Cruz, Maddux, Book Status

Long post this morning, so grab yourself a cup of coffee and get comfy…

Padres Sign Cruz

As noted yesterday in the comments (you’re reading those, of course), the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that the Padres have signed outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. to a 1-year, $650,000 deal. Is he the answer to anyone’s prayers? No. Is he a useful guy to have around at a very cheap price? Absolutely.

Cruz is coming off a terrible season in which he hit .233/.353/.381 for the Dodgers. Over a 10-year career, however, his numbers are a much more respectable .249/.339/.453 (OPS+ of 104). He turns 33 in April so there’s a decent chance he’ll bounce back to league average. Mike Cameron is listed as Cruz’ most similar batter through age 32 at Baseball-Reference. Former Padres Ruppert Jones (#2), Kevin McReynolds (#5), and Ron Gant (#8) also make his list of top 10 comps.

Reports on Cruz’ defense are mixed. He won a Gold Glove in 2003 while playing for the San Francisco Giants, but there is talk that his game has slipped since then. Looking at range factor (always a dicey proposition), his numbers are slightly below average in center and well above average on either corner.

As the roster currently stands (for whatever that’s worth in December), Terrmel Sledge would be the starter in left field, with the switch-hitter Cruz playing against southpaws. For his career, Cruz has an OPS about 50 points higher batting from the right side.

Cruz essentially replaces Dave Roberts in the fourth outfield slot and is a better fit for the Padres because he’s strong against left-handed pitching and he comes at a fraction of the cost. Look at it this way: he’s got a higher career OPS+ than Jose Guillen (98), who just signed with the Mariners for 1 year, $5.5 million. Or, if you prefer, the Padres picked up a slightly above-average outfielder for less than the price of Geoff Blum or, better yet, Tanyon Sturtze. Seriously, where’s the risk in that?

Padres Eye Maddux and other outlets are indicating that the Pads have serious interest in bringing future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux to San Diego to help fill out the 2007 rotation. The asking price is believed to be 2 years, $22-25 million, and the Dodgers also are thought to be in the mix. Sure, the guy turns 41 in April, but he’s provided 199 innings or more of better-than-league-average ERA every year since 1988.

Maddux no longer dominates, but who cares? He still never misses a start, and his ERA since 2003 is a very respectable 4.10. Plus, can you imagine letting kids like Jake Peavy, Chris Young, and Clay Hensley have unlimited access to the wisdom of both Maddux and Trevor Hoffman?

Hello. Let’s get this thing done!

Book Update

I’m attacking the book on several fronts right now. The two main items I’m working on are:

  • the September 4 game against the Rockies at Petco Park where Josh Barfield hit a walk-off homer off Brian Fuentes
  • an evaluation of every trade Kevin Towers has made during his tenure as Padres GM

Barfield Game

I’ve just gotten through the bottom of the second inning. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend sifting through an entire game at a very slow pace, rewinding as necessary to catch various nuances and subtleties that can be missed in real time.

In this one, Mike Cameron ends the second with a fly ball that Cory Sullivan catches about a half-step away from the fence in deepest center field. Cameron swings at the first pitch, an 89-mph Josh Fogg fastball on the inner half of the plate, and absolutely hammers it. If Cameron gets his hands through the zone a little quicker, he hits the ball out of the park to left or left-center.

But Cameron doesn’t turn on the pitch, at least partly because the previous batter, Russell Braynan, has seen nothing but off-speed pitches from Fogg. The separation between his fastball and change-up isn’t huge — about 8-9 mph — but it’s just enough to keep Cameron from pulling the ball and get Fogg out of the inning without damage. The best part, though, is watching Fogg come off the mound and walk back to the dugout. He’s got a big ol’ smile across his face — he knows he got away with one, and he knows exactly how he did it.

Towers Trades

I’ve just finished compiling a list of every trade Towers has made. I still need to go through and evaluate them, but here’s a little something to geek on in the meantime.

Since his first meaningful trade on December 21, 1995, Towers has made 89 deals that involved at least one win share passing hands. The net of those deals, in terms of win shares, is +459 in the Padres favor. That’s actually a staggering number, and one that shocks (no offense to Towers) the heck out of me.

