Friday Links (29 Feb 08)

Happy Leap Day. If you haven’t participated in the Opening Day Roster contest, what’s up with that? The winner receives a copy of the Ducksnorts 2008 Baseball Annual.

Meanwhile, we’ve got links:

  • reports that Brian Giles is feeling good. So is his surgically repaired right knee. [Kevin]
  • John Walsh at Hardball Times is searching for baseball’s best pitch. The fastballs of Heath Bell, Chris Young, and Jake Peavy get some love, as do the slider of Peavy and Young (!). [Masticore317]
  • Rich, Sully, and friends are doing their annual Two on Two over at Baseball Analysts. As always, their commentary makes for an entertaining read, and this year’s take on the NL West is no exception. The gem here comes from Rich:

    See I believe San Diego’s offense is nearly as underrated as the pitching is overrated. The infielders can flat out hit. Adrian Gonzalez is perhaps the most under appreciated hitter in the league. He blistered the ball on the road (.295/.358/.570 with 20 HR) and during the second half (.302/.356/.538). Kevin Kouzmanoff improved his OPS from .673 in the first half to .890 in the second half. While a liability in the field, Kouz should rank as one of the best offensive third basemen in the NL this season. Khalil Greene has been needlessly dissed for far too long. Throughout his career, the four-year veteran has hit .228/.288/.370 at home and .280/.335/.515 on the road.

    Whoa, enough of the crazy talk. Someone should write a book with this sort of thing in it. And people should buy that book. Lots of copies, even. [Jim Parish]

  • Baseball America has released its list of Top 100 prospects for 2008. Two Padres are represented: Chase Headley at #32 and Matt Antonelli at #50. [Tom Waits]
  • According to the U-T, Paul McAnulty is getting some work at third base again this spring. Further down, there’s a little blurb on first-base prospect Kyle Blanks, who homered at Petco Park when the Storm played a game there last summer. Punch line: That was Blanks’ first trip to a big-league ballpark. [LynchMob]
  • Jason at examines the spring training position battles. He likes Tim Stauffer as the #5 starter. Gutsy call there.
  • John Sickels compares Padres right-hander Mat Latos and Angels right-hander Jordan Walden. Speaking of gutsy calls, Sickels rates Latos as the 46th best prospect in all of baseball. [LynchMob]
  • Tim Sullivan at the U-T talks about Chris Young’s desire to make greater use of his change-up this year. That’s great, but what interests me is this tidbit from GM Kevin Towers:

    At the A-ball levels, that is the one pitch that we’re adamant about our pitchers learning. It is truly the equalizer. There are pitchers in the major leagues who have a below-average breaking ball — (Greg) Maddux — who win on fastball command and a change-up.

    It’s a difference-maker. Guys who are able to throw a change-up in the big leagues and command their fastball can be successful with those two pitches.

    This shouldn’t surprise anyone who follows the Padres and their emphasis on disrupting a hitter’s timing. I wonder if other organizations are as aggressive about teaching their young pitchers to change speeds? [Phantom]

  • Rookie left-hander Wade LeBlanc is being mentioned as a darkhorse candidate for the #5 spot. You guessed it, he’s got a killer change-up.
  • The guys at MadFriars chat with Matt Eddy, who wrote the chapter on the Padres in this year’s Baseball America Prospect Handbook. Speaking of the MadFriars, I’ve got a Q&A with Denis and John scheduled to run early next week. You won’t want to miss that.
  • Herija Green at Bugs and Cranks thinks the Padres are a “fourth-place” team. How original.
  • Someone in Chicago doesn’t hate Mark Prior. Presumably he’ll be run out of town as well.
  • Don’t look now, but the Padres have a tough interleague schedule. We’ll see what impact this has on the race.
  • Former Padres shortstop Bill Almon has been nominated for the College Baseball Hall of Fame. Almon was the first pick overall in the 1974 draft, when the Padres took him ahead of Dale Murphy (#5), Garry Templeton (#13), and Lance Parrish (#16), among many others.
  • Tom Krasovic at the U-T takes a good look a the Padres left field situation. Krasovic gets extra bonus points for working in a Bill James reference.
  • I’m rooting for Jody Gerut to make the club. From a recent U-T article:

    Gerut majored in history at Stanford, with an emphasis on Russian history in the 20th century. “My thesis was on Soviet patent law, which is a contradiction in terms.”

