Sledge to Bat Leadoff?

A Bill Center article in this morning’s San Diego Union-Tribune suggests that Terrmel Sledge could lead off for the Padres in 2007. Quoth manager Bud Black:

We’ve talked about the possibility of Terrmel in that role and when you look at the statistics, there are indications he can do it.

Black doesn’t explicitly mention what those “statistics” might be, but Sledge, who batted leadoff while at Long Beach State, seems to understand:

I’ve always prided myself in getting on base. I’ve always tried to keep my on-base percentage around .400.

With the understanding that a lot can change between now and April, here is what the projected lineup looks like:

  1. Terrmel Sledge, LF
  2. Marcus Giles, 2B
  3. Brian Giles, RF
  4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
  5. Mike Cameron, CF
  6. Kevin Kouzmanoff/Russell Branyan, 3B
  7. Josh Bard, C
  8. Khalil Greene, SS

Stay tuned…

47 Responses »

  1. I wonder is Kouz will start the season out in the 6 hole? I would think they would put greene there untill Kouz gets a few big leauge AB’s under his belt.

  2. Pretty awesome quote from Sledge about the OBP – it’s nice to see a leadoff hitter who knows what he’s supposed to do. Not that Sledge is remotely comparable to Rickey, but the one thing that always impressed me about RH was, in interviews, he always knew what his role was as a hitter – not to get hits or homeruns or even to steal bases, but to get on base and score runs. Henderson always talked about that as his role, and it’s something you hear rarely from leadoff hitters these days. Or ever, I guess.

  3. Hey there – I wanted to ask a somewhat pointed question. Firstly, I’m a diehard Padres fan, so don’t call me a hater, but…

    What do we do with Khalil Greene and his declining .245 batting average?

    I know, I know, he’s a SD native and our own product and I’m well aware of our fetish for local talent, but how long are we going to watch this guy strike out a bunch, nurse his sub par batting average, hit the occasional home run to tease use, and avoid consistency like the plague?

    I’m the first to stand up and say that he’s one of the most outstanding defensive shortstops in the league and I’ve been a Greene defender for a while, but at some point are we expecting to see some consistent offense from him? Is there a fear he’ll decline into *shudder* Sean Burroughs status? I understand he’s not a *terrible* hitter, and maybe thats even more obvious when compared to other SS around the league, but I feel like he’s been an offensive liability despite his potential for power. Essentially, I’ve become torn on him.

    So lets see some numbers – where do we think Greene stands in the organization and where is he compared to other SS in the league?

  4. Re: 3 Khalil is not an SD native he grew up in PA, and FL and I think he lives in SC at the moment.

    You have a point with your post but the only problem is that there are not alot of better options outh there at the moment for SS.

  5. The NY paper that stated the Padres were offering Linebrink for Randy Johnson also noted there were two top Padre prospects in the deal as well.

    Not sure I like the sound of that at all. We don’t have too many “top prospects”, and I don’t want to give up the few we have on this.

  6. Re: 6 the yanks need a 1B so they may be talking about Cust or P-mac, they may also be working on a package deal for Jonson and another Yankee player but we have to remember its the NY post which is about as accurate on Yankee rumors as the national inquirer is on alien abductions.

  7. Good point about Khalil not being a SD native – I suppose I meant more of a “Padre product” where he’s always been a Padre for his short career. Sadly, theres just not much else out there at SS.

    Given that, I’d love to see his swing improved. Sometimes he swings wildly and I just have to yell aloud, “Khalil! What were you thinking!?”

  8. Pick One:

    Trade Linebrink for RJ and have Sledge start in Left

    Or

    Trade Linebrink for a LF and have Thompson pitch in the fifth spot.

    Easy Call for me.

  9. 7 – understood, especially since they mention Kouz as possibly being part of the deal.

    Maybe we should throw in Peavy, Young and AGon while we’re at it to sweeten the pot.

  10. The NY trade rumors are always ridiculous. Boston too. The NY media hears a team is interested and immediately looks at who the Yankees would want, in this case Linebrink and Kouzmanoff. Then they report that “The Padres are believed to be offering reliever Scott Linebrink and two prospects, possibly including Kevin Kouzmanoff, whom the Yanks pursued earlier in the offseason as a righty-hitting first base alternative” “Believed to be”. A nice way of saying the writer is just pulling it out of his ass.

  11. I could see Linebrink/Cassidy/Cust/Sledge going to NY for Johnson/some cash ($6 mil or so)/Cabrera.

    But I really think the pads are driving up the price for D-backs

  12. 9: Yes, sounds great, but what left fielder?

