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Holy Guacamole!

December 4th, 2009 by

Sacrifical LinksIt’s been a busy couple of days in Padresland.

Enberg on board as Padres TV voice (MLB.com)

(Dick) Enberg, who for the last 26 years has made his home just north of San Diego in La Jolla, will bring his trademark “Oh my” call to the Padres and will be back inside a broadcast booth calling baseball full-time for the first time since the 1970s, when he called Angels games.

“I still think I have my fastball. I might not locate it as well as I used to,” Enberg said, laughing. “I think the experiences I’ve had as a broadcaster will more than compensate for that. While there’s been a lot of change … 6-4-3 [double play] hasn’t. And I still remember that.”

McLeod tapped as Padres executive (MLB.com)

In Boston, (Jason) McLeod was hired the Red Sox director of scouting administration in 2003. His first draft with the Red Sox was in 2004, a draft that produced future Rookie of the Year and American League MVP Dustin Pedroia.

Under McLeod’s watch, Baseball America has ranked the Red Sox Draft among the top five Drafts in three of his first four years as director of amateur scouting.

Padres’ Tate injured in ATV crash (SignOnSanDiego)

Donavan Tate, the high school center fielder selected third overall in the June draft, suffered facial lacerations and a broken jaw that required surgery last weekend in an ATV accident near his Georgia home.

Tate, 18, who got a $3.5 million bonus from the Padres when he signed on Aug. 17, had been rehabbing following surgery on Oct. 7 to repair a sports hernia.

San Diego Padres Top 10 Prospects (Baseball America)

Led by third baseman Edinson Rincon, righthander Adys Portillo and outfielder Rymer Liriano, the Padres had a number of international prospects step up in 2009, balancing two less positive developments. In June, San Diego learned that Dominican third baseman Yefri Pena, who signed for $300,000, had falsified his age and identity (he’s really Ramon Mercedes) and would be suspended for a year. Dominican shortstop Alvaro Aristy, who signed for $1 million in 2008, received a 50-game suspension a month later for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Gonzalez, Bell claim Padres team awards (Padres.com)

The offseason award hardware continues to pile up for San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who on Wednesday was named the Most Valuable Player for the team during the Padres’ annual awards celebration.

Last month, Gonzalez won his second successive Gold Glove. Other award winners on Wednesday included closer Heath Bell (Clyde McCullough Pitcher of the Year), second baseman David Eckstein (Madres Favorite New Padre), Chairman’s Award (Black) and the Fireman’s Award (Bell).

Good night, and good luck.

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Trading Adrian

November 9th, 2009 by

Sacrifical LinksAs you just read right here, Kevin Towers’ attempts to trade Adrian Gonzalez may have clashed with new boss Jeff Moorad’s wishes, and now Towers is gone. But if you’ve also been reading the more mainstream sports media, you’ve gotten the impression that Adrian is still definitely going to Boston. Or not. It’s confusing, but that’s why we’re here: for you!

Gonzalez might put Padres in a bind (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Bill Center surmises that Adrian is both the new face of the franchise and a player whose combination of ability and personality will lead him to a big payday. Which means that the team will likely trade him, and soon, making him the new Peavy. He knows this, in part, because Adrian is not featured anywhere on a brochure sent to season ticket holders, because brand new general manager Jed Hoyer has yet to contact Adrian’s agent, and because Moorad has said that he doesn’t want to move the fences back.

But that’s San Diego’s take. What does Boston think?

Why the Sox should be going, going . . . going after Gonzalez (Boston Globe)

Boston thinks that Adrian wants to be where the action is: Boston. Doug Mirabelli gets it. Because the Yankees just won the World Series, thanks in part to one-time-almost-Red Sox Mark Teixeira, Boston doesn’t have the luxury of losing in the Division Series anymore, and Adrian would give them the big bat to wear out the Green Monster they need. Support for Boston’s argument includes the Adrian-less brochure, again, and the good time he had while playing in Portland in the minors.

But that’s Boston’s take. What does the national media think?

