Friday Links (22 Jun 07)

I love that it always comes as a surprise when this team drops a series — nice change from the old days, when you secretly expected the worst before anything even happened. Now the Red Sox are in town, which means that people in other parts of the country might be paying attention. This would be a good time for the Padres to “regress to the mean” and play better than they did against Baltimore.

To the links…

  • Offense missing: Deal with it (San Diego Union Tribune). Tom Krasovic takes a closer look at new Padres catcher Michael Barrett. Quoth Geoff Blum: “This environment will be good for Mike, because Lou Piniella and catchers don’t get along, in my experience.”
  • Padres make deal for catcher who can slug; Barrett acquired from Cubs for Bowen, Burke (North County Times). John Maffei breaks down the Barrett trade.
  • Padres never did commit to huge payroll (San Diego Union Tribune). One of the most sensible articles Nick Canepa has ever written: “…there’s a rather large difference between promises made and not kept and promises inferred and not kept.” The only thing the Padres committed to was winning, and they’ve delivered on that in spades since moving downtown. People who can’t deal with that really need to follow another team, or maybe another sport.
  • Padres trainer ready to become a mom (Padres). Nice article on Kelly Calabrese, who will be out till October 1. The entire training staff gets huge props from the players, so hopefully she’ll be missed but not too much, if you know what I mean.
  • Michael Barrett Heads West and Yankee Talk With Bronx Banter (The Pitch). Joe was good enough to have me on his podcast this week; hint: I’m the guy not talking about the Yankees.
  • Episode 25: Steroids, The MLB Draft and Sam Perlozzo (Suicide Fan). Aaron also had me on his podcast, and once we got rolling, it was impossible to stop us. Whether this is a good thing I leave as an exercise for the reader.
  • On the Dunn rumor (Reds Insider, via Steve C in the comments). Talk of Adam Dunn coming to the Padres won’t die. Whatever.
  • Restocking the Cupboard (Baseball Analysts, via Didi in the comments). With the obligatory caveat that nobody really knows at this point, Marc Hulet likes the Padres’ draft — to a degree (thinks they should’ve gone for a little more upside with all those extra picks, a sentiment shared by many readers here). He also likes Arizona’s, and so do I. That organization is starting to bother me; the Snakes have got tons of young talent and a front office that knows what it’s doing.
  • Stats aside, Padres encouraged by rookie (North County Times, via LynchMob in the comments). Everybody loves Chase Headley. Also, draftees Kellen Kulbacki, Danny Payne, and Jeremy Hefner have signed and reported to Short-Season Eugene.
  • Eugene Emeralds 2007 season preview ( John Conniff breaks down the Em’s roster.
  • The All-Fitt Team (Baseball America, via Didi in the comments). Aaron Fitt identifies a list of “players I have most enjoyed watching and/or talking to in 2007.” Padres draftees Mitch Canham, Eric Sogard, and the aforementioned Payne all make this fictitious squad.
  • Bears Sign Shortstop Donaldo Mendez (OurSports Central). Ex-Padre Donaldo Mendez hit .272 last season in the independent Northern League. Sometimes when we complain about the current state of affairs, it’s good to remember just how crappy things used to be.
Padres Prospect Report

by Peter Friberg

You will not see Matt Antonelli in the Futures Game. For some unknown reason, the powers that be (Baseball America and Major League Baseball) determined the following U.S. born second basemen are better candidates.

Adrian Cardenas 2B (Phillies), born: October 10, 1987 – Lo-A Lakewood (SAL)
.274/.335/.427 with 14 2B, 1 3B, 7 HR and a 21/38 BB/SO ratio

Chris Coghlan 2B (Marlins), born: June 18, 1985 – Lo-A Greensboro (SAL)
.332/.432/.553 with 22 2B, 4 3B, 8 HR and a 40/29 BB/SO ratio

…and for comparison’s sake…

Matt Antonelli 2B, born: April 8, 1985 – Hi-A Lake Elsinore (CAL)
.310/.399/.483 with 14 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR and a 37/47 BB/SO ratio

Matt is playing in a higher level than either participant, he is roughly the same age as Coghlan (both Antonelli and Coghlan are considerably older than Cardenas), while Coghlan has superior numbers, he’s doing it at a lower level. Antonelli also has more “pedigree” as a first-round draftee and is an exceptional athlete.