    I’m pretty sure “expertise in Soviet patent law” qualifies as an intangible.

  • Brock for Broglio interviews Tom Tango. Closer to home, MB at Friar Forecast chats with Padres front office staffer Chris Long. Good stuff.

Catch even more links at

Enter the contest.

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Dup dor a’az Mubster.

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114 Responses »

  1. RE: 52 you mean TK?

  2. Re: 50 I dont see the Padres starting the year with two rookies in their rotation, a rookie at 2B, a rookie backup catcher and a possible rookie in the OF.

  3. It’s way too early for this but in the race for the 5th starter spot:

    LeBlanc: 0
    Estes: -1

    Ha, my pick just came closer to coming true.

  4. re 50: If those rotation “candidates” really do become 2/5ths of the starters in 09 we’re in for 3rd place……at best.

    Carillo isn’t healthy yet
    LeBlanc could contribute, maybe this year, certainly by next
    Ramos/Geer are the same guy and he isn’t helpful at the major league level.
    Inman needs at least 08 and part of 09 in the minors, even then he’s only be 22…..if he were up this season or the beginning of next he’s be making his MLB debut at about the same age as Peavy did.

    They are going to sign some rehabbing pitcher for the 4/5 slots every year since every FA SP wants to throw in Petco

  5. Re 54: I have a feeling most of those guys I mentioned should have some major league experience by the time ’09 starts, especially if the team falls out of contention early this season. I think Antonelli, Headley, and LeBlanc will all get regular playing time at some point this season and be fixtures by ’09.

  6. Dinger for Antonelli. 9-2

  7. Antonelli went yard

  8. re 56: I can see an ’09 rotation of Peavy, Young, FA veteran, LeBlanc, and whoever wins out over all the other guys. The way everyone is raving over LeBlanc and his changeup, I think he could handle the #4 or 5 spot in the rotation after a full season of AAA in ’08. If the Pads aren’t crazy about anyone else in the organization after this season, maybe they would go after two stop-gap, veteran free agents AGAIN.

  9. 53 … yup, i meant TK @ UT … thanks (so, you the “Link Nazi”? see 32 for ref :-) ) …

    55 … if you’re going to do that, doesn’t Stauffer get a +1 for yesterday? me thinks so …

    58/59/60 … YES … take *that* Keith Law :-)

  10. Now 9-5 bottom of the fifth, with the Padres still batting and men at 1st and 2nd.

  11. 9 hits + 3 walks by 12 different hitters … so far, so good … at the plate, anyway … for today …

  12. Is Carillo in Peoria throwing or is he still rehabbing?

  13. Wierd, Antonelli walked. Nice game for him so far.

    Is it a bad sign when our kids are hitting better than our starters (granted, they’re facing a completely different level of pitching)?

  14. 55: I’m torn. I listed Estes as my predicted 5th starter, but we’re almost certainly a better team if he’s not.

  15. Who is this Adam Bass character pitching in the 8th for the Padres? I can’t find him on Anybody know anything about him? Apparently he was impressing Andy and Ted.

  16. 69 … nice job on the links, SteveC … whatd’ya-know-Kokomo? How does a town in Indiana get to be named Kokomo, I wonder …

    I’ll bet I get to see Mr. Bass pitch long-relief for the Beavers this year …

  17. Blanks got in the game … K’d and made an E … sigh …

    Nice to see the Padres light up Soria :-) Venable with a 2-run shot …

  18. 70 … who knew? … Joe Thatcher is listed amonst Kokomo’s notables …

  19. Anyone listening: Did Teddy say that Trevor has ditched the windup experiment? Think that’s what I heard…

  20. I’m going to drive this bandwagon again…how about signing Kyle Lohse to a one year deal? I’d imagine that they could get him for around $8m or so (maybe even less). He’s no world-beater, but he’s better then average and would take a lot of the pressure off Wolf, Prior, and their probable replacements. He’s certainly a better option then what they have now. The Padres seem to be going into the season hoping for a lot of things — a resurgence by Edmonds, Giles’ health, Wolf and Prior pitch well, Germano or another starter fills the 5th starter hole. All that can come true, but then again, all that could fail.

    They have to leverage Petco Park for pitching as it’s going to kill them for acquiring free agent hitters. Unless they think they are going to be producers of talent, which with their track record, doesn’t seem likely.

