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Padres nab Craig Italiano, Ryan Webb, and PTBNL for Scott Hairston

July 5th, 2009 by

29 years old and a season far better than anything he’s done before, now is the time to trade Scott Hairston. Saying he’ll never put together 600s PAs even 30 wOBA points less than where he is right now would be risky, so I’ll keep that thought to myself. Wait.

The party line goes that the trade makes room for Will Venable, Tony Gwynn, and Kyle Blanks, if you count Blanks playing right field as “room”. The team also lacks high upside pitching in the minors, though relievers don’t have near the value of starters.

The Italiano and Webb nitty gritty

Peak Adjusted ERA tRA+
Craig Italiano 4.85 93
Ryan Webb 4.10 120

The players themselves are the kind of young, high upside power arms the system lacks, though neither project as a starter.

Craig Italiano is a 22 year old fireballing lefty who sits at 95 but can touch 97-98 occasionally, stuck due to injuries in advanced-A Stockton. His peak adjusted era is an unimpressive 4.85 this season, corroborated by a 93 tRA+ on the year. He misses bats like a champ though, striking out about 10 per 9 innings on his career, but with control problems which might be caused by a max effort delivery. Here’s a great scouting report from last year.

I get the feeling A’s fans are tired of hearing about his potential but not hearing much in the way of results. Such is the life of high upside / high reward, yout take the bad with the good.

Ryan Webb is a 23 year old in triple-A Sacramento who strikes out fewer batters but shows better control, and a lot more in the way of actual success on the field. He shows  a decent peak adjusted era at 4.10, and an solid 120 tRA+. Perhaps less upside, but more assurances.

The devil’s in the part we don’t know yet (also the details)

Corey Brock reports:

Towers sounded excited about the player to be named in the deal. He said he’ll pick from two pitchers sometime this month to determine who it is. Towers said one pitcher has Major League service time. That player could end up the key to the deal.

Ever notice how people always say, “The key will be the player to be named,” then the player is announced as a footnote in a story about someone’s new dog?

Towers said the deal with the A’s came about in the past day, when A’s general manager Billy Beane contacted him in the eighth inning of Saturday’s game against the Dodgers. Towers had another deal in place, but after talking to Beane, he decided to jump on that deal instead.

The mystery man could be the biggest name in the bunch. I doubt these two exceed the value of the rumored Jonathan Sanchez trade because here’s the thing: why did this deal have to happen right now?

Maybe Towers wanted the deal done before the teams involved fell out of contention. But why the last place A’s? And why not play Brian Sabean and Billy Beane of the Giants against each other? It’s not like Towers was running out of time.

I think Towers can be believed when he says he is excited about the player to be named. I speculate that one of the two options is likely on the DL, since Towers is so explicit in saying when the deal will be completed.

Get to the point, Melvin

I like the thought, though the execution seems strange. The trade didn’t have, to happen right now, the only reason for firing quickly would be to do it before a regression, though I bet someone like Billy Beane knows one is likely.

There’s speculation the third player is Sean Gallagher, currently on the DL. If it is, he’s the centerpiece of the trade and 6 years of him are what the Padres want in a deal like this, though Dave Cameron disagrees.

If the third player isn’t somebody of Gallagher’s caliber, count me as stumped.

Posted in hot stove | 3 Comments »

Why is Adrian starting?

July 2nd, 2009 by

On Tuesday night, Adrian Gonzalez, aka Far and Away the Best Player on the Padres, had to leave the game after the fourth inning after he strained his right knee on a slide into third.

On Wednesday night, Adrian Gonzalez, aka Far and Away the Best Player on the Padres, was back in the starting lineup.


Let’s take a step back. On May 22nd, in another base-running mishap, Jake Peavy hurt his ankle. Five days later, on May 27th, Peavy was back out there anyway, giving up four earned in six plus against the Diamondbacks while only striking out five. He would start two more games, the flu-ridden debacle against the Phillies and a strong start against those same Diamondbacks, before being shut down for months, maybe even the entire season, with a longitudinal tearing in the posterior tibialis tendon. The severity of the injury caught both Peavy and the team off guard, which explains how a star pitcher can be handled so nonchalantly. One would hope that if the Padres had to do it all over again, they’d give Peavy’s ankle more time to build back its strength.

Cue Adrian.

Following the recent days off for Ryan Howard and Justin Morneau, Adrian became the active consecutive games leader. As of the writing of this article, Adrian has played in 284 consecutive games, which leads him 21 games behind Steve Garvey’s Padre record. Garvey, one of the four San Diego Padres worthy of having his number retired. From where I’m sitting, which is in my mother’s basement, something doesn’t seem right. Is risking Adrian’s long-term health worth this streak, if that’s what this is about? And if it’s not, what is it about?

As we’ve been over, this is not the season to be calling out all the stops. I would imagine that Adrian doesn’t want to come out of the lineup, but he’s not supposed to want to come out. That’s when Bud Black is supposed to take a step back, realize that he has the team’s number one prospect who also so happens to be a first baseman just sitting around, and make the best big picture decision.

Of course, to be fair, my mother’s basement doesn’t have all the answers. There’s many nuances that go into running a baseball team that I don’t know. I just have a bad feeling about this.

Posted in gripes | 3 Comments »

Melvin joins the Padres

July 1st, 2009 by

Melvin was in San Diego on Monday and Tuesday meeting with Padres team officials, including general manager Kevin Towers.

It’s not known if Melvin — relieved of his duties May 8 after spending the past four-plus seasons in Arizona — will be an advisor to Towers or a consultant.

Melvin slated to accept job with Padres

Congratulations, Mel! It’s always great to see a fan make his way from his mama’s basement to the front office, but it’s doubly great to see the man I started this blog with do it. I’m not sure I understand what they mean by ‘four-plus seasons in Arizona’ but oh well – tell Towers I say “wazzup!”


I now understand that the Padres hired Bob Melvin, former Diamondbacks manager. This simultaneously makes more sense and not a lot of sense. I apologize for the confusion.

Posted in hot stove | 3 Comments »

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