I discuss the recent announcement that Orlando Hudson will be the team’s three hitter going into the season. It’s not really a big deal, but I still put an effort in. Check it out here, but feel free to leave your comments here (here here).
I’m going to try something new here. Every Friday, I’ll wrangle up a veritable pu pu platter of links from around the Padres blogosphere, just in case you missed anything throughout the week. And if you think I’ve left any out (including your own), let me know and I’ll make sure to keep a closer eye out for next week.
Ditching the Kid Gloves (Ducksnorts)
After Corey Brock reported that the team will not keep Mat Latos on as tight a leash as they did in 2010, Geoff went to work convincing himself that the Verducci Effect is just a myth. Going back to 2001, Geoff went through and looked at all the pitchers who took on similar workloads as Latos at the same age to see how they held up.
#Balls and More (RJ’s Fro)
With more on Latos, SDPads1 (aka Orlando Hudson?) catches us up on Latosgate. For those of you who don’t know, and based on the tweeting trends most of you do, Latos signed a couple of baseballs for charity this week, putting his John Hancock underneath the message “I hate SF.” As you can imagine, this didn’t sit too well with some in the Giants blogosphere and the latest chapter in the rivalry was written. Head over for a better breakdown.
Why The Mat Latos Hullabaloo Is A Good Thing (Avenging Jack Murphy)
AIC weighed in on Latosgate was well, breaking down the reasons why Latos’ youthful rascality is a plus for Padres fans and reminding us that there are worse things out there than a player who cares. Namely, one who doesn’t.
Who’s Setting the Table for the Padres Lineup (Friarhood)
Moving on, Steve forgoes further Latos-related conversation to give us a look at our leadoff options this year, which is to say Jason Bartlett and Will Venable. Looking at their numbers, along with the production the team received out of the one-hole last season, Steve draws a conclusion.
Happy 6th Anniversary, Gaslamp Ball! (Gaslamp Ball)
Belated anniversary wishes go out to Gaslamp Ball. Their reign atop the Padres blogosphere started back on Valentine’s Day 2005. Way back then, Hitch was the number one movie in America and the Padres were on the verge of signing Robert Fick to a one-year deal. It was quite the time to be alive.
And all apologies go out to Friar Forecast. I was planning on including you on this week’s list, but I’m experiencing technical difficulties. But everyone, go there anyway. Here’s a link: www.friarforecast.com
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Your 2011 San Diego Brewers (The Sacrifice Bunt)
Melvin’s well-publicized take on the new away jerseys. Personally, my opinions aren’t as strong as Mel’s. The jersey’s just too boring to warrant it. But I do agree that the team took a step backwards into the crowd with these. Now all they have to do is bring back the abominations they wore from 1999-2003 to really complete the look.
Padres unveil new ‘Marine digital’ jerseys (Padres.com)
The road jerseys weren’t the only new looks unveiled this week, as the team introduced their new Sunday alts with these “Marine digital” tops. While they’re the nicest camo jerseys the team has ever worn, the big news is the reemergence of brown as an official color for the first time since 1990. While these hats aren’t perfect, they are very camouflage and they are brown! Maybe Moorad’s warming up to the old school Padres look. After all…
Tucson Padres unveil their retro logo (MiLB.com)
…he okay’d this. The fans did show their support for the 84 style by voting it into the Throwback Thursday rotation, so maybe it left an impression on Moorad. And just to add more fuel to your fire, Bill Center said yesterday in his chat that the team is considering Tucson a test run. Sez Bill (and an intrepid young reporter):
12:09 [Comment From Ray L.]
Are the Padres using the old font in Tucson as a test run for the big league team?
12:10 Bill Center:
My guess could be yes. Why would they use those uniforms unless they wanted to see how they fly with the fans. It is an interesting choice.
12:11 Bill Center:
My guess is yes. The Tucson uniforms and logos are interesting. Must be some reason why they were picked
Stay tuned, folks.
Padres add Cantu’s can-do bat to the bench (Friarhood)
Oh right, there was non uniform-related news this week. The Padres signed Jorge Cantu to a one-year deal to be the big bat off the bench slash platoon partner for Hawpe and/or Headley. You could read my take over at Friarhood.
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Joe Pos: Forbes and Yankees
So as impossible as it seems, according to the Forbes numbers, the Royals and Yankees in 2009 spent almost exactly the same percentage of available money on winning baseball games. Sure, there could be some accounting tricks involved — I’m not clever enough to pick these out — but even so I think this would absolutely shock most people. It shocked the heck out of me.
The truth seems to be that the Yankees are NOT spending some out of control amount of money on payroll. Quite literally the opposite is true. The Yankees payroll is almost exactly in line with their revenue.
Well, hey, you can decide for yourself just how much of the Yankees revenue is due to their location plus their television market and how much of it is due to their good business sense, but either way, when you actually look at the numbers you realize how ridiculous it is for Yankees fans to say that Kansas City and Pittsburgh and Oakland should just “try harder.” There is no trying hard enough to make up anything close to the gap. Yes, a few teams have the resources to at least battle the Yankees advantage — though the Mets’ horror show is living proof that you can screw up with a lot of money.