  21. Lohse isn’t a bad idea, although it won’t happen.

  22. 58/59/60 … TK @ UT describes the Antonelli HR thusly …

    Matt Antonelli homered down the left-field line today, giving the Padres reason to smile with the Royals ahead 9-1. Antonelli’s bases-empty shot, a high drive that went more than 350 feet …

    … ah … “high drive” … ah …

  23. Why not? Padres too cheap or you think he’ll only sign a multi-year deal?

    He’s the perfect target for the Padres and Petco is the perfect place for him. He most likely isn’t going to get a multi-year deal, but he can sign a one year deal to pitch one season of his prime in the best place for pitchers. Does that make too much sense? Or, as I’ve argued here over and over, is winning secondary to the bottom line for Moores?

  24. 75 … why not? Just for financial reasons? Doesn’t the longer he goes into ST as a FA mean his price might come down? At what price point would you sign him? At what price point might the Padres sign him? Do you think they’ve made him an offer … or has he made comments indicating he’s not likely to sign with Padres?

    Spring is for questions …

  25. 77 … simmer down a bit, Schlom … my guess is that Moores knows that winning *helps* the bottom line. I’ll bet that he’s an ROI genius … based on his track record … and on who he’s hired as VP (ie. SA) …

  26. Padres add a final run in bottom of 9th … lose 13-9 … nice day for Edgar Gonzalez (2-for-2 + a BB) … they won 9-7 in the post-Estes version of the game …

  27. 73: Trevor ditching the windup was in the UT today. They weren’t seeing any velocity or movement benefits.

    74: Absolutely agree on Lohse’s potential value, but there was another UT story recently about how the team allots money to roles. They seem to have either paid out what they budgeted for pitching or they’re just not interested. Me, I hope they’re watching him and have a quiet offer on the table, with the stipulation that they’ll publicly repudiate it if his agent tries to use it to get other teams to big.

    The need seems pretty clear. They’ve hoped to get a good, year-long performance from the back of the rotation for several seasons now, and that hope hasn’t been rewarded. Maybe they see something in his medical records or his delivery that worries them, like it did with Jason Schmidt last year. Too bad those same eyes weren’t watching Nick Schmidt.

  28. #77: Same reason that they didn’t make a play for Livan — they feel they’ve got enough internal candidates.

    As for winning vs bottom line, I doubt that the Padres view these as mutually exclusive goals.

  29. 81: Maybe not the UT, but it is here:

  30. I guess we’ll see how it turns out. I don’t like the idea of a fixed budget — if Lohse said he’d pitch here for $3m this year would they turn him down because they’ve already spent their limit?

    I also don’t like the idea of relying on young players. What in the Padres history (other then Jake and T Gwynn) makes you think they will be able develop their own players? I guess it’s possible that they might turn it around but it’s doubtful looking at their track record.

    The Padres hope is that either Wolf, Young and Estes stay healthy, Prior and/or Hensley comes back from injury and is effective, or one young guy (Leblanc, Geer, Stauffer) comes up and is successful in the majors. This is along with the other huge question marks on offense (Edmonds and Giles are healthy, the OF hits). That just seems a lot to hope for and all the pitching hopes are more likely to not come true based on their track records.

    Now, I’m not saying that Kyle Lohse would ensure that they win the West, but if the pitching plays out like it has (Young throws about 180 innings, Wolf makes 20 starts, Prior 10 ineffective ones, they can’t find a 5th starter) then they are going to be in trouble.

  31. 84 … right on … well said … the state of the Padres right now does seem “risky” and Lohse mitigates some of that risk … enough to justify the expense? I dunno … that’s SA/KT’s call, I s’pose …

  32. 81 … an issue in the medical does seem like a possible explanation … would explain why he’s still an FA … he posted ERA+ of 100 last year … that seems like a valuable commidty …

    83 … thanks for the link … I’d missed that news …

  33. Talking about the Padres track record in developing young players makes me think the Padres are going to trade Headley. I don’t know if they will do it before the season because I think they want to give Hairston a chance to see if he can be the longterm answer but I don’t see how Headley can stay here. His bat isn’t that special for LF and he’s not going to beat out Kouzmanoff at 3B. If Hairston can hit, they can use Headley to get OF’ers which they are going to need in 2009 if they buy out Giles.

  34. OT … here’s a *very* fun fact … remember Al Rosen? He’s celebrating his 21st birthday today …


  35. 68 – Adam Bass is the man! I’m routing for him to get a shot at the ML level this year.

