Padres bloggin' since 2007

Dear Jeff Moorad: Free the Friar

November 25th, 2009 by

How are you? I hope your Thanksgiving went well. Now that it’s over, let’s start talking about Christmas and the gifts you should get us fans to buy our love.

I know that you’ve already said that you like the uniform colors and that any changes would simply be tweaks, so I won’t waste your time asking for brown. But I do have some requests.

Can we bring the Friar back? I know that he’s been around, with other members of the Friar family, but I feel like he’s been pushed to the side. The first thing you can do for me, Mr. Moorad, for us, is put the Friar on all jerseys. Home, road, and alt. And please leave him in maroon. Not blue, or tan, but maroon. The jersey could use the added splash of color.

My second request is that you simplify the jerseys. The sand really chases the blue around the home jersey, so let’s put some limits on it: save the sand for the shadow. Please take it off the sides and number.

For your benefit, we’ve drawn a picture.

Fancy home jerseys

Looks good, huh? Thank Melvin, he’s the artist. But we didn’t stop there. Since I’m not a big breakfast eater, you’re going to have to really open your wallet to please, and that means you have to change the road jerseys as well.

The bow tie is fun, but not nearly as fun as the jersey it replaced. Not only were they stylish, but they were the jersey worn by Tony Gwynn, Sr. when he knocked his 3,000th hit. That’s a legacy we should honor by bringing into the now. We present you with this.

Fancy road jersey

You’ll notice that we’ve added the Friar and eliminated the letter outlines. We were serious on the Friar, and the simplicity. And it looks fantastic. But maybe you’re not comfortable with the sand jerseys. Baseball has never been a game that rewards individualism, and the sand jerseys are really what set us apart. So, for you, we came up with something a little safer.

Fancy new roads

As you can see, they still look fantastic. But I’ve got a surprise for you, Mr. Moorad. Does this new road jersey look familiar to you? Because it should. We know how much you admire the Red Sox. We admire the Red Sox, too, for the work they did in simplifying their road uniforms. Just a little something from us to you.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Moorad. It’s less than four weeks away.

Melvin Update: Also of note: no alternate hat with the road uniform. I know, I know, fans seem to like the blue and sand hat. I like the idea of it too, but here’s the thing: it’s completely unreadable more than four feet away. That hat makes the Padres “official brand” into a blob to everyone watching on TV and in the stands. Not a good idea. If anything the SD should be straight sand, no white outline. Like the alternate green hats but blue.

Also, also of note: please don’t get rid of the sand away jersey. It’s the one thing keeping the Padres from being the most boring team on the planet of any sport.

Second Melvin Update: Here is the original, dream scenario jersey design that will never happen because it isn’t something another team has already done.

Posted in dear jeff moorad | 4 Comments »

The Sacrifice Cheat Sheet: Centerfield

November 24th, 2009 by

With Jed Hoyer busy eating burritos and going for jogs on the waterfront, I thought I’d give him some help with the state of the team and what he could to do make it better.

At the end of the 2009 season, Tony Gwynn, Jr. seemed to have cemented his place as the Padres center fielder. And yet, maybe he didn’t. Before Hoyer came onboard, Bill Center wrote the following in the U-T:

The Padres like Gwynn as a center fielder, to a point.

When you are a singles hitter, you better have a lot of singles and a high on-base percentage. Gwynn hit .270 with a .350 on-base percentage.

The Padres love him as a fourth outfielder, spot starter, defensive sub and left-handed pinch-hitter. But not so much as an every-day regular, unless he hits over .300.

Will Padres manage?

While this may simply be one man’s opinion, let’s take Center at his word. Let’s say that the team loves AJ (I’m going to start calling him AJ) as a fourth-outfielder, and that his lack of offense scares them off. Who else would be an option then?

Center suggests former Padre, and TSB ex-boyfriend, Mike Cameron. In his second year with the Brewers, Cameron posted a WAR of 4.3, his highest mark since 2006, his first season with the Padres. With Cameron, we’ll know what we’re getting: twenty home runs and dependable defense. But Cameron left San Diego for a $7 million deal after a poor 2007, in which he posted a 2.2 WAR. That’s down from his 4.6 mark in 2003, his previous contract year. Cameron signed a $20 million with the Mets then; will he be willing to take the necessary pay cut to come back to San Diego? If not, who else is there?

Another name bandied about is Marlon Byrd. He meets the right-handed requirement that Center lists in his article and, while he’s not the defender AJ and Cameron are, he posted a wOBA of .348. That puts his 2009 offensive campaign exactly even with Cameron, and better than AJ. If the price is right, might the Padres consider taking a chance on him? That would require the price to be right. What does Byrd expect to get? Let’s ask him:

“If people offer me a contract at two years and the right numbers, I’ll sign,” Byrd said. “If people offer me three years at the right numbers, I’ll sign.

