Friday Links (8 Feb 08)

I’ve been meaning to thank everyone for submitting such great links for these every week. Not to sound all “big league” or whatever, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for me to keep track of the conversations taking place out there in the ether. So to those of you who drop links (or any comments, really) into the daily discussion, I offer a hearty thanks.

Now that I’ve kissed your collective backside, I’m going to hit you up for more money. One project I’ve been working on this winter is the Hardball Times Season Preview 2008, and it’s almost here. Why do you care? Read these three articles and decide for yourself. . I contributed the chapter on the Padres (duh), and in my very biased opinion, the book rocks. You can buy it at all the usual outlets, but if you get it directly from the publisher (link above and also at end), THT gets a higher cut, which is a good thing for everyone involved.

Meanwhile, we’ve got links. Lots of ‘em:

  • Ken Rosenthal at FOX Sports indicates that the Padres will be patient with Mark Prior, who could be ready to go by mid- to late-May (hat tip to Ben B. in the comments).
  • Tim Brown at Yahoo! previews the NL West (hat tip to Didi in the comments). I find the “analysis” of the Padres a bit lacking. Yes, it’s a short piece, but some depth of thought would be nice:

    They lost seven of their last 11 games, including the play-in game in Colorado. In fact, four of the seven losses were to the Rockies. And yet, Bud Black finished fifth in the Manager of the Year voting and GM Kevin Towers got a contract extension. Half the payroll, half the aggravation.

    Wow, keen insight there.

  • Chris Dial at Baseball Think Factory recognizes the worst fielders, and our friend Josh Bard makes the list (hat tip to Matthew Thompson in the comments). Two quick points in defense of Bard:
    1. Stolen bases allowed represents one facet of a catcher’s defense. In Bard’s case, that facet is distorted by the presence of Greg Maddux and Chris Young, who simply don’t hold runners.
    2. As a parting shot, Dial says, “If you can’t catch, at least hit, gentlemen!” I’m assuming that wasn’t directed at Bard, who ranked fifth in OPS+ among big-league catchers with 400 or more plate appearances (and second behind only the Dodgers’ Russell Martin in the NL) last year.
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that Becky Moores has filed for divorce after 44 years of marriage to Padres owner John Moores (hat tip to Phantom in the comments). Very sad.
  • Corey Brock at Padres.com profiles the bullpen. Nobody’s talking about it much, but I love the depth the Padres have added over the winter.
  • If you want to get in on some cheap baseball at Petco Park, watch five high school games on April 11 and 12 (San Diego Union-Tribune); admission is $5 per day. Nice.
  • The guys at MadFriars do a Q&A with BaseballHQ’s Deric McKamey, who offers, among other things, his take on two of the highest-ceiling kids in the organization, Mat Latos and Kyle Blanks:

    I project Latos as a #2 starter. His 89-96 MPH fastball is very overpowering and has two comps (curveball and changeup) that rate as average, so I see no reason why he needs to be thought of as a reliever. His comps aren’t always consistent, as he tends to choke his curveball, and like most young pitchers, doesn’t repeat the arm speed for his changeup. He has a good frame and fair arm action, though his delivery can get lengthy.

    . . .

    Blanks will challenge for the 1B role in 2009, assuming his development stays on course. He projects as a run-producing power hitter and because he hits RH pitching fairly well, he has an opportunity to play full-time. He is a decent fielder and despite his large build and below average speed, he is a good baserunner. His size really hasn’t been a concern up to this point, but you do worry about it for the long-term.

  • MadFriars also has posted the Padres minor league spring training schedule (hat tip toLynchMob in the comments).
  • MB at Friar Forecast is running a community prospect list type thing. Go be a part of it.
  • The U-T has a cool story about a local Padres draftee who didn’t sign.
  • Eric SanInocencio at Baseball Digest Daily lists his dream team of decision-makers. Paul DePodesta gets a mention, Kevin Towers does not.
  • Two former Padres prospects are in the news. Left-hander Mike Bynum has retired, and outfielder Vince Faison has been suspended from his college football team (!) for DUI. So, yeah, the 1999 draft didn’t turn out so well. Except for that Peavy kid. He did okay.
  • Chris Jaffe at Hardball Times chats with Bill James.
  • Ken Arneson at Catfish Stew pens a thoughtful piece on the importance of keeping statistical analysis in perspective. Gem of a quote: “A map is not the treasure itself.”
  • Reader Didi points us to an article at Baseball Analysts that takes a detailed look at pitch movement and the impact it has on outcomes.
  • Calling my own number: Over at Knuckle Curve, I’ve started looking back at the top 100 prospects of 1998 as judged by Baseball America. The first installment covers #91-100.
  • Nothing to do with baseball, but this is one of the coolest things I’ve seen done with a guitar (TotallyRox).