Padres only open to dealing stars for right price (Ken Rosenthal)

That the Padres are only open to dealing Adrian Gonzalez for the right place. Rosenthal points out that Adrian will still be extremely affordable over the next two years, and not simply relatively. He also points out that, since Boston made a big trade with Cleveland for Victor Martinez, the well may be too dry to pull anything off.

But that’s Ken Rosenthal’s take. What’s a fourth opinion I should listen to?

Why Adrian Gonzalez May Remain Off Limits to Sox (WEEI)

Because Jed Hoyer knows Theo Epstein’s tricks, and vice versa. To support this, the author points out that Epstein has worked out nothing but extremely minor deals with his other former protege, Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes. He also points out, as did Rosenthal, that the Padres can afford Adrian if they believe winning is possible in the next two seasons, and that an extension that eats up his option could appeal to Adrian as it appealed to David Ortiz in 2007.

But these are only a handful of the voices out there, voicing their opinions on trading Adrian Gonzalez. As the offseason goes on, and more, hopefully differing, opinions are given, The Sac Bunt will be here to fill you in.

Posted in hot stove, players, sacrificial links | 7 Comments »

The way of the future

September 30th, 2009 by

Melvin and I have finally joined the 21st century, and now The Sacrifice Bunt is on Twitter. Expect frequent updates from us, as we’ll be discussing Padres news as it happens, as well as some nuggets that might not make it here on the blog.

Follow us at twitter.com/thesacbunt.

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Links for the host of hurlers from Chicago

July 31st, 2009 by

Sacrificial LinksI’ll post reports on the Padres pile of pitching prospects they received in return for Jake Peavy. I tried to work Aaron Poreda in that sentence too, but that would be just silly. I’ll update this page as I find more.

Avenging Jack Murphy posted some great info, stolen fair and square from Baseball America.

Aaron Poreda

Midewest Sports Fans (March, 2009)

So for his brief minor league career thus far, Aaron Poreda is 12-9 with a 2.69 ERA in 207.1 innings, with a K/9 rate of 7.2 and a WHIP of 1.10. All very good numbers, and certainly predictors of future success.

MILB.com Draft Reports (2007)

Strengths: Plus, plus fastball with above-average movement and the ability to throw strikes consistently.
Weaknesses:His secondary stuff. The slider and changeup will have to come a long way. Even though he’s a lefty, he’s not good at getting left-handed hitters out.

Minor League Ball (December, 2008)

Grade B+: Power lefty was a bit more polished than anticipated. Does he start or relieve?

MLB.com (November, 2008, h/t SDPads1)

Don’t be surprised to see him in the big leagues at some point in 2009 — with his outstanding fastball and improving secondary pitches, he is the system’s top pitching prospect. “Organizational player of the year.”

Baseball America (November, 2008, h/t SDPads1)

Named best fastball in the organization, #2 prospect

Clayton Richard

Minor League Ball (December, 2008)

Grade C+: Throws strikes, nice sinker, not a big margin for error.

MLB.com (November, 2008)

The control freak walked only 20 in 127 2/3 Minor League innings while fanning 86. Richard was an eighth-round pick in 2005. “Organizational player of the year”

Baseball America (November, 2008, h/t SDPads1)

Named #3 Prospect in organization

Dexter Carter

Baseball America (July, 2009)

Carter’s changeup was coming in at a firm 83-85 mph earlier in the season, but Owens said they’ve lowered that figure to 78-80 now. Carter has the added advantage of standing 6-foot-6, enabling him to generate a good downhill plane for all his pitches, though issues with staying on a straight line to the plate still creep in from time to time.

Given the assets he already has, it’s not hard to imagine Carter having success at higher levels if his changeup progresses.

Minor League Ball (December, 2008)

Grade C: Excellent pro debut following horrible college season. Which is the real Carter?

Adam Russell

MLB.com (November, 2008)

A 6-foot-8 reliever who posted a 4-0 record and 5.19 ERA after his big league callup, Russell struck out 22 over 26 innings and earned a spot on the White Sox postseason roster. “Kept their footing.”

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Some good news in my life: 6/15 Sacrificial Links

June 16th, 2009 by

Sacrificial LinksIt’s times like these we look at our Padres’ 1.5% chance of making the playoffs, and decide to sit in and enjoy our cesspool of self loathing. Or we can stick our head out of the ground, look at what bright rays of light appear on the horizon, and enjoy a beautiful summer in San Diego.

