Wednesday Links (1 Nov 06)

In honor of Bruce Bochy’s departure, we’ll break free from an almost fanatical devotion to predetermined roles and let the situation dictate our actions. Here, a couple days earlier than usual, are your links:

  • Future Padre – Adrian Beltre (?) (Padres RunDown). Peter Friberg continues his look at potential solutions to the third base problem. I confess, although my knee-jerk reaction is to dismiss Beltre out of hand, he put up better numbers in 2006 than I’d expected and finished strong (.285/.340/.552 after the All-Star break). He is a good defender and will be 28 next year (i.e., still in his prime), so depending on how much of his salary the Mariners would be prepared to pay, Beltre might not be a bad idea.
  • Chris Young’s Japan Blog. Pretty self-explanatory. Dave Roberts did one of these during the NLCS, and it was kind of neat. Young expresses concern at doing something that the Japanese might find offensive. Here’s a hint: Don’t completely dominate their hitters. ;-)
  • John Conniff at MadFriars is running a series of interviews with announcers from all the Padres’ minor league affiliates. So far he’s got Triple-A Portland’s Rich Burk and Short-Season Eugene’s Russ Eisenstein. There’s a lot of terrific information here on some of the prospects in the system from guys who get to watch them play every day. Good reads.
  • 2006 National League Gold Gloves – As I see it (Baseball Think Factory, hat tip to reader Masticore317). Chris Dial takes a look at this season’s top defenders. For the Padres, I’m mildly surprised that Josh Barfield (ahead of, e.g., Orlando Hudson) and Brian Giles (tops in RF) fared so well. I knew those guys were good, but not that good. I wouldn’t have guessed Mike Piazza at the bottom for catchers — obviously his reputation precedes him, but I thought that, aside from bouncing throws to second with regularity, he did a solid job behind the dish. The rest of the Padres are about where you’d expect them, although Dial expresses surprise at Dave Roberts’ strong showing. Roberts, as we know, was completely overmatched as a center fielder in 2005, but played a great left field this past season.
  • College Hitters – 2001 Draft (Purple Row). I’m a sucker for these retrospective pieces. Padres first rounder Jake Gautreau was a bust, but 13th-round pick Jason Bartlett has enjoyed some success with the Twins. Mark Teixeira, Ryan Howard (5th round), Chad Tracy (7th round), Kevin Youkilis (8th round), and Dan Uggla (11th round) are the big successes here. With a few notable exceptions, not a great year for college hitters.
  • Internet Baseball Awards (Baseball Prospectus, hat tip to reader LynchMob). Eight Prospectus staffers cast their virtual ballots. Trevor Hoffman gets a handful of votes for NL Cy Young, Josh Barfield gets one for Rookie of the Year (a few more go to Clay Hensley, although I’m not sure he qualifies as a rookie), and Bruce Bochy finishes third in the Manager of the Year voting.
  • Puzzle of the Week. This I didn’t need, but I’m glad it’s there if you know what I mean. Thanks to reader Nick G., we’ll all be wasting time playing crossword puzzles at Baseball Reference.

Okay, that’s enough for now. Enjoy!

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45 Responses »

  1. From what I’ve read on Trey Hillman, he sounds like a solid choice if the Padres hire him as the next manager. It also sounds like Texas may be the frontrunner to get him though.

  2. With Bochy’s penchant for veterans, SF may end up SD North. He’s hired Flan as his 3b coach. Reports are that Roberts has put out feelers to SF. Reports in Ben Maller’s column are that the Giants are interested in Aurilia, Loretta, Gary Matthews, Jr. and Jay Payton. Can Bellhorn be far behind?

  3. It wouldnt suprise me if you see Klesko and Nevin in SF next year, maybe boch going to SF has its perks.

  4. http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/padres/20061101-9999-1s1padres.html

    Interesting notes… Sheffield on trade block & Padres among those interested?