  13. Melky Cabrera would be a nice addition to the Padres if they could pry him loose. He is on the trading block given the Yanks have the three outfield positions filled and can bring Bernie Williams back as the fourth outfielder.

    Cabrera is only 22, hit reasonably well his rookie year and has a gun of an arm (12 assists before word spread not to run on him). Downside is that he probably does not have enough speed for leadoff and not enough pop for 3-6.

    If the Padres could package Linebrink plus one or two minor leaguers for Johnson and Cabrera, it is a nice deal.

  14. Jim Callis of Baseball America in his ESPN chat today said that the Padres have the 29th best minor league system in baseball. So, nowhere to go but up with all these draft picks next year!

  15. I like Licky Cabrera as long as we don’t play him in CF at all where he doesn’t belong.

  16. Looks like Manny A is back with a minor league deal. As per Baseball America:

    San Diego Padres
    Signed SS Manny Alexander
    Released RHP Riki Paewai
    Released RHP Vern Sterry
    Released C Matt Hagen
    Released 1B John Smith
    Released OF Dustin Delucchi
    Released OF Kennard Jones
    Released OF Tim Turner
    Rule 5 loss: RHP Joakim Soria (Royals, Major League)

    Isn’t Paewai the kid we got from Australia?

  17. Hey, at least “we’re” ahead of the Nationals. That’s sorta like Phil Hartman as candidate Clinton on “SNL,” bragging about moving ahead of Mississippi in literacy or prevention of rickets.

  18. Looks like several former Padre players and prospects signed minor league deals too:

    Boston Red Sox – Signed 2B Bobby Scales
    Chicago Cubs – Signed C Koyie Hill
    Chicago White Sox – Signed RHP Ryan Bukvich
    Cincinnati Reds – Signed RHP Eric Junge
    Florida Marlins – Signed C Nick Trzesniak
    Kansas City Royals – Signed RHP Jason Shiell
    Los Angeles Dodgers – Signed RHP Dario Veras
    Oakland Athletics – Signed SS J.J. Furmaniak, Signed OF Vince Faison
    San Francisco Giants – Signed 3B Justin Leone
    Seattle Mariners – Signed RHP Justin Lehr, Signed C Jamie Burke
    Tampa Bay Devil Rays – Signed RHP Stephen Andrade, Signed SS Jorge Velandia
    Texas Rangers – Signed SS Dave Matranga, Signed SS Ramon Vazquez

    Leone is reuinted with Bochy!

  19. Re: 19 im suprised leone went to the giants, does he think Boch will play him in the bay area any more than SD?

  20. 19

    Dario Veras to the Doggers???? Now THAT’s a name I haven’t heard in a while!

  21. Really interesting article at the hardball times about how well various parts of the rotation pitched. For example, the league average number 5 pitcher had an ERA of 6.24. It really shows just how good the Padres rotation was last year, and it seems like it will be even better this year. If the trade for Randy Johnson happens and everyone stays relatively healthy, that’ll likely be an ERA of 4.3 or better in the number 5 spot.

    http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/how-good-is-your-4-starter/

  22. Re: 22 it does not matter if the padres cant average more than 4 runs every 5th day.

  23. 18: Don’t worry, I’m sure somebody will be by to explain that the Padre system really is much better than 29th.

    Baseball Prospectus had some harsh words for us as well. These rankings come after 2 Alderson/Fuson drafts.

    Why do I suspect that trading for Randy Johnson would lead to the Padres taking signability picks in June because “we expanded our major league budget.”

  24. re 24 part 2….Yup let’s blame Alderson/Fuson for the state of the farm system whe 9/10 in the BP top 10 were drafted in the past 2 seasons…..that makes a lot of sense.

    Additionally, if you look at the 25 and under player catagory is there any team you’d rather trade places with? Adding Peavy, Meredith and Adrian Gonzalez to that list makes a bit of difference.

    No doubt that they need a GREAT draft this year to get the system back to the middle of the pack.

  25. 21 – Can it really be the same Dario Veras?

  26. 24: because you’ve been burned in the past by Padres’ drafts and you’ve vowed never to trust the front office again? Maybe next fall (after a good 2007 draft) we can make an inspirational movie out of your story:

    “Coming to theaters this spring: the story of a man who swore he’d never trust the front office again”. Fade out. Cut to TW crying looking at a photo of Matt Bush. “The team accumulated draft picks to reach out to him, but he was too hurt to reach back.” Cut to news clippings of the Padres offering arbitration to Klesko, Park, and Wells. “It will take the best effort of Kevin Towers and Sandy Alderson’s lives to rekindle the spark.” Shot of scout with worn out look, only one in stands, watching high school baseball game. “June 2007, he learns to fall in love with the Padres’ system again.” A shot of a Padres’ draft pick hitting a game winning home run and more Padres’ draft picks mobbing him at the plate.

