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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.

Posted in sacrificial links | 1 Comment »

“I don’t know if we need to do a lot this winter”

September 25th, 2009 by

…Says Kevin Towers.

A quick look at the Padres’ Pythagorean win-loss record indicates otherwise. It measures team performance more accurately than regular win-loss by using runs scored and runs allowed. The Padres Pythagorean record puts them at 63-90. Paints a different picture than their current actual 70-83 record, huh?

Also: the pitchers as a whole have an 84 ERA+!

Shout out to Gaslamp Ball.

Posted in misc | 15 Comments »

Paradise Found Again?

September 25th, 2009 by

During this past offseason, I wrote an article suggesting that the Padres bring back Milton Bradley. I didn’t need much more evidence than his performance over the 2007-08 seasons. Unfortunately, before I could hit the Publish button, Bradley was off the market, signing a three-year deal with the Cubs.

I, of course, bring it up because he’s back on the market and the Padres have been brought up as a team of interest by both Buster Olney and John Heyman. While such rumors need to be taken with grains of salt, it does raise the question:

Do we want Milton Bradley back?

The first thing we need to address is that corner outfield is not a hole on this team. With Headley, Blanks, and Venable, the team would seem to be set. Where they’re not set is centerfield. While Gwynn, Jr. has been dependable in the field, his hitting leaves a lot to be desired, which would seem to explain Venable starting game after game out there. Unfortunately, while he’s been hitting, Venable has not shown the range you want out of the position (-17.6 UZR/150 in limited time).

The second thing we need to address is Milton Being Milton. Before insulting his way out of Chicago, he went after an announcer in Texas and prompted a season ending Rock Bottom from Bud Black here. It’s not a question of if something will happen but when, and how bad. But while we can only hypothesize about what happens behind closed doors, Ron Washington has said that he would welcome Bradley back to Texas and the Padres offered Bradley a contract following his injury shortened 2007 season, both suggesting that Bradley left these bridges intact.

Then there are the leftover concerns, such his injury history and the two year commitment the team would have to take on. But here’s how I see it:

The Padres do not need Milton Bradley for 2010.

As I said, there’s really nowhere to put him. Assuming that Headley moves either to third base or to another team, that leaves left field for Blanks and right field for Venable, and Bradley can’t play center. But Venable hasn’t shown that he can either, but that hasn’t stopped the team from running him out there everyday. Now, ideally, this offseason sees the Padres trading for a center fielder in the tradition of Mark Kotsay or Mike Cameron. But if the team thinks Venable is their man and the team is without a right fielder, Bradley could work. He would need regular time off, and regular coddling, but he has shown that he is unintimidated by Petco Park, and he could do some damage hitting in front of Adrian.

(This all assumes that the Cubs eat most of the contract and accept a marginal prospect in return.)

RAY UPDATE:

“I haven’t had any calls from Jim about him,” Towers told ESPN.com. “But I think people kind of know what players we target. We have to take chances sometimes. We took a chance on Milton the first time we had him, and he actually played pretty well [before the injury].

“We could be in the market for an outfielder. I’m not saying it’s necessarily Milton. But our experience with him was rather a positive one. It wasn’t really a negative one.”

Padres would take chance on Bradley

Posted in hot stove, players | 6 Comments »

More Little Kids!

September 15th, 2009 by

Petco KidsThe tall, two story billboard behind the left field scoreboard once proudly displayed the image of Padre pitcher Chris Young. While he probably won’t become a nationwide household name, Young was an all star in 2007, has a reputation as a good but not great pitcher, and is well liked Padre fans. In the same way as so many billboards before his, Young has now been replaced.

With little kids.

These kids are probably a bit older than those previous, though. And at least these play baseball.

Young on the way out?

Is this a precursor to a trade of Chris Young? After all, a similar purging of Jake Peavy’s marketing materials took place before the team decided to move him last offseason.

Young has two years until free agency and earns $6.25 and $8.5 in 2010 and 2011 respectively. His value at such a salary could be a gamble considering his injury status, performance inconsistency over the past few years, and an economic depression putting downward pressure on free agent prices. On Young’s side in terms of value are PETCO Park inflated raw numbers, a solid 2007 season and all star selection, and my perception of his perception being a “solid number two starter” from around the league.