“I’m not interested in a one-year deal. Do I want a three- or four-year deal, yes. But I don’t know what will happen. Last year, I thought Orlando Hudson would get a five-year deal, and he ended up getting one year and an option. The more seasons the better, but I just want fair value.”

Byrd’s future home up in air

That doesn’t sound to me like a player ready to take the San Diego Discount.

With Cameron and Byrd both positioned to cash-in, who’s a cheaper centerfield option for the Padres? Well, AJ.

While Center is correct to label him a singles hitter, AJ’s IsoP of .074 was at the bottom of the league, he still posted an only slightly-below-average wOBA of .332. This was thanks in large part to his decent BB% of 10.9. That still isn’t enough to make AJ an offensive equal to Cameron or Byrd, but maybe he doesn’t have to be.

Of the San Diego Padres not named ‘Adrian Gonzalez,’ AJ was the second best in terms of wins above replacement in 2009, with a WAR of 2.8. He achieved this despite being worth negative 1.7 runs offensively, because he was valued at plus 13.6 runs defensively. In fact, AJ’s UZR/150 of 12.2 was best for fifth in the league, amongst fielders with 800 innings played. All things considered, Fangraphs listed AJ as worth $12.6 million this season. He made only $400 thousand, and he’s not in line to make a raise for 2010.

This is the point where I tell you that any conclusions drawn on AJ’s defense are incomplete, as he doesn’t have nearly enough innings played to compose a proper sample size. But given the price tag, is it worth finding out?

The answer, Mr. Hoyer, is yes. Rather than go in on Cameron for $10 million, or Byrd for $5 million, the correct answer is to go with Tony Gwynn, Jr. for less than half of a million dollars. AJ will not solve all of our problems, as the team will have to find another source of power somewhere (unless the confidence in Blanks and Venable is there), but he does come with the promise of superior defense at the position where it comes the most in handy.

Ray Update:

Beyond the Box Score has posted an article projecting the WAR for free agents. They list Mike Cameron at 2 and Marlon Byrd at 1.9.

Posted in hot stove, players | 9 Comments »

Matt Antonelli’s blog I wish I had known about earlier

November 23rd, 2009 by

Antonelli’s Blog

Why didn’t someone alert me? I demand answers!

The Padres prospect second baseman, and former first round selection (17th overall) in 2006 has been sharing stories and thoughts with all of the Internet except me.

It’s neat that Matt does the writing thing at Blogspot rather than MLB.com, similar to the format of Paul DePodesta’s work. Those MLB blogs are a cool way to interact with fans, but they feel like MLB’s PR division has sifted out any fun or interesting details.

Take Matt’s thought on the crowd environment at games:

I wished the atmosphere at a baseball game could somehow resemble that of basketball game. It would add an element to the game that is only really present in post season play. I’d love to try and take a page out of Garnett’s book, the way he slams his head into the pad underneath the basket a few seconds before tip off, or skips to the side of the court and yells at the fans to get them to stand up and get excited. I think If I tried something like that before the first pitch of our games someone would call the police and then a shrink.

If Matt tried a stunt like that at PETCO, the first response I would expect is a polite tap on Antonelli’s shoulder and request to “keep the noise level down. Also, no standing!”

The other response might be loud cheers right away that die down by the time the pitch is delivered.

This place is a goldmine of awesome, home movies and photos. Here’s video of Antonelli, Headley, someone I think is Drew Macias, and Callix “gangsta cowboy” Crabbe clowning around a Tuscon rodeo in full cowboy getup.

Antonelli: Someone back there just asked me if I was in the rodeo

Camera Guy: That’s just ‘caus you’re so damn good baby, so are so [fucking] money and you don’t even know it

Antonelli: Oh, I do know it

Also, bribing little kids.

Posted in media | 1 Comment »

Trading Adrian

November 9th, 2009 by

Sacrifical LinksAs you just read right here, Kevin Towers’ attempts to trade Adrian Gonzalez may have clashed with new boss Jeff Moorad’s wishes, and now Towers is gone. But if you’ve also been reading the more mainstream sports media, you’ve gotten the impression that Adrian is still definitely going to Boston. Or not. It’s confusing, but that’s why we’re here: for you!

Gonzalez might put Padres in a bind (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Bill Center surmises that Adrian is both the new face of the franchise and a player whose combination of ability and personality will lead him to a big payday. Which means that the team will likely trade him, and soon, making him the new Peavy. He knows this, in part, because Adrian is not featured anywhere on a brochure sent to season ticket holders, because brand new general manager Jed Hoyer has yet to contact Adrian’s agent, and because Moorad has said that he doesn’t want to move the fences back.

But that’s San Diego’s take. What does Boston think?