    All right, KT and SA, ball is in your court. Make this happen with a good draft this year.

  27. Re: 27 you have to include moores, KT wanted Weaver in the 04 draft moores siad no way.

  28. Re 26. Dario Veras has had a bit of a career in the last few years pitching in Taiwan. I think he was the best closer in the league. Of course, Taiwan is probably Single A comparable so does not say much.

  29. Check this out, from an AP report:

    The names and urine samples of about 100 players who tested positive for PEDs in 2003 can be used by government investigators in their probe of steroids in sports, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

    And Rotoworld’s commentary on it:

    The tests were supposed to be kept confidential, but that’s not going to happen unless the ruling is appealed and overturned. The results still aren’t supposed to be made public, but leaks do happen. One thing that investigators surely will check is whether Barry Bonds tested positive, as they’re trying to build a perjury case against him for his role in the BALCO hearings. Other players who tested positive shouldn’t facing any new penalties, but there are reputations at stake.

    It sure would be interesting to see who these players were.

  30. Re: 30 I dont think we want to know.

  31. 25: We could have picked mannequins in 2005 and 2006 and our list this year would be Mannequin A, Mannequin B, and so on. Before 2005 we had a couple of prospects and 7 or 8 open spots that could be filled with any of 30 names drawn at random from the organization

    It’s a fact, after the last 2 drafts we still have a terrible system. A top 10 list for a team is only a list of the players in that system. Other teams managed to improve themselves more in the last two years without having more or higher picks.

    Really good drafts in the last 2 years would have pushed us higher as an organization. Compared to what we were after 2004, we’re better. We’re still not where we could have easily (and should have easily) after the 2005-06 picks.

    Off the top of my head I’d trade spots with the DBax, Tigers, and Devil Rays for their under 25 talent versus ours. Cleveland, too. Look at the Tigers – Verlander, Zumaya, Bonderman on the major league staff, Miller drafted this year, Granderson in the OF, Maybin screaming up the prospect charts.

  32. 27: My sides hurt. For the record, it’s not that I’ll never trust them again, they’re just going to have to earn it. That could be the tagline for the movie. You want my love? You have to EARN IT!

    I’d pay good money to see a Karate Kid-style training montage of the arbitration process. Thrill to the sound of Mark Cross pens scratching across legal pads!

    28: No, KT and the scouts wanted Drew. Weaver was their second choice. Moores said no to both.

  33. TW has said it many times this years draft will really define if the padres are going to improve their minor league system, they played it safe the last two years (which i think was a good idea to somewhat stabilize the system).

    Im interested to see if the padres will be able to farm any players out of the Caribbean, this is an area that the padres have neglected for so long and i think that may also be a reason why their farm system is ranked so low.

  34. You know who would be a great left fielder & lead off hitter…Dave Roberts

  35. Our system is not #29… PERIOD

    There are 29 teams that are kicking themselves for not taking Cedric Hunter. And Huffman and Freese are both huge gets for us.

    Add in Kouzmanoff, Carrillo, Headley, Venable, etc… I think we’re closer to 20 than 30. Everyone said they liked our last two drafts, yet they don’t move us up… Ask them if they’re being intellectually honest.

  36. 37: It’s as close to a unanimous verdict as you can get. The only observer with a lot of insight who hasn’t weighed in yet is Sickels. It will be a shock if he puts us any higher than 25.

    Cedric Hunter’s a nice prospect. In rookie ball. Almost nobody thinks he can play CF in the majors. They don’t think he has the power of a typical corner OF. Other teams wish they had drafted him, but is he even a top 20 minor league OF? I don’t see it. Venable’s got the same skills but is 5 and a half years older and was only one level higher.

    An 823 OPS out of Headley in the Cal League did not advance his status. I’m not saying he’s a bust by any means, but that was at best a getting-your-feet wet season. If I was really down on him I’d point out that he got his feet wet in 2005, but I’m not writing him off. But there we have another example of a player being touted by the Padres who nobody else sees as one of the top prospects at his position.

    When a starting pitcher throws only 52 innings, it tends to push him down the rankings. After Carrillo it’s a long fall to Leblanc.