I’m curious as to Chris Young’s trade value at the moment, and could get behind letting him go. Though perhaps those in charge feel he should be kept around, but it just doesn’t make sense to tout him as a face of the team right now.

Speaking of keeping people around, it’s high time for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Heath Bell to go on the block as well. We don’t need two third basemen, and Bell’s value will likely never be higher.

It’s clear the club doesn’t want to go all Jeff Francoeur on fans and anoint youngsters as stars before they prove they’re ready long term. This makes sense. But I for one don’t get excited about coming to a ballpark that’s down the freeway from good little leaguers. The Padres need something, or someone, to to catch our  imaginations.

Posted in petco park, players | 2 Comments »

Padres management: “The team is currently considering moving in the fences.”

September 11th, 2009 by

Padres considering moving in PETCO fencesHidden in an online survey offered to fans by Padres President and COO Tom Garfinkel resides a big, somewhat official, juicy piece of news.

Question 24 of the survey reads:

The team is currently considering moving in the outfield fences to increase offensive production and home runs, though it will make it more difficult on pitchers.

The verbiage corroborates what we presume were potential PETCO dimension changes I wrote about last offseason.

I say even it out all ready

I like the idea of a pitchers’ park insofar that uniqueness to me is valuable in and of itself. But when there are other considerations at play, as is unfortunately too often the case, they need to be considered.

Most evidence shows that teams who play in neutral parks gain the biggest home field advantage. That’s a serious consideration. Lets even it out already.

Special thanks to Axion over at GLB for posting the survey and introduction.

Posted in petco park | 5 Comments »

A familiar refrain

September 9th, 2009 by

Giants fans are all a buzz because *gasp!* Bruce Bochy isn’t giving playing time to a top prospect. This time instead of Bochy sending Miguel Ojeda to the outfield, it’s Eli Whiteside playing catcher instead of the best prospect in the game at that position, Buster Posey. Tim Kawakami reports:

So… Posey wasn’t in the original call-ups. Then he was called up. Then Bochy said he might start him. Then Bochy said ideally he’d play Posey in a blowout. Then there’s a blowout, six games into it, and Bochy STILL WON’T PLAY POSEY.

Grant at McCovey Chronicles:

At first, I thought Bochy really was concerned that Posey would come in, allow six passed balls, throw 15 balls into center field, nail his pitcher in the head with a return throw when the pitcher wasn’t looking, and punch an umpire in the throat.

Grant adds some of his own thoughts as to what exactly is going on behind the scenes in the San Francisco front office. Check it out.

We may have our issues with our Bud-bot, but at least he gets this: the Padres will be built through the draft.

Posted in gripes | 1 Comment »

Adrain Gonzalez Splatter Wallpaper

September 7th, 2009 by

We’re running out of franchise players! Maybe my next wallpaper will just have  kids wearing Gwynn 18 and Gwynn 19 jerseys. This is the non-spreadsheet side of being a baseball fan.

Adrian Gonzalez Wallpaper
[1280 x 1024]
[1024 x 768]

Posted in misc, players | 2 Comments »

Pitching and defense

September 3rd, 2009 by

*Hello?* *Hello?*

We’ve been gone awhile. A lot of reasons for it. We’ll skip the part where I explain why.

MGL asks if there’s any evidence that building a team based on pitching and defense gives an advantage to a home team in a big ballpark. There’s a good discussion too.

I think what he’s most concerned about is the question of why people (read: Jerry Manuel) think what they think. Lots of “explanations” about life seems like it makes sense when you first hear it, yet reality often has different ideas. The leader of a multi-million dollar organization should have more than a hunch about why a plan should work. I’m not saying Manuel isn’t working off more than just a hunch here, if he does have some evidence he probably isn’t likely to share with the world. But lots of times before these beliefs aren’t any more than pure hunches.

Back to ballparks, there also goes this recent line of thought that PETCO isn’t actually that big of a field, and the atmosphere is what depresses runs. Again, this is why the why is so important. Looking at a problem and throwing the first answer at it that pops in your head isn’t going to get you very far.

Question to think about: if you’ve ever thought the Padres should build a team around pitching and or defense, how did you come to that conclusion?

Posted in petco park | 3 Comments »

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