  5. I saw that and I would have no interest in that club house cancer especially with a first year manager.

  6. In honor of Bochy leaving, (and offseason ennui), I propose that we all rack our collective brains and try to come up with the worst decision Bochy nmade during his tenure here. It could be a single decision (Mark Langston, game 2 of the ’98 Series) or a cumulative one (Vinny Castilla starting the first half of last season, for example.) I haven’t picked one out yet, just curious as to Geoff’s, Peter’s and the rest of ours are.
    And #2 – wow, Aurilia, Loretta, Payton, and Mathews, Jr. That’s going to be one heck of a team they’re assembling up there in San Francisco! It’s the all mediocre lineup! Add Klesko and Nevin to that and what do you have? Like, 77 wins. And a bunch of old guys past their prime. Sounds a lot like San Francisco’s 2006 version.

  7. meh Boch is gone time to look forward not back.

  8. Flannery is Bochy’s 3B coach, according to today’s UT.

  9. Re: 8 that is great news I cant stand Brantley on baseball tonight

  10. Ill miss flan on the pre-game show and doing color in the booth.

  11. Re: Sheffield as a clubhouse cancer. He’s never a cancer when he’s playing in his FA year. He’s also never a cancer in his first year with a team. Sheffield would be great here. The one down-side, is he wants to play RF and he’s not an above-average RF where Giles is an amazing RF.

  12. Worst Bochy moves:

    There’s temptation to say “Not playing Nady at 3B.” But I really don’t know how well Nady would have played there and furthermore, he only posted a .750ish OPS between New York and Pittsburgh. I think he’s a classic guy to shuffle to between the four corners when you get him ABs in good situations for him.

    Not putting Sledge or Johnson on the post-season roster (in favor of Bellhorn)…

    Not sitting Giles against tough LHP…

    It seems like I’m forgetting some, but I really don’t remember his moves…

  13. Since I’ve heard Kevin Towers mention Zito’s name, is signing Aramis Ramirez out of the realm of possibility?

  14. Is the consensus now that Bochy is gone that Piazza is also gone?

  15. re: 15

    Not according to Towers and Piazza’s agent.

  16. LC (#14), I don’t think we can afford both plus get a bat for LF (though the brass may be satisfied w/ a Johnson/Sledge platoon)…

  17. I read Chris Young’s blog about entry about the trip and was momentarily surprised by how well-written he was. Then I connected the dots and remembered he went to a certain somewhat well regarded school in New Jersey.

  18. Oops. Perhaps in complimenting someone else’s writing I should have double-checked my own. Cross out that first “about”, and it should be “how well-written it was”.

  19. Ben, that or you’re just letting the rest of us know what standards are required to get a compliment from you…

    J.K.

  20. PF

    Great stuff on padresrundown. Any one of these guys mentioned (Beltre, Crede, Marte, Sheff, Alou, etc) would be an upgrade over what the Pads have now. I hope we all have someone to get excited about next year for 3b and/or LF.

    You mentioned that SD might be one of the eight teams to which Beltre has veto rights. Here’s a question: Why would anyone veto a trade to SD? What . . . is the weather too nice or something?

  21. I dunno, CY’s writing style is a little stiff if you ask me, like he’s writing for the Padre front office marketing piece. Like baseball players on TV who can relax when they talk. Oh well, he’s a good pitcher and make a ton of jack, so who cares.

  22. Love that flan has made it back to the field. He was a great color guy, so so play by play and we’ll miss him on pregame. I guess we now know it wasn’t Bochy who wanted to fire the Flan Man.

  23. #13
    Off the top of my head:
    Sticking with Plantier and Hamilton long after they were useful. Letting Eddie Williams play first base. And 2 words – Archi Cianfrocco. And 2 more – Ruben Rivera. and, you know, Carlos Garcia. And Carlos Hernandez……
    I like Bochy, I really do. and I know that he was stuck with a low payroll, subpar team a lot of the time. But these are guys he could have and should have jettisoned. There are literally 100 guys in the minors that hit as well as Cianfrocco or Rivera.

