Jed Hoyer gave an interview to XX yesterday and thanks to the good people at Gaslamp Ball, neither of us have to listen to it. It was surprisingly (at least to me) candid, as if Jed were paying tribute to the Gunslinger. It gave us a good window into his mind. Here are some of the choice hits, as well as my valuable (you’ll see. i’ll show you) opinion.
Hoyer wishes that he and Buddy would have put Tim Stauffer back into the rotation earlier. That’s the one thing that keeps him up at night. It could have brought them 2 or 3 more wins. They waited longer than they should have. They waited until the rosters expanded.
Stauffer was the second best “starter” on this team, behind Mat Latos, but he only received seven starts. His 3.02 FIP was only .02 behind Latos and was .79 ahead of Clayton Richard, Mr. Third Place. His xFIP was also solid (3.74), putting him behind Latos and Cory Luebke and his three starts.
In his place, Wade LeBlanc and Kevin Correia combined for 51 starts, or almost a third of the season. The two also combined to give the team a total of 0.1 wins above replacement. In almost 300 less innings, Stauffer contributed 1.3 wins. I hate to have to say this, but the Padres really could’ve used an extra win there at the end of the year.
The Padres struggled all year getting on base in the 1 and 2 spot in the line up. They ranked 27 or 28th getting on base in those positions. It really hurt the run scoring. Hoyer thinks very highly of David Eckstein, he had a really good year but he won’t say if he’ll be coming back next year.
David, David, David. He actually had his best season in years (five, to be exact). Unfortunately, that had nothing to do with his hitting. He had his best defensive year ever, managing average range and letting his sure handedness do the rest. Offensively, it was the same story. A 91 wRC+, which is worse than his career 95, and a total of -5.1 runs contributed. On a team that wasn’t exactly Murderer’s Row, Eckstein had the fourth worst year with the bat. It’s just that Jerry Hairston, Jr. and Everth Cabrera, our other options at second, were worse.
It was nice of Hoyer to lie and say that Eckstein had a really good year. But if he’s looking to upgrade, we’ve found somewhere to start.
Ryan Ludwick is a really good player who struggled in the new environment. He put too much pressure on himself. He thinks that Ludwick will be moved to left field because Hoyer likes Will Venable’s glove in right field.
**Not to editorialize, but I wouldn’t be against the Padres putting Ludwick in left. With a starting trio of Ludwick-Gwynn-Venable, I’m not sure anything would fall in that outfield.
Getting past that, it’s good to see that Hoyer isn’t among the masses calling for Ludwick’s head. He definitely stunk while here (78 OPS+) but luck was not on his side (.257 BABIP). Both numbers are considerably down from his career averages (114 OPS+, .309 BABIP). Add in that he was still coming off of an injury and it’s likely that we didn’t see the real Ryan Ludwick these past two months. It was his evil twin, Ryan Ughwick.
Jon Garland had a great year. They’ll talk about exercising his option over the next two weeks. He felt that he performed exactly as they hoped.
A great year might be something of an overstatement, but Garland was who we thought he is (4.41 FIP, 106 ERA+, 200 IP). His option is for $6.75 million and that might be a bit steep, but Garland is a dependable pitcher and the rotation would still only be around $8 million with him.
Gwynn had a good season defensively. The team missed him in the outfield when he was injured. He struggled offensively. He’s a reason for the success of the pitching staff.
AJ was amazing this year, posting the highest UZR/150 of all players with at least 700 innings (33.6). Even being four-to-five hundred innings behind the rest of his competition, he still ended the year second in UZR (12.9) behind only Michael Bourn. This guy can play him some centerfield and seemed to be unaffected by the grand expanse of Petco Park (6.4 home RngR). He had a down year with the bat but like Ludwick, luck was not on his side (.236 BABIP, .050 BABIP-LD%). It’d be a big risk for the team to go into 2011 with AJ installed in center but his defense makes him a valuable player (1.7 WAR in 2010).
Personally, I’d like to see Venable get first crack at centerfield. He showed a lot of promise when Black finally gave him the shot and with his bat, the Padres wouldn’t have to make sacrifices or choose one facet of the game over the other. But given that Black sent Chris Denorfia out for 360 innings (we’ve been over this) I would gladly take another year of Tony Gwynn, Jr.