Padres bloggin' since 2007

Mark Prior: The Big Baby

December 31st, 2007 by

If you’re enough of a fan to read this blog you’ve heard the news: the Padres signed Mark Prior for ~$1 million guaranteed.

My take? It’s a million bucks! We’re talking less than Geoff Blum’s 2004 salary here, worst case scenario. Best case scenario is he’s available, and we’ll pay a bit more. That works too.

Lining up a few low risk, high reward guys like Prior and Wolf improve your chances of striking it rich. The downside is that shortsighted “fans” make “cheap” accusations. Nothing new there, yet by avoiding the free agent market the Padres have stayed consistent contenders since the Petco era began. (edit: current Padres resigned don’t count, obviously)

There are a ton of opinions thrown around about high profile guys like Mark Prior. If you’re like me, you tend to ignore a lot of them. Most high profiled opinions are thrown out to attract attention, not necessarily to provide analysis. It seems their weight is inversely proportional to the noise they create.

So if you’re looking for some depth into Prior’s career, you’re not alone. I’ll provide some a bit of background for your perusal.

Mark Prior
Picture © Scott Ableman

Draft

Though the touted best player available in the 2001 draft, the Twins made the controversial selection of Joe Mauer as the first pick overall, likely due to Prior’s signability concerns. Prior was selected second by the Cubs, a move to which the irony of history is not lost.

Injuries And Crap

Mark Prior’s nine career trips to disabled list began July of his flagship 2003 season, after a collision with Marcus Giles of the Braves. He missed only three starts, and blew away hitters that year to the tune we’ve all heard a few more times than necessary. Suffice it to say he threw a fantastic year.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Although You’ll Have To Explain About Batting Average

December 24th, 2007 by

There comes a time when sitting around your Aunt and Uncle’s dining room table when you’ll realize the Mitchell Report or Kosuke Fukudome are easy topics to discuss that won’t piss anyone off.

Lest we forget, players aren’t our family and friends. Not to sound crude, but baseball is merely a tool. My motivation to follow sports hasn’t changed since attending Padres games at a few months of age. Baseball brings us together.

One piece of advice: hold it in on the topic of batting average. Explaining the value of getting on base and park effects and all that jazz isn’t worth it.

Ray and I wish everyone the best.

Posted in misc | 1 Comment »

I am so smart, S-M-R-T

December 14th, 2007 by

Walk with me, won’t you, down memory lane.

It was but three days ago when all hope in Padresland seemed lost. The coveted Kosuke Fukudome chose the Chicago Cubs over us, leaving our 2008 season in jeopardy. In response to this, your’s truly wrote:

Jim Edmonds

Hollywood Jim could be a classic turnaround story. He’s already on the team’s radar and if he’s as healthy as he says he is, why not? If he bounces back to an average player by his standards, he’ll still be a middle of the lineup guy.

Why not indeed.

The Padres have agreed to a trade that will bring them center fielder Jim Edmonds, a 37-year-old who has won eight Gold Gloves.

After negotiations with Cameron were called off, the Padres acquired Edmonds for prospect David Freese.

Like I said a couple days ago, if he’s as healthy as he says he is, Edmonds could compliment the Z-Boys (© R. Lankford) [Kouzmanoff and Gonzalez] quite nicely.

The flip side to this joyousness, however, is the departure of Mike Cameron. For two seasons, Cameron patrolled Petco Park like no one before him, solidifying what may be the most crucial defensive position in that park. I hope to be in Petco for his first game back so I can show him my gratitude in person.

Thank you, Mike.

Posted in hot stove, players | 1 Comment »

My Girlfriend Had Thoughts

December 13th, 2007 by

…so you know something big happened.

The Mitchell Report is out. Names were named. Insanely long .pdfs were skimmed over. Some “I told you so”s were I told you so’ed.  Everyone has an opinion. The perennial dark cloud saw some light.Perhaps unexpectedly, Ray and I saw more clouds part today than storm up.

If it is to be believed that the big names on the list are it–then baseball appears to have successfully moved on. We now enjoy players like Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez represent the continued success of our major past time. The current crop of superstars are leading the charge past the steroids era.

I have more faith in baseball after this report than I did after the Extra Innings catastrophe. At least then, the league was active rather than passive in screwing the fans. But some how, Major League Baseball has built a bridge to the next generation of the game. I’m ready baby. Ready like a fox.
PS Holy hell what’s with this style, I sound like a newspaper columnist

Posted in controversy | 1 Comment »

We’re Fuk-ed

December 11th, 2007 by

No, not really. But that’s a hard headline to pass up.

