Walker’s Arbitration, A Bit o’ History, and Thanks

First off, baseball bloggers rock. I need to acknowledge several fine folks for mentioning the Ducksnorts 2007 Baseball Annual. Much appreciated!

If I’ve missed anyone, I apologize — no slight intended. Please let me know, and I will gladly add it to the list.

I’ve also lined up some book reviews and I’m trying to work on the local media outlets. We’ll see how it goes.

Walker Arbitration Blues

Meanwhile, back at the ballpark, this whole Todd Walker arbitration thing won’t go away:

The union likely would pressure Walker to file a grievance were he to be released. Researchers already working on this issue have found only one other player (Brian Hunter) who was released after winning in arbitration.

“The union is involved,” [Padres union rep Chris] Young said. “If there is a grievance, the MLBPA would become Todd’s legal counsel. I’m not familiar with all the details and the rules, but this raises some important questions.”

Yuck. I guess now we know why Kevin Towers and the Padres have avoided taking their players to arbitration over the years. Here’s an interesting thought exercise: If the Pads had acquired Marcus Giles for Scott Linebrink, presumably they wouldn’t have offered Walker arbitration. Would the loss of Linebrink in such a scenario be offset by not having to overpay to keep Walker on the club and taking a spot perhaps better used on, say, Paul McAnulty? It’s a Monday morning quarterback type of question, but if nothing else, we see the level of complexity in thinking about the issue. These aren’t easy decisions to make.

1969 Revisited

Throughout the season, we’ll be taking a look back at the Padres’ inaugural campaign. Starting with Opening Day 1969, I’ll write a post recapping the day’s game (idea blatantly ripped off from TigerBlog).

First, a quick step back.

A while ago, I asked how many posts y’all would like to see from me each day and the general feeling was that we should go for quality over quantity. I’m totally down with that. I also don’t want to disrupt the flow of conversation, and I think (hope) that the Recent Comments dealio over on the side is helping.

With that in mind, I’m shooting for about three posts a day — staggered throughout so we have a little time to absorb each one before moving on to the next topic. We’ll run the 1969 Revisited post around midnight PT, the usual “what’s going on” post around 8 a.m. PT, and the IGD on game days, an hour before first pitch.

So, that was a long and awkward preface. Now the good part…

March 21, 1969

The Padres signed left-hander Johnny Podres as a free agent today. A three-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Podres was out of baseball last season but spent 1967 pitching for the Detroit Tigers. Working mostly in relief that year, he fashioned a 3.84 ERA (85 ERA+) over 63 1/3 innings. Podres is 36 years old and has had a long layoff, so who knows how much use he’ll be. Still, folks in Southern California might remember his glory days with the Dodgers, and his last name sounds a lot like the name of the new San Diego franchise.

Podres is most famous for shutting out the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1955 World Series as a 23-year-old and for his outstanding changeup. He also missed the entire 1956 season due to a commitment with the Navy.

Opening Day is less than three weeks away. The anticipation is growing for the newest team in the National League. A Major League Baseball game will be played in San Diego on April 8, and a city waits…