Here are Towers’ 10 “best” trades in terms of win shares gained by the Padres through 2006:

  1. March 29, 1999. Traded Andy Sheets and Gus Kennedy (minors) to the Anaheim Angels. Received Phil Nevin and Keith Volkman (minors). +121 win shares
  2. December 22, 1999. Traded Wally Joyner, Reggie Sanders, and Quilvio Veras to the Atlanta Braves. Received Bret Boone, Ryan Klesko, and Jason Shiell. +115
  3. December 21, 1995. Traded Bip Roberts and Bryan Wolff (minors) to the Kansas City Royals. Received Wally Joyner and Aaron Dorlarque (minors). +52
  4. June 18, 1996. Traded Brad Ausmus, Andujar Cedeno, and Russ Spear (minors) to the Detroit Tigers. Received John Flaherty and Chris Gomez. +48
  5. November 19, 1997. Traded Trey Beamon and Tim Worrell to the Detroit Tigers. Received Dan Miceli, Donne Wall, and Ryan Balfe (minors) +32
  6. December 20, 2004. Traded Jay Payton, Ramon Vazquez, David Pauley, and cash to the Boston Red Sox. Received Dave Roberts. +32
  7. February 2, 1999. Traded Mark Sweeney and Greg Vaughn to the Cincinnati Reds. Received Damian Jackson, Reggie Sanders, and Josh Harris (minors). +30
  8. November 10, 1999. Traded Andy Ashby to the Philadelphia Phillies. Received Adam Eaton, Carlton Loewer, and Steve Montgomery. +30
  9. December 11, 2000. Traded Donne Wall to the New York Mets. Received Bubba Trammell. +27
  10. March 28, 2001. Traded Matt Clement, Eric Owens, and Omar Ortiz (minors) to the Florida Marlins. Received Cesar Crespo and Mark Kotsay. +30

Quick observations: First, a lot of Towers’ “great” deals came during the late-’90s; only one of his top 10 (the Roberts trade) has occurred in the past five years. Second, Towers owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to his former college teammate, Mr. Joyner. Third, the Mike Cameron deal will be on this list a year from now; it’s already at +20.

I should add a disclaimer here that this isn’t necessarily the order in which Towers’ top trades will appear in the book. Win shares are just a starting point for us, something to look at while we’re dissecting and analyzing each of these deals.

And now for the “worst” deals of Towers’ tenure:

  1. December 15, 1997. Traded Derrek Lee, Rafael Medina, and Steve Hoff (minors) to the Florida Marlins. Received Kevin Brown. -65 win shares
  2. August 2, 2001. Traded Woody Williams to the St. Louis Cardinals. Received Ray Lankford and cash. -27
  3. November 26, 2003. Traded Mark Kotsay to the Oakland Athletics. Received Terrence Long and Ramon Hernandez. -23
  4. March 22, 1996. Traded Raul Casanova, Richie Lewis, and Melvin Nieves to the Detroit Tigers. Received Sean Bergman, Todd Steverson, and Cade Gaspar (minors). -22
  5. February 23, 2000. Traded John Vander Wal, Geraldo Padua (minors), and James Sak (minors) to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Received Al Martin and cash. -20
  6. December 7, 2005. Traded Mark Loretta to the Boston Red Sox. Received Doug Mirabelli. -16
  7. November 18, 1997. Traded John Flaherty to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Received Brian Boehringer and Andy Sheets. -15
  8. December 16, 1996. Traded Willie Blair and Brian Johnson to the Detroit Tigers. Received Joey Eischen and Cam Smith (minors). -14
  9. March 21, 2006. Traded Dave Ross to the Cincinnati Reds. Received Bobby Basham (minors). -13
  10. June 26, 2002. Traded Alan Embree and Andy Shibilo (minors) to the Boston Red Sox. Received Brad Baker (minors) and Dan Giese (minors). -13

Heh. If you’re wondering why we don’t stop with win shares when evaluating these deals, #1 up there should give you a pretty good clue. There’s a strong chance this one will end up in my final list of top five trades Towers has made due to what Brown’s presence meant to the franchise. Without Brown, there is no World Series; without the World Series, there is no Petco Park; without Petco Park, there might not be baseball in San Diego.