The Union-Tribune is reporting that the Padres have lost out on Fukudome.

The Padres found out Tuesday night that they lost out in their bid for Japanese outfielder Kosuke Fukudome. The star outfielder is headed to the Cubs.

The Padres, rating Fukudome as the prime piece to their offseason plans, bid more than $10 million per season as part of a guarantee of at least three years. It was the most the club had offered a non-Padre since tendering a $55 million to $60 million proposal nine years ago to pitcher Kevin Brown, who chose to accept more than $100 million from the Dodgers.

While it would have been nice to have Fukudome, I’m almost relieved we didn’t get him. His centerfielding ability got a less than stellar review from Trey Hillman and his offensive ability does not project to be a player that would warrant the money the team was offering him. And considering we don’t know if he’ll be Hideki or Kaz, we may have just dodged a bullet.

Of course, we still have a hole in center and the options left on the market are dwindling. With that in mind, I propose three options the team could look into:

Mike Cameron

Yes, he’ll be suspended for the first month. And he usually takes a month to get his swing going, so he’ll be worthless until June. But he knows this team and he knows this ballpark and we know what we’ll be getting from him. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t type of deal. Not to suggest that Cameron is the/a devil, but you get the idea.

That, and he’s got style.

Jim Edmonds

Hollywood Jim could be a classic turnaround story. He’s already on the team’s radar and if he’s as healthy as he says he is, why not? If he bounces back to an average player by his standards, he’ll still be a middle of the lineup guy.

Matt Antonelli

Whaaaaaaaat?

I really can’t back this up (because I can’t find the link) but I recall reading Fuson or one of those guys say that Antonelli is such a gifted athlete that he might be able to handle center. Since second is such an easy position to fill, why don’t we at least find out?

Melvin Nieves to the Rescue: Tom Krasovic special from June, 2006:

The Padres are intrigued about his potential in center field. Antonelli’s foot speed, Fuson said, warrants a 70 on a scouting scale that tops out at 80, and center field is a thin position within the system.

I have a feeling this is a reference to a scouting report published elsewhere. I also haven’t heard anything about Antonelli in center more recently. I think it could make sense, but it’s quite the impossible call to make without much working knowledge of the guy.

We tend to hang our hats on these throwaway sentences without any background a bit too much, in my opinion.

Melvin’s unhelpfully vague suggestion:

Corner Power Guy / All D No Bat Guy

Grab a Willy Taveras type in center, then make up the power and obp loss in left. This might mean Chase Headley or Kevin Kouzmanoff, or it could involve dealing Headley for someone like Jason Bay.

You hate to trade the young, homegrown Headley, so signing Geoff Jenkins might make sense as a backup plan. Headley could spell Jenkins, Giles, and Kouzmanoff if he is even deemed ready for the bigs.

Posted in hot stove, players | 4 Comments »

Well Shit

December 9th, 2007 by

Thanks to Geoff Young at the venerable Ducksnorts, who’s on the ball instead of busy with Mario Galaxy:

Milton Bradley is gone. On Thursday, the Padres were optimistic that they’d retain his services, but now it appears that the Texas Rangers have swooped in and grabbed him.

We need a plan.

Posted in hot stove, players | 1 Comment »

5 More Reasons To Keep Mike Cameron

December 8th, 2007 by

In response to the UT’s “5 Reasons To Keep and 5 Reasons To Let Mike Cameron Go” to which no writer apparently wants to take credit for, The Sacrifice Bunt is here to provide 5 additional equally credible reasons to keep Mike Cameron.

1. Batting gloves (or lack thereof) Think back on some of the greatest players of all-time: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays. Did any of them wear batting gloves? No. This can’t be a coincidence. There’s something to it, but no one on the Padres seems to take notice. That is, of course, except for Cameron. As a modest player, Cameron knows better than to constantly shove his excellence in the face of his opponents. That’s why he saves his batting glovelessness for special occassions, like Jackie Robinson Day:

Not only is it a sign that Cameron’s a player on another level than the rest, but it looks cool. And we know how important style is.

2. Old, beat up glove

Take a look at these pictures and tell me what you notice:

That’s right, Cameron’s very photogenic when he ranges to his left. And he’s had the same glove his whole career. That kind of loyalty is very rare these days, making it ironic if the Padres let Cameron walk.