Like the MLB All-Star Game, the Futures Game requires that each organization be represented by at least one participant. Yet the Phillies have Carlos Carrasco, and the Marlins have Rick Vanden Hurk; thus Baseball America and Major League Baseball cannot claim they needed the two U.S.-born second basemen slots to fill quotas.

Antonelli should be heading to San Francisco as a Futures Game participant. I am outraged he was not selected.

By the way, congratulations to Craig Stansberry on his selection to the Futures Game.

Update: From Baseball America’s John Manuel:

The answer’s actually very simple and has nothing to do with a “snub.” We have to send a list to MLB with three suggestions for each club for both the US team and the World team. Our US Padres all were/are having better seasons than Antonelli — Chase Headley, Wade LeBlanc and Chad Huffman. Obviously Headley’s since been promoted but the wheels were in motion for this about a month ago. He was our fourth-choice Padres U.S. player but we only get 3. I see some merit to your argument, but I think you’ll see merit in ours — we had other Padres in mind.


Thanks so much John for getting back to us.

I still disagree with Antonelli’s omission. Huffman is having a great season and I like him a lot, but Antonelli plays a premium position and is putting up similar numbers. Similarly, LeBlanc is having a great year, but I think part of his success is over-matching undisciplined Hi-A players. I do think LeBlanc will continue to have success all the way into the major leagues, but I would argue that Antonelli has the potential to be a perennial All Star at 2B… In conclusion, again, I disagree with Antonelli’s omission, but I do understand how we got there.


Clay Hensley: 5.1 IP, 10 H, 8 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO, 0 HR – injured?
Jared Wells: 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR


Nick Hundley: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 2 RBI; 2B, BB, SO


Matt Antonelli: 3 AB, 1 R, 1 H, 0 RBI; BB


Andrew Underwood: 5.0 IP, 10 H, 9 R, 9 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 2 HR – ouch

Short Season-A

Danny Payne: 3 AB, 0 R, 2 H, 0 RBI; BB, SO, PO


It was an interesting day in a news sense (see my Futures Game rant above) and a boring day in terms of prospect performances…

I have not seen anything that says Hensley is injured, but he is too good of a pitcher to be struggling this much in Triple-A if he’s right. However, keep in mind that, “…if he’s right,” could just as easily be about his head instead of his arm.

Hundley has batted .286 (12 for 42) with 6 extra-base hits in his last 11 games.

Thanks, Peter. Happy Friday, everyone; we’ll have the IGD up and running by 6 p.m. PT. Go Padres!

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144 Responses »

  1. From ESPN

    Padres Placed pitcher Doug Brocail on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Thursday; recalled pitcher Royce Ring from Portland of the Pacific Coast League (AAA).

  2. 97 … forever? Colt Morton was drafted in 2003 …

  3. 98 … here’s the first AZL Padres box score …

    … yup, there’s Matt Bush pitching the 6th inning … and Yefri (the great) going 2-for-5 …

  4. 101 … good news (for the Padres, not Brocail, I s’pose) … I think this is an upgrade!

  5. re 81: I don’t have the time now to go over all of the arguments you have made that aren’t very convincing, but I will try to do so on the weekend. However, in post 81 is the key analytical mistake you have made and one I alluded to earlier. You are reading the Forbes numbers flat wrong.

    Go back to “Operating Income”. Now go to the footnote 3 identified. It says – “3 Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.” This is also known as EBITDA, an accounting term for “paper profits”, i.e. profits before deductions that may or may not be real. In the Padres’ specific case, and unlike some other teams, they have a real and very big “interest” component – i.e. the interest on stadium debt. It is widely reported to be somewhere around $12-14 million a year. I would also assume that the Padres have legitimate “taxes” line items, since they are a part owner of the stadium and the footprint, and probably have to pay property and other taxes. I have no clue about the depreciation or amortization components, but I know they are almost certainly there, and they are most certainly “paper” deductions.

    So, even if you have an EBITDA of $13 million in 2005 – not 2006, that is just the year of the report – and you assume NO taxes and discount amortization and depreciation entirely, but deduct the very real interest expense, you still end up with a range of a net $1 million operating profit to a net $1 million loss. That is break-even.