The other thing I find interesting is that, with a few exceptions (Williams for Lankford, which was defensible at the time; the Randy Myers deal, which doesn’t show up on this list because no win shares were exchanged; the Mirabelli fiasco, which was vindicated a few months later), Towers doesn’t get taken to the cleaners when he goes to the trading table. Get on the guy for his infatuation with the Rule V draft, but Towers’ track record in trades is fantastic — and much better than I’d imagined.

Final stupid number thingy:

  • positive win shares: 46 (average gain, 17.5)
  • no difference: 3
  • negative win shares: 40 (average loss, 8.65)

Man, I really do need to get a life. Anyway, just a little something to chew on while we’re waiting to see what happens with Maddux. Enjoy!

108 Responses »

  1. 49: But if Schmidt’s arm doesn’t fall off, they’ve got a great pitcher locked up for 4 years in an inflationary market.

    You can put your money in a CD and be sure to get 3%, and sometimes that’s the right thing to do. Other times the right thing to do is to buy a growth stock. Maddux is the CD. You’re almost certainly not going to be worse than you were last year, but you’re not going to be much better, either. Maddux’s VORP was close to what Woody gave us in 2005. Schmidt’s riskier and more expensive, but he was more valuable than any Padre pitcher last year.

  2. FWIW, ex-Padres Catcher Brian Johnson is on MLBTV right now.

    He is talking about his new “crisis management” business, marketing it to baseball. He is trying to help teams and players manager off the field issues.

    Otherwise he is saying very little of interest. Just thought some of you who remember him might like to know what he is up to.

  3. I don’t think that Maddux should be signed for anything longer than a one year deal, if they include a club option and a cheap buyout, then that’s fine also. Personally, I would only sign superstar free agents as pretty much anyone else is going to be a bust. Team’s always make the mistake of signing quantity over quality when it comes to free agents — they would rather sign Phil Nevin and Ryan Klesko for $8m each rather than Vladimir Guerrero for $16m.


    Ken Rosenthal says one year with club option for 2008 at this point. I like the deal if it’s for one year. Maddux is a safer bet for solid production in 2007 than Lilly or Meche or Padilla, and, assuming a one year deal, he’s gone after that, so it sounds like a fine deal for the Padres to help fill out their rotation with little risk in the short term and none long term.

  5. I’ve wanted the Padres to sign Maddux for a long time, that being said, a one year guarantee with a second year option with a buyout would work for me. Assuming the rumored terms are true, we would be overpaying a bit. Hopefully, the presence of so many pitching mentors on a team (eg., Black, Balsley, Hoffman, and Maddux) won’t result in chaos (due to competing “approaches”) but will make Peavy, CY, Hensley, Carrillo (assuming he shows up before the end of the year), et al. that much better in the long run. I also believe that the presence of Maddux will help our young catchers with their game calling and approach.

  6. I love Maddux for 1 year ala Piazza. Consider him a “placeholder”, albeit an expensive one, for Carrillo, and one who is far more likely to throw 200 IP than Wells. He should do well in Petco…he can still get a lot of ground balls but gets hurt by the long ball now in ways he never did when younger…Petco should help correct that.

    “Heyday” years:
    ’92 0.5
    ’93 0.6
    ’94 0.3
    ’95 0.5
    ’96 0.4
    ’97 0.4
    ’98 0.5

    “Decline” years:
    ’03 0.9
    ’04 1.1
    ’05 1.1
    ’06 Chi 0.7
    ’06 LA 0.6

    ’06 showed how a bigger park like Dodger Stadium could help him a lot…he didn’t have to pitch Aug/Sep (good ball-carrying months) in Wrigley. I don’t have month by month HR/9, but I bet those 1.1 years had higher end-of-season months.

    Point of all this: he’s not going to break down, and Petco should keep those flyballs in the park. Could be a good year for him.

  7. Rosenthal is reporting that Jorge Cantu is highly available. I know that he’s a poor fielding 2B, but what do you think about a platoon of he and Walker at 2B. We’d have a lot of versatility for Black (since both can play 3B and 1B) and I would have to think that we’d have one of the best offensive 2B production in baseball. We’d have to carry a decent fielding utility infielder for late/close situations, but…might be a name to consider. He had 28 HR two years ago and he’s only 24.

  8. From CBSSportsline: San Diego expects Todd Walker to accept arbitration and play second base. That would leave Mark Loretta and Ronnie Belliard still looking for jobs.