Wait, The Padres’ ace, and potential trade bait for players the team can build a foundation upon is out for a month, possibly the rest of the year? What was the first option again?

Kevin Goldstein on the Padres’ Draft

Starting with the extra young’ns, the boys at Mad Friars posted a free interview with Kevin Goldstein, prospect guru of Baseball Prospectus. I think most Padre faithful are by now familiar with Donovan Tate.

Is he perfect? No, but in terms of star potential there was no position player like him in the draft. Obviously, he has risk, but no one comes close to his ceiling.

What you might not know is the Padres got great deals on players further down in their draft. One of whom, Everett Williams, scouts expected to go in the first round, while the Padres nabbed him with the 52nd pick overall in the second. And it isn’t just Goldstein who said this, though he does say that Keyvius Sampson, The Padres’ third round pick, could also have been selected in the first, but fell due to signability concerns. As a fan, I love that. We’ll take him.

You know it’s not only the high picks, but they took some players in later rounds that will also cost some money and didn’t flinch. If you are a Padres fan, you have to hope this is the new direction they will go in the future.

Jim Callis of Baseball America, same questions, *finger point to him*

Good info all around, what sticks out for me are Callis’ concerns about Tate. Callis does rave about what an athlete he is, but we already knew that. Lets look at Jim’s response to some possible roadblocks John Conniff might see in Tate’s bat.

I’ve seen [Tate] at a few showcases and while yes I can see some of the concern, it’s not at the same level of Anthony Hewitt, who the Phillies took last year in the first round. But its also going to take some time, I don’t see him as someone who is going to shoot through the system either.

I agree with Ray, who has said it before, and Jim, who is saying it now. The team should give Tate all the time he needs. Repeat after me, “I don’t see him as someone who is going to shoot through the sysetm.” Now say it again.

Jaff Decker is a monster

Padres low A outfielder Jaff Decker is the second most successful 2008 draft pick, according to Baseball America. He is Baseball Prospectus’ peak translated Equivalent Average runner up, meaning he has the second highest EqA for someone of his age in his league, based on the advanced all-around offensive metric. More traditionally, his line of .283/.455/.543 for a high school draftee in his first full year looks really really really really awesome.

…it’s even more startling once one realizes he’s a supplemental first-round pick out of high school from the ’08 draft. Decker leads the MWL in on-base percentage and ranks fourth in slugging, as he’s had no trouble converting his plus raw power to game power (that’s eight home runs in 39 games)

Lake Elsinore third baseman and all-star Logan Forsythe gets a nod from Baseball America as well, second in the league in peak adjusted Equivalent Average and Equivalent Runs, plus a .327/.475/.540 line for second in good old OBP as well.

Posted in draft, sacrificial links | 4 Comments »

Sullivan: Agent Of Change Not Always Popular

April 3rd, 2009 by

I don’t know what this guy did with Tim Sullivan, but I’m liking it. What a fair review of Sandy Alderson’s tenure.

Before their recent retrenchment, the Padres maintained a $73 million payroll that ranked 19th among the 30 major league clubs in 2008. Without greater payroll flexibility or more impact prospects, the Padres were probably destined for a dramatic fall. As Moores grew more detached from the club’s operations, many fans focused on Alderson as a convenient scapegoat and as the symbol of a failed strategy.

Much of that criticism was misguided. The strategy Alderson has sought to implement with the Padres, one founded on statistical analysis, is much the same approach that has brought two world championships over the past five seasons to Fenway Park. The major difference between the Padres and the Boston Red Sox is fiscal rather than philosophical, and that difference is profound.

In November of 2006, the Red Sox spent more than $51 million for exclusive negotiating rights with Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka, a sum greater than the Padres will spend on their entire 2009 major league payroll.

Although I don’t like the idea of lumping all of the philosphy under “statistical analysis”. That really isn’t what it is, and never has been. The philosophy is finding undervalued assets.

