Oh So Quiet

Welcome to the calm before the storm. Not much going on right now, but the Opening Day roster is starting to take shape.

Right-hander Scott Strickland will be waived today, leaving righties Kevin Cameron and Mike Thompson as the leading candidates for the final two bullpen spots. Kevin Towers and Bud Black both think highly of Cameron and like his ability to get lefties out. Cameron got smacked around when I saw him, but my sample of one game is essentially meaningless. I’ll defer to the experts here.

Meanwhile, nobody is saying who will take the last bench spot now that Todd Walker is gone. I know we all want to see Paul McAnulty get a shot, but with Russell Branyan on the roster, that seems redundant. Oscar Robles, who can legitimately play anywhere on the infield, probably is a better fit — at least to start the season.

A quick check of our Opening Day Roster contest grid reveals that nobody picked both Cameron and Thompson to make the club. Robles? He wasn’t even in the organization. As for the consensus, it looks like we nailed 22 of the 25 spots. Hey, 88% ain’t too shabby.

In other news, I’m very flattered by Billfer’s review of the Ducksnorts 2007 Baseball Annual and Q&A with me over at BaseBlogging. I continue to be amazed by the support this book is getting from the community. As always, thank you for spreading the word.

That’s all for now. Time to crank out my annual preview for Baseball Think Factory. Wish me luck…

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33 Responses »

  1. wouldn’t Blum and Robles be redundant as well, both utility infielders who can kind of play all four spots and cant hit?

  2. I vote:

    Leave Robles in AAA along with Alexander and pull them up if someone gets hurt, blum can fill in for a couple of games at SS or 2B. With only 5 bench spots (which I hate) you have to foucus more on pinch hitters than backups.

  3. 1: Amen.

  4. 2: I think KT has to get a righty-hitting fifth man – not only because we need it, but to more fully protect his legal stance with regard to releasing Walker. “Had to have a right-handed bat off the bench”. Period, end of report. Three million bucks at stake. Next few days, lots of guys on waivers. Or maybe trade Andrew Brown for such a fellow. Or, from the department of redundancy department, bring back Craig Stansberry!

  5. Re: 4 The argument I would make is that he is the odd man out on a bench which only has 5 players instead of 6, because of the uncertanty of Wells health they need to carry 7 in the bullpen instead of 6.

  6. Um, thank you, Dodgers, for the pending shipment of James Loney to AAA. (LA Times). I’ll say this for KT, at least he ain’t Ned Colleti.

  7. Thanks for the link, Nick. Interesting article.

    I am getting sooooo excited for the season to start! Ordered my Extra Innings package today. Luckily I live 5 minutes from work so I should only miss 90 mins (wah) of the season opener. Hmmm…maybe I feel a cold coming on…

  8. Got my copy of the book in the mail last Friday and started the first few chapters last night. Great work Geoff and congratulations, it’s quite an achievement.

  9. Got mine yesterday and read SA’s contribution. I like that it wasn’t just some fluffy forward. It sounds like he really read the book, at least most of it.

  10. I just saw this over in Peter Gammon’s blog over at ESPN, although it was written a few days ago.

    “This is the way big-market teams should operate: One NL front-office executive says the Red Sox spent $13.5 million in last June’s draft, the Yankees spent $13 million and the next biggest spender was at $5 million.”

    I’m hoping that this year with our additional picks we’ll separate ourselves from the lower tier and sign draftees based on talent, rather than money.

  11. from ESPN.com baseball rumors:

    Mar 27 – Outfielder Jason Ellison and first baseman Lance Niekro (both out of options) are expected to be on the Giants’ big-league roster, but veteran Mark Sweeney may not make the cut, The San Jose Mercury News reports.
    Sweeney reportedly was left out of Monday’s team meeting, but remains in uniform.

    The Mercury News, citing an unidentified industry source, reports the Giants placed Sweeney on revocable waivers and that no team claimed him within the 48-hour window. Sweeney, who is set to earn $950,000 this season, could refuse a minor league assignment and become a free agent.

  12. re: yesterday’s 24 run outburst … http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=ap-springtrainingrdp&prov=ap&type=lgns … says “… 20-mile-an-hour winds” … ah!

  13. 11: That NL executive must be working with different numbers than BA. Or Gammons misheard him. Baseball America shows Boston spending around 8 million and NYY a little less on 2006 draftees.

  14. 15 … thanks for the link … here’s the key excerpt …

    Josh Barfield, with the Padres last season, was the tops in terms of runs created, making 50 of them as the Pad’s 8th place hitter. He led the field with 410 PAs in that spot. Barfield had a .129 ISO, and 32 of his 106 hits from 8th spot went for extra bases – 8 were home runs. Those 50 runs were worth, roughly 10 wins for the Friars, helping to give them the coveted NL West crown and put them in the playoffs.