  9. ESPN reporting that Maddux will sign a deal with the Pads…

    $10mm/1yr with a player option for 2008 at $7mm…performance incentives could raise that number to $10mm.

  10. Wow! I can’t wait for this book!

    I really like hearing all these stat things but will you be including how these things are calculated in the book? If not I can always google them, but it’s fun hearing you explain things in your way you explain things.

  11. Belatedly, I want to chime in on the Giles for Bay/Perez. It is a totally defensible trade at the time, but part of the value was the perception of a getting a marquee player vs. a pure baseball move. Giles was a great player, but the risk of decline (which happened) was highly predictable, and described by BP at the time of the trade. It was defensible, but I disliked at the time and still do. Giles for Bay favors Bay in terms of production and cost, and then you throw in Perez’s 2004 year and the Padres win the West. That would have shut up any critics. That year we were killed by our 5th spot. You keep Perez you have Peavy-Perez-Wells-Eaton-BLaw, about as dominant as a rotation can get.

    To go a bit deeper into the coulda-woulda-shoulda, I was never crazy about giving up on Kotsay. Keep Kotsay in the OF (instead of Payton) and get some middling FA catcher or trade for Kendall like Oakland did, and the Padres would have crushed the West in 2004 and been well set up for 2005 and beyond, even with the uncertainty at catcher.

    The Cruz signing is awesome. As people have commented, it gives us a plausible left field as we search for improvements. I am OK if we go into the season with that platoon, though Termil gives me pause, since he would presumably get the bulk of AB’s. But great to see a seemingly valuable signing in this overheated market.

    Assuming we can get Walker, if we could just find a utility/2B platoon guy that is tough on lefties, we have 2B reasonably covered as well. I thought Loretta would have been great, but too bad to see him picked up. I guess Graffanino is done, given he got arbitration?

  12. For a one year deal, that’s about as good as the Padres could get. Better than paying Padilla for 3yrs/$33Millions by the Rangers.

    #56: that’s pretty good numbers, Clayton.
    Maddux gave up 13 of 29 HR in 123.1 IP after June in 05, 18 of 35 HR in 112.1 IP after June in 04, and 10 of 24 HR in 105 IP after June in 03.
    I haven’t looked into his Home/Road split in those years in the same period, though.

    In any case, I think he’ll like Petco Park.

  13. I agree that the Maddux signing should help the Pads next year. I also agree that paying him for 1 year is better than paying Padilla for 3.

    Anybody have interest in Trot Nixon for LF? He’s got nasty platoon splits, but there doesn’t seem to be a ton of interest in him and he would provide a +800 OPS. If you were careful with him against tough lefties (Read-start Jose Cruz) then he could be a pretty productive player.

  14. From Scott Miller’s article:

    “I don’t think clubs are fearful of (bad) contracts,” Towers said. “You’ve seen it already, how aggressive some clubs have been.

    “Some clubs have money to spend, but I don’t think a lot of clubs want to spend money unless it’s to improve the club. We looked at who’s out there, and we have $25 (million) to $30 million to spend but we may only spend $10 (million) to $15 million, and wait for the trade deadline.”

    Translation: In the non-Manny Ramirez category, is Cliff Floyd, or Luis Gonzalez, or Kenny Lofton, worth a bidding war?

    “I think most people think they make smart decisions,” Jocketty said. “You may have money, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend it. It’s like I tell my wife all the time when she’s going shopping, you have money, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend it all.”

    Wise words to live by in this holiday shopping season. :)

  15. It sounds like the JD Drew deal is done (5/$60m) and they can’t get anyone to bite on Manny so that leaves Boston with either Wily Mo Pena or Coco Crisp as the odd man out. They still need bullpen help too. Linebrink for WMP or Coco?

    If we can get Trot on a bargain deal I’d be happier with him than Sledge in a platoon. He might be a little too Giles-like to fit in, another high OBP aging slugger with rapidly declining power.

  16. I don’t like the idea of Cantu. He’s a horrendous defender at 2B. And while I like the idea of a platoon partner for Walker, getting guys who are accustomed to full time gigs like Loretta and Cantu doesn’t seem like a good option for someone we’d be looking to start about 40-50 games.

