Padres bloggin' since 2007

Adrian Gonzalez Wins Gold Glove

November 5th, 2008 by

Cheers to our boy.

My unofficial, probably not very accurate survey of defensive metrics puts Adrian as a good, but not best in the league first baseman. His offensive goodness and his success with the stupid fielding percentage stat probably helped attract attention as well.

Still though, cool news. No Yankees, you can’t have him for in exchange for a bag of baseballs. He’s ours, you spoiled clowns.

Maddux wins one too. No surprise there. How can he just keep being so good? The voters are screwed next with Maddux retired and no shoe in.

R. update: I hate to have to do this, but this was a bad call.

The Gold Gloves have long been a gag gift, highlighted by Palmeiro winning the award for first baseman in 1999 despite playing 28 games at the position.

Adrian was not the best defensive first baseman in the N.L. According to the Fielding Bible, he wasn’t in the top 10. Using their plus/minus system (which tracks the number of plays made more or less than the average fielder), the Fielding Bible ranked Mark Teixeira the best first baseman in baseball at +24. The best N.L. first baseman was Pujols at +20. Other National Leaguers in the top ten are Joey Votto (+19), Lance Berkman (+18), and Todd Helton (+6). Casey Kotchman’s in there too, so I guess he and Teixeira combine to make one National Leaguer. Either way, you’ll notice that a name’s missing from this list.

I love Adrian, but our principles are most important when they’re inconvenient, right?

I’m sorry.

Posted in awards | 6 Comments »

Maddux P(s)TBNL

September 30th, 2008 by

Southpaw Michael Watt and righty Eduardo Perez.

Not much to add aside from what the the man himself shared.

The players are about what we expcected. Low level prospects, pichers with high K rates and what appear to be decent ceilings. Read my thoughts on the deal and a Maddux update.

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More end of season thoughts

September 27th, 2008 by

Unlike Melvin, I kind of like drama. Spice of life kind of thing. And for me, this season has been filled with intrigue. It hasn’t been fun, but there’s been a lot to talk about. For instance:

Genuine draft: The Padres will have the third pick in next year’s draft, which will probably be too late to grab Strasburg, but still very high. High enough to grab a potential star. Of course, it’s potential to grab a star anywhere in the 175 rounds that are in the draft, but the higher the better.

Gimme the loot: One of the benefits of playing terrible in a season that you didn’t plan on being terrible is a glut of moveable parts. This summer, the Padres moved Tony Clark, Randy Wolf, and Greg Maddux. What will actually become of the minor league pitchers and players to be named later that we acquired for these players is still to be seen, but if just one of them becomes a key part to a future Padres club, it’s a win.

If it’s broke, fix it: For five years now, the Padres have been sending out a makeshift team. They have, essentially, been rebuilding years, but competitive rebuilding years. And this was the season when the bottom fell out. The strong pitching staff that has carried this team since it started playing in ridiculous Petco Park faltered, with names like Baek and Banks seeing significant playing time. Adding to the mess was regressions, disappointments, and injuries that depleted the team on the field.

With the introduction of Chase Headley, however, the Padres have begun to turn over a new leaf. He was soon followed by other top prospects Wade LeBlanc, Will Venable, and Matt Antonelli. It’s only a matter of time the clubhouse is filled with players that came up, and have been neutered, in the system. Not more forcing square players in the round holes.

Jody Gerut: He’s pretty good.

Hey, it’s baseball!: It still is, technically.

Posted in gripes, misc | Comments Off

End of season thoughts

September 27th, 2008 by

The Padres soap opera is bothering me, I’ve never been one to embrace drama. The media is also bothering me more than usual, though this is probably a reflection of my own frustrations for the losing season as well as theirs. Here are some thoughts I’ve been ruminating over.

  • 62-97 doesn’t reflect a commitment to this year at all costs, or true talent level. Tony Clark was traded July 17th. That day represents the moment the team began their focus on 2009. Since then they’ve traded Randy Wolf and Greg Maddux, and held auditions for others. Runs score / allowed expectancy puts the team at 67 wins. PECOTA, the best projection system in the business, predicted 79 wins. Judging expectations for 2009 based on simple 2008 record is just lazy. Check the media’s 2008 Rays predictions and you’ll see what I mean.
  • Sandy Alderson isn’t paid to tell jokes. He’s paid to run a multi-million dollar business. If you don’t do what he asks you to do, you get fired. If someone at the NyQuil factory fills bottles with Flaming Moe alcoholic beverages rather than cough syrup, he might think he’s improving the product but he still deserves to be canned. Sandy kind of does act like a jerk on the radio, but the way those clowns on air talk to Sandy like he ran off with their mother I would also be tempted to treat them the way he does.
  • JC Bradburry points out that $700 billion dollars builds 437.5 Yankee Stadiums. That’s two Yankee Stadiums for every city in the country with a population larger than Denton, Texas (pop. 115,000).
  • Darren Smith and Philly Billy practically ran the front-running AL MVP out of town. Granted the front office deserves some criticism for not pushing harder to sign him in spite of the radio clowns’ tomfoolery. But Darren and Billy chewed the shit out of Alderson for having the gall to take a small risk on the best outfielder in baseball this year. Those two have forfeited their right to have an opinion ever again.
  • Mike Adams will be a good guy to have around next year. Sometimes it’s hard to figure out what the hell’s going on in the bullpen with all the hullabaloo back there. If you haven’t noticed, Adams has set himself apart from the pack with a 156 ERA+ and a 3.13 FIP in 64 innings out of the pen. It seems strange that the pitching is so far behind the offense this year as opposed to those previous, but Mike Adams is a welcome addition in 2009 as the Towers Bullpen Come-Out-Of Nowhere Guy™ for 2008.

