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The Willie Mays Award 2012

October 11th, 2011 by

1. Brett Lawrie, Toronto
2. Jesus Guzman, San Diego
3. Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta

Sasquatch, Godzilla, King Kong, Loch Ness, goblin, ghoul, zombie with no conscious, Brett Lawrie. Question: what do these things all have in common?

That intro worked so much better in my head. Despite only playing a quarter of the season in the bigs, Lawrie hit 9 home runs and amassed a +2.7 WAR. Extrapolate that out and you’ll see why Lawrie was the easy choice here.

Special mention goes to Jesus Guzman, who would’ve taken the award had Lawrie not happened. This might be the first time Jesus has been mentioned on this blog (like I said, yuck this team) but he hit .300 at PETCO. Park. That’s amazing and even if (even when?) he never does it again, we’ll still have 2011. Unless we’ve forgotten about the entire season, which I pray we all do.

Up next will be the Goose Gossage Award for best reliever, which will include no Padres. And yes, by that, I mean Heath Bell will not be on the list. Why? Because he doesn’t deserve to be on the list. Deal with it.

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I know you’re angry. I’m angry too.

November 2nd, 2010 by

(but probably not for the same reasons)

In case you missed it, and given the way the regular season ended I wouldn’t be surprised if you did, the Giants clinched the World Series last night. Edgar Renteria, who had less than a hundred at-bats in the second half, was voted the series MVP after hitting a three-run homer off of Cliff Lee in the seventh to put the Giants ahead for good. Wilson came in, struck out Nelson Cruz, saluted his dad, and the World Series was over.

I have a confession to make: I was rooting for the Giants. If you wish to stop reading this blog, I understand but give me a moment to explain myself. I like the Giants. Oops! That probably made things worse, didn’t it? When they knocked us off on the last day of the year, I was more relieved than anything else. I’m talking to myself now, aren’t I?

It’s easy to look at the Giants and think “That should’ve been us!” In late August, it looked like it would be. The two teams seem to be built the same way. The Giants finished third in the league in FIP (3.74), right behind us (3.66). We were third in UZR (50.0), right behind them (56.4). They were a bit better than us offensively, but that doesn’t really mean much. Upon closer inspection, however, things are not as close as they seem so get your microscopes out. I’ve got some slides to show you.

We had the best bullpen in the league this year, and it wasn’t close. GAB and the guys contributed 73 wins above average, which was nine plus runs over the second place White Sox. The Giants came in fourth at 59.1, a still respectable number. It went well with the 141.4 runs their rotation was worth, which was good for eighth in the league (fifth in the NL) and which was much better than the 78.4 runs the Padres staff contributed. Latos and co. came in 26th in the league, which honestly sounds kind of crazy.

Mat with one T is obligatory. He is a legitimate ace and worthy of endless tangents, but I’ll stop myself here. After him, Richard had a solid-if-not-amazing season (3.81 FIP, 4.19 xFIP) and Stauffer and Young deserve credit despite their limited opportunities, but then things start to get bleak. The next best pitcher was Garland (4.41 FIP), then Correia (4.69) and LeBlanc (4.74). Garland and Correia both under pitched their xFIP, Correia by fifty points, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot for 2010 or the future, given the uncertainty of those two coming back. Comparatively, the Giants had three starters who out pitched our number two (Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner) and two more who out pitched our number three (Sanchez, Zito). Or, to put it another way, having an ace isn’t cool. You know what’s cool? Having three aces. I’m exaggerating, at least a little bit, but the point still stands.

It’s easy to hate. It’s easy to look at the Giants and think that it should be us and to think that we deserve a part of that trophy because our collapse helped get the Giants there, but that’s a little arrogant. It distracts us from the idea, which is just an idea at this point, that we missed the playoffs because we weren’t as good as we thought. We were good, don’t get me mistaken. Teams don’t luck into 90 wins but as we found out, 90 wins don’t go as far as you’d think.

A lot was made of how the experts who picked us to finish last were wrong but who is ready to predict a first place finish for the Padres next season? It’s still early but it feels safe to say that we’ll go into 2011 with still only one elite hitter and one frontline starter. The 2010 team’s second best hitter was Chris Denorfia – are you willing to expect a repeat next year? Better yet, are you willing to give him the shot to repeat? There are a lot of questions surrounding this team, including but not limited to:

-Is Will Venable legit?
-Will Headley ever put it together offensively?
-Was Ludwick’s 2008 a fluke?
-What’s to be done with Everth?
-Are Jed and Bud willing to commit to defense and pitching?

