Friday Links (25 Jan 08)

Before we hit the links, a quick reminder that FriarFest is this weekend. I went last year and it freakin’ rocked. Anywho…

  • Sdpads1 continues his reflection on the Petco Park era by examining the relationship between a team’s payroll and its on-field success. This line of inquiry fascinates me, and Sdpads1′s findings shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention. Still, it’s always nice to see what we think we know supported by actual evidence.
  • MB wonders who will win the Khalil Greene arbitration case and offers some thoughts on what Greene might be worth.
  • Speaking of arbitration, reader Phantom points us to a slick table showing figures sought by players and offered by teams. Hearings are scheduled to run February 1-20.
  • Jorge L. Ortiz at USA Today previews the Padres. Mostly review material here. From the article:

    Bombers. Wallbangers. Lumber Co. Murderers’ Row. No such clever monikers will be applied to the Padres lineup.

    Pitching brought them National League West titles in 2005 and 2006 and got them to the brink of the playoffs last year. They see no need to change their approach.

    So, yeah, nothing about park effects. What else is new.

  • The Dodgers and Padres will play exhibition games in Beijing, China, on March 15-16 (hat tip to Kevin in the comments). This makes sense in terms of reaching out to new markets, but stinks if you’re planning a trip to Peoria that weekend.
  • Prospect maven Deric McKamey shares his top 15 Padres prospects in a guest spot over at MadFriars (hat tip to LynchMob in the comments). Interesting that he identifies Mat Latos and Kyle Blanks as the two guys with “elite player” potential. McKamey has been doing this for a long time and his analysis is solid. Good stuff.
  • According to the good folks at Stat of the Day, no team had more players with fewer than 100 at-bats in 2007 than the Padres. That’s a lot of holes to plug.
  • Jim Callis at Baseball America has USD left-hander Brian Matusz pegged as a top 5 pick in the 2008 amateur draft (hat tip to LynchMob in the comments). That makes this Torero alum feel all warm and tingly inside.
  • Speaking of which, we’re also having an informal meetup on February 22 at Tony Gwynn Stadium. More info on the Meetups page. Reader Ian C. has indicated that he might be able to get us discounts on the tix. Let’s do it, yo.
  • Corey Brock reminisces about the time Mark McGwire almost became a Padre (hat tip to Coronado Mike in the comments). Really? Who knew.
  • The Padres have signed outfielder Jody Gerut to a minor-league deal (hat tip to Bruce in the comments). Gerut had a nice (.279/.336/.494) rookie campaign for the Indians in 2003, tailed off a bit the next year, and has battled injuries ever since. Sounds like a certain Terrmel Sledge I know. Eh, it’s a minor-league deal, so no harm.
  • Speaking of minor leaguers, reader Coronado Mike notes that the Padres have signed three kids from the Dominican Republic and one from Australia: right-handers Juan Herrera, Severino Perez, and Al Angelucci (converted outfieler), and southpaw Pedro Martinez. They’re just names for now, but who knows. It would be nice to see some international signings make an impact.
  • Padres minor-league right-hander Dirk Hayhurst’s latest installment of “Non-Prospect Diary” is up at BA (hat tip to Ben B. in the comments). As always, it’s a fantastic read:

    Staying in shape in the offseason is serious business, so this year I joined a serious gym. Not one of those spa types or health-clubby ones with a few rusty weights in a dimly lit corner. I joined a real Temple of Testosterone, the kind of place where beverage coolers are stocked full of drinks bearing adjectives such as “ripped,” “blast” and “explode.”

    The magazines have muscle-bound, gladiator extras lifting ridiculous tonnage. The walls are lined with photos of fake-tanned super humans flexing hard enough to crack nuts between the rear folds of their purple G-strings.

    I’m a sucker for any line that includes the phrase “crack nuts” — the bit about purple G-strings is just a nice bonus.

That does it for the links. If if you haven’t gotten your 2008 projections in for Josh Bard and Michael Barrett, head on over to that thread and do so.

