Padres bloggin' since 2007

Did Bill Center Start The Fake Peavy to Milwaukee Rumor?

March 26th, 2009 by

Not sure how anyone would possibly be aware of this rumor, since The Sacrifice Bunt hasn’t yet reported on it. But Brewers and Padres fans’ respective imaginations have been a buzz the past few days from news of Milwaukee’s supposed interest in trading for Jake Peavy.

The rumor seemingly stemmed from Tuesday’s report from the Union Tribune’s Bill Center:

The Milwaukee Brewers, who have plenty of offense and prospects but are short on pitching, are now said to be interested in Peavy.

Note Center’s use of the vague, unhelpful passive voice in his language. “The Brewers … are now said to be interested.” Said? Who is doing the saying here Bill? Your imagination? Your poor reporting skills?

The only other published source I can find relating to such a “rumor” comes from a Peter Gammons article published last Sunday. Gammons writes:

One reason for Billy Hall’s expected resurgence is the laser surgery he had in the offseason. “It makes all the difference,” Hall says. “I can see again.” Hall believes the Brewers will be in on Jake Peavy, when and if he goes on the market.

According to MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, this short piece of non-news was Center’s only source for the report he published quoted above. McCalvy goes on to explain that Brewers GM Doug Melvin expressly denies any conversation with the Padres regarding Peavy, and calls the rumors “disruptive”.

It’s easy to see why Center might want to be so vague in his wording, if in fact he is reporting a someone else’s published speculation as something more substantive.

It appears Center’s only source is his quest for relevance. Don’t forget: this man has a Hall of Fame vote.

Posted in controversy, hot stove | 18 Comments »

Scout.com More Optimistic About Padres System

March 25th, 2009 by

While Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus weren’t particularly kind in their relative ranking of Padres prospects, Scout.com (home of Padres prospect site Mad Friars) is enjoying a cold glass of Padres kool-aid, Melvin Nieves style.

Our Padres appear in the upper echelon of teams when considering total players on the list, with 4 prospects in the top 100. First base monster Kyle Blanks tops the Padres farm hands at 39, unfortunately a bit low to be considered “elite”. This  confirms with about everyone else that the team lacks star caliber talent.

Right field prospect Jaff Decker follows Blanks, sliding in at 46th. Center fielder of the future Cedric Hunter and high upside pitcher Mat Latos (Only one T, I’m looking at you gaslamp ball) round out the list at 71 and 80, respectively.

Kyle Blanks was the lone representative in Baseball America’s list, at 50. Latos, outfielder Kellen Kulbacki, and Dominican pitching talent Adys Portillo are on the Baseball Prospectus board at 69, 84, and 100, respectively.

There is no question the farm isn’t where I’d like it to be, but this additional source paints the system in a better place than a certain other Sacrifice Bunt writer seems to think.

List here, breakdown here.

Posted in players | 1 Comment »

Oh boy

March 20th, 2009 by

Mark Worrell, the right-handed relief pitcher with an unorthodox delivery who was acquired from St. Louis in exchange for shortstop Khalil Greene, will miss the 2009 season.

Worrell has returned to San Diego where he will have “Tommy John” elbow reconstruction surgery next Wednesday.

Reliever Worrell out for the season, needs reconstructive elbow surgery

I’m not sure what bothers me more: another Padres pitcher going down with T.J. surgery or how poorly the Khalil trade has already played out.

I think it’s the worry that the Kevin Towers we once knew and loved doesn’t exist anymore.

Posted in players | 13 Comments »

Welcome new visitors!

March 18th, 2009 by

So recently The Sac Bunt has seen a sizeable increase in first time visitors. Normally we would take this with a grain of salt as the cost of being awesome and move on.  Instead, I would prefer to do the exact opposite and ask if you kind new readers could let us know where you came from?

Not that we need anything more to brag about, but Ray thinks Peter Gammons mentioned us as one of his favorite blogs . Also I really like bragging, so just holla at us in the comments, or send a message through the contact form.

Thanks.

-Mel

Posted in misc | 8 Comments »

2 Stupid SB Related Announcements, Probably Not Worth Your Time

March 17th, 2009 by
  1. The Sacrifice Bunt was recently referred to as an “elitist Padres blog.”  I’ve never been more proud.
  2. Thanks to an unfunny joke I made in this post featuring a Mark Worrell animation, The Sacrifice Bunt is now seeing traffic from Google searches for things like “animated large boobs gif.”

That’s all I’ve got. If you’re looking for substance, you’re in the wrong place.

Posted in controversy, misc | No 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 »

“It’s impossible. It just has to be.”

March 3rd, 2009 by

Grady Fuson, if you didn’t know, is in charge of overseeing the Padres minor league system, and he recently took exception with Baseball America’s ranking of the Padres farm system as 29th best, or 2nd worst, in the league.

As we’ve discussed before, the public perception of our farm system is bleak. Along with BA, Keith Law ranked the team at 19th, and John Sickles and Baseball Prospectus were also less than enthused. But neither of them were as harsh as BA, which is where Fuson’s directed his ire.

Said Fuson: “It’s impossible. It just has to be.”

Fuson, who oversees the farm system and the draft, said the Padres belong in the Top 10, not the bottom two.

——–

“Let’s take the true Baseball America that we all know,” Fuson said Monday. “We all know that they love high school, first two rounds, and/or overpaid type players. The reality is that we are a little more selective in that group. So, in other words, we don’t take every high school guy that runs and throws, or that has a 93 mph fastball, just because he throws 93. We’re a little more selective with delivery, with a true ability on projecting some command down the road.