And I’m just spitballing. If you look at the Giants, or the Rangers, or the Rockies for that matter, they have questions too but they have more answers than we do, including Lincecum, Posey, Hamilton, Cruz, Tulowitzki, Gonzalez, etc. These players make it easy for their teams to reload, especially since they won’t be changing addresses in 2012. Is it worth it for the Padres to make a run in 2011, knowing that it will be Adrian’s last hurrah in San Diego? It’s easy to see the benefit of such a plan, but it’s just as easy to see the detriment if you look for it.

It doesn’t always feel like it, but the Padres have been pretty good since moving downtown. In seven years, they’ve averaged 82 wins, 84 when you take out the outliers. But with only two playoff appearances and one postseason victory, who cares? The Padres have shown a strong commitment to being good and hoping that’s good enough. That’s a cynical point of view, given the team’s many limitations, so let’s say that they’ve shown a strong commitment to not upsetting the apple cart. What was the last bold move you can remember the Padres making?

I’ll give you a second to think about that one.

Jed Hoyer’s in a tough position. It’s one thing to ship Mark Teixeira out of town when you still have All-Stars around the field, and it’s another thing to ship Cliff Lee out of town when you’re floundering in last place, but what do you do when you’re coming off 90 wins? The Gunslinger is an apt nickname for Kevin Towers because it rarely seemed like he had a plan. He shot first and asked questions later. He could build a bullpen and he won some lopsided trades but hitting the track is no way to support a family. The cupboard was bare more often than not and while we’ve got some cans of soup in there now, we shouldn’t be expecting a Rockwellian Thanksgiving this year. Towers deserves a lot of credit for where he put this team, but he deserves a lot of blame too.

Where the team goes from here is yet to be determined. Hoyer and his staff are beginning their first full offseason. Not committing to Eckstein is a good start, while committing to Ludwick despite his struggles shows confidence. And Hoyer’s not one to shy away from shaking things up – just ask Hanley Ramirez, so there’s reason to believe we’re in good hands. Then again, Moorad is a professional meddler who has already said he wishes he had told his GM how to do his job concerning Pat Burrell. After a 90 win season, is the man who writes the check going to be willing to take a step back to take two forward?

I’m probably being too hard on the Padres. They’ve gone 129 and 107 over the past year and a half and they are a legitimately good team. Nothing can take away from what the Padres accomplished this year, not even a new pennant for the Giants, but 2011 is a new year and at some point, the Padres are going to have to start looking forward.

Posted in misc | 5 Comments »

Hey hey, ho ho

October 12th, 2010 by

During last week’s chat with XX (which we covered in part here), Jed Hoyer said that payroll will start with a four, meaning we’ve got a range of $40 to $49 million*. This means that Hoyer, and Jeff Moorad depending on when he’ll start meddling, have some decisions to make about the Padres’ roster.

As of right now, the Padres have about $10 million locked up after Adrian Gonzalez’s option and all of the pre-arbitration eligible players. These are no-brainers, leaving decisions about the other thirteen or so roster spots on the 25.

The first three choices involve Chris Young, Jon Garland, and Yorvit Torrealba. As surely as the sun will rise tomorrow, the San Diego Padres will not be paying Chris Young $8.5 million in 2011. They might bring him back at far far less, but his option will not be picked up. As far as the other pitchers concerned, though he’s no All-Star, Garland is who he is: a pitcher who will give the team 200 innings and an above-average ERA. And with the premium this team seems to have put on chemistry, his veteran leadership and Been Thereness will likely come in handy. Six point seven five million dollars handy? I’ll say yes. Same goes with Torrealba. Three point five million dollars might be a bit much for a platoon catcher, especially given how deep this year’s free agent class is in backup catchers, but Torrealba has a rapport going with the team and the pitchers. Why change horses? This brings us to $20 million or so.

Now we come to the arbitration eligible guys. Scott Hairston, Heath Bell, and Ryan Ludwick are all on their third go, Mike Adams is on his second, and Tim Stauffer, Edward Mujica, and Anthony Junior are here for the first time. Immediately, I have to imagine that Hairston will be non-tendered. He’s just very replaceable, with Aaron Cunningham and Chris Denorfia more than capable of doing what he does. Then we have the first timers, who will probably not make much more than $3.5 million between them. Of the three, Mujica’s the most likely to play somewhere else next year, as it’s not a high price to pay for a starter (Stauffer) or a superb defender (Junior). Twenty three million. Adams will come back and I’m guessing he’ll get around $3.5 million himself, a little less than closer Heath Bell got at the same time. Let’s say twenty seven million, before Heath Bell and Ryan Ludwick are counted.