That’s all for now. As always, links are updated throughout the day at del.icio.us. Go buy the Hardball Times Season Preview 2008 so we can make more of ‘em, and have an excellent Friday!

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43 Responses »

  1. Anybody else catch Edmonds on Too Much Show last night? I know this is probably one of the worst ways ever to judge how a player will perform, but the guy sounded extremely confident and ready to play. He praised the OF at PETCO as one of the best in baseball, which is becoming a popular refrain around the league. He reportedly requested to get the hell out of St. Louis once he found out that they had no intentions of giving him a full-time role and he said that he fully believes he’s still more than capable of playing CF.

    As someone who hasn’t had a lot of exposure to him, I found it to be a pretty reasssuring interview. He said that he’s shed some pounds and that he’s running more than he ever has before. The radio guys also gave him crap since he would only refer to KT as “Mr. Towers,” which I thought was a rare sign of respect.

    I know a lot of people are worried sick about our OF, but I think we may well be better off than it appears.

  2. Did TMS happen to ask him about his post concussion syndrome?

  3. Love the preseason optimism that we’re all willing suckers for (not singling you out as a sucker, Phantom); it’s one of the neat things about being a baseball fan.

  4. Thanks for the links on Bynum and Faison. I saw Faison play last year, one of the worst swings you will ever see in a professional baseball game.

  5. I just got my Hardball Times Annual, and when I did I ordered the Season Preview too..just waiting for it to arrive. If you buy both together at Hardball Times – you can get a discount. :)

  6. 2: They didn’t really get into specifics, but they asked him in general how he was feeling, and he was very positive.

    3: It’s wierd that the beginning of the year always seems to be so hopeful and bright. Unless you’re a Pirates fan. Or a Twins fan.

  7. Geez, what’s wrong with being a Twins fan? 4 Division Titles in the past 7 years and you have to go back 8 years to find the last time they were really out of the running. For all the crap the owner gets for being a cheapskate, the FO in Minnesota gets it done.

    I guess maybe you’re referring to the Santana deal, but it’s WAY too early to try to judge that trade.

  8. 7: I was referring to this year, I should have made that clear. I should have also added that it would equally suck being a Giants fan and an A’s fan.

  9. 8: I don’t think it’s a contest. Being a Giants fan right now would be soul crushing. I know not everyone agreed with the link I post to Chris Dial’s Caphalon Awards entry about the Padres catchers–which, to be fair, included Barrett as well–but, damn, aside from the first baseman, his entire infield was Giants. They’re old, terrible, and mired in controversy until Bonds leaves. I wouldn’t mind having the likes of Cain or Lincecum on our staff, but on the Giants staff they almost make it more painful to watch, because they’re SO good and surrounded by such dross.

    Also saw this on the cbs.sportsline.com Rumor Mill page:

    >>Former Royals captain Mike Sweeney worked out for the Padres at Petco Park near his home in San Diego, as reported by the Kansas City Star. The Padres are also looking at free agent Tony Clark in the quest to sign a veteran first baseman/pinch hitter. (updated: 02/07/2008) <<

    http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/teams/page/SD

    Don’t know how I feel about that, although I can think of worse hitters coming of the bench. I’ve always liked Clark, mostly because he’s gigantic. Maybe we could call up the Waltrus, just so the two of the could sumo wrestle on the bench?

  10. And also, the full “Padres Report” is a pretty good reference for ALL of the player moves in the organization:

    http://www.sportsline.com/mlb/teams/report/SD/10627013

  11. I wonder how Edmonds felt at this time last year. Or the year before.

  12. 11: I dug through Rotoworld and found that Edmonds was honest about how bad he felt before and during ST 2007. But I think I know what you’re getting at. A lot of players who “feel great” during spring training after off-season surgery spend months on the DL during the regular season.

  13. Whatever happened to Mike Restovich? Is he still in the league even?
    He could be a good backup.

  14. Nice read pt.2 of the pitch article.

    http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2008/02/split2.php

    Look at the list of pitchers at the last section. WOW.

  15. 13- I actually wasn’t “getting at” anything–I was genuinely wondering. The fact that he said he didn’t feel great last March makes his recent comments more meaningful, though you’re right…it might not make a difference in the end.

    He used to be one of the few non-padre players I liked, so I personally am hoping for a surprise rebound.

  16. Less than 3 weeks ’till the first spring game (Feb 28) …

    http://sandiego.padres.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=sd&m=2&y=2008

    BRING IT!