    The Boston Herald reports Houston is interested in Josh Bard. Not sure why we’d want to trade him, unless Piazza may be on the way back?

  17. Oops, that’s 5/70 in the Drew deal but the salary for the 5th year is dependent on incentives.

    Count me on Cantu as well. Any backup for Walker needs to have a good glove.

    The Bard rumor is weird unless he’s part of a larger deal.

  18. #60: Thanks, Steve. Not sure about the stats — maybe a glossary or some such. Good suggestion.

    #61: Good call, JSF, on Kotsay. That trade was brought on at least in part by the failure of Ben Davis to develop. Ramon Hernandez was much needed, but it never should have come to that. Without having done the actual analysis yet, I’m guessing that the Kotsay deal makes my final list of bottom five trades by KT.

    #63: PR, I’d be all over Nixon if the price is right. Anyone have an idea what he might command? Maybe 3/$25M?

    On another note, I’ve just finished watching the top of the third inning of the Barfield game. I know it doesn’t take rocket science to figure this out, but Todd Helton’s swing is just beautiful.

  19. Nixon has had some serious injuries the last couple of years, I can’t seem him getting that kind of money. Of course Pittsburgh is rumored to be interested so who knows what they’ll throw at him. Maybe he’ll get a 1 or two year deal at $6m per?

  20. I’m always amazed at how unenthusiastic a baseball town San Diego can appear to be at times (I’m currently in Chicago so my comparison may be unfair). Yet, this site has some of the most insightful comments that you could hope for as a dedicated fan.

    The Towers trade analysis is very interesting. I would think the “best trades” coming in the late 90′s vs. the past five years would have to be substantially influenced by the unavoidable fact that recent trades have less time to accumulate win shares. I’m curious how you’re going to deal with players that are flipped quickly (e.g. Mirabelli) so their win shares don’t adequately represent their value. I’d also be interested to see trends in ages and salaries exchanged.

    You always do great work Geoff, and you maintain a great blog. Congrats on the life-altering decision. Great to see someone pursue their passion. I wish you the best

  21. GY,

    Are you going to do the same sort of analysis on draft picks that you did for KT’s trades? I’m thinking that it won’t be quite so stellar.

    I don’t think you can blame KT for that, though. The scouting department has let him down, through the years. Names that come to mind are Burroughs and Davis.

  22. LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – J.D. Drew and the Boston Red Sox culminated weeks of negotiations by reaching a preliminary agreement Tuesday on a $70 million, five-year contract.

  23. 71: Our scouts weren’t the only people high on Burroughs.

  24. 71: Davis was also pretty widely well-regarded.

  25. #70: Thanks, Daniel, for the kind words. I’m sure you’re correct that “less time” is a factor in the differences in win shares. I’ll be interested to see, as I go through everything, if there are other factors as well. Regarding guys who are flipped, that’s something I’m still trying to figure out: one of the best examples is the Hermanson for Veras deal that proved to be quite important for the Padres but which also landed the Marlins a very productive player in Cliff Floyd.

    #71: LaMar, I don’t think I’ll go quite as in-depth on the draft, but I’m planning to address Davis and Burroughs specifically. As Richard and Paul correctly note, both were highly regarded as amateurs (although Davis had a few more question marks). But I do have some thoughts on the wisdom of putting one’s proverbial eggs in one basket that I hope I’m able to articulate well enough to include.

    Off to the USD hoops game. I’ll start prepping tomorrow morning’s Maddux entry when I get home.

  26. maddux signed.
    one year, $10MM……….player option for 6-10 for

  27. How does this look?

    3.59 ERA, 213 IP, 189 H, 1.26 WHIP?


    How do these look?

    4.76 ERA & 1.35 WHIP
    1.17 ERA & 0.78 WHIP
    2.80 ERA & 1.25 WHIP
    4.97 ERA & 1.58 WHIP
    4.10 ERA & 1.34 WHIP
    4.91 ERA & 1.48 WHIP

    (Musically) Which of these is not like other…

    Those are Schmidt’s monthly splits.

    Other than dominant May & June, Schmidt was average at best.