It’s not impossible for small market teams to compete with the Yankees and Dodgers, there are examples. But when a small market front office says their goal is to play competitive every year, think about what that means, and what it is they’re up against. It’s a rare event for small market teams to compete for the playoffs 5 years in a row.
Long time Sac Bunt friend and contributor Randy Ready has dropped the nom de plume and started his own blog: Woe, Doctor!
He’s off to a hot start, putting up as many posts in four days as we did here in two weeks. That probably says more about us than it does him, but it’s still impressive.
Check him/it out.
From today’s Padres inbox:
Why did manager Bud Black sit Eckstein on Tuesday in Arizona? Is this going to become a trend?
— Matt M., San Diego
It’s a little early to be dissecting Black’s lineup choices, but I’ll play along. Very good reason for the move: Black wanted to give Jerry Hairston Jr. a start at a position that he will be playing a lot of in 2010. That said, look for Hairston to see time at third base, shortstop and even the outfield. Black wants his players to remain sharp, so that’s why you’ll see guys like Hairston get occasional starts. Honestly, though, Hairston is going to start a lot this season anyway. We know where, just not when.
That didn’t take long.
Your homework question for tonight:
Has there ever been a more divisive figure in Padres history than David Eckstein?
Post your answer in the comments section, and show your work.
For my part, I will say that 20+ years of Padre fandom has created a fair amount of cynicism in me that I find myself taking out on the players. My most recent target was Kevin Kouzmanoff, and I don’t think I was alone in that regard. The difference between Kouz and Eckstein, among myself and the masses, is that there are plusses to Kouz’s game worth acknowledging.
I don’t think Eckstein’s critics will concede that point.
Padre blogger and prospect Matt Antonelli has earned himself a promotion, at least in the blogging world for now. He’ll now be answering questions at Shawn Anderson’s The Hall of Very Good. I wish I had thought of asking Matt before Shawn did.
Antonelli’s interaction with fans and online media has developed into a special relationship. In less than a year, he’s set himself apart from the other names in the organization depth chart and become a player I feel connected to, and root for.
It’s not just simply having accounts on Twitter, Facebook , or writing a blog. It’s about firing that publicist, pulling back the curtain, posting funny videos or photos, and sharing actual stories about who you really are. Don’t hide behind a few cliches in an article from a beat reporter, they’ll only tell their story, not yours. Put your real self out there. Be genuine.
I hope more young players learn from Matt’s example. I doubt it would earn him a call-up on its own, but if David Eckstein still has a starting job then personality has got to count for something.
The Hall of Could Have Been (The Soul of Baseball)
I’ll let Joe Posnanski explain:
Might be in the Hall of Fame if: I’ll let Bill explain.
“Look at it. Somebody decided he was a second baseman, he tears through the minor leagues, gets to Montreal, the Expos take one look at him and say, ‘He’s no second baseman, get real.’ He bounces around, goes to Japan, doesn’t really get to play until he’s almost 30, then hits 38 homers, slips into a part-time role and hits 15-20 homers every year for 10 years in about 250 at-bats a season. … You put him in the right park, right position early in his career … he’s going to hit a LOT of bombs.”
What can you say? It’s all there. Stairs did not get 500 at-bats until he was 30 — he had a .370 OBP that year, hit 26 homers, drove in 106. The next year, he had the 38-homer season. His average dropped the next season, and he never got 500 at-bats in a season after that.
A Big Hit (Sports Illustrated)
Former winter league teammate Kevin Millar shares a wonderful anecdote:
Stairs came. The opening game of Los Mayos’ 1995 season was in Mazatlan. Kevin Millar, a 26-year-old infield prospect for the Florida Marlins who has been Stairs’s teammate in Navojoa for three seasons, remembers the day well. “I’d never met Matt,” says Millar. “He was supposed to hit fourth that day, but it was 20 minutes before the game and he hadn’t shown up. It got to be 10 minutes before game time, then five, and still no Matt. Finally, when the umpires were meeting at home plate, this guy walked into the dugout wearing jeans and boots and smoking a cigarette. He just pulled on his uniform, went up there and yanked a home run. I was like, Who the f—is this guy?”
Matt Stairs solidifies place as greatest journeyman slugger (Sports Illustrated)
Posnanski again, this time in his own words:
On Sept. 28 Stairs faced Washington rookie pitcher Marco Estrada, who became an unwitting partner in history. Sort of. Estrada threw the slider that did not slide, and Stairs unleashed the hangover swing he picked up one too-bright and too-early morning in Tucson. He yanked the ball into the right field seats. He stomped around the bases. That was the 254th home run of Matt Stairs career.
And with that, Stairs became the greatest journeyman slugger in history.