Hoyer’s already committed to bringing Ludwick back, and we’ve already commented that we agree with the decision. Even if Ludwick does end up a bust, $7.5 million, which I’m guessing he’ll get, is a fair price for someone with Ludwick’s potential. Think of it this way: who else can the Padres go get for that much money to hit twenty home runs and play above-average defense? Looking at the pickings, they look rather slim. Thirty five million.

Depending on what number the Padres payroll digits ends in, we’re looking at $5 to $15 million left in the piggy bank. And that also leaves us with a hole at second and question marks at short and center. Theoretically, the Padres could plug Everth Cabrera in at short and AJ in at center, but then we’d have to go back in time and pull Jeff Kent out of 2001 to get enough offense to be credible. And plutonium’s still expensive. They could go with Miguel Tejada at short, but he’s neither a good player anymore nor cheap. Hoyer’s going to have to get creative to fill these holes, especially if he plans on paying Heath Bell $8 million.

This is were I reassure everyone that Bell is a great player. He’s been worth two wins in three of his last four seasons, and this year he was the third most valuable closer in baseball, behind Carlos Marmol of the Cubs and Brian Wilson of the Giants. He’s the rightful successor to the Hoffy throne, but unfortunately he’s gotta go. At the price he’ll command, and that others such as Bobby Jenks and Jonathan Papelbon have commanded before him, he’ll become the highest paid player on the team next year and such a small market team can not afford to invest so much of its payroll into such a speciality position. Especially when Mike Adams can come in and do the job with little to no drop off. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that Bell might bring back something good in return.

Michael Bourn. Franklin Gutierrez. Adam LaRoche. These are just a couple names of players who have been acquired for premium relief pitching. With a pitcher of Bell’s caliber, the Padres have the opportunity to build upon their 2010 success. It just seems that Bell’s more valuable on the open market than he is in a Padres uniform.

*Duh.

Posted in hot stove, players | 5 Comments »

Help us (insert name here), you’re our only hope!: Episode III – Fall of the White Sox

June 7th, 2010 by

Previously on The Sac Bunt: We discussed the Padres meager offensive production and the various aging veterans who could come in and theoretically provide some punch.

At the time, the Padres were 13th in the NL and 23rd in the majors with a .312 wOBA. Today, our wOBA remains at .312, but it is now good for 14th in the NL and 25th in the majors. Now that’s consistency! At the time, I threw out Jermaine Dye and Andruw Jones, and later Pat Burrell, as players who might-or-might not be able to help. Burrell has since signed with the Giants and Dye seems to have fallen off the radar, so it’s Andruw Jones who has prompted the writing of this article.

Today, Buster Olney reported that the Chicago White Sox are officially open for business, looking to move the players that they can from their underachieving team. While they have some bench players that might be of interest to us, including Omar Vizquel, we’re focusing on Jones.

When I first brought him up, Jones had a .949 OPS and a .424 wOBA. Those numbers have since dropped to .823 and .363, respectively, after a rough May: .208/.301/.417/.718, .322. It should be noted that Jones’ May is better than entire season for Venable, Gwynn, and Blanks. Faint praise, I know, but notable. While Jones is still drawing his walks, but he’s not hitting the ball very hard, so it’s not out of line to think that he was the beneficiary of a hot start. Fortunately, what hasn’t changed is his contract.

Along with his $1 million worth of performance bonuses, Jones is still signed to the $500 thousand contract he was at the beginning of the year. Depending on who Kenny Williams asks for in return, Jones could be a low-risk/high-reward chance for the Padres to take. If Jones figures something out back in the NL, the Padres have an outfielder who can actually hit the ball and if not, they’re only on the hook for less than half a million dollars and (hopefully) a mid-level prospect with no real future in San Diego.

With the lack of any real optimism in our lineup, this could be the kind of a risk a team vastly exceeding everyone’s expectations should take. If nothing else, they can at least point to this and say that they tried, after they move Adrian and Bell for some prospects.

Posted in hot stove | 17 Comments »

Help us (insert name here), you’re our only hope!

May 14th, 2010 by

With the Padres the proud owners of the best record in the NL (and tied for the second best in all of baseball), the tone of our story has changed. Where everyone had been wondering when the team would trade Adrian Gonzalezand Heath Bell, now people are beginning to wonder if we’ll be buyers instead.