Why the Sox should be going, going . . . going after Gonzalez (Boston Globe)

Boston thinks that Adrian wants to be where the action is: Boston. Doug Mirabelli gets it. Because the Yankees just won the World Series, thanks in part to one-time-almost-Red Sox Mark Teixeira, Boston doesn’t have the luxury of losing in the Division Series anymore, and Adrian would give them the big bat to wear out the Green Monster they need. Support for Boston’s argument includes the Adrian-less brochure, again, and the good time he had while playing in Portland in the minors.

But that’s Boston’s take. What does the national media think?

Padres only open to dealing stars for right price (Ken Rosenthal)

That the Padres are only open to dealing Adrian Gonzalez for the right place. Rosenthal points out that Adrian will still be extremely affordable over the next two years, and not simply relatively. He also points out that, since Boston made a big trade with Cleveland for Victor Martinez, the well may be too dry to pull anything off.

But that’s Ken Rosenthal’s take. What’s a fourth opinion I should listen to?

Why Adrian Gonzalez May Remain Off Limits to Sox (WEEI)

Because Jed Hoyer knows Theo Epstein’s tricks, and vice versa. To support this, the author points out that Epstein has worked out nothing but extremely minor deals with his other former protege, Diamondbacks general manager Josh Byrnes. He also points out, as did Rosenthal, that the Padres can afford Adrian if they believe winning is possible in the next two seasons, and that an extension that eats up his option could appeal to Adrian as it appealed to David Ortiz in 2007.

But these are only a handful of the voices out there, voicing their opinions on trading Adrian Gonzalez. As the offseason goes on, and more, hopefully differing, opinions are given, The Sac Bunt will be here to fill you in.

Posted in hot stove, players, sacrificial links | 7 Comments »

Available as a resource

November 8th, 2009 by

Back in April, I asked Jeff Moorad if he would be involved in player personnel decision making. Here was his response:

I believe in letting the club’s GM take a leadership role in all personnel decisions — I’ll be available as a resource as needed.

At the time, this was great news. From what I’ve seen so far, Moorad has a lot of good ideas about running a team. What he hasn’t shown, at least publicly, is a the in depth knowledge of advanced player evaluation methods, or roster management theory needed to succeed making baseball decisions for an entire organization.

Unfortunately, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo reports that Moorad and I may have different interpretations of what a “leadership role” means.

It was clear that [Kevin] Towers might not have been on the same wavelength as Moorad on whether Gonzalez must go. Towers was obviously listening to offers, while Moorad was thinking Gonzalez was still one of the few draws the Padres had, so they should keep him.

I’m not exactly encouraged. Hopefully, now that Moorad has his guy Jed Hoyer in charge, he really will leave the roster decisions up to those with the experience and track record in making them.

Posted in players | 3 Comments »

Happy Hot Stove, everyone!

November 5th, 2009 by

Now that the World Series is finally over, the good part of the season can begin. Some teams have already started, like the Angels, who just signed Bobby Abreu to a new two-year contract, and the Pirates, who traded for Akirnori Iwamura. And while the Padres have already cut ties with Edgar Gonzalez, new general manager Jed Hoyer has yet to show us what he can do.

So, Jed, before you start shopping, would you mind taking a look at my wish list? Thanks.

  • Rocco Baldelli
  • Kelvim Escobar
  • Eric Hinske
  • Dan Uggla
  • Juan Uribe
  • Jason Varitek

I’ll start with the outfielders, Baldelli and Hinske. Both are capable players, Baldelli so much so he could platoon with Will Venable in right. Hinske can  be the strong left-handed bat to come off the bench. Uribe joins them as the backup infielder who can actually play on the left-side of the infield.

Escobar is a great low-risk project for this team. He’s a good pitcher and he’ll be coming off an injury, which means that he’ll come cheap. If he works out, he could be a solid veteran arm for the front of the rotation. And if he doesn’t, the team can part ways with him without losing too much, as the team has depth at young starting pitching.

Then there’s Dan Uggla. I’ll admit that this is a bit of dreaming on my parts, but Hoyer’s pretty dreamy, so excuse me for soing so. I know that Florida is looking to move Uggla, but I don’t know what they’d want in return, I hope they would want Heath Bell. Uggla would fill many holes for us. He’d knock David Eckstein out of the lineup, and he’d be the real-live slugger to hit behind Adrian Gonzalez. This takes the heat off of the youngsters, especially Kyle Blanks. He’d likely become the highest paid Padre, unless Adrian signs an extension, but it wouldn’t be obscene. Plus it would make the reader’s comments section of Union-Tribune articles just a little bit easier to read.

Finally, I threw in Jason Varitek as a welcoming gift for Jed. He’s the Captain, or a captain, he’d be Hundley’s shoulder to lean on, and he’d be someone for Hoyer to hang out with if the other guys are mean to him.

Happy shopping, Jed.

Posted in hot stove | 5 Comments »

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