    … hmmm … 50 RC = 10 W? … I thought the conversion was more like 10-to-1 … meaning JB was worth ~5 Ws in 2006 … which feels more accurate to me …

    HBT shows 18 WS (= ~6 Ws) … http://www.hardballtimes.com/thtstats/main/index.php?view=winshares&linesToDisplay=50&orderBy=total&direction=DESC&season_filter%5B%5D=2006&team_filter%5B%5D=SD&pos_filter%5B%5D=All&Submit=Submit

  15. GY / Didi … tell us about what you did on Sunday before the game … what time did you get to the practice grounds … what’d ya do … who’d ya see … etc?

  16. 18: Looks like he found his stroke. Great asset. Wish we had his twin from the right side.

  17. I’d be interested to hear what Greg Maddux has to say about his performance last April vs May-July … April @ 5-0 with 1.35 ERA … then May thru July @ 4-11 with ERA ~6.00 …

    Was he hurt? Should he have skipped a start? Was it just BAA bad luck? He certainly finished strong …

    I’m hoping for more April-like outings and fewer May-thru-July-like outings in 2007, obviously :-)

  18. Geoff-

    I was bummed that I missed you in AZ this weekend. I had my wife wear her Ducksnorts shirt, but we didn’t see any other people from the site.

    I too wasn’t impressed with Cameron in the Oakland game. On the other hand, it is pretty tough to argue with KT, especially about the construction of a bullpen.

    I’d love to see us find a righty bat off of the bench as well, although I hadn’t considered the possible legal benefits. I’d like us to think about Andy Phillips of the Yankees, who is not going to make the team because they’re going to keep Josh Phelps instead. Phillips had a .500+ SLG in the minors but never really got a chance to play in NY’s stacked lineup. He played a lot of second and third in the minors, though he has only played first in MLB. I think he’d be a good fit instead of Blum, Robles, or Branyan. We’ve got to find a RH bat.

    I posted a web album of shots from spring training. If you haven’t been yet, you’ve got to go. It’s a blast.


  19. I dunno, I think in a way Branyan makes McAnulty redundant as well.

    Not that Branyan is the best player ever. If one of them were a righty it would be ideal.

  20. I still say having Maddux on the roster is like having an extra (stealth) pitching coach, and that has to be good for the whole team.

    (Having Boomer might be like having a stealth inebriation manager, but hopefully those two at least cancel out.)

    It sure looks like Branyan started reading the Kouzmanoff press releases, because wow, what a run the last few days. Leading the league in April homers, huh?

    ScoutingBook.com: Prospect Rankings (Updated Daily), Closer Watch and more fantasy help. Ducks welcome.

  21. http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/padres/20070329-9999-1s29padnotes.html

    The takeaways here seem to be:

    1. Matt Antonelli is being moved to 2b.
    2. KT still thinks Matt Bush is a good enough player to not switch to pitching.

    One question…how many guys with a .290 OBP in the low minors make it in the majors as a hitter?

  22. 25: I’m happy we’re being aggressive with the 2006 draftees. Not ultra-aggressive, which would be sending them to AA, but at least we’re not sticking them in Ft. Wayne.

    It would be awesome to have a player with Antonelli’s OBP and speed able to play anywhere on the diamond, including behind the dish. He’s probably as good at short as Blum. Just dreaming.

  23. Re: 26 as good at short as blum is not saying much.

  24. I’m with you Tom. I like the controlled aggressiveness. I’m also excited to be able to make an hour-and-a-half drive and see some of the best Padres prospects!

  25. 27: No, but it’s all you need from a backup SS. If your starting SS is good enough to play 8 innings, you don’t need a defensive specialist to take over for him in a close 9th.

    Right now the ONLY reason Blum is on this team is he can “play” SS. He’s not the hitter Walker is, but he can handle routine chances between third and second. If Antonelli could do that, with his superior OBP skills, and play everywhere else on the diamond (maybe not catcher), that’s a big advantage. Then you can build your bench around late-inning pinch-hitters instead of having multiple no-hit infielders.

  26. BTW, whatever happened to Craig Breslow?

    29: good points all. Which is why Oscar Robles was the insurance policy in AAA. No, he’s not going to hit a lot but certainly he’s a better option than Manny Alexander.

  27. 24 … thanks for the link … nice site! From scoutingbook.com I saw this news about the D-backs …


    … trading Julio to Florida for Petit.

  28. 30
    Breslow’s with Boston now, fighting for a bullpen job. Pads released him before the beginning of last season, and the Sox picked him up.

  29. Thanks, Nick G.