Happy, happy…

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45 Responses »

  1. Trevor is still upset about Games 161 and 163: http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/padres/20080125-9999-1s25hoffman.html

    Khalil and Jake named Team MVP and Top Pitcher: http://www.signonsandiego.com/sports/padres/20080125-9999-1s25padnotes.html

    I wonder if naming Khalil MVP is something of a political move?

  2. I’ll be at Friar Fest tomorrow by the way, in case any other DS’ers will be there.

  3. 1: Trevor ain’t alone.

  4. Hm, KG is the MVP while AG had an OPS+ 25 points higher, more runs scored, more hits, more extra base hits, twice as many BB’s, blows KG away in BA/OBP/SLG, and also plays premium D albeit at a much less demanding position.

    BP has AG at 27 BRAA with KG at just 3. Did KG make up more than 24 BRAA with his D? I doubt it.

    THT has AG at 27 WS and Greene at just 19. They have Greene picking up 3 more WS defensively than AG, which doesn’t lend much credence to Greene’s D making up for his huge shortcomings versus AG’s offensive superiority.

    KG = MVP? I don’t see it. But if the FO thinks it will help them sign him, what the hey. Anyone with half a clue should still know Adrian was the MVP of the team in 2007.

  5. 4: Jake Peavy says Hey!

    It’s not an exact correlation between pitchers and hitters, but Peavy had a 77 VORP. Agon was our most valuable position player, and he was almost exactly half that, 38.4. VORP doesn’t count defense, but Peavy was worth almost any other two Padres put together.

    I find it hard to blame Agon for his swoon, when Black treated him like a robot, but his June and July took him out of the running for Padre MVP. Probably nothing would have closed the gap, but that slide finished it.

    That makes missing the playoffs even harder to swallow. Peavy had a season for the ages, like LT2 did in 2006, and we couldn’t close.

  6. 4 … good points!
    5 … good counter points!

    In the year of the “SS for MVP” (see Rollins, Jimmy), KG was *clearly* the Padre MVP :-)

    Hey, I think trying to decide upon an MVP between a SS and 1B-man and #1 pitcher is a *great* problem to have!

  7. 1 … thanks for the link to the article about Hoffy …

    3 … I found it very cool that Trevor knows he’s “not alone” (“In fact, they have been very encouraging. They were feeling my hurt.”)

    I read the article most interested to get a health update … and here’s what I found …

    Hoffman had surgery to his pitching elbow for the first time this offseason. “It was a cleanup procedure,” Hoffman said. “They shaved down a spur and removed a couple of floating pieces.”

    So the question becomes, can Hoffman bounce back?

    “That’s not a question I’ve really considered,” Hoffman said. “My approach is the same as it’s always been. I’m getting ready to go.”

    … and my initial reaction to his response is that I’m left uncertain … uncertain that he is healthy … but I really have no idea what he could have said that would have made me feel better … he certainly didn’t give the classic/part-line of “I feel 100%, blah, blah, blah” …

    Watching how the Padres define their closer role in 2008 will be one of the more interesting side-bar stories …

  8. OT … Uniwatch provided this link to a logo to be used for the Padre/Dog games to be played in China …

    http://mlb.mlb.com/images/2008/01/23/iBUmXcgp.jpg

  9. OT … if you’re a “prospect nut”, then you’ll *love* this from BP’s Kevin Goldstein …

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=7076

  10. If you’re looking for a good old fashioned rant, I have one for you relating to Khalil’s MVP award.

    http://thesacrificebunt.com/do-we-even-care-about-ability/

  11. Melvin…I enjoyed your post…sorta sounds like me…only more articulate.

  12. 5: I guess it depends on your metrics. WS has Agon over Peavy 27 to 23. Actually it would be 22.9 for Peavy to 26.7 for Agon, but they round off to whole numbers in the Total Column. Interesting that VORP has it so dramatically different.

    Does VORP for pitchers count any offense? WS has Peavy at a negative .5 WS offensively, not huge, but if VORP doesn’t account for it at all, both the negative offense and Agon’s defense would make up some of the gap.