  24. Flan told a story on air once about how he got fired. The Padres brass was giving Bochy a hard time about playing a particular unnamed vet (some things never change) and Padres management didn’t want that guy getting PT because he wasn’t any good. Flan retorted in his typically non-PC way, “They why did you guys put on the team?”

    Bye-bye Flan.

    Nick (#22)I think we’ll make one BIG signing (Zito possibly) and a bunch of smaller ones that make A LOT of sense (Alou, etc.)…

    I’m guessing Beltre might of put a no-trade on us the same reason why a lot players do that to Oakland. They know that if they come here there is little chance that we’ll extend them when the current contract is up. We have a reputation for being “cheap.”

  25. I really hope this doesn’t mean that the front office isn’t liking the guys they’re interviewing already.

  26. I’m not that worried. He’s expressed interest in this job and in Oakland’s… His weaknesses (over-reliance on vets, tactical, etc.) are some of the same that caused the Padres to allow Bochy to look elsewhere. He probably asked to interview and the Padres thought it was worth their time to see what he had to say.

  27. I saw the Baker note, and came straight here. How can that be? How can smart baseball guys even consider him? He is Joe Morgan with even more arrogance. Aaaaarrrrggghhhhh.

    They cannot hire him. I do not want to have to take my 1 year off of the Padres as I vowed if Baker was signed.

    I have been thinking about our needs, and I have not run the numbers to find the exact players I am thinking of, but why not save some money and get a mixture of solid platoon type of infielders. So 3B would be Branyan/RHB, but that RHB can play other positions and can mash lefties but is horrid against righties. Re-sign Walker or another versatile, solid infielder, to a have a versatile LHB. Finding solid, flexible defenders but are limited platoon guys offensively, coupled with flexible managing, seems like you ought to get pretty good production for decent money.

    Same with the OF. I would relegate Giles to strickly a platoon guy, and find a righty that can mash lefties. Only Cameron, AGon, Bard are pitcher independent. I would shade Greene and Barfield; still give them playing time, but give some starts to LHB bench players.

    I think highly productive, everyday position players without egregious splits are very, very expensive. So, would poor money into one of those guys this off-season and some in pitching and then get by with the platoon arrangement for the rest.

    My thoughts, probably worth what you paid for them.

  28. > Baker’s emergence as a candidate comes as something of a surprise,
    > given that the Padres initially indicated that they would not be
    > interviewing any former Major League managers.
    So, they lied.

    I certainly don’t want Baker here.

  29. Marshall, did they say that? I thought they said that their list did not (currently) have any candidates w/ MLB managerial experience… Not that they “wouldn’t hire” anyone like that…

  30. Not Sad about Flan…he was terrible in the booth…he did fine pre/post game, but I don’t think I have heard worse in game. He had me wishing Sut would come back and that was bad.

    Please no Baker…Please no Baker…Please no Baker…maybe if I say it enough, it will make it happen…Please no Baker.

    Alou might be a perfect fit for us…especially how he mashes LHP.

    Still think that while Branyan is a great find for a backup 3b/of (I am a fan), if he even sniffs more than 75 starts next year, we are in trouble.

    Still holding my breath, hoping we can find a way to turn KG into some hot property and let his fingers break for another team.

    Wish there was a way to convince Pettite to come to SD.

  31. You know this might end up being a good thing (IF Baker gets hired). Baker does one thing well. He motivates. He might be the best motivator in all of baseball. If he’s willing to come here, then he has to know he’s coming here that he would NOT have the autonomy that he had in San Francisco and Chicago.

    Which one of us wouldn’t love to have Joe Torre (circa 1995 through 2000)? Don’t forget how unsuccessful he was w/ the Mets, Braves, and St. Louis before becoming an HOF manager w/ the Yankees. This doesn’t bother me at all.

  32. Random Thought: On several occasions (ie, about once or twice a day), I’ll be thinking about the ballclub and think to myself, “well Bochy probably would do this if that were the case.” And then it takes me a second to realize that Bochy isn’t the manager anymore. Does this happen to anybody else?