3. Spring Training Photos

I’m getting kind of worried that this is going to turn into a photo essay, so I’m going to refrain from using any actual photos here. Go to Google and look around for some pictures of Cameron at Spring Training. Then come back here and thank us.

4. Off-center Hat

More so than any other, baseball is a sport about style. The players have become so stylish that they’re breaking the rules. Unfortunately for us, there aren’t a lot of Padres concerned with doing it big. The best we’ve got is Bard using that red bat every now and then. That is, of course, except for Cameron. Along with his long pant legs and general swagger, Cameron’s hat, worn just to the right, added a bit of excitement that is otherwise missing at Petco Park.

5. Ray Lankford Comparison

We’re well aware that Towers called the Lankford-for-Woody deal the worst trade he ever made, but did you realize that Lankford posted an OPS+ of 132 the year he became a Padre at the age of 34? That’s not bad. And for his efforts, Poppa Ray was named the fourth most similar batter to Mike Cameron this season. If that’s not a sign, I don’t know what is.

This UT post previously made fun of at Friar Forecast.

Ok you really need to see these spring training photos:

Mike Cameron

Mike Cameron 2

This article included contributions from Melvin Nieves

Posted in players, the funny | 3 Comments »

The Ruler’s Back

December 7th, 2007 by

Padres Set To Bring Back Bradley (Padres.com)

The $4 million includes a discount for stepping on Mikey C’s foot.

Bradley suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the final week of the regular season after a much-publicized run-in with umpire Mike Winters, though Kevin Towers has been told by Bradley’s agent that he will be ready on or near Opening Day, though May 1 may be a more realistic date.

Quite the little fireball of a sentence here, what caught my eye was the section in italics (mine). Since there was no quote, who suspects him back on May first, Towers or MLB.com writer Corey Brock?

Not so fast says Tom Krasovic via agent Sam Levinson in a UT update:

“We do not have an agreement with the San Diego Padres,” said Bradley’s agent, Sam Levinson, this afternoon.

Levinson said he doubts a deal will get done today, but that the Padres are “high on Milton’s list.”

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you know what he’s capable of. Humor me though, and read this: Bradley’s Runs Created / 27 last year was 8.24. He barely missed the qualifying mark at 244 PAs, but had he made 250, to his north would sit Hanley Ramirez with Ryan Howard just below.

Also if you’re visiting The Sac Bunt, you probably have an opinion on both his injury history and, shall we say his “energy”.

When it comes to injuries, there always seems to be action behind the scenes that changes the landscape, though we tend to ignore that and develop our own conclusions. I’m going to cop out and not even share an opinion, considering there isn’t much I could say that is any more than a guess. His agent says he lost 15 pounds. Sounds good to me, lets get going and see what happens.

What I will say is that I would love even 350 Milton Bradley Brand PAs for my $4 million. With extra stare downs please. Speaking of which, why is it that most Padres articles from those who actually speak to the guy defend him?

And if you need even one more reason to like the deal, here it is. Nobody knows who UT writer Alan Droz is, suffice it to say his stuff has been a goldmine for unintended comedy:

So the Padres grab another marginal-type player on the cheap and hope he’s an upgrade. Bradley is a switch-hitter, but that’s not a big boost; so is Jose Cruz Jr. (right now one of the Padres’ three best outfielders). Because switch-hitters will bat left-handed most of the time, Petco Park negates that power.

More laughs to come, baby.

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12-6 Sacrificial Links

December 6th, 2007 by

MB’s Top 30 Prospects (Friar Forecast)

Didn’t expect 2007 pick Kellen Kulbacki as early as 10, but who doesn’t love a high ceiling guy with a ton of power? You didn’t miss his admission that lists like these are mostly attention grabbers anyway, did you?

Matt Eddy’s Top 10 Padres Prospects (Baseball America)

Eddy points out that Kyle Blanks is the only Padres draftee not taken by the new regime’s VP of scouting Grady Fuson. I haven’t seen Steve Garrison, named at number 6 mentioned so high before. He came over with Will Inman, who landed in spot 7, in the Linebrink deal. Man, I love prospects.

Did stolen bases really hurt us last season? (sdpadsfan1)

New Padres Blog! I’m down with the attention paid to using facts to investigate a hypothesis. It’s a tough job, there’s lots to consider when analyzing raw data. Note to sdpadsfan1 blog readers: Don’t forget, catchers have no control over how fast a pitcher delivers the pitch.