Jed Hoyer started off the talk mentioning he’s not completely happy with the way the offense has been playing:

Frankly we’ve been fortunate to score as many runs as we have given some of the guys we’ve had struggling. The way our pitching staff has thrown has allowed us some patience. At some point our hitters will have to pick up our pitchers. We’re not going to continue to pitch at this rate all season. I think it’s unrealistic to think that.

The team, as of the writing of this article, ranks 23rd in the league in wOBA (13th in the NL) at .312. The team leader is Scott Hairston at .371, followed by backup catcher Yorvit Torrealba at .360, Adrian at an underachieving .359, and Chase Hadley at .349. Everyone else is well below average, with the most egregious offenders being sophomore slumping Kyle Blanks at .305, Evert Cabrera at .250, and Jerry Hairston at .234*.

To this point, the pitching (1st in ERA and xFIP) and defense (2nd in UZR) have led the way, but as Hoyer noted, we can’t just count on getting by with a below-average offense. So who are some candidates to come fix this thing?

TSB favorite Tim Sullivan starts us off throwing Carlos Lee, Jose Guillen, and Jermaine Dye’s names into the hat. Sullivan adds that the price tags hanging from Lee and Guillen might push them out of range. This leaves Dye, who’s become something of a boogeyman around baseball. Following a disappointing contract year (-0.4 WAR), Dye failed to find a job this past offseason. He received interest from a couple of teams (the Cubs and Milwaukee were mentioned) but its believed he’s priced himself out of different situations, which makes it all the more interesting that he’d be willing to come here:

“San Diego was one of the places Jermaine was excited about playing,” (Dye’s agent) Bob Bry said Tuesday. “He continues to work out every morning and hits most days and is still waiting for an opportunity with a team that has a chance to advance to the playoffs. San Diego, seemingly, would be a good fit.”

Right.

Dye’s bat could bring some added oomph to this lineup. Even last year, in a down season, Dye hit 27 home runs with a .344 wOBA. Unfortunately, he was also the worst defensive player in all of baseball. His UZR/150 was -26.4 and on his career, Dye is a -16.3 outfielder. This team definitely needs some offense, but what happens to our pitching and defense with Jermaine Dye roaming around the spacious confines of Petco Park?

Moving on.

Another aging former All-Star whose name is in the mix is Andruw Jones. You might remember him from the monster bombs he hit in Petco as a member of the Atlanta Braves. Or you might remember him from the monster bomb he was as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. With his/Jake Peavy’s Chicago White Sox off to a 14-20 start, Jones has made himself into a trade candidate with his .260/.360/.604 line. MLB Trade Rumors has made up a list of teams that might have interest, and said the following about ours:

The Padres have Kyle Blanks in left field, Tony Gwynn Jr. in center field, and Will Venable in right field. Of the three, only Blanks profiles as a top prospect, so the other two could be vulnerable to a Jones acquisition, should San Diego remain in the race.

I’m assuming they mean that AJ and Venable are vulnerable to losing their spot in the lineup to Jones, and not their spot on the roster. At $500K, Jones is a steal not a deal for the production he’s put up, but will it last? I dunno, but Fangraphs took a shot at figuring it out:

Why so pessimistic? Because at this exact point last season, 111 PA, Andruw’s production ceased. For those first 111 PA he hit .278/.405/.544, which amounts to a wOBA, .424, that is nearly identical to his mark this year. Yet from his 112th PA through his 331st, he produced very little. His triple slash sat at .183/.282/.419, a .320 wOBA. His only saving grace was power, as he hit 12 home runs and produced a .236 ISO during that span. Other than that, though, he showed few redeeming qualities.

Yet even if he avoids the drop-off he experienced last year, there’s almost no chance he continues at his current pace. Even during his prime years he never produced a .400 wOBA. His peak year came in 2000, when he produced a .390 mark. He came close, too, in 2005, when he hit 51 home runs and produced a .382 wOBA. He might be able to help a contending team, but it won’t be with the numbers he’s producing now.

Jones is a gamble, more so than Dye, because it’s hard to know who exactly we’ll be getting. While he’s slimmed down, this is still the guy who almost ate himself out of the league. He still has the power he’s ever had and if the stars align, he could be the big bopper to help Adrian see more fastballs, but that’s a big if.

As the season progresses, teams will start seeing their dreams of success slip away (but not us) and more and more players will start falling off the tree, leaving us with a better idea of what’s out there. It is only May afterall. Still, isn’t it nice talking about the stars we could trade for instead of the ones we could trade away?**

*Making matters worse, Hairston is fourth on the team in plate appearances. This jack of all trades is truly the master of none: he’s also contributed a -0.9 UZR.