Posted in gripes, media, misc | 2 Comments »

Update on Greg Maddux: The Season Savior

September 21st, 2008 by

In exchange for Greg Maddux, the Padres will receive two as of yet unnamed players, likely prospects, also likely from the Dodgers’ 40 man roster.

Some argue in favor of keeping Maddux, they contend that watching him pitch for a team guaranteed not to make the playoffs would be worth more than the players to be received. Again admitting that evaluating a trade which we only know half of the players involved is kinda dumb regardless of your support for it, lets take a look at Maddux’s performance we missed out on since making the trade:

Greg Maddux (LA)
34.7 77 4.11

Nope, still convinced the deal was a good one.

Even if he lit the world on fire in LA, I still probably wouldn’t be convinced. Obviously from looking at the data above isn’t a situation we need to worry about. Rumor has it Maddux might not even make his club’s playoff roster. (h/t MLBtraderumors)

In case you’re wondering, ERA+ is park and league adjusted ERA where 100 is average and less is below average. FIP, or Fielding Independent Pitching, scales strikeouts, walks, and groundball percentage to look like ERA.

Posted in hot stove, statistics | Comments Off

Mediocrity isn’t fun: Why the Padres had to trade Greg Maddux

August 20th, 2008 by

Where you’re going is just as important as where you are.  And where the Padres are is in last place, with or without Greg Maddux.

What I find funny about trading veterans for prospects is the fans’ selective memory about where the prospects come from when they turn into useful Major Leaguers.

Remember the Matt Herges trade for Clay Hensley?  Hensley was a nobody.  He was the empty, worthless, nameless, proverbial minor league player you hear so much about.  Just like prospects in the Dodgers’ system, apparently:

The Padres save $1.15 million and get two Minor Leaguers that will never amount to anything or a little bit of cash.

-Jbox, Gaslampball

Sounds about right.

Jump forward to 2006, and Hensley becomes a 187 inning rotation anchor to a division championship.  Not necessarily a star, but a useful player nonetheless.  Please don’t forget, he came from a deal like this!  It took an unpopular move to get him, we traded a popular player.  Hensley wasn’t just born a Padre!

The rumored deal is for two Dodgers players. When it comes down to it, we’re comparing one month of Maddux to 12 salary controlled years, and they don’t add up.  The fun of watching 6 more starts on a last place team isn’t worth what we would pass up, even if the return is a bit hard to conceptualize at this point.  And considering Dodgers GM Ned Colletti’s less than stellar ability to value minor league talent, the return could be quite a bit.

Plus, since Towers & Co. originally held on to Maddux based on what was offered, we can infer that players of value are headed our way.  Though admittedly, it is difficult to have this discussion without knowing exactly who they are.

The guys we get for Maddux, whoever they are, become essentially free players to us.  Maddux, from a baseball stadpoint, is of no value to the team.  Winning baseball games trumps all for this baseball fan.

Posted in hot stove, players | 5 Comments »

There are better deals in August

August 18th, 2008 by

Dodgers Close To Acquiring Maddux

It’s a pretty incomplete story, and I/we’ll talk more when it comes through. I just wanted to get that headline out before Mel or Preston said anything.

Melvin update: Too bad I can edit your posts, sucka!

R. update: Pff, whatever. If you touch my title, I’ll be trying to post before Prestone can say anything, if you catch my drift.

Preston update: Dude, weak.

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There are better deals in August

July 31st, 2008 by

The trade deadline has passed and the Padres completed the following deals:

-Tony Clark to Arizona for Evan Scribner
-Randy Wolf to Houston for Chad Reineke

Exciting, huh?

As we detailed earlier, getting Reineke and Scribner are classic Kevin Towers moves. They’re both under appreciated arms that will likely come out of the pen. Think about Heath Bell (acquired, with Royce Ring, for Jon Adkins and Ben Johnson), Cla Meredith (acquired, with Josh Bard, for Doug Mirabelli), and Scott Linebrink (selected off of waivers). Given that the Padres bullpen E.R.A. has gone from 3.01 in 2007, first in the league, to 4.47 in 2008, 28th in the league, it’s no surprise that Towers took this course of action.

What is surprising is that this was the only course of action taken.

Many Padres heard their names being tossed around in trade rumors, from Brian Giles to Greg Maddux. Besides Clark and Wolf, the only player that seemed to come close to leaving the team was Maddux. But with a trade to the Dodgers never coming to fruition, Maddux will likely continue not winning games for the Padres for the rest of the year.