    People here are going to start to think I’m his agent or something!

  36. 87: Chase has had 18 major league at bats, I do not believe anyone knows for sure what type of player he will turn out to be. IMAO. The Padres will find out the answer to that question, while he is in a Padre uniform.

  37. “we have enough internal candidates” – I actually truly believe the Padres when they sum up their pitching – I don’t believe them when they talk about the position players.

    2008′s “we have enough internal candidates” was used all Winter long to sum up a very weak outfield situation –

    2007′s same line field re: the outfield situation “we have enough internal candidates” left to promoting T.Sledge as a .300 hitting lead off hitter that they had the gall to promote as one who could steal 20 bases .. and used to justify/legitimize getting rid of Jack Cust (Cust hit two mammoth blasts today) ……..then we end up, in one of the biggest games in the franchise’s history having a end of the line guy like Brady Clark patrolling center.

  38. #91: Yes, if only we’d had Cust in center. ;-)

  39. 92: Yeah, all in all the OF didn’t work out all that badly last year. It took a lot of guys to make it work out (Crudge, Hairston, Bradley, etc.). But it’s hard to deal with losing two of your starting OF at the same time for any team. It was a really tough, tough break to lose Bradley and Cameron, but that’s not poor planning on the FO’s part, it was just a bad break.

  40. Re: 93 The Pads are going to lose 2 out of three and possibly 3 out of three next year…


    It’s great to see that the Dodgers are thinking about blocking another one of their stud prospects (Andy LaRoche this time) with a vet who’s a little above replacement level–this time it’s Brandon Inge.
    Rock on Ned Coletti!

  42. lol Lohse for 8M….are you kidding me?

    Last I checked spring training already started and the guy doesn’t have a job, even his wife doesn’t think he’s worth 8M anymore.

    Bottom line, there is no guarantee the guy is going to be even league average, even in Petco… offer him 500k and a shot at the 5th starter gig.

  43. 91: You’re still conflating two very different issues. Going with Sledge/Cruz in LF at the start of last year is a legitimate criticism, even though there were solid reasons to believe they could be sufficient. Sledge had always hit RHP, Cruz had always hit LHP.

    You find me a team, any team, anywhere, that can replace its top two CF on the depth chart with a week left in the season with a player who is likely to be better than Brady Clark, and then I’ll buy that it was a fixable problem. That’s like saying the team should be expected to replace Peavy and Young if they got hurt on September 8th. Brady Clark is the prototype of the 3rd CF on the depth chart. Clark, or a guy so like him as to be virtually indistinguishable, is the player every other team calls up if their own Cameron and Bradley go down with a week left. And he did pretty well until that final game. He went 10 for 30 with 6 walks after being pressed into full-time duty that last week. Even if we’d had Maybin or McCutcheon or Rasmus any other top-shelf CF candidate, they could have easily had a crap game in #163. In fact, they could have given us a 600 OPS the week before and contributed to our NOT getting to play #163.

  44. 96: To be fair, Greg Maddux wasn’t league-average last year and we’re paying him 10M. I guess he was league-average if you expand the ERA+ a couple of points on either side of 100, but his 2007 mark of 98 is only 3 ticks better than Lohse’s career number, and worse than what Lohse did last year.

    Lohse is no world-beater, but he’s a better bet to throw 180 league-average innings than any current Padre SP candidate for the 4th and 5th spots.

    I’m positive he’s not going to be paid 8M by the Padres, but he’s worth a lot more than a 500K contract. On a one-year deal I’d offer him 10 times that. If we’d had a Kyle Lohse last year we’re in the playoffs.

  45. A couple of good entries over at TK @ UT’s blog today …

    … including a Chad Huffman update.

  46. “You find me a team, any team, anywhere, that can replace its top two CF on the depth chart with a week left in the season with a player who is likely to be better than Brady Clark, and then I’ll buy that it was a fixable problem”.

    Again, I am probably erroneously fusing two different issues but if we had better depth on the farm (or KT had been more aggressive bringing in vet after the disasster who would have cleared waivers) then Brady Clark is not in center field in game #163. Brady Clark is clearly a corner outfielder and seeing him patrol Coors field on a number of balls hit his way clearly showed that).

    #92 – No Cust in center, but how about in left and Hairston in center. After all, according to management, Hairston is now our backup centerfielder.