  28. #65 Any of the mentioned Red Sox outfieders would be a much need upgrade. But according to mlb trade rumors, Boston is working on both Gagne and Donnelly. Boomer just returned from lion hunting in Africa ( morning show interview). a) Maybe he’s gearing up for a return to NewYork.b) Hasn’t he heard of “Bungalow Bill”? Seriously, he seems to want to get in shape and somehow be affiliated with SD as a special assignment coach. I say put him on board and see how things develop.

  29. 77: I’m not a Schmidt fan either and I certainly wouldn’t want him at the price he’ll likely command.

  30. LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – Greg Maddux and the San Diego Padres neared agreement Tuesday night on a $10 million, one-year contract.

    The deal for the four-time Cy Young Award winner would contain a $6 million player option for 2008. The price of the option would increase incrementally up to $10 million if Maddux pitches 200 innings.

    Agent Scott Boras, without indicating a team, said Maddux’s deal “was moving positively … but not done yet.”

  31. I love the Maddux deal, btw. I’m a big fan of “overpaying” for a shorter deal.

  32. Comments 1-10 or so:

    Win Shares ARE directly related to team wins. That’s why Bill James came up with them, and that’s why they are called what they are.

    If you ad up the Win Shares collected by the players on a team, they should equal the team’s wins times three.

  33. Scanning the wires:

    LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – The Boston Red Sox reached a preliminary agreement Tuesday with shortstop Julio Lugo that would pay him $36 million over the next four years.

  34. MLBTradeRumors…

    * The Red Sox are considering trading for Brendan Donnelly, who will go to arbitration for the Angels. A potential deal reportedly would only cost a minor prospect.
    * In other Angels news from the same article as above, the Braves are still holding out for Scot Shields in an Adam LaRoche deal, to which the Angels say, “What are we, stupid?”
    * Humberto Sanchez could see a new team already if the White Sox can convince the Yanks to trade him for Mark Buehrle.
    * The M’s asked for John Danks when the Rangers asked about Jeremy Reed.
    * David Dellucci passed his physical with the Indians, making his three-year deal with the team all but official.
    * The Orioles and Braves had a Hayden Penn/Brian Roberts for Adam LaRoche/Marcus Giles deal in negotiations, but the deal fell through and is apparently beyond saving.
    * Talk of a Lastings Milledge/Joe Blanton deal has been rumored, as Oakland GM Billy Beane and Mets GM Omar Minaya met today.

  35. So Bay has been punished by playing in Pittsburgh as far as WS? Interesting.

  36. 52: 1996 was my first year watching baseball (I was 9) and Brian Johnson was my favorite player cause we had the same name. We traded him in the offseason and I was crushed.

  37. No, he hasn’t been punished. James figured out a way where individual performance relates directly to team performance and vice versa. No one is hurt or helped by their team.

  38. wow, im excited about getting to watch maddux pitch all season long. I only have been able to catch the occasional few games a year he pitches that are nationally televised, or against the padres.

    I guess KT and Boras actually CAN work together. Im proud of you KT!

  39. When Adam Eaton gets $8 million/year, $10 million/year for Maddux is a relative bargain in the present market. I’m guessing it will be Walker at 2B and I’m hoping for Burrell in LF.

  40. 89: I’d be happier with Walker at second if he had a platoon partner. I’ve been in love with the platoon since I read Weaver on Strategy.

  41. Yesterday’s thread is talking about Freel:

    Depending on whose park adjustments are more accurate, Freel is either slightly above or slightly below average offenively as a second baseman. He’s not at a point in his career where he’s likely to improve. I’m not sure he’d be any better than Barfield. I’m not sure about defensive value, but I think we’d be better served going wih Walker.

  42. 90: I love the platoon. You need a manager willing to swap out the players to get the edge vs. “sticking with the veteran”. Maybe Black will be more ammenable to that. When we had Sweeney frickin’ cranking 900 OPS against RHP, how is that not the best bargain in the world? Instead, we had to keep the AB’s warm for Nevin because he was the starter. Killed me.