**Buster Posey and Dustin Ackley are future stars, jes’ sayin’.

Posted in hot stove | 6 Comments »

Quick Quote: Adrian Gonzalez

March 13th, 2010 by

“It’s sad to say, but having been traded a couple of times, I play for the guys in the clubhouse, the players, Buddy [Black] and his staff,” Gonzalez says. “I play in San Diego, but I’m not playing for the name across the jersey. I play for the guys in the clubhouse. You learn that you play for them.”

The Padres have given Adrian Gonzalez around $4.7 million dollars over his career. That’s not $180 million, but apparently it hasn’t been enough to convince him to play for the team. At the very least it should be enough to not say stupid things like this to the public.

I’ve been saying it a lot lately, but hearing Adrian and remembering Jake Peavy talk sure makes me appreciate Heath Bell, the only face of the Padres the last few years who seems to like the team.

Via CBS Sports

Posted in media | 11 Comments »

Holy Guacamole!

December 4th, 2009 by

Sacrifical LinksIt’s been a busy couple of days in Padresland.

Enberg on board as Padres TV voice (MLB.com)

(Dick) Enberg, who for the last 26 years has made his home just north of San Diego in La Jolla, will bring his trademark “Oh my” call to the Padres and will be back inside a broadcast booth calling baseball full-time for the first time since the 1970s, when he called Angels games.

“I still think I have my fastball. I might not locate it as well as I used to,” Enberg said, laughing. “I think the experiences I’ve had as a broadcaster will more than compensate for that. While there’s been a lot of change … 6-4-3 [double play] hasn’t. And I still remember that.”

McLeod tapped as Padres executive (MLB.com)

In Boston, (Jason) McLeod was hired the Red Sox director of scouting administration in 2003. His first draft with the Red Sox was in 2004, a draft that produced future Rookie of the Year and American League MVP Dustin Pedroia.

Under McLeod’s watch, Baseball America has ranked the Red Sox Draft among the top five Drafts in three of his first four years as director of amateur scouting.

Padres’ Tate injured in ATV crash (SignOnSanDiego)

Donavan Tate, the high school center fielder selected third overall in the June draft, suffered facial lacerations and a broken jaw that required surgery last weekend in an ATV accident near his Georgia home.

Tate, 18, who got a $3.5 million bonus from the Padres when he signed on Aug. 17, had been rehabbing following surgery on Oct. 7 to repair a sports hernia.

San Diego Padres Top 10 Prospects (Baseball America)

Led by third baseman Edinson Rincon, righthander Adys Portillo and outfielder Rymer Liriano, the Padres had a number of international prospects step up in 2009, balancing two less positive developments. In June, San Diego learned that Dominican third baseman Yefri Pena, who signed for $300,000, had falsified his age and identity (he’s really Ramon Mercedes) and would be suspended for a year. Dominican shortstop Alvaro Aristy, who signed for $1 million in 2008, received a 50-game suspension a month later for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs.

Gonzalez, Bell claim Padres team awards (Padres.com)

The offseason award hardware continues to pile up for San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who on Wednesday was named the Most Valuable Player for the team during the Padres’ annual awards celebration.

Last month, Gonzalez won his second successive Gold Glove. Other award winners on Wednesday included closer Heath Bell (Clyde McCullough Pitcher of the Year), second baseman David Eckstein (Madres Favorite New Padre), Chairman’s Award (Black) and the Fireman’s Award (Bell).

Good night, and good luck.

Posted in sacrificial links | Comments Off

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 »

Trade Heath Bell, please

July 23rd, 2009 by

Is there a more pointless role in baseball than that of closer on an awful team?

Heath Bell is having a fantastic season, despite his predictable All-Star loss. His 1.64 ERA has helped make the transition out of the Trevor Hoffman era as painless as possible. And he’s a pretty entertaining guy, what with all the antics. But on this team, it just doesn’t make sense to hang onto him.

This is all going off of the assumption that there is a market for Heath Bell, which isn’t a given. It just seems likely. And if it is the case, this team has to follow through. Over the weekend, former stud Cla Meredith was traded to Baltimore for Oscar Salazar, a bench player. What made this trade possible was the success of the bullpen around Meredith. Along with Bell, the Padres have gotten a lot out of what seemed like a ragtag group. Edward Mujica, picked up after Cleveland dumped him earlier this year, and Luke Gregerson, the PTBNL in the Khalil Greene trade, have been leading the non-Heath Bell charge. And they’re getting help from Mike Adams and Luis Perdomo. This isn’t to say that the bullpen is perfect, because it’s not. Nor is it ranked near the top. But it might just be good enough for an awful team.