    Still, I favor separate recognition for pitchers and position players. Agon is the positional MVP and Jake is the pitching MVP.

  13. 10: I assume your post is supposed to be satirical, but the implication that Khalil gets a pass because he’s blonde and pretty is fairly juvenile.

    I’m not saying that he was our MVP. Not at all. But he does play premium D at a key position, he absolutely dominates on the road, and he’s a well-liked player.

    If everyone did a top-3 players for the Pads in 07, I would guess a majority of them would be something like:

    1) Jake
    2) Adrian
    3) Khalil

    Again, I’m not saying Khalil was the best choice. But he was far from the worst. Also, if this is the message he needs from the team that they want him and appreciate him, then all the better.

  14. 13: Dude, you need to get over your man crush on KG. ;-)

  15. 14: I’ll get over my man crush when people stop attacking him needlessly.

    I’ve never said the guy is perfect, but he’s pretty damn good. A lot of people share that opinion, some people don’t. If Khalil played half of his games anywhere but PETCO, he would be an All-Star.

  16. 11. Thanks Mike!

    13. The good looks thing is more of a sneaking suspicion, half joking type mention. I do believe it gets him points in terms of fan favoritism, but not from any real professionals. Unless you count the value the professionals give to fan favoritism, but I’m not sure how much that would be.

    In terms of Khalil’s defense, I should have mentioned in the article. 2007 is the only year he’s played defense on par with the way people think he has. Check out his RZR and OOZ.

  17. 12: Definitely depends on your measurements. The VORP for a pitcher is predicated on a replacement-level pitcher, not a replacment-level position player. Position players are going to accumulate more WS in general (if I understand WS right) because they’re in 150 games. Jake couldn’t get even a single WS in almost 130 games.

    I don’t mind breaking it into position / pitcher things, but in total value, Jake’s 2007 is a lot, lot harder to replicate than Agon’s.

  18. 16: Dan Fox of BP thinks Greene deserves a plus-defender reputation.

  19. 16: Dan Fox chat today: http://baseballprospectus.com/chat/chat.php?chatId=420

    His SFR system:
    04: +9
    05: +1
    06: +10
    07: +16

    MGL’s UZR:
    04: +10
    05: +3
    06: +7
    07: +6 (half season)

    Unless people think he’s Ozzie Smith part 2, I would have to say that’s pretty impressive (and on par with most opinions). I don’t know, call him a +7-8 shortstop right now (for 162 games), then add on 5 more just for playing short. That’s quite a bit of positive value from position and defense.

    And that defensive estimate is pretty conservative, I think.

  20. Whoops, Tom beat me.

  21. Re: 15/18…Most defensive metrics, excepting 2007, have given him lower scoring than most realize. I have been one of the biggest KG critics in here and I have said many times that his glove in 2007 was much better than it had been any other season. One season doth not a plus defender make…Flashy, yes. Plus defender, qualified maybe. Take out 2007 and the answer is no.

    I don’t disagree with your overall premise, Phantom, that he would be a stud outside of SD, but that does not make him a great fit for the Pads. I think there is something to the Good Looks makes a difference card. Riddle me this…what would cause a bigger stir/outcry from Pads fans…trading KG or trading AGon…I will give you just one guess, but if you say anything other than The Nature Boy, you are kidding yourself. This lends to his value…yes, to the organization.

  22. 15. Certainly Khalil’s offensive numbers are suppressed by PETCO, but VORP and other metrics are helpful because they adjust for park effects. He’s at 23 VORP.

  23. 22: But you’re assuming that’s completely predicated on Khalil’s looks. I guaran-damn-tee you that people love Khalil because he’s a great player and a quiet person. Especially in this day and age of players caring more about their individual accomplishments than anything else, it’s very refreshing to see someone who’s so balanced and just plays.

    Case in point. My dad hated Khalil when he came up because of his hair. Thought his hair and his baggy clothes made him look like a slacker. Nothing like a ballplayer.