    I love Freese. But you can see why some people are skeptical. Older, may not stick at 3b. The Padres have already tried him at catcher, which isn’t going to speed up his progress. I’d leave him at 3b, but if they’re going to move him it should be to the outfield so all he has to worry about is hitting.

    I haven’t seen anybody say they really liked our last two drafts, especially the 2005 class. Baseball America didn’t have us in the top 5 in either year. Even if they did like our drafts, who’s to say that other teams didn’t get just enough better to keep us at the back of the line?

  37. Re #3
    I know what you mean about KG…BUT I think he deserves one shot at an injury-free season, batting low in the order without a lot of pressure, to see what he can do. He’s never going to be a high on-base guy, but I really think he can hit 280 with 20 homers and 80 RBI while playing above-average defense at short. That’s not Jeter, but it’ll play, and since the other option at short is non-existent….we may as well play Kahlil. Of course, this point would be moot if the Padres had drafted Stephen Drew instead of Matt Bush a couple years ago, but that’s the price you pay for doing things on the cheap
    RE # 37 -I think our 29th – ranked farm system is justly deserved. Is there a single healthy pitcher in the system you can project to a meaningful major-league slot? Hunter is great right now, but he’s in single-A. Headley is another McAnulty-type guy. The Padres have way too many minor league DHs, and we don’t get to play six first basemen (not to mention our current 1B is young and better than all of these guys.) I would love to argue the Padres are better than their ranking, and certainly their large contingency of under-25 ML players skews the figures a little, but let’s face it – this is a team whose minor-league system is so bereft of any talent that when Greene went down last year our best – best! – option was Manny freakin’ Alexander. Not even our first-overall draft-pick shortstop (Bush)was good enough. I hope these guys prove me wrong, but there’s no reason in arguing against the analysis of literally every minor-league scouting service in baseball.

  38. 36:

    Great is an overstatement.

  39. Dave Roberts: Seems like a really great guy, plays hard, including a very fine LF last season, rebounded in the steals dept. after a fairly dreadful 05, but the adulation has gotten out of hand.

  40. RE Roberts: I agree Dave appears to be a great guy. He proved me wrong on the offensive side during his time hear, and he was a very good defender in LF last season. That being said his WARP1 last year was 1.9 higher than his previous career best and 2.3 higher than his 2005, which was only .4 off his previous career best. Point being is he had a couple of career years here late in his career and is unlikely to reproduce that success going into his age 35 season.

    He’ll be 35 next year and makes his living off of his legs, which have always been injured, even during his two years with us they were injured. He’s also about league average in terms of OBP, so he’s only going to be a great leadoff hitter if he can maintain a better than league average OBP, which he did during his two seasons with us.

    However, if you look at his history and his BB totals, you’ll see his OBP success was not tied to increased strike zone discipline or improved BB totals. In fact his BB/PA was the worst it has ever been during his career (I’m not including his first three seasons in which he never even had 200 PA’s). His only seasons with above average OBP were entirely due to having more hits fall, more singles increased his BA and that was the only thing which increased his OBP.

    Singles don’t always fall in, they tend to fluctuate year to year, and without offsetting power, the likelihood of injuries taking away from playing time, Roberts would be a good bet to not be an outstanding LF and leadoff hitter next year. In fact, I’d say it’s much more likely he would be average to poor.

    I much prefer seeing him in SF where I think he will hurt the Giants, especially if they play him in CF where he is completely overmatched, more than he would help the Padres.

  41. 43: Excellently put.

  42. More observers weigh in on top prospects:

    http://tinyurl.com/yly7eo

    There’s also a link from to that article from Ducksnorts thru Knuckle Curve.

    Short version: Kouzmanoff is the only Padre in their Top 100, at 46. Carrillo gets an honorable mention.

    Sometimes prevailing opinion is wrong. I don’t think it’s wrong with us, but it could be. Even if it is, the prevailing opinion reflects the trade value of our prospects.

  43. Whoa, I’m not sure how believing Roberts is a better left fielder for the Padres than Sledge qualifies as “adulation.” Even the overrated can be honestly rated better than those toeing the line at mediocrity. I’m not sure that had the Padres known that they were going to be unable to secure an everyday LF in free agency that they still would have allowed Roberts to head north. Hopefully LF 2007 won’t be the new 3B 2006.

  44. More from Jim Callis:

    “He’s not an inflated No. 1 prospect along the lines of a Collin Balester or a Cedric Hunter.”

    Hunter’s not on his list of the 18 best OF in the minors.