“When it comes to the offensive players, do I want (those) that can run and throw? You bet. But we are also very offensive-minded in our selections. With that said, I think we should be judged a little bit on the quality in the last three or fours years on the offensive players – not just the one-dimensional bangers – but with skills that can play. How can you define those guys as non-upside guys?”

Padres officials come to the defense of the organization’s farm system

One more time: “It’s impossible. It just has to be.”

I remember there was a time when it looked like the Padres were putting together an All-Star front office, with Fuson and Sandy Alderson and Paul DePodesta. I imagine it’s difficult to find anyone who would term the F.O. as an All-Star squad at this point, and Fuson’s defensiveness does nothing to help matters.

I realize that Fuson defending the minor league system is not a problem. It’s his job, afterall. And it’s good that he takes offense to BA’s dramatically low ranking, which I’m not necessarily endorsing. But top 10? Are we supposed to take Fuson seriously?

Does he actually think that the Padres have a top 10 minor league system?
Let’s assume for a second that Fuson actually believes his own non-sense. All of a sudden, I’m not comfortable with Fuson’s ability as a system builder.

From the UT article:

Fuson mentioned, among many others, Kulbacki, a left fielder who batted .332 with 20 home runs last year in 84 games with Single-A Lake Elsinore; pitcher Wynn Pelzer, a right-hander ticketed for Lake Elsinore’s rotation this year, who was 9-6 with a 3.19 ERA at Single-A Fort Wayne; and Hunter, a center fielder who batted .318 with 11 home runs in 134 games with Lake Elsinore.
“You can’t say that Kulbacki doesn’t look like an impact player,” he said. “Pelzer, this guy is smart. This is a guy that has good stuff. If Cedric Hunter’s career is Jody Gerut, that’s a pretty good big league ballplayer. I could see where somebody would say that is not impact, but that’s a pretty good big-league ballplayer.”

Moving past the craziness of comparing Cedric Hunter’s career to Jody Gerut’s injury-riddled one, Fuson sounds like a desperate man who can’t handle criticism. I’d say it’s because he can feel the ax coming, but Alderson has his back:

“Everybody sees the depth that we have in our minor league system. At this point, perhaps people don’t see one outstanding prospect. … Really, only one of our top-rated prospects had a disappointing year in any real sense, and that was Antonelli. Anybody else, like LeBlanc – we were pushing our guys to higher levels. So, that, together with the fact we had a very strong draft (in 2008) and a number of those players are ranked in our Top 10, and we had some great signings internationally – (being ranked 29th) just doesn’t make any sense. Of course, there were other publications that ranked us much higher.”

Of course, we’ve already discussed Alderson’s impending departure, but maybe his comments shed some light on an organizational content with a minor league system that is universally listed in the bottom half of the league (despite their own objection) and is so barren that the big league team is looking at Cha Seung Baek as its third starter. Afterall, it’s impossible that this team is the 29th worst in the league. It just has to be.

Posted in gripes, media | 4 Comments »

Getting Funky With Mark Worrell

March 2nd, 2009 by

One of the two players the Padres received in return for traded shortstop Khalil Greene (the other player has yet to be named), reliever Mark Worrell has quite the backstory.

Drafted in 2004, Worrell saw success in the Cardinal farm system. Throwing a fastball and slider combination with a changeup mixed in against lefties, Worrell’s 2.96 and 4.07 tRA the past two AAA seasons demonstrates promise. Unfortunately for him, the Cards only gave him 13 innings to show is stuff at the show before shipping him back to AAA for the remainder of last year.

In a recent interview, the guy comes across as more than just a little unhappy about his playing time. Every response, regardless of the actual subject, seems to conclude with, “…and screw the Cardinals!”

I have to say it’s refreshing to see that kind of blatant honesty.

DM: You have an interesting delivery. How did your submarine delivery come about?

MW: I would drop down on occasions and as I grew older I realized how uncomfortable batters were when I did drop down. So I just stuck to it and guys aren’t squaring the ball against me. Look at the average against me. My average against left-handed batters opposed to right-handed batters is lower. I have done everything they have asked of me; I’ve worked hard on and off the field, like I said, and it is a little bit frustrating. Actually, it’s not a little but very frustrating.

So, about that submarine delivery. If I had to guess, I would say it was his unique delivery that held the right-hander from a meaningful opportunity from the Cards. They’re a traditional organization that has been less welcoming to submariners.

I had only heard reports on the funkyness of Mark’s delivery, until I was recently pointed toward a video showing the pitcher in action. I broke with my usual routine of making animated bouncing boob .GIFs to slow down and demonstrate Worrell’s delivery for maximum seeability.

Something about these animations pulls me in and hypnotizes my brain for a good few minutes.

My favorite frame:

Mark Worrell

You can see how well Worrell hides the ball, how his body seems further ahead in the delivery motion than his arm, and just how goofy he looks. A plus on all accounts in my book.

Mark Worrell delivery

I definitely look forward to seeing what Worrell can accomplish given an opportunity, and would love to read more of his fantastic interviews. Except he isn’t allowed to get angry at the Padres. That’s the fans’ job.

Thanks to PadreFanForever for the first video, and Padre beat writer Corey Brock for the second. I hope someone more familiar with pitching mechanics than I can leave some thoughts in the comments.

Posted in players, spring training | 6 Comments »

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