    My dad has only ever had two Padres jerseys. One of them says “Gwynn”. The other says “Greene”.

    I can’t obviously speak for everyone, but I really think people love Khalil because of his personality. He’s a great guy. A guy you could point to as a potential role-model for children.

    People often want to know why I so vehemently defend Khalil – this is probably the best reason why. To attack a guy and say that his reputation on the team is only related to his “golden locks” is offensive and childish. There has always been a certain segment of the fan population that has detested Khalil because he doesn’t act like a ballplayer. People hate that he doesn’t show emotion. They mistake that for thinking he doesn’t care. They want to see him get pissed off, get thrown out of a game. Anything.

    But when there’s a clutch situation and the season’s on the line, I’d rather have a guy out there who is calm and collected and is doing everything he can to succeed. It’s been documented by multiple people (Magadan & Rettenmund) how much personal agony Khalil goes through.

    If people want to attack him because of his OBP, that’s totally fine. But to think he’s over-rated because of his looks is a really imbellic argument.

  24. 24: imbecillic, not imbellic.

  25. 22/Mike: Look at Fox’s chat there or the numbers I posted from it. That’s certainly more than 1 year. Now, I know there are other stats like ZR from the HBT, Dewan’s stuff, and right on down the line. UZR is considered one of the best and Fox’s system looks pretty promising. Anyway, I’m sure you could add them all together and divide or whatever, over the last 4 years … but from looking at that, it looks like he’s going to come out as a “plus” defender.

    By the way, Fox also mentions BP’s own defensive stats (which have him slightly below average). Of course, you could argue that you should somehow include them too, but I don’t know, I mean should we include basic range factor as well … there comes a point where I think you should just go with the best ones … you’re always going to be able to find some defensive stat out there that says what you want about a guy, or what you think. I don’t know.

    Anyway, since I’m in rant-mode … I hear some people, myself included, say things like “Khalil is hurt more by Petco than others” (perhaps because of the severe splits, or his offensive game, or whatever). Although I believe that’s true, I don’t really think he should get any extra credit, beyond what a basic park factor will give him. The Padres do play 81 games in Petco and it really doesn’t matter if Greene would be a .300/.400/.600 hitter in Fenway. At least not value-wise. He’s not playing there and that has no impact on his current value to the Padres. If somebody wants to trade for him, then sure, they want to see how their park will specifically change his game. But I think that’s a different story.

  26. Hey, I went to a hockey game and a Khalil Greene debate broke out. Ba-dum-bum.

    Two quick points:

    1) There’s little doubt in my mind that Khalil made greater strides this season defensively than he did at the plate. The counting numbers look nice because he finally stayed healthy all year, but the rate stats didn’t change much. Available evidence does indicate that he made a breakthrough with the glove, though.

    2) Top 5 road OPS among full-time MLB shortstops, 2004-2007, min. 500 PA:

    1. Hanley Ramirez, .310/.364/.511
    2. Carlos Guillen, .302/.370/.502
    3. Khalil Greene, .280/.334/.511
    4. Miguel Tejada, .298/.354/.463
    5. Michael Young, .303/.350/.443

    If you push the PA requirements to 1000, Hanley falls off and Khalil is at #2, with Jimmy Rollins popping in at #5.

  27. I have a couple of problems with Melvin’s rant on Khalil. For one thing, you can’t compare Everett’s offense in anyway to Khalil’s because of the park factors. Secondly, even if their OBPs were even, Khalil would be the much better hitting because his slugging percentage is so much higher (Khalil was 3rd among MLB SS in XBH behind Rollins and Ramirez and 2nd on the road behind Rollins. Also, he was 5th in the majors in road XBH behind AGon, Rollins, Granderson, Soriano). Finally, the main reason the Padres aren’t going to trade him is that they don’t have a replacement for him. Now, it certainly possible that he might be moved during the season or next off-season if something catastrophic happens (injuries to Peavy or Young) and the Padres fall out of the race but right now they can’t or won’t trade.