    You do that for the 2004 numbers and you get a small operating profit – anywhere from 3-5 million. You do that for the 2006 numbers and you get a bigger, but still relatively small, operating loss – anywhere from 7-9 million.

    You include taxes and you probably have net operating losses each year.

    And you can do all that while completely dismissing the depreciation and amortization accounting items, those heavily criticized by the late Doug Pappas. You can also disregard so-called “interest” from owner loans to the team, another way some teams make their finanical picture look worse than it is. Not sure Moores has ever so characterized any of his multiple contributions to the team.

    Regardless, this claim that the Padres are making money on a regular operating basis is just so much bollocks, and the Forbes numbers, criticized by MLB for being too harsh, even show that.

    On a side note, check out the historical graph for Padres EBITDA – before Petco, the overall picture was even uglier. Also, the current baseball financial rules require teams to run certain EBITDA amounts depending upon their income and debt and value; thus you see the Padres reversing the trend starting around 2002, when those rules were first implemented.

    I hope this helps you understand this better. :)

  6. 104: I agree-swapping Brocail for Ring is probably an upgrade. Ring has really seemed to be doing well in AAA this season and I’m excited to have 2 lefties in the pen.

  7. 102. Just seems like it, I suppose. I thought the same about Ben Johnson when he was in our system.

  8. 105 … wow, TF, well done! We have TW to keep us honest … and we have you to keep TW honest … the perfect storm, so to speak!

  9. 107 … you want “forever”, check out Chad Mottola’s career …

    “Selected by the Cincinnati Reds in first round (No. 5 overall) of the June 1992 First-Year Player Draft” … and now has over 1000 career RBIs in the minor leagues … YOW!

  10. 105.

    DUDE…. Can you help me out with my math homework? Or maybe help me get a deal on this condo I want?

  11. Here’s what I did: took net profit per Business of and noting major differences in players’s expense vs. Cot’s BB contrcts, I adjusted all 30 teams. The Padres came out 6th with an est profit of $37M less payroll tax. You can do this by clicking on each team at Forbes. Cot’s is up to date w/ Barrett. DC,TB,FLA,&AZ topped SD all having lower gross income & salaries, but higher net. NYY had the lowest net at $5M. From this it would seem $ are available as profit exceed MLB ave. by $10M.

  12. 105 … taxes? You mean the Padres are paying taxes? So the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego and the State of California and, in fact, the USA is getting some benefit from the business known as the San Diego Padres? Hmmm, who knew? ;-)

  13. 111 … way to go Malcolm … you keep TF honest :-)

  14. you can crunch the numbers how ever you want but the fact is that the padres ran the numbers and figured that they could have a payroll of 70 mil this year, they infact have a payroll in the mid 50′s unless they were planning on taking a $15 mil hit this year I would say they are well within the black at this point.

  15. or they were lying about the $70 mil all along

  16. 105: Talk about not being convincing. Took you all afternoon to write that when it can be undercut with…..

    EBDITA is whatever the team says it is.

    Here’s a link:

    As to the Padres financial credibility: Remember last year when Towers told us we couldn’t take on more than 1 million in salary because of the debt service rule? You move a single item out of one column on your spreadsheet and that 1 million limit turns into 5 million, 10 million, whatever you want it to be.

    You act like these accounting principles are written in stone. Paul Beeston (Toronto’s VP) said “Under generally accepted accounting principles, I can turn a $4 million profit into a $2 million loss, and I can get every nation’s accounting firm to agree with me. ” That’s a baseball executive admitting that financial measurements are flexible.

  17. 114/115 … OK, now there’s a specific we can talk about … what did they say about a $70M payroll for 2007? How do you know it’s currently “mid 50s”? These numbers agree with my understanding … I just don’t know if they are fact or fiction … if they are apples/applies or apples/oranges …

    I’m just not gonna get worked up about the bucks if/when they are winning … unless they are lieing …

  18. Re: 105 & 116 when did we start speaking greek on this board?

  19. Alderson has confirmed the 70′s # several times Im to lazy to goto cots and tally up the mid 50′s #.


    Opening day payroll $58 mil, figure with barrett $59 now still $11+ above thier original profit margin.