But that’s just why the door is open. That Heath Bell will turn 32-years-old in a couple of months and is headed for arbitration after the season is why Kevin Towers should walk through it. To avoid arbitration last year, the Padres gave the then set-up man $1.25 million. You have to imagine, one of the best closers in baseball is going to want a bit more than that. And last time I checked, this team still doesn’t have any money.

There are nine days left till the trade deadline, and the beginning of Towers’ precious August when the “better deals” are always available. Scott Hairston and Cla Meredith made the move elsewhere, and certainly they won’t be the only ones. But with Jake Peavy on the DL, and Adrian Gonzalez all-but-untouchable, the team is strapped for juicy bait. And instead of messing around with a Kevin Correia trade (who’s a player and I’d actually like to hang onto), this team needs to start doing a real job of accumulating talent. And that starts with trading Heath Bell.

Posted in hot stove | 10 Comments »

Hi hater

April 17th, 2009 by

With great power comes great responsibility.

With all due respect, Trevor who? The Heath Bell era has begun in San Diego. While we’re not even two weeks into the season, Heath (yeah, he’s already on a first-name basis) sits atop the league with his 5 saves, and he’s using this position to fight the good fight against ESPN and the East Coast Bias.

Heath, who grabbed headlines earlier in the offseason when it became public knowledge that he dropped 20 pounds using Wii Fit, took exception to the coverage his and our team received this past Monday, when they spoiled the opener of Citi Field by beating the Mets.

“I saw ESPN’s promo for tonight’s game. They mention the Mets are opening Citi Field, they mentioned the starting time, but nowhere did they mention the Padres. . . .

“I truly believe ESPN only cares about promoting the Red Sox and Yankees and Mets – and nobody else,” said the closer, a former Met. “That’s why I like the MLB Network, because they promote everybody. I’m really turned off by ESPN and ‘Baseball Tonight.’ When Jake Peavy threw 8 1/3 innings on Saturday, they showed one pitch in the third inning and that was it. It’s all about the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets.”

Padres closer Heath Bell sick of ESPN’s East Coast bias

While Heath’s earned himself new fans with his comments, he’s also received backlash:

While I agree that MLB Network is far superior to ESPN concerning televised baseball coverage, this is pretty petty. The reason the Monday night’s game was telecast was because of the Mets opening their new stadium — just like last year when the Nationals did on Sunday Night Baseball. Bell would also be hard pressed to explain how ESPN doesn’t care about the Cubs, Cardinals, Braves, Phillies, Rays, Indians, Angels, White Sox, Twins and Dodgers. They may try to cater to the more popular teams — how dare they worry about ratings? — but it’s not limited to just three teams. Plus, do they actually have an obligation to cover each team equally? Without trying to speak for ESPN, coverage is generally slanted toward teams that matter to the mass audience — not just a small group of die-hards. The Padres simply don’t right now.

Simply put, things are going very well for the Padres right now. That’s not likely to continue, so they should be enjoying themselves instead of worrying about ESPN’s coverage. It would behoove Bell to take a page out of the Adam Dunn handbook and not watch or read anything, while remaining indifferent toward media coverage.

Outrageous, you say? While I agree that Monday’s night coverage of the Mets made sense, given that the entire event was built around the opening of that new New York stadium, it shouldn’t water down Heath’s message. Taking what was said about the three teams so literally is silly and a straw man argument.

Isn’t the idea that ESPN doesn’t have a responsibility to cover all teams, and that the Padres should be honored that they’re getting coverage now, the kind of arrogance that has grown undeserved? Not only has the Internet made the so-called experts on ESPN worthless, but the MLB Network has made Baseball Tonight highlights unnecessary? Let us turn to our leader, Heath Bell:

Well- nevermind. Moving on.

Speaking of crushing disappointment from Heath, his entrance music has left something to be desired. He started out at a disadvantage, replacing the man with the most iconic theme song in the history of baseball, but this? Listen:

We at the Sacrifice Bunt are taking it upon ourselves to find Heath’s new, true entrance music. Leave a comment giving your suggestions. Here’s mine:

(warning: pg-13 swagger in this video)

Posted in gripes, media | 6 Comments »

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