  43. Interesting day. I hate Cruz Jr. (As a player, of course) and like the Maddux signing. A few years ago 10 mil would have seemed absurd, but considering Chan Ho Park was paid 15 million last year, and guys like Ted Lilly and Vicente Padilla are getting 10 million+ this off-season I’m not sweating it too much. I hope Cruz is as bad in the Spring as he was last season and gets cut- there are probably 20 minor leaguers better than him right now that could be had for nothing. His solitary skill is hitting lefties, and I’m not sure that’s enough to put up with his weaknesses (basically, everything else in his game). He hasn’t been good for many, many years, and his ’03 GG was a joke.
    Some other names bandied about on here…
    Nixon? Come on? Dude has a bad back that makes Todd Helton look like the picture of health. He’s John VanderWal at this point, with less upside. Does anybody remember, umm, what’s his name…oh yeah, Ryan Klesko? Bad backs don’t get better with age.
    So the rotation is Peavy, Young, Hensley, Maddux and….?
    Still curious about the 2B situation. Counsell was an absolute steal for Milwaukee. Really wish we’d nabbed him.
    In other news, Mirabelli and Loretta are FAs. Funny, huh? Boston now officially has nothing to show for Bard and Meredith except for George Kottaras.
    Sorry for all the rambling. Been on vacation.

  44. #s 90 & 92

    Yeah, I remember the good old days of “Timry Flanster”…

  45. 93: Kottaras was for Wells, not Bard & Meredith.

  46. 93: “The Fielding Bible” author John Dewan put Cruz at No. 10 out of 30 RFers through 2005. For the Pads’ sake, I hope he’s right (and that Cruz hasn’t declined too much since ).

  47. Re 61: Any recollection of how the decline in Giles was so predictable? I mean certainly players do decline in their mid-30′s, but his drop from a 148 OPS+ to a 105 in just one year seems a bit precipitous and not something one would have easily projected. Just curious about what was said at the time.

  48. Assuming we get a LF, it looks like our bench is set:

    C Bowen
    IF Blum
    3B Branyan
    OF Cruz
    OF Sledge

    But if we go with Sledge/Cruz/Branyan in LF, I’d like to see another infielder that can play 2B/SS. Any ideas who is still out there?

  49. I checked the FA listings. Not a lot out there for 2B(/SS):

    Ronnie Belliard, Miguel Cairo, Chris Gomez, Mark Loretta, Chris Woodward, Jose Hernandez, Tomas Perez, Jose Vizcaino, Tony Graffanino.

    Woodward would probably be the best righty 2B platoon-mate who could also backup SS, but that’s not a very attractive option I don’t think.

    What about Aaron Boone? Sure, he’s a 3B. But can also play 2B/SS. Righty hitter…

    Overall, there’s not a whole lot still out there that I’d be interested in.

  50. Not a Padre topic, but fun – here are Baseball Prospectus’ brand new BoSox projections for ’07 for JD Drew. I guess $70MM doesn’t buy what it used to…

    “Some of you are not going to like this.

    475 76 27 3 14 60 70 86 4 2 .286 .395 .472 20.9 4.7

    That’s a hot-off-the-presses PECOTA projection for J.D. Drew in Boston. Fourteen home runs? What gives?

    Park effects for one thing. Dodger Stadium has a reputation as a pitcher’s park which is no longer really warranted. In fact, it’s a downright good park for home runs, especially for left-handed hitters; I have its park factor for lefty home runs at 1045. Fenway, conversely, rates as a 903 for left-handed power; only AT&T Park has a lower score.

    League effects are another. As I opined earlier today, the superior competition in the American League has become an increasingly important factor in player analysis. It’s an especially important factor in Drew’s case for a couple of reasons:

    (i) Not only is the American League more difficult, but it also has a different “shape”. In particular, somewhat contrary to its reputation, it tends to favor contact hitting and guys who put the ball in play. The National League, by contrast, is a Three True Outcomes league. Those are Drew’s strengths — and he’s moving away from them.

    (ii) The American League has a significantly higher fraction of left-handed pitching. PECOTA isn’t quite sophisticated enough to take this distinction into account … but if it did, Drew’s projection would be even more pessimistic.

    Now, the news isn’t all bad. Drew’s strong OBP, doubles power, and reasonable defense make him a valuable player, even if he’s a long shot to appear in 150 contests. His MORP works out to about $10.5 million for 2007, given current market trends. But on account of his checkered health history, it declines quickly from there. This contract is, in its own way, just as problematic as some of the deals for slugging-heavy outfielders that were signed in November. ”

    That’s very interesting stuff about Dodger Stadium in there too. I did not realize it was changing reputation so much.