Padres bloggin' since 2007

Dear Jeff Moorad (02/27/09)

February 27th, 2009 by

Sign Orlando Cabrera. Or give Towers the funds he needs to sign Cabrera.

Actually, let me start by saying that I have no idea how this works. That is to say, whether or not you have the authority to do what it is I’m asking. Maybe you don’t, but maybe you do. I’m going to operate under the belief that you do.

It’s already the end of February and Cabrera is still available (I fully anticipate Cabrera signing elsewhere within 48 hours of this posting). Much of this might have to do with his ranking as a Type-A free agent. But MLB might have our backs with this one, as it has ok’d a sign-and-trade policy for Type-A’s. And although we have the third pick overall in the draft, meaning that we wouldn’t have to give up our first-round pick, we might want to hang onto our second-round pick, which will likely be in the 30s. As an added bonus, if Cabrera maintains his Type-A status next off-season and the Padres sign him to a one-year deal, he could net us a first round pick in the 2010 draft.

Now, Cabrera is not the hitter that Khalil Greene once was, but neither was Khalil. Cabrera might be the epitome of a field first-hit never shortstop, but he was still a top SS in 2008 worth 3.7 wins. This is due, in large part, to Cabrera being the defender everybody thought Khalil was. Last season, Cabrera had the highest UZR/150 of all qualified shortstops at 16.4. That’s 2.9 runs better than next best Jimmy Rollins and 25.8 runs better than Khalil. Fangraphs rated Cabrera’s 2008 season as being worth $16.6 million, the same as Derek Jeter, and we could probably get him for less than $5 million.

There are, of course, reasons not to sign Cabrera, aside from the money issue. The first reason being Luis Rodriguez.

(Author’s Note: I actually stepped away from this article for a couple of hours to reflect and this is what I came up with.)

I say that Rodriguez is a reason because he is penciled in as the team’s starting shortstop, keeping it from being a literal hole. Unfortunately, that is the only capacity in which he is a reason not to acquire Cabrera (or any other shortstop, for that matter). Rodriguez is Deivi Cruz Jr. And for all you Mel Gibsons out there, the reason we moved into Petco was so the Luis Rodriguezes of the world wouldn’t get 400 at-bats. And while Rodriguez hasn’t yet reached the 400 mark, there is no one else who looks like they could jump in. Save for Grant Green being drafted and coming up mid-July, and we need to get our fingers crossed there.

A second reason to not sign Orlando Cabrera is that shortstop isn’t actually the team’s biggest weak spot, believe it or not. After Peavy and Young, the final three rotation spots are up for grabs with only Cha Seung Baek looking to have locked down a job. After that, we’re looking at some sort of combination of Mark Prior, Kevin Correia, Josh Geer, Wade LeBlanc, and others. With pitchers like Pedro Martinez and Odalis Perez still floating around, maybe any added money would be better off going to them. If not, the team should think about scrapping the idea of starting pitchers entirely and just employ 10 or 11 relievers. But this letter is about Cabrera, so let’s focus.

I’m going to risk my cred as a stat geek right now and say that one final reason to grab Orlando Cabrera is that he’s been there before. Granted, we already have Eckstein and Floyd to teach the kids what it’s like to win, but you can never have too much veteran leadership. Just look what Maddux did for this team last year! But in all seriousness, I’d rather have Cabrera sitting next to Adrian on the bench, whispering sweet nothings into his ear, than Luis Rodriguez.

I’ll leave you, Mr. Moorad, with this: Manny just turned down a $45 million deal from the Dodgers. Cabrera would only cost $5 million. Think about it.

Posted in dear jeff moorad | 5 Comments »

2009 Spring Training Uniform Crazy

February 25th, 2009 by

Well, the baseball season is officially under way. I’m back after a some time off from The Bunt in an attempt to write the quality content I brag so much about yet only rarely deliver.

Let’s kick off this hardcore analysis with everyone’s favorite subject that only serious blogs dare cover: uniforms.

Most jersey buffs are aware the Padres 2004 uniform overhaul pretty much ripped off the Brewers’ colors and design, which made their debut in 2000.

I don’t know how long this has been going on, but it appears the Brew Crew has since returned the favor. Shots of Milwaukee’s spring training / batting practice jerseys show a striking similarity to the 2005-2006 Padres spring duds, also known as the awesomest, most unique and still somehow good looking uniforms known to man. So much for that distinctiveness. Either way, I love the way that drop shadow pops against the dark colored jersey.

M. Update: Thanks to the result’s of Ray’s actual research (as opposed to my hard hitting guesswork), I’ve learned that we stole the BP design  from the Brewers too.  :(

Anyway, I might make it to spring training this year for the first time since the Padres warmed up for the season in Yuma. My kiddie cuteness may not earn special privelages nowadays, but I figure I can just tell people to get out of my way, I’m an important blogger. They’re bound to respect that.

Posted in spring training | 2 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 »

“I’m Matt (funkin) Bush”

February 6th, 2009 by

And with that, a dark chapter in Padres history has come to a close.

Yesterday, news of the release of Matt Bush, to make room for free agent Cliff Floyd (whose acquisition I like), came down with a chorus of WTFs. How could Bush and his 95 MPH fastball get cut over the Joe Thatchers of the 40 man roster? Last night, we found out why:

El Cajon police Lt. Steve Shakowski yesterday confirmed an investigation involving Bush and allegations of assaultive behavior and public intoxication. A witness, who requested his name not be used because of the ongoing police investigation, said Bush was drunk, threw a golf club into the dirt, picked up and threw a freshman lacrosse player and hit another one. Bush also yelled “I’m Matt (expletive) Bush,” and “(expletive) East County,” before driving over a curb in his Mercedes when leaving the campus, according to the witness.