Maddux handcuffed the Padres when he let them know that he would only accept a trade to a team on the West Coast. Through the process of elimination, this left us with just the Dodgers and, as we’ve already detailed, he won’t be returning to L.A. anytime soon.

At 42-67, the Padres are just behind the Mariners and the Nationals for the worst record in baseball. They’ll have to go 39-14, a .736 winning percentage, to get to .500 by game 162. And while we’re filling in a lot of the blanks here, we think it’s safe to say that the moves not made by the team signal that they’re in it to win it/remain competitive next season.

Giles is a big chip. He is a good hitter with a great O.B.P. and he’ll only get better the further away from Petco he gets, and his name was mentioned in trade rumors with the Mets, Cardinals, and Brewers. Clearly, nothing came true and Giles will remain a Padre for the remainder of the season and, likely, next season as well.

There’s two ways to look at the Giles situation. On one hand, he is this team’s three hitter and is one of the best defensive right fielders in the game. On the other, he is 37 years old and has shown a susceptibility to injuries. In 2006, he finished the season with a slugging percentage of .397, and his .415 mark this season isn’t much higher. The Padres, it would seem, are banking on Giles’ O.B.P. to stay strong into next season, which is risky.

The biggest name to mention in all these trade talks, however, is the one player who wasn’t traded but still isn’t in the Padres organization. On May 9th, Jim Edmonds had an O.P.S. of .498 and was cut by the team. He was picked up quickly by the Chicago Cubs and went Kevin Kouzmanoff, raising his O.P.S. to .757 on July 31st. Edmonds OPS+ was 39 With the Padres. With the Cubs, his OPS+ stands at 132. And the Cubs didn’t have to send a single player to San Diego to get him.

Of course, this move wasn’t so black and white. The management has said that they wanted to see what they had in Jody Gerut (OPS+ 118) and Scott Hairston (OPS+ 117) and you can’t fault them for that. You could say that Edmonds was traded for Gerut, but that’d be disingenuous. Gerut was already on the team and with left field being the game of musical chairs it was, it’s not like there wasn’t room for Gerut. Given the lack of return this team saw at the trade deadline, it would’ve been nice to get something back for Edmonds, even if it was just salary relief.

Posted in hot stove, players | 5 Comments »

Maddux’ winless streak illustrates a bigger issue

July 8th, 2008 by

greg Maddux“Experts”* put too much stock in that stupid win statistic.

Padre pitcher Greg Maddux has allowed 2 or fewer earned runs in 8 of his previous 10 starts, without earning a W.

Maddux’s streak of pitching well without earning a “win” to show for it isn’t illustrative of “bad luck” without support from the offense.  The streak is a perfect, right in your face example of why the “win” is a garbage.  It does not adequately measure a pitcher’s ability.  A starting pitcher is, at best, responsible for 50%** of earning a win.

The stat enjoys entirely too much credence with the mainstream media, who continues to recite the same meaningless rhetoric about the win.  The Padres (or whatever team) need to “step it up” on offense to support their pitcher.

Whatever that means.  Somehow it is the offense’s responsibility to earn the pitcher credit for a good performance?  Come on, experts.  Does that make any sense at all?  This is the best you can do?

Just stop with the wins. They force you to make crazy ass-backwards assertions to avoid admitting a mistake.

* I don’t mean to pick on Krasovic here.  I enjoy him more than other columnists / pundits.

** Sorry, I made this number up.  The real answer could easily be 60% or 40%.  The point still stands.

Creative Commons License photo credit: SD Dirk

Posted in media, statistics | 3 Comments »

Happy July

July 1st, 2008 by

Today is July 1st, meaning that there is officially less than a month left till the trade deadline. With the Padres’ hopes for the season fading away, it seems likely that the team will be sellers and, over the course of this month, we here at The Sacrifice Bunt will try to stay on top of all the rumblings surrounding our team. Think of us as a low-rate, more specific version of M.L.B. Trade Rumors.

Speaking of that fine website, they gave a rundown of Peter Gammons‘ latest blog entry discussing the Cubs and their starting pitcher search. While there’s no talk of Greg Maddux becoming a Cub for the third time, there is mention of Randy Wolf.

Gammons reports that the Cubs have interest in Wolf and Wolf has interest in playing for a contender. And for good measure, Gammons mentions that the Padres still show interest in Matt Murton who’s been on our radar for a minute now. Of course, we already have a full outfield, complete with players who buy into the team’s philosophy of getting on-base. Where would Murton play? Would one of the outfielders have to change positions, possibly moving back to the position he played in the minors that is currently manned by a free-swinger? Hmm.

(jes’ sayin’)

In more Wolf news, the Phillies have demoted Brett Myers to Triple-A. Wolf is a former Phillie (Philly?) who rebuffed their attempts to bring him back after the 2006 and 2007 seasons. I have no idea who they’d give us in return, though.

Ray’s update: Of course, not if Wolf’s value plummets.

Posted in hot stove, media, players | Comments Off

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