Major League Baseball Rule 5 Draft

So much for trading with Tampa for the top spot and grabbing center fielder Brian Barton, as rumored. Carlos Guevara and two others joined the Padres organization in the draft, and cost $50,000 a piece. They must stay on the 25 man roster all year, or offered back to their original team for $25,000.

“He’s got a great screwball, a great strikeout-to-walk ratio and is a guy who has nailed it at about every level,” Padres general manager Kevin Towers said of the 25-year-old who was 1-2 with a 2.32 ERA for Double-A Chattanooga last season, with 87 strikeouts in 62 innings.

Ray’s update: What’s the opposite of “Yosshaa”? (The Newberg Report)

And yet I could have made it through the weekend just fine without seeing this in a San Diego Union-Tribune article: “If [Kosuke] Fukudome chooses the Padres, he must adapt to an extreme pitcher’s ballpark, yet will draw less scrutiny than he would in Chicago. Former Padres reliever Akinori Otsuka, who retained a San Diego residence after the club traded him to Texas, recommended the Padres to Fukudome.”

Disappointing. Really disappointing.

We’ve been hearing about how our old friend Aki has recommended San Diego to Fukudome for a while now, but I never really thought about it from Texas’ point of view. If Heath Bell told someone we were going after that the Mets were a great team to play for, I guess I’d be a little upset. Except news that the Rangers are looking at Fukudome is news to me. Granted, I’ve gone back and seen that they’ve had “serious interest” in him, but what does that even mean? The Padres constantly have “serious interest” in players that they have no intention of actually signing. And if something like this slips past nerds like me/us, what are the chances that Aki is keeping up to date?

On top of that, Newberg writes almost 600 words in-between Fukudome mentions but comes back to finish his article with this:

Righthander Travis Hughes signed with Japan’s Yokohama BayStars.

Maybe Hughes can somehow get the word to Kosuke Fukudome that he’d attract less scrutiny in Texas than he would in Chicago, and that he’d get to adapt to an extreme hitters’ yard here.

Disappointed in Aki.

Stream of consciousness is something I’ve always felt missing in baseball blogs, so this is good to see.

Posted in sacrificial links | 2 Comments »

Say hello to the bad guy

December 3rd, 2007 by

In case you haven’t heard, the Padres and Peavy are close to an extension that would keep him in San Diego through 2012. It’s a glorious day, with root beer raining down from the heavens. But why am I not happy? Most other Padre fans are. We’re locking up our ace through his prime years for about $16.6M a season. That’s a steal, not a deal.

You may recall how Alex Rodriguez, poster boy for big time contracts, chose the same day as game 4 of the World Series to let everyone know that he was opting out of his contract with the Yankees. It was a non-story in the end, as Rodriguez re-signed with New York, but many in the media saw it as a shameless move by a blatant self-promoter. Among those who voiced their displeasure with Rodriguez was the incomparable Peter Gammons. During his deconstruction of A-Rod, Gammons threw out this tasty nugget:

If you go back to 1985, and I haven’t gone back any further than that, there hasn’t been one team that’s won the World Series with one player who’s made more than 16% of the team’s payroll. This isn’t basketball. This is baseball, where the money gets spread out and it’s about 25 guys and a team concept. And that notion that one star [can get you there]—it’s a great idea if you want to lead Entertainment Tonight or Sports Center, but it doesn’t always do a lot of good when it comes to win world championships.

Manny Ramirez, the highest paid player on the champion Boston Red Sox, made $17M. That’s only 12% of his team’s payroll. But the Red Sox payroll was at $143M, so what does that have to do with Peavy and the Padres?

The Padres are not the Red Sox.

Peavy might be Manny Ramirez but what I said right there is still true. Can the Padres afford to put so much of their money in one player? This year’s payroll was $58M, down from almost $70M last season. For argument’s sake, let’s say the payroll gets kicked up to $80M by the time Peavy starts cashing $16.6M checks. Almost 21% of this team’s payroll will go directly to him. Assuming that Mr. Gammons was careful with his fact checking, and that something not happening for 20 years constitutes it not being a coincidence, we’re not going to win the World Series until 2013.

I don’t hate this deal. I think there is something to be said about making a big splash. I think it’ll help calm the fans down and show the more outspoken members of the team, like Peavy, that this team is committed to winning. But it’s hard for me to shake the feeling that it’s no different than saying that So-and-so who never walks and hits for no power is valuable because he hustles and gets his jersey dirty and all the other clichés that are out there.

In other words, this is an Eric Owens extension.

Posted in hot stove, players | 3 Comments »

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