Padres cut ties with Matt Bush

As you might remember, Bush’s Padre career began under similar circumstances when, less than two weeks after he was made the number one pick overall, he was arrested outside of a Peoria bar. He followed this up with a short stint as a terrible shortstop, ending his offensive career with an OBP and SLG both below .300. 

Bush finally provided reason for confidence when the team moved him to the mound. A pitcher in high school, Bush was clocked at 95 and struck out 16 in 7.2 innings, before the team shut him down with a torn ligament in his pitching elbow. After sitting out the entire 2008 season, this was to be the year that Bush started making good on his highest of high draft pick. But now, he’ll have to do that on another team.

I literally feel uncomfortable discussing Matt Bush. The team has done so much to distance themselves from his pick, which has to be at the top of the list of low points for the team. Grady Fuson and Sandy Alderson came onboard to solidify the team’s decision making after they passed on Justin Verlander, Jered Weaver, and Stephen Drew in the 2004 draft. The team went discount when they chose Matt Bush and they’ve paid for it.

Of course, Alderson’s now gone, but his replacement might be the silver lining to this story.

It was Jeff Moorad’s Diamondbacks who made Justin Upton the number one pick in the 2005 draft, and Moorad has a reputation for being aggressive in the draft, getting praise from Scott Boras, of all people, who said:

“Jeff believes in going after draft picks,” said agent Scott Boras, a former rival of Moorad’s whose yearly stable of future clients includes several players chosen in the first round. “You’ve got to remember: Jeff cut his teeth in the baseball business representing draft players.”

Moorad would boost strength in draft

Since Moorad took over, the Diamondbacks have used their first round picks on Upton, Max Scherzer, Jarrod Parker, and Dan Schlereth. Upton and Scherzer have already become productive members of the major league team, while Parker is a top 20 prospect in baseball, and Schlereth has jumped to the top of Arizona’s system. The Padres have had less luck in the past four years, with none of their four picks scheduled to begin the season in San Diego.

This is especially promising, as the Padres have the third pick in the 2009 draft. With Grant Green or Alex White dropping to the Padres spot, it’s likely that the team will have Matt Bush looking over their shoulder, even if he’s not in the system anymore. But using this pick wisely might help to finally brush him off.

Ray Update: Bush has been traded to the Blue Jays for a PTBNL.

Posted in hot stove | 2 Comments »


February 5th, 2009 by

From Steve Zaillian, writer of “Schindler’s List,” and Steven Soderbergh, director of “Traffic,” comes Michael Lewis’ Moneyball.

Starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane.

Now, granted, only Zaillian is officially signed on. And we don’t know that Pitt’s going for the Beane role (although it seems like a safe bet), but this is some serious OMG news.

I hope DePodesta, who Alderson doesn’t expect to follow him out the door, mentions something about this on his blog. Hopefully he can give us a casting scoop on who’s going to play him.

Posted in media, misc | 1 Comment »

You and me are done professionally, man.

February 3rd, 2009 by

I don’t mean to step on Melvin’s toes, but I feel the need to address Sandy’s dismissal myself.

As Mel documented, John Moores is no longer the owner of the San Diego Padres and, in a matter of time, Sandy Alderson will no longer be the team’s CEO. Despite my earlier requests that Sandy be kept on board, I welcome this changing of the guard with open arms.

Plain and simply, my patience has run out.

I have a handful of complaints, leaving out the 99 loses and bleak outlook for 09, that include Alderson’s work as an ambassador to the Padres community and the draft.

I should start by saying that Alderson’s reaching out to the local radio station was a noble effort. Unfortunately, Alderson often came off as prickly and condescending, torpedoing that noble effort. It seemed to create a divide between the people selling the tickets and the people buying the tickets and, coincidentally or not, the team may sell less than two million tickets in 09, a fifteen year low.

And, of course, there is Trevor Hoffman.

There are no heroes or villains in the story of the end of Hoffman’s Padre career. From everything that we know, which admittedly could be nothing, all parties did their part to severe the relationship. Except the fans, who were left playing the role of the children of a bitter divorce, after a year in which the team dropped 99 games, and were tormented with talks of trading the team ace.

If nothing else, this offseason has been exhausting.

Then there’s the draft.

This is likely (probably) cherry-picking, but it’s also legitimate. As we’ve discussed already, the system is lacking in impact talent in the higher levels, with Kyle Blanks and (hopefully) Matt Antonelli looking like the only potential big league starters scheduled for Portland this year. There is more talent the further down you get, especially when you go way down, but they’re years away from contributing.

When you look at the 2008 team, the only homegrown player who came up in the Alderson era and really contributed was Chase Headley. And while Nick Hundley, Paul McAnulty, and Will Venable did chip in, Headley is the only true everyday player generated by this system. And outside the aforementioned Blanks and Antonelli, there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot coming soon.

This takes us back to patience. Alderson has had four years with our San Diego Padres and the seeds he’s helped plant (and the “helped” part is an important distinction) are still years away from bearing fruit. That would seem to mean that this team still has a couple of years left throwing dinner parties during its home remodeling.

At some point, you have to ask when enough is going to enough. And it would seem to be now.

R. EDIT: It’s been brought to my attention that Blanks was drafted in 04, before Alderson came onboard. Make of that what you will.

Posted in misc | 1 Comment »

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.


Posted in sacrificial links | 2 Comments »

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