  33. One of the big reasons Baker bothers me (well, beyond the whole clogging up the bases quotes) is that his salary will be the same or greater than Bochy’s next year. One of the biggest benefits of Bochy moving on, I thought, was saving $1 million on a manager that could be deployed much more efficiently elsewhere. Baker definitely eliminates that money.

    Plus, the guy once said, “On-base percentage is great if you can score runs and do something with that on-base percentage,” Baker said. “Clogging up the bases isn’t that great to me.”

  34. Wow, I suck at proofreading today. My point was the money could be deployed more efficiently elsewhere, not the manager. Also, the clogging up the bases quote would have more dramatic impact if it weren’t foreshadowed earlier in my post. Clearly, Chris Young I am not.

  35. Just found out about the Baker thing. I really hope he’s not coming to the Pads. If Boch is gone, let’s get some new blood in here.

    PF — great story about the Flannery firing — classic.

  36. #31

    As you say, finding productive hitters against all types of pitching is hard and expensive. But I think a lot of your bench ideas, while they make sense are wishful thinking. I mean, what team wouldn’t want a versatile infielder who mashes lefties? Problem is, I can’t think of anyone like that around. First name that pops up in the top of my head is Lou Merloni, and I think we tried that already. Maybe Craig Grebeck, if he’s still around. Greg Norton? You see the point – your idea of the perfect bench is probably pretty difficult, if not impossible, to attain, not with a 6-man bench and 3 catchers (although without Bochy I’m not sure if SD keeps 3 next season.)
    And I absolutely don’t want to see Walker doing anything next year but pinch-hitting and maybe spotting at first. He’s the exact opposite of a flexible infielder who can field and mash lefties.

  37. Walker’s got definite value as a hitter. I don’t he’s built for the NL,
    however, unless he’s going to be starting at 2b.

    My bet is he’ll go to an AL club where he can DH or an NL club that needs a 2b.

    There’s probably interest on the Pads’ part, but I don’t think he’ll
    be guaranteed enough PT to want to stay.

  38. Baker will ruin Jake and CY’s arms just like he did Mark Prior and Kerry Wood. NOOOOOOOO!!!!

  39. I agree with Senor Friberg. I don’t think Baker is necessarily a bad thing. I disagree with the popular opinion that Baker destroyed Wood and Prior’s arms. Pitch counts are so ridiculously overrated. Wood has rather poor mechanics (a la Adam Eaton – a cross body thrower), and Prior is about as unlucky as you can get. If it’s not a freak leg or elbow injury, he’s catching line drives with his head or elbow.

    If nothing else, I know for sure that Baker will bring some fire to this club.

    I am personally pulling for Trey Hillman, though. He’s a rather fiery personality, too, and it says a lot that he’s able to take that personality and make it work in the Japan where it’s not always seen as a good thing. And…he kinda looks a little like Boch, so…there ya go.

  40. #31
    Given more time to think about it, 2 names pop immediately to mind: Mark Loretta and Craig Counsell. Remember, before he came to SD Loretta was a utility infielder – played all 3 skill positions for the Brewers, and played them fairly well. He’s 35 and coming off a poor year and Boston doesn’t want him. I’d take him back if he can still play short and third, as a backup and occasional starter. I wouldn’t bet on him taking a reduced role just yet, though. Counsell has said he wants to be a starter, and that’s a shame, because he’s an ideal utility infielder – good glove, hits enough to be useful, and is durable. And he can play short, which the Pads desperately need if they’re going to stick with Greene and his injury-prone self. I don’t want to see Manny Alexander in a Padres uni ever again.
    And about Baker – I really hope this is just a formality. Baker is Bochy, redux. He won’t play rookies, he’s bad with pitchers, he doesn’t quite understand the importance of OBP, and while he is a great Motivator and players like him, I really think it’s time to give a new guy a chance – just like San Diego did the last time they hired a manager. I think Baker’s ideal team would be Texas or even Anaheim.