Often, this involves advanced metrics other teams don’t believe in or havn’t caught up with yet (See Heath Bell and his BABIP). But it isn’t always that. More recently, we saw the Padres grab a string of shorter players in the amateur draft, whom teams may have passed on more due to bias than evidence. This is what the philosophy is about.

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Who Is He Again?

April 2nd, 2009 by

Sacrificial LinksI have to admit, even as an avid Padres fan, there’s a lot to keep up with. For instance: I never seem to keep the long guys in the Padres bullpen straight, especially over the last year or so with the merry-go-round of trades and waiver claims the team has been through. The craziness was somehow kicked into overdrive this spring, as DePo notes that only 4 of the 13 pitchers likely to make the roster pitched for the big league club last year.

An idea I had to help myself, and whoever else is smart enough to read this blog, was to put together a little run down of who all these people are and why they’re playing for the Padres. Luckily, Jason Martinez is on the job, so I can stick to what I do best: making fun of the UT.

Martinez, of PadresRevolution fame, is the man behind MLBDepthCharts. Besides just the rosters, he also includes helpful blurbs about where the player came from.

I had a chance to meet and hang out with Jason at the first ever Padres Blogger Summit last year, he’s a cool dude. Hat tip to Tom Tango for the link.

Posted in sacrificial links | 4 Comments »

Anything is possible!

March 13th, 2009 by

Remember how delusional Grady Fuson got when Baseball America announced the farm system as 29th in the league? I anticipate the team’s response following this:

Organizational Rankings: #25 – San Diego Padres

Our much revered Fangraphs has begun listing all 30 Major League clubs in descending order and, as you don’t even need to click to see, the Padres ended up at 25th. 

The grading was broken down into Ownership, Front Office, Major League Talent and Minor League Talent. Some highlights:

Ownership: N/A

This is an ownership group in transition, and we just don’t have enough information to give them any kind of grade.

This one seems kind of obvious. They go on to say that there is a sense of shadiness behind the sale to Moorad, as he still had a stake in the Diamondbacks. Personally, I think it’d only be appropriate if a conflict of interest blows up in our face. Nothing’s impossible.

Front Office: B-

Kevin Towers is a smart, likable guy, and currently the longest tenured GM in the game… However, there’s some serious question marks about how the team will be run going forward. With Alderson on the way out, does he take Asst. GM Paul DePodesta with him? Can Towers avoid being fired if the team struggles in 2009, especially with new ownership?

Really, not to be a bloodsucker, but it seems like they went a little soft on the front office. Towers’ legacy in San Diego speaks for itself, but he had a rough 2008. Go through our archives and you won’t see too many “Hey, we signed this guy!” articles, unless they were followed by a “Hey, we traded this guy for not a whole lot!” article. Then there’s our impossibly disappointing minor league system, the uncertainty going forward, and our general 2009 awfulness, and that B- grade seems a bit generous. 

Major League Talent: C-

Regression needs to be expected from both, and there just isn’t much in the way of run production for the Padres outside of (Gerut and Giles) and Adrian Gonzalez. Chase Headley is a solid enough young player, but when he represents the hopes of your future line-up, things aren’t great.

Fangraphs makes a potentially dubious statement in “the pitchers aren’t as good as advertised, and the hitters are a bit better than everyone thinks.” I’m not sure why the pitchers are flat-out not as good but the hitters are just kinda sorta better. Petco Park still eats statistics for breakfast. The Three-G’s all had a road OPS near .900, with Adrian topping out at .946. Only Giles made it over .800 at home. Maybe the scrub seatholders are only a bit better on the road, but I don’t like defining the team by them. 

Minor League Talent: C-

There aren’t any position prospects here that everyone loves, and the ranks of the pitching prospects are full of guys who throw 87 MPH and try to get by on smarts. It isn’t a horrible farm system, but it’s not a very good one either, and for a team in need of a talent injection, that’s a problem.

Hey, “isn’t a horrible farm system.” That’s pretty good! But seriously, this cuts to the core of this team’s problem. We can talk all day about the missing $30 million and how that’s hindering the team, but the fact remains that this team needs that $30 million because it has yet to start producing its own talent. While other teams in our league are filling out their lineups with homegrowns, the Padres have Chase Headley and Nick Hundley. And with the exception of Kyle Blanks, no one’s really close. I think this fact needs better representation in the Front Office grade.

