Padres bloggin' since 2007

You play to win the game?

February 4th, 2010 by Ray

With talk of the Twins and Joe Mauer close to coming together on an extension, it would seem that Adrian has jumped to the top of the waiting list. Whether he’s waiting to be extended or traded is yet to be seen.

At last week’s Town Hall meeting, the Padres told the crowd that they were committed to the name on the front of the jersey and not the ones on the back, and Jeff Moorad was later quoted in the Union-Tribune saying “I think the fairest description of our point of view is that we continue to be committed to doing what’s best for the long-term interest of the organization. As a result, no player is untouchable. And while we’re mindful of players’ individual popularity, we won’t put one player ahead of the long-term interests of the club.” Jed Hoyer gives a more diplomatic response, saying that it is still early in the process, but it would appear that the writing is on the wall.

The details have yet to come out on the Mauer extension, but let’s assume he’ll exceed $25 million a year (and that’s being generous to the Twins). With their new stadium, the team should see a boost in payroll, but Mauer will still eat up a large portion of their moneys. For their sake, I hope the payroll gets bumped to the $150 million range, just in case Peter Gammons was on to something when he pointed out that no team has won the World Series in 25 years with one player making 16% of the payroll*.

*Hilariously, A-Rod made 15.88% of the 09 Yankees payroll

I quoted Gammons two years ago, just before Peavy signed his extension with our San Diego Padres. At the time, I referred to it as an “Eric Owens extension,” meaning it was more populist than strategic. For you younger readers, replace Owens’ name with David Eckstein and you’ll get the idea. A well-rounded team with dreams of a World Series ring cannot afford to sink so much into one player. But then, who’s to say we want a well-rounded team?

This is not a Twins blog, and I don’t presume to know anything about their team or the way it operates, but a quick glance across the baseball landscape shows me that a Mauer extension will be a tremendous success for everyone: the Twins will have won a victory for small-market teams everywhere, Mauer is a hero for ignoring the bright lights of the big markets, and baseball writers get a new Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn, Sr. (combined!) to gush about. At this point, a World Series win would be the icing on the cake.

As a fellow Padres fan, I don’t have to tell you that we don’t even have a cake. Our enjoyment of our star player has been hijacked by seemingly non-stop trade rumors and our young core doesn’t really add up to much more than a Hostess snack cake. The 2010 PECOTA Projections put us at 74 wins and last place in the NL West. Las Vegas, for its part, gives us 80/1 odds of winning in October, putting us ahead of only the real train wrecks of the league. What we do have, despite everything I just said, is hope. With Blanks and Latos and Cabrera, the future looks brighter, and we still have a perennial All-Star and Gold Glove-winning first baseman, even if just for now.

With all that said, I pose this question to you, the loyal readers:

What would you rather the Padres do?

Would you rather see the team trade Adrian Gonzalez and maximize their resources in hope of building a small market contender like Colorado or Tampa Bay? Or would you rather see the team commit to Adrian and take their chances with one superstar making up to a third of the team’s payroll, crowning a new Mr. Padres in the process, even if it lowers our already low odds? Let us know in the comments.

Posted in hot stove, players | 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “You play to win the game?”

  1. william says:

    I am taking Adrian, everyday and Sunday. Hometown players that turn into superstars don’t grow on trees.

  2. Chiltepin says:

    Trade Adrian to a team with a legitimate chance of letting him earn a ring during the next 5 seasons. I will be rooting form him, as I am rooting for Peavy, wherever he goes (except to LA).
    But better make it one hell of a trade for my Padres!

  3. Josh says:

    I want the trade but only if we can get a couple “A” type prospects instead of the “B” and “C” types we got for Peavy.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love A-Gon but I’m guessing he would rather play for a contender and the Padres will not be a contender if they have him eating 35% of the payroll. Trading Gonzalez, most likely to a big payroll team, allows both him and the Padres to have a better shot at a world series. Together, it can’t happen.

    • Melvin says:

      I have a hard time seeing Hoyer trade Adrian for much less than a Teixeira or Haren bounty. I was a bit delusional (as were so many others) about Peavy’s trade value, but I don’t think I am expecting more than Gonzalez is worth here.

  4. DavidM says:

    Peavy’s trade value was lowered by both the size of his contract and his no-trade clause. The world knew that the pads were bent over a barrel and they pretty much took advantage of it.

  5. The Pad Father says:

    I am not so sure the Pads could keep Adrian even if they signed him at Matt Holliday money. $17 million a year is still too big of a % of payroll.

    If they can get a couple of ML ready guys and 2-3 high upside top prospects that are a little further away from the majors then why not just trade him at the deadline this season?

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  7. Lorenzo says:

    Trade him or pay fair market value? How about offering him what the Padres can afford to have enough left over to build a team around him, and seeing if he takes it?

    The Padres have Adrian cheaply for two full years, while the team is developing, and the financial situation can change a lot in two years. You’ll never get full value for a superstar anyway.

    With a home town kid, it might be better to keep him for the full two years, and have a reasonable (for the Padres) offer on the table when he becomes a free agent. Then it won’t be the Padres getting ridd of him, Adrian will be seen as leaving his home town for the big bucks.

    The Padres would get the first rounder of whoever signs him, plus a supplemental pick before the second round. They’d have to do better than 1999, when they had three first round picks plus two supplementals, and got only lefty Bynum and his 3-year career out of it, but it might turn out better than any prospects they could get.

    I just believe the PR hit the Padres will take for trading Adrian is too high a price for what they could get for him. They’ll still get picks of their own choice, without the recriminations, if they let him do the walking.

    • Melvin says:

      The Padres have been talking with Gonzalez’s agent all offseason, and the most recent news to come out of those talks is that Gonzalez is asking for more than the team can afford.

      I also think fans will hardly be forgiving if the team makes an obviously crap offer to Gonzalez as a free agent and he walks.

      And you make the point yourself: early draft picks aren’t always easy to turn into prospects. The Padres got it wrong in 1999, and again in 2005. They aren’t worth the risk if legitimate A prospects are available, as they are in exchange for Adrian.

  8. pat says:

    I’d love to keep him, but I think realistically the best option is to trade him. Then, with the return in trade, what we currently have in the system, we need to continue to draft and develop better than we did during Towers’ tenure, continue the ownership transition and increase payroll to allow for retaining players and signing better FA options over the next two years.

    I think this would allow us to be competitive in 2012 if ownership turmoil is settled, or at least better settled, and payroll is closer to the $70 million level it was when we initially moved into Petco than the $40 million level it is presently.

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