  21. 109…Crash Davis? Future manager in their system? Can’t imagine why they keep a 35 year old unless they have something in mind for him later.

  22. Also if you want to look at profit:

    John Moores bought the Padres for $94M in 1995.
    Forbes magazine valued the club at $367M in April, 2007.

    He also got a sweet development deal with the land around the stadium

  23. 118 … I *love* the “greek” … I don’t understand most of it … but it’s very interesting to see the various sides of what TW is describing as “financial measurements are flexible” … which exactly matches my understanding based on working for HP (when they started reporting “non-GAAP results”, many folks were livid, because it’s practically admitting that it’s smoke-and-mirrors, not that GAAP is much better, which is TW’s point).

  24. Below is a great comparison of what sucess can do to a teams value.

    David Glass purchased the Royals for $96M in 2000.
    Forbes magazine valued the club at $282M in April, 2007.

  25. 119/120 … fair enough … now what? Are you going to quit being a Padres fan because of it? If I thought they (the FO) were lying then I’d quite being a fan. But if I think they are making bigger profits, well, that’s sorta what I expect. Plus, what I really think is that they are building a strong position for long-term success, both on the field and on their GL.

  26. Re:125 No I couldn’t careless about how much profit they are making if the team is winning and they are doing everything in thier power to keep it that way.

    Where I get annoyed is when they cry about not having money or when they lie about loosing money when its not true.

    Moores wont spend the money in the draft or on the minor league system (this years draft proved it again) and thats what kills me. How do the redsox and yankees always have top prospects when they are always picking late in draft? Because they are willing to put more money into thier picks and minor league system.

    The tigers are a great example on how overpaying for 2 FA and putting a ton of money into your minor league system can take you from a 100 loss team to the WS.

  27. 126 … we’re sorta on the same page, then (focus on “team is winning”) …

    I’ve never seen SA nor KT nor John Moores “cry” … but I have heard the whiners on XX (etc) read an article in the newspaper where Moores says “We’re doing OK financially” and then claim that what he said is that the team is “poor” … and that seems twisted, that those people are coming into the conversation with a chip on their shoulder, stuck in an anti-ownership paradigm (hey, that’s fancy talk :-) ).

    I’ll bet businessmen and politicians lie more than I think they do … but based on the few interactions I’ve had with SA, I honestly don’t believe that guy is capable of lying or being a part of any organzation that does. Is that rose-color’d-glasses? Perhaps, but they look good on me, don’t they? Or perhaps you can’t see them because I’ve got my head buried in the sand? Well …

  28. 126 … re: yankees – when was they last time they won?

    re: bosox – what “top prospects” do they have? (I really don’t follow AL teams)

    re: tigers … yes, recent WS participants are, by definition, “great examples” of how to put together a winning team … that seems like your “cherry picking” … it’s not that big of a gap between the tigers and the royals/reds/bucs/rays … the tigers were a mess a coupla years ago … remember, MLB is a zero-sum game … it’s hard just to be in the “top half” year after year … previous Padre administrations have not succeeded in doing that … so far, this one is in “Year 3″ and still on an upward trend … I like it.

  29. 128: BoSox have a pretty nice farm led by Cla Bucholtz, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Michael Bowden.

  30. RE 111:There’s an interesting disconnect between profitability and winning at the low end. If my team was Wash, Pitt, Fla or TB, being in the top five for profits would be offensive. It appears the Padres profits are on the high end, but besides winning with low payroll,which points to astute management, there is a reserve that could be used before year-end. The Dodgers have $5M less “profit” or reserve and Az. $5M more, so it will be interesting to see which if any makes an expensive move. Even though we know these arent certified #’s, quantifing the relative amounts hopefully will reduce the disappointment some people feel about the payroll.

  31. #126: Red Sox and Yankees put more money into their picks because they have more money.

    #128: Well said. The Tigers are a great example of one organization that has turned its fortunes around, but I wonder how many of their fans were clamoring for more even as it was happening. We’re in the middle of something here, and it’s hard to judge our position accurately in real time. We won’t know until after the season is over whether or not we got where we were trying to go. Still, I like our current path a lot better than many other paths we’ve followed throughout this franchise’s existence.