I’ll leave you with Fangraph’s summation of this team’s fortunes going forward. Have a good weekend!

Overall: C

 If you’re a glass half full guy, you can hold onto the fact that the D’Backs were very well ran while Moorad was in Arizona, and that the front office is full of guys who could run a team well. If you’re a glass half empty guy, then you see an organization that lacks talent, has only a couple of really valuable players (two of whom have full no-trade clauses), and who plays in a division with two teams that are better, younger, and have greater revenue steams. I have a feeling that San Diego is in for some tough times ahead.

Posted in media, sacrificial links | 4 Comments »

Sacrificial Links: Flufftastic

February 12th, 2009 by

Sacrifical LinksPECOTA’S Standings (Friar Forecast)

Mr. Logan over at Friar Forecast has a nice write-up on the 2009 predictions and they’re actually not that bad. At least, coming off a season during which the Padres won only 63 games, 74 doesn’t sound so bad. Although, PECOTA isn’t quite an exact science; for 2008, it had the Padres winning 83 games. Maybe we’ll win 94 this year? Probably not, although I feel like the Padres are a couple of fortuitous breaks from contention. One such break would be the return of this man.

Prior is ready to give it one more shot; ‘I don’t want to give up,’ he says (San Diego Union-Tribune)

“Cautiously optimistic.” Those are actually Mark Prior’s words, when discussing his 2009. “If he’s healthy, and all the reports thus far are encouraging, Prior is my ace in the hole.” Those are Kevin Towers’ words, and the optimist in me prefers what Towers has to say. If Prior can at least stay on the mound for 20-some starts and hold Baek back from the third spot in the rotation, the team’s chances of success jump up.

Jake Peavy breaks his silence (Gaslamp Ball)

jbox threw up Peavy’s comments on 1090 yesterday, and they’re rather refreshing after the war Peavy and the front office waged on each other this off-season. Especially refreshing is Peavy’s denial that he ever sang “Go Cubs Go.” Ah, much better. Here’s your knife back, Jake. Sorry for the confusion.

Padres by Position (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Starting with Adrian, Blanks, and first base, Bill Center has been documenting the Padres, position-by-position (hey!). While the articles are a bit sparse, Center does a good job of covering the Padres from top to bottom. He even manages to sneak in a couple juicy nuggets, like how the Padres are looking at moving third baseman Logan Forsythe to catcher.

Best outfield arms of 2008 (The Hardball Times)

Remember when I said Brian Giles was one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, and that pushed him past Adrian as the MVPadre for 08? Well, about that- The Hardball Times has recently published numbers on outfield arms and Giles’ is unsurprisingly atrocious. He can still run them down, and he’s still worth 1.1 more wins than Adrian, so I stand by my MVPadre pick, but, uh, yeah.

Posted in media, sacrificial links, statistics | 3 Comments »

Moorad Signs on the Line

February 3rd, 2009 by

Looks like the Padres will have a new owner, Jeff Moorad. The worst news of the day is that Moorad will take over as CEO for Sandy Alderson in the next few months.

We’ve made our confidence in Alderson well known, and I have yet to learn any reason why Moorad is qualified to evaluate talent, or what his team building philosophy may be. Though we have heard about his preference for building through the draft, which is a great start, but it isn’t much of a philosophy in itself. Of course, there’s no guarantee he will be the one evaluating players or setting the philosophy, but it sure looks like a possibility.

Moores said that under terms of the deal, Moorad and his partnership will have as long as three years to buy out the controlling interest. Until then, Moores will remain the Padres’ control person, representing the club at owners’ meetings and sitting on numerous committees.

Moores said the sale value of the club, determined through a series of closings, will ultimately be more than $500 million, including debt. That means Moorad still must come up with about $165 million to close this part of the deal. Last year, Forbes Magazine valued the Padres at $385 million, 19th among the 30 Major League teams.

As far as the Padres are concerned, Moores said he’s invested $100 million in the team over the course of 14 years and has a sizeable debt service tied to the construction of PETCO Park, at a cost of $454 million.

From MLB.com

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