Phillies Have an Unlikely Mr. October (New York Times)
Stairs was profiled in the NY Times following his 08 heroics in the NLCS, revealing his valuable veteran leadership, as well as a great nickname:
The toast of Philadelphia is a balding hockey player with a squat body who was once nicknamed the Wonder Hamster. He swings from his heels and used to drink beer with his boss, but he takes his job seriously and has no desire to ever take off his uniform. He learned patience, he said, from having daughters ages 17, 15 and 11.
Stairs was an ideal leader for the young Royals, Baird said, never lecturing his teammates but knowing how to get points across. Baird said he knew then that Stairs could be an ideal manager someday.
“His approach coming to the ballpark every day just doesn’t change,” Baird said. “The people that are respected in this game are consistent in their character, and that’s the way he is. He’s all about substance; he’s not about style. He just gives you an honest day’s work, every single day.”
Phillies Receive a Boost From an Unlikely Source (New York Times)
Apparently, people call him a professional hitter.
“They don’t call him a professional hitter for no reason,” said the Phillies’ Shane Victorino, who lashed a two-run, game-tying homer before Stairs’s blast. “To do what he does at the age of 40, I’m smiling two times bigger because I feel so good for him.”
Players by birthplace : Canada Baseball Stats and Info (Baseball-Reference)
Here are Stairs’ rankings for Canadian baseball players (he’s Canadian, by the way):
- Games: 2nd (1761)
- Home runs: 2nd (259)
- Strike outs: 2nd (1067)
- Base on balls: 3rd (697)
- Slugging %: 7th (.481)
- OPS: 7th (.481)
And Stairs accomplished all of this without receiving serious playing time till age 29.
Padres add Stairs for veteran presence (ESPN)
According to Jerry Crasnick, the Padres have signed Matt Stairs to a minor league deal with an invite to the big league camp.
I like this deal, but I like having a left-handed power-bat on the bench. This seemed to be the offseason to get one, with a couple of veterans finding themselves disregarded, but following Jason Giambi’s return to the Rockies and the AL Central’s interest in Jim Thome, the pickings still seemed slim. Truth be told, Stairs was not very good last year, or the year before, his monster bomb off of Broxton in the NLCS not withstanding, but he has dropped 30 pounds. If Stairs comes into Spring Training as serious as his weight-loss suggests, he would be a great addition to our already impressive bench.
Headley at hot corner a heated decision (Union-Tribune)
Tim Sullivan fills us in on some behind the scenes gossip behind Chase Headley’s move to third.
“Buddy (Black) and I were on the same page,” Towers said recently, describing the Padres’ philosophical divide before his dismissal as general manager. “I’d keep Kouz and trade Headley. But DePo (Paul DePodesta) has always been a huge Headley fan. Huge. As was Sandy (Alderson). Headley was kind of our poster child.”
To which Black responded with a diplomatic “That serves no purpose.” Because of course he did.
I hope that someone gives Towers a studio job, just so we can watch him react to Padres updates as they happen.
Padres to wear retro unis for home Thursday games (USA Today)
At this week’s Season Ticket Holder event, Tom Garfinkle announced to the crowd that every home Thursday will now be Throwback Thursday. For those six day games this season, the team will be wearing the 1978 throwback jerseys (as can be seen here), to which we say “Fantastic.”
You may recall, Melvin and I took a shot at fixing the Padres uniform problems, and we’re hoping that these throwbacks are the first step towards the team re-embracing its true identity. We’re holding our breath, Garf.
Padres name new scouting director (Padres.com)
Hoyer’s front office continues to take shape, as Jaron Madison becomes the team’s new director of scouting. He joins Jason McLeod, the new assistant GM, and Chris Gwynn, the new director of player personal, in the front office and like those two, he’s no stranger to San Diego, having served as a scout for the Padres in 2002. More importantly, Madison is a product of Long Beach State, and that is a clear sign of greatness.
Bradley is a reckless risk for Seattle (Yahoo! Sports)
In case you haven’t heard, Milton Bradley was tragically traded to our natural rivals, the Seattle Mariners, and not to us. For the low price of Carlos Silva and his ridiculous contract, the Mariners were able to acquire the best left-fielder we’ve seen in ten years, an assessment Steve Henson might disagree with.
Henson is no fan of Seattle’s recent acquisition, saying that the Mariners will come to rue the day they traded for Bradley, just as the Dodgers did, and the A’s did, and the San Diego Padres did. Certainly I don’t assume to speak for us all, but do you regret the day we acquired Bradley? If so, do you also regret the 11 home runs he hit in 42 games as a Padre? Do you regret his .414 OBP? His .590 SLG? His 168 OPS+ in Petco? Do you regret him stepping on Mike Cameron’s hand and knocking him out for the year? Well, you should regret that last one, but that was an accident.
When Henson speaks of Padres regret, he means Bradley’s blow up following what then-first base coach Bobby Meacham referred to as “the most disconcerting conversation I have ever heard from an umpire to a player.” If you agree with Henson, aren’t you getting mad at Milton Bradley for taking Milton Bradley out of the lineup, and doesn’t that suggest that you do want Milton Bradley in the lineup, and that you don’t really regret having him here? Or am I wrong? Let us know in the comments section.