    I think Khalil is turning into one of those players that is both overrated and underrated. It would be nice if he walked a little more and got his average up into the .280′s or so but shortstops (or any position player) that finish 16th in the majors in extra base hits is extremely valuable.

  28. 28: Thanks for the feedback Schlom. Next time feel free to leave a comment at the sac bunt (though I understand why you’d prefer to comment here).

    I’d just like to say that I wouldn’t have expected Everett to replace Greene’s offense, only improve the defense and make Khalil available for a more traditional outfield power / obp threat via trade.

  29. 14: My point exactly. You acknowledge the post is satirical and then attack it as if it is not. I tease you about a man crush and you take it seriously as if you have to leap to the defense of poor KG. You really, from my perspective, overreact on pretty much everything when it comes to KG. Just my .02.

  30. 30: Except for CM pretty much admitted that good looks, in his opinion, are a reason that Khalil is overrated. How the hell am I not supposed to point that out and rail against it?

    If we’re now evaluating players based on how attractive I think they might be to other people, than we need to get rid of Adrian because I think my wife thinks his goatee looks like a dead rat.

  31. 17: TW, I completely agree with you that in terms of total value Jake was worth much more than Adrian. He had a CY year versus the whole NL, whereas Adrian really could only be considered within a team MVP race and was not in the picture at the league level.

    But I don’t understand what you mean when you say Jake couldn’t get a single WS in 130 games. He picked up 23 according to THT. What am I missing?

  32. “Except for CM pretty much admitted that good looks, in his opinion, are a reason that Khalil is overrated.”

    Yes, after you went off about Melvin’s post. And besides, they are a reason he is overrated.

    There’s a difference between how the DS crowd assesses KG and how the average Padres fan assesses him. Here it’s about performance; to many fans it’s about personality and popularity, and one of the reasons KG is loved by Padres fans, females in particular, are his looks.

    The general consensus here is KG is a plus SS and an asset to the team. There are outliers such as yourself and CM, but most of the DS crowd feels KG is a plus SS with some offensive weaknesses and would not be easy to replace.

    “How the hell am I not supposed to point that out and rail against it?”

    By developing a more mature position with regards to Khalil and recognizing that it just isn’t that important to defend him to the death. Honestly, you sound like you’re going to challenge someone to a duel.

  33. 32: Unless I totally misunderstand WS, you can’t get one if you don’t play. Jake appeared in 34 games. Doesn’t that mean there were 128 games were he absolutely could not earn a WS?

    Over the last 4 years Johan Santana had the most WS among SP per season; 27 in 2004. The top hitters have normally been in the high 30s, except for Bonds with 50 in 2004.

  34. 34: Oh, I see what you’re saying. Yes, that is true, in a sense, but the WS calculation for pitchers does try to account for that. Otherwise you wouldn’t see their WS totals anywhere near positional players.

  35. 33: The only immature thing that has transpired here today is the concept that Khalil is only populat because of his looks.

    And I defend him because I’m defending the use of logic. Seriously, if our assessments of players are going to be based on factors that have nothing to do with on-field performance, than we might as well abandon rational discourse altogether.

    I am not going to challenge anyone to a duel. I just think it’s pretty lame that people would resort to arguments like “well my girlfriend thinks he’s cute and that’s why he’s overrated.” That’s crap. It’s completley unprovable and does nothing to further the discussion.

    I have nothing against CM or the Sac Bunt guys. But I would hope that if I were to spout equally indefensible rhetoric that someone would call me on it.

  36. I wouldn’t take the Padres awards too seriously — were they voted by the players or the writers? Adrian won some other award and he was probably the team MVP last season, so I don’t expect he’s too upset about it. I’m sure they try to spread the awards around to everyone, they probably don’t want the same person winning the awards every year.

