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Regarding Jayson Stark

February 10th, 2011 by Ray

In case you missed it, Jayson Stark of ESPN posted his assessment of the various offseasons had by the five NL West teams. For the Padres, he broke it down like so:

The good: Should be much better defensively up the middle, with Hudson, Bartlett and Maybin.

The bad: Substituting Harang (18-38 with a 1.44 WHIP the past three years) for Garland has a chance to get messy, though that magic Petco Pitcher Elixir won’t hurt Harang.

Now the ugly: Exit Gonzalez, stage right. Enter the new first-base platoon of Hawpe and Cantu, who combined for five homers, a .222 average, .295 OBP and 331 SLG after the break last year — and now have to play half their games in Petco.

Overall, Stark gave Jed and the boys a C and overall, I can’t really disagree.

As I myself broke down a couple of days ago, the Padres are going to need some lucky bounces if they’re going to perform an encore in 2011. Players like Ludwick and Bartlett are going to have to go above and beyond to help replace Adrian’s production. But Stark’s take seems apropros. His positives are positive and his negatives are negative, but they both come with reservations.

Over their careers, Harang and Garland have both been worth +23.2 WAR, though they’ve taken different routes to get there, with Garland taking the slow and steady (2029.1 IP) and Harang powering his way (7.47 K/9). For what will likely be the third or fourth starter’s spot, the change should be seamless (assuming Harang’s healthy again).

Having said that, I think Stark is underrating how good our defense was last year. Up the middle, the team had a combined +26.5 UZR. Despite their reputations, the team can’t expect Hudson (+2.2 UZR/150) and Bartlett (+4.5 UZR/150) to anchor a squad that matches that, especially with Maybin being the unknown quantity that he is.

I’ll tell you like I told my parents: a C ain’t so bad. Jed busted out his bag of tricks this offseason, making some shrewd signings but he took some risks as well, and risks don’t always work out. Ultimately, though, this offseason sits in the shadow of Adrian Gonzalez and, until the calendar turns to October and we find out just what they’re made of, the entire team will be right there with it.

Posted in media | 2 Comments »

2 Responses to “Regarding Jayson Stark”

  1. Sammy says:

    I’m not yet sure if a C grade is fair, because nothing was going to keep Gonzalez in town. And the only way to replace him with better than what he got would have been to spend more than his allowable budget. If the Padres end up with 78 wins, it can be argued that’s where they should be anyway, given their talent. There is still a part of me that would have liked the Padres to double down on ’10, keep Gonzalez, go for it all with their very limited window of opportunity, and lose him to free agency. Yes, the risk would have been that 2010 was a fluke and doubling down for 2011 a waste, but the current 2011 team, no matter how optimistic we want to be, is NOT going to win the World Series (or even go).

  2. Lorenzo says:

    Come on, Sammy, being realistic before the magic of Spring Training has even begun is, well, unrealistic.

    I think Stark missed the mark because he doesn’t realize that Jed is, like, a cyborg-supercomputer who has figured all possible outcomes and made the optimal moves. Also, Jayson has fallen into the same trap as everyone else in thinking Adrian’s departure is a big minus.

    Notice how Jed kept talking about a “balanced” lineup? that’s cyborg-supercomputer talk for no longer waiting around for the big guy and not having to hear whining about finding “protection” for him. Maybin, Bartlett and Hudson add basepath speed and all three are better hitters than the guys they replaced. They’re part of the move toward manufacturing runs that’s the new blueprint, instead of getting guys on for Adrian. The balanced lineup will produce more runs than the wait-for-Adrian lineup would.

    78 wins? Golly jeepers no! Last year I told Websoulsurfer I expected 87, and this year I’m predicting 92. If you think the moves weren’t enough, wait til you see the late pre-season and mid-season moves Jed the C-S has undoubtedly already set up. You’ll be shocked and awed. Just you wait.

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