  17. M’s get Bedard for outfielder Adam Jones, reliever George Sherrill and pitchers Chris Tillman, Tony Butler and Kam Mickolio.

    Not bad…

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/7777230/After-long-process,-M‘s-finally-nab-Bedard

  18. 16 … if you want to be even more upbeat about Jim Edmonds, check out his …

    http://redbirdnation.blogspot.com/2004_08_01_redbirdnation_archive.html#109203633060194317

    … I’m not sure that link takes you to the right spot … what I’m pointing to is the Monday, August 09, 2004 entry titled “THE MOST UNDER-OVER-UNDERRATED PLAYER IN BASEBALL” … I’m happy to give him a shot in CF in 2008.

  19. I’m happy to hear/read that Edmonds is feeling great. My concern still stands that he’ll break down at some point in the season, and that’s why an able backup is needed. Can DaVanon and Hairston be the answer? I don’t know. At one point, I thought Brady Clark was going to be adequate and I was wrong. And then I was hoping Jason Lane would bounce back but he didn’t and not with that batting line of last season and a half.

    So, yeah, I’m glad Edmonds will be ready for the season and I’m looking forward to it but I’m still looking for that backup OF if I were the Padres.

  20. 19 … there’s pro’s & con’s in this quote from the link …

    Edmonds griped to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch [in 2004], “I’m tired of waking up with my feet numb and my right knee sore… If I was just sore and achy every day, that’s no big deal. But waking up every morning and the first 10 steps I take my left foot is completely numb. I’ve had four knee surgeries, three shoulder surgeries. I want to play, but when it’s time to retire, I’ll get on with it.”

    20 … right on! And I’m counting on the FO having this attitude also.

  21. 21 … and to continue to comment on my comment, I really liked this part of the Edmonds tribute …

    Of all the lopsided trades in baseball history, the Cards have made some doozies: Eric Ludwick for Mark McGwire, Bob Sykes for Willie McGee, Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock.

    But the discussion should probably include Kent Bottenfield and Adam Kennedy for Jim Edmonds. It was a classic Walt Jocketty trade: find an established veteran in a contract year, preferably one undervalued as a malcontent; trade either unproven prospects or peaking veterans to get him; deliver your new star to the loving arms of the St. Louis fan base; then lock him up to a long-term deal below market cost. You don’t normally think of Jocketty as the type of Moneyball wheeler-and-dealer who has to take risks on “men of questionable character,” but remember that Jocketty, like Billy Beane, learned at the feet of Sandy Alderson, one of the great bargain-hunters of our time.

    … gotta love that for a coupla reasons :-)

  22. Man, I sure wish the Pads had been able to put together something for Crisp rather than settling for Edmonds. Not that I think Crisp is all that great a player, but I feel pretty comfortable saying he’ll be more productive than Edmonds will be in 2008 and he’s signed through 2009 with a team option for 2010.

    Oh well, you can’t always get what you want.

  23. re 23: Not the first time I’ve seen that….but it is possible both of them would be poor choices. At least with Edmonds we have some chance of him being average.

    I’ve heard Crisp had some sort of personal issue which has ruined his career….yes very vague and no I don’t know what it is/was.

  24. You would probably have to give up more for Crisp too, not just an older Single A prospect who is completely blocked. In that sense picking up Edmonds was probably the better move.

    I just read on CBS Sportsline that Tony Clark’s agent (the same as Mark Prior’s) says that he has a 50-50 chance of signing with the Padres. I’d probably rather have then Sweeney, at least he has shown some productivity in the past few years.

  25. #20 I have been crying for two months about the need for another outfielder who the Padres could feel comfortable if they had to give 500 at bats to. However , come June or July the Pads probably will not have a problem picking up someone trustworthy if things come undone in the form of Edmonds or Giles injuries or Headley/Hairston implosions.

  26. Prediction/gut feel : No way is Jim Edmonds a better option than Coco Crisp.

  27. 25: Of course you’d have to give up more for him because he actually has a chance to have a good season, unlike Edmonds. That’s really the point in picking him up. :-)

    But it ain’t going to happen and so I’m dealing with it as best I can. ;-)

  28. 24: Oh, I hadn’t heard that. Interesting, and it would explain a lot.

    Barring unsubstantiated rumors about his personal life, I think Crisp has a much greater chance of being average than Edmonds. He’s young enough to bounce back to being average or above offensively and plays good defense with speed on the bases. Edmonds does not have youth on his side and is not a speedster. I just don’t see him being able to bounce back. ymmv.