  32. 105, 116 – I’d like to weigh in (late) on this. Both of you are right. I can say this because I work in finance (several years on Wall St. plus an MBA to top it off) and spend too much of my time staring at financial statements. Here’s one truth about financial statements, and another commenter already said this – you can make them show darn near anything you want. There are two reasons why this is especially true in the case of the Padres.

    1. They’re a private business and as such don’t have to report their results to the SEC. Where did Forbes get their data? I looked and couldn’t spot a source. If Forbes doesn’t have access to the team’s internal numbers, they’re not getting a truly accurate look at the business. The only people who really know how the Padres are doing financially work in the front office, and they’re not talking.

    2. There is a difference between accounting metrics and cash performance. EBITDA (like net income) is an accounting metric, and as such it can be manipulated. We know very little about the Padres’ cash flow, which is really how you should evaluate a business.

    What all of this means, well, we don’t really know enough to say with confidence how the Padres are performing financially, and how that impacts their spending on players. I do, however, trust the front office – Alderson, Towers & co. have my confidence, and Geoff and a few others have said what I’ve been thinking for a while now – it’s been a long time since it was this much fun to be a Padre fan.

  33. P.S. – No one buys a big league team to provide a stream of income. Franchise owners don’t make their money at the end of the year, they make when they (A) sell the team, or (B) leverage the team to produce a more profitable stream of income. The Yankees are a great example – the baseball operation loses a ton of money, but the Yankees television network is phenomenally profitable, and subsidizes the team. Or, look at it another way – the Yankees exist to provide programming for a TV network. Any winning they do is a bonus.

    Moores did something like this – he used the Padres to get Petco built, and then did real well investing in the subsequent development in and around Downtown. The Chargers are trying to pull something like this off in Oceanside, and just like the Padres found ten years ago (!), it’s quite difficult.

  34. The Chargers are having problems because they(stupidly) continually select areas for redevelopment which are not considered blighted, if the Padres and the city had to add on 22% to the costs in east village/ballpark district the stadium would never have been built.

    Also, it is important to note that while Moores(through JMI realty) is making a killing downtown, he can only profit from the projects which his company actually builds….like the Omni. He cannot profit as a development company strictly on the resale of land in a redevelopment area, so the new condos(Icon, Park Terrace) directly outside right field didn’t make Moores anything.


  35. Royals just traded for Milton Bradley. they gave up middle reliever Leo Nunez…
    Are they acquiring him just hoping that he gets hot so they can redeal him? Anything else doesn’t make sense to me…

  36. 132, 133: Thanks for cooling things out. I agree, Forbes is doing the best they can based on what they can get their hands on. The alternative is accepting that Moores, alone among baseball owners for the last 100 years and alone among business men for all time, is being completely accurate and forthright in his statements.

    131: GY, you know it’s not that simple. The Red Sox investment in the minors compared to the Padres is a few million dollars per year. You get far more bang for every buck signing amateurs. A big amateur signing budget for any team would be 10M. The same budget for a team playing it safe and not playing hard in the int’l market would be 5 million. It’s where the smaller teams can really close the gaps. With amateurs, 5 million can get you a couple of premium US picks and a couple of high-end international talents. In the pros it gets you a journeyman corner OF.

  37. 134 – yeah, I didn’t want to get into what I think about the Chargers and their stadium efforts. Suffice it to say, I’m not impressed.

    Good point about redevelopment and the other condos. Back in ’04 (right before Opening Day at Petco) Slate had an article on ballparks as a catalyst for redevelopment, citing Petco as the one example of a ballpark that did what it was advertised to do – revitalize a blighted neighborhood. Here’s the link:

  38. #135: Interesting. Maybe they will try to extend him beyond this season? He’s still fairly young.

    #136: Yes, I’ve oversimplified matters, but the money those organizations have is a primary driver in how much they are willing/able to spend in all areas.

  39. 135: The Royals also need to sell seats through the rough KC summer, but I bet they’d turn Bradley around in a second for a decent offer.

  40. 138: I haven’t crunched any numbers to figure an equation, but every dollar you spend on the farm, assuming you have competent people running the show, is worth multiples of that at the major league level. It’s a force multiplier, as they used to say about every new weapons system. Maybe they still do.