    I don’t know why people are doubting why part of Khalil’s popularity is because of his personality and looks — I don’t think that’s debatable (although I wish they would stop interviewing him after games, he’s about as boring as watching paint dry). However, despite his atrocious OBP) he is still a valuable player, especially considering the alternatives. In fact, he’s probably more irreplaceable then pretty much any other Padres except for Peavy as I expect they could probably find a 1B that hits close to Gonzalez on the cheap but there is no way they could find a replacement for Greene.

  37. OK, one last time.

    “The only immature thing that has transpired here today is the concept that Khalil is only populat because of his looks.”

    This is exactly the sort of overreaction and unnecessarily hyperbolic statements I’m trying to point out to you. Melvin’s only reference to “looks” was the simple statement, “I don’t know if it’s the poor use of poor to begin with counting statistics like RBIs that gets to me the most, or if it’s my sneaking suspicion that blond hair and good looks are what compound the over-rating of Khalil Greene.”

    You acknowledged this was meant to be satirical, Melvin acknowledged it, and yet your reaction was and continues to be as if it was a serious statement.

    CM said, “I think there is something to the Good Looks makes a difference card.” And there is. There’s no doubt part of his popularity is due to his looks.

    But NO ONE has said the ONLY reason he’s popular is because of his looks, except you.

    “And I defend him because I’m defending the use of logic. Seriously, if our assessments of players are going to be based on factors that have nothing to do with on-field performance, than we might as well abandon rational discourse altogether. ”

    No, your defense is not of logic; it is a defense of KG. No one here today has assessed KG’s on-field performance based on his looks. Instead what has been noted is he is overrated by many fans, in part, because of them, and Melvin, with tongue in cheek, suggested they played a part in his undue MVP award.

    “I just think it’s pretty lame that people would resort to arguments like “well my girlfriend thinks he’s cute and that’s why he’s overrated.” That’s crap.”

    Yes, it would be crap if anyone had done so, but they haven’t.

    I now pronounce this horse officially deceased. Please feel free to continue flogging it in my abscence should you so desire. :-)

  38. 38 … wow, that *was* well flogged!

    So, who’s going to be the Padres’ backup SS in 2008?

  39. OT … at the risk of offending Charger fans here … I just think this is *very* funny …

    http://www.sportsbybrooks.com/ladainan-tomlinson-bench-figure-toy-15638

    … and so is/was this …

    http://cache.gawker.com/assets/images/11/2008/01/thumb463x_packerspee.jpg

    … both links compliments of uniwatch.

  40. Park factors matter. A lot.

    Road stats are a great equalizer, and Greene puts up great road numbers for a middle infielder.

    If Holliday and Gonzalez switched parks, then there’s a different second-place finisher in the MVP voting.

    re: team MVP

    I don’t think a pitcher can win that award with the Padres. I will have to check the media guide later. Not saying that’s the way it should be.

    Gonzalez was clearly better than Greene. Gonzalez vs. Peavy is a more nuanced debate.

    re: Green’s hair

    The ladies love Greene for his Spicoli surfer dude good looks and his hair. I like his demeanor. But I don’t think neither of those views inform the opinion of any studious fan. For example, those on this site.

  41. 34: A team’s win shares have to equal the team’s wins x 3.

    They are based the players total contributions. It’s not so much Peavy’s lack of games that affects him, although it certainly does, but the innings that pitchers pitch today. The win shares for Bob Gibson, for example, were much higher because he pitched 300+ innings. He would often be among the league leaders. I think he was first once.

  42. I know I like Khalil for his looks.

  43. Man, must be a slow day for DS’ers to pull an old debate, dust it off, and hang it up again even with a new twist.

    OK, who’s going to back him up next year? After all, I’m not sure what I did last season that help Khalil not get into any freak accident so I cannot repeat whatever it was that I did. I’m still seeing Oscar Robles, and the kid the Padres got from the Twins, and possibly the rule V Callix Crabbe if he can be the gritty player that the Eck is supposed to be.

  44. Someday, Khalil will be as good a shortstop as Bip Roberts … WHEN MONKEYS FLY OUT OF MY BUTT!!!