and the team I have held season tickets for since 1986.

The Padres have drawn some great writers into blogging including the dean of Padres blogs -  Geoff Young at Ducksnorts, Daniel Gettinger, Ben Davey and the crew at Friar Forecast, Peter Friberg of the Padres Rundown, Ray and Melvin at the Sacrifice Bunt among others.

There are several others that I enjoy reading such as Avenging Jack Murphy, and Friarhood.

It has also brought out some blogs that get lots of hits but add little to the discussion of the game.

What I find interesting is that there are so many blogs about the San Diego Padres by people that don't even live in San Diego.