    At the amateur level you you might lose some Venezuelan kid to the Red Sox for 100,000. Obviously some will be more, but many will be much less. In the draft you’re passing on players who want 1.5 million and the slot is 1.2. At the big league level you’re missing out on ManRam by 20 million.

    Or look at it this way: Had the Padres been as aggressive in the amateur market as the Red Sox just during the Petco era, we’d have a farm system that would allow us to trade for an available player. And it would have cost us 10-12 million over that period more than we spent. Say 16 to make it easier, 4 million per, 4 seasons. That gets you 3 or 4 arms in the high minors so you don’t have Boomer in the rotation. It lets you put a great offer on the table if the Marlins decide to move Cabrera.

  41. #138: You raise a great point here. Another analogy would be to investing in a 401(k) plan. The sooner you get in, the more value you accrue over time.

  42. Re 116: sorry, but your generalization about EBITDA hardly undercuts what we know about the Padres, and any argument in that regard is a fallacy. The Padres in fact took out a large loan to fund the stadium. They in fact pay interest on that loan; they in fact pay 12-14 million a year in interest. Denying reality does not help your argument.

    No fuzzy math there, and none of the known shenanigans recognized by critics like the late Doug Pappas and the still going critic Andrew Zimbalist, both of whose work I have read and value greatly.

    I already conceded that we don’t know anything about Padres’ claimed depreciation and amortization. I disregarded those entirely. I didn’t even make a deduction for taxes. So, if you accept the Forbes numbers, which I am willing to do, you still get a break even operation for the Padres because of the very real interest they pay, which is not included in Forbes “Operating Income” numbers.

    Re 132, 133. Agree wholeheartedly. It would be nice if we had complete access to the Padres’ books, because the facts currently available haven’t convinced cynics like TW. We would probably see something similar to what I have posited, although if the Padres wanted to, they could probably claim substantial “losses” through appreciated depreciation and/or amortization of the stadium and other assets and/or recharacterization of liabilities. That is what Paul Beeston really means when he says you can turn a 4 million profit into a 12 million loss. Beeston also means things that teams like the Yankees do – funnel profits out of the team through an interested party transaction with their local media netword, owned – voila – by the Yankees. Teams like the Yankees do that because (a) they can; (b) to make a profit look like a loss; and (c) – most important, to reduce their revenue sharing contribution.

    Also, I wish it made a day to day difference that the Padres’ franchise has appreciated in value, but it doesn’t. That only matters to the owner if/when that owner sells the team. Baseball also changes its team accounting/fiscal responsibility rules so that a team now has to have enough EBITDA to service its actual debt; it doesn’t consider the old debt/equity ratio any more. If it did do the latter, then the equity appreciation of the franchise could matter more for day to day operations. Since it does the former, the Padres are further handicapped relative to other teams – they have actual substantial stadium debt, which Forbes also recognizes.

  43. 142 … thanks, again, TF … so, your bottom line seems to be that the Padres are doing a good job with their business given the current operating rules and are, for the most part, being pretty forthright in their public statements, right? And agreeing with Moores when he says “Financially, we’re actually doing OK”, right? Which means Moores is making money somewhere, which is fine by me. That’s my perspective, from a financial-layman’s point of view …

  44. Re 144: I don’t really have a bottom line here, other than that the Padres seem to be spending pretty much everything they take in, and arguably then some, if you believe Moores’ recent statements about putting more money into the DR and his recent statement that he would make a cash call this year.

    His “we’re actually doing OK” statement is ambiguous – it could mean they are making money, it could mean they are breaking even, or it could mean they are losing less on a yearly basis than they had in the past. I think the latter two are more reasonable options given what facts are available to the fans.

    Based on the information available to us, the best supported view is that Moores is NOT directly making money on the team on a yearly basis. I don’t think he expects to do so. He would make substantial money if he sold the team, but my current understanding is that he has no intent to do so and wants to keep it in his family when he is gone.

    However, you can always argue that Moores is indirectly making money off the team from the investments that his companies have made in the surrounding redevelopment zone. However, he seems to be wasting at least some of his money on the Saudi- and other Arab dictator–coddling Carter Center, but that is another story entirely. ;)