Tuesday Links (6 Mar 07)

Quick reminder to the folks here in San Diego that tonight’s game against the Diamondbacks will be televised on Channel 4 at 6 p.m. PT. Until then, here’s what’s going on:

Left Field

Who’s in left? Good question. The assumption has been Terrmel Sledge, but he’s really just the leading candidate headed into spring training. He’s also off to a nice start, so this could be answered sooner rather than later.

Pitching to Contact

Throw strikes. Get ahead in the count. Resolve at-bats as quickly as possible (in your favor, of course). Be economical, efficient. Work deeper into games. Save the bullpen, save yourself.

Okay, that was weird. Here’s what some other folks have to say on the matter:

  • Strong man on Padres’ mound (North County Times). Right-hander Jake Peavy is working on locating his fastball with greater consistency. One of the more aggravating things to watch last year was Peavy get ahead in the count and then take forever to put guys away. If he and Chris Young can improve their efficiency (hint: watch Greg Maddux and David Wells), they could be scary good.
  • Padres hurlers want contact (Padres.com). Young, for his part, points to an improved changeup as one weapon that will help him pitch with greater efficiency. I’ve done some research in this area, and if he Peavy and Young could get their pitches per plate appearance down to around 3.60, they’d each be able to work to two more hitters per game. Think that might help the bullpen a little?
  • Pitching to contact (via Baseball Musings). Just a little more fodder for the discussion.

Front Office

  • Moores is world serious(San Diego Union-Tribune). Yesterday we were talking about payroll. Here’s a little something to chew on: “[John] Moores, who projects a payroll of about $70 million for the Padres, lauded the White Sox for winning the 2005 World Series with a $75.2 million payroll that ranked 13th of 30 clubs; and the 2006 Cardinals who, after eliminating the Padres in the divisional playoffs, prevailed with an $88.9 million payroll that ranked 11th of 30.”
  • Building on some of the data I presented yesterday (this stuff is all in the book, BTW, which is tantalizingly close to being finished), here’s a quick rebuttal to those who might think it impossible to compete without spending obscene amounts of money:
    2001 – 2006 (average)
    Team Wins Rank Payroll Rank
    Yankees 98.67 1 $163,021,564.33 1
    A’s 95.5 2 $50,195,043.17 23
    Red Sox 91.5 5 $114,875,307.00 2
    Twins 90 6 $48,871,167.67 24
    Source: Baseball-Reference.com

    Just something to consider.

  • Towers explains contract renewal process (Friar John’s Blog). Hey look, a new Padres blog. Woo-hoo! Anyway, Friar John had a nice little chat with GM Kevin Towers about contract renewal, which may help shed some light on the recent case of Adrian Gonzalez. This is fascinating: “There was a $50,000 increase in this last CBA, which is a raise. Regardless of how you get it, it’s a raise and the ballclubs have to pay that raise. One thing that I think is lost here is that if Adrian had signed our offer at $391,500, he would have received the largest raise for a one-plus player in franchise history.”

Human Interest

What would spring be without a couple of feel-good stories? Fortunately, we’ve got two real good ones this year.

  • Farmhand Ketchner follows the lead of baseball’s most prominent deaf player (North County Times). This one talks about the role Curtis Pride has played in helping to push lefty Ryan Ketchner toward his dreams of becoming a big-league pitcher. My paternal grandparents were deaf, and aside from hearing, there really wasn’t anything they couldn’t do. Ketchner’s a long-shot to make the club out of camp, but it’s hard not to root for him.
  • Changing uniforms (San Diego Union-Tribune). Was signing Cooper Brannan a publicity stunt? The Padres deny it, although bringing on a combat veteran certainly didn’t hurt the club, which has close ties to the military, in that regard. Besides, it sounds like the kid has a pretty good arm. What’s to lose?

Stuff That Doesn’t Fit Anywhere Else

  • Making a case for the Padres defense (San Diego Union-Tribune). Quoth Paul DePodesta: “The fact that we led the majors in defensive efficiency certainly had something to do with us winning the division.” Quoth me: The fact that DePodesta throws around terms like “defensive efficiency” certainly has something to do with Baseball Prospectus being referenced in the U-T.
  • Ring helps form deceptive duo (Padres.com). This I didn’t know. Apparently Ring is throwing with a sidearm motion these days. He was straight over the top when I saw him at SDSU. Here’s another shocker (to me): “Ring does not throw nearly as hard as Meredith, who reaches 90 mph with his sinking fastball.” Back in the day (all of 5 years ago), Ring threw serious gas; the guy he always drew comparisons to was Randy Myers. Now he’s working in the 80s? Two thoughts:
    1. We’ve got a guy at the end of the bullpen who can tell you a thing or two about working effectively in the 80s.
    2. Who in a Padres uniform would want to draw comparisons to Myers? The guy was a disaster here.

Finally, we’ve got a new poll up over there on the right. Actually, it’s been up a couple days but I forgot to tell you. Yeah, I’m lame — get over it; I have. ;-)

That’s all for now. Game on tonight, 6 p.m. PT, Channel 4. Be there or be elsewhere.

19 Responses »

  1. Thought this was a good “article” on the Giles brothers:

    http://www.withleather.com/post.phtml?pk=2283

  2. They mentioned BIS, but I didn’t notice a BP reference.

  3. Also, Krasovic has previously talked about Defensive Efficiency.

  4. Geoff,

    Re: your payroll chart…fair enough. But I don’t recall anyone posting “who might think it impossible to compete without spending obscene amounts of money.” Just as I’m sure there isn’t anyone who would suggest that there is no correlation between making the playoffs and team payroll.

    So if your GM ain’t no Billy Beane, and your farm system ain’t like the Twins, a bucket o’ cash often papers over the difference.

  5. #2: Richard, The BP reference is in the sidebar to the article, toward the bottom.

    #4: True, dprat. This wasn’t in response to anyone in particular, just another data point I found interesting. I also believe our GM is solid (turning Adam Eaton, Matt Herges, Jason Middlebrook, Akinori Otsuka, and Steve Reed into Brian Giles, Adrian Gonzalez, Clay Hensley, Terrmel Sledge, and Chris Young is a pretty neat trick) and our farm system has a good chance to improve in the near future.

    I guess my main point is that at some point, we have to stop using lack of money as an excuse. It’d be nice to have more, of course, but there are ways around that problem.

  6. 5: There it is. I don’t believe it’s the first time BP has been mentioned in the UT either.

  7. Geoff,

    Do you have any idea how to perform the prestidigitation of turning Brain Giles back into Jason Bay?

    I need to let that go.