  29. Let’s face it, neither of them is very good. With the exception of 2005, Crisp hasn’t hit at all. His fielding has been said to be really good lately, but I never remember people talking about him as a great fielder before last year (BP has his fielding at +27/-1/+14/-4 the past four seasons). If he can field that well, he’s a good player. If not, he’s a total drag on the offense — he hit like Geoff Blum last season. Obviously Edmonds is aging and he’s not going to hit like he did in 2004 or 2005 (301/418/643 and 263/385/533). But even last year he was a better hitter then Crisp. I guess that if they could have gotten Crisp for Freese that might be the better option but they are probably pretty close. Certainly Edmonds has the greater potential.

  30. Where do you get the idea a guy who has been crushed by injuries the past two years and is going to be 38 has more potential than a guy who was an above average hitter (by OPS+) his first two years in the league and is going to be just 28 next year? Now I know Crisp has suffered some injury problems the last two years as well, but you have to go with the guy 10 years younger to bounce back to health and performance; don’t you? I mean to me it’s realistic to expect Crisp to get his OPS+ back above 100, steal 25 bags at a good success rate and play plus defense in CF. To expect the same from Edmonds is wishful thinking at best. That’s the difference between being 28 and being 38, imo.

  31. I don’t think Crisp can hit at all. I suspect that the past two years is basically what you are going to get. At least Edmonds has proven that he can hit. The simple fact is that over any time frame, Edmonds has been better offensively then Crisp. Last year, the past two years, the past four years, whatever. Of course it’s true that Edmonds is much older but he is much better. Crisp is completely overrated because he plays for the Red Sox, if he was on the Pirates or Royals no one would be even talking about him. If he’s a good fielder he’s probably worth picking up but what if he’s not? As I said, he hit like Geoff Blum last year (and like Marcus Giles the year before), do you really want that playing 150 games this season?

  32. http://baseballhq.com has this to say today …

    Enrique Gonzalez to get shot at SD bullpen
    February 8, 2008 – Harold Nichols

    The San Diego Padres claimed 26 year-old Enrique Gonzalez (RHP, SD) off waivers from the Nationals, and Gonzalez is expected to compete for a bullpen spot. For the past three seasons, Gonzalez has worked primarily as a starter, and while his BPI’s have shown glimmers of promise, various problems have hindered his progress.

    Year/Level IP ERA Ctl Dom Cmd hr/9
    ========== === ==== === === === ====
    2005 AA 161 4.38 3.0 7.2 2.4 0.6*
    2006 AAA 60 2.55 1.9 4.6 2.4 0.3*
    2006 ARI 106 5.67 2.9 5.6 1.9 1.2
    2007 AAA 153 7.31 4.0 5.5 1.4 0.9*
    MLE’s

    Certainly Gonzalez’ numbers have been underwhelming since his major league debut with Arizona in 2006. But he has a history of solid command, and his stint in the majors produced a 4.18 xERA. So, why has his actual ERA been so high for the past two years? It’s been a combination of struggles with his skills and simple bad luck. In the weak skills category, he has had trouble with the long ball for the past two seasons, and his control deserted him in 2007. The 2007 Baseball Forecaster was on the money with the comment “can succeed by limiting BB and HR.” At the same time, a 40% hit rate and 63% strand rate wrecked havoc with his 2007 ERA. The move to San Diego’s PETCO Park and the bullpen may be exactly what Gonzalez needs. PETCO reduces LHB home runs by 22% and RHB home runs by 8%, compared with 23% and 7% increases respectively in Arizona’s Chase Field. And in the past Gonzalez has displayed some stamina issues, so the pen may be a good home for him. There is enough here to make Enrique Gonzalez worth watching.

  33. Enrique Gonzalez will be this years “KT Gem” find out the rubble. As long as the Padres continue to have high IQ general management in the area of pitching than the Pads will continue to contend for a Series win.

    When it comes to pitching, it is fruitless to question KT’s judgement. He has put together a top rate staff. I love it that KT has stuck with guys like Estes, Stauffer, and Germano – watch two of these guys contribute this year. KT and BBlack know how the ‘minds’ of pitchers work and because so much of pitching is a mental confidence game they get the absolute most of a staff…….

    Have no fear. At least two guys step up out of the Rusch, Estes, Germano, Geer, Stauffer crowd and put together enough wins to help the Pads win another 85 to 92 games next year.

  34. If you need a TG fix, check out the video of Sports@Lunch (from Jan7th) …

    http://www.kbcsports.com/on-demand.asp?search_archives=Sports@Lunch

    … link compliments of the guys at Gaslamp Ball …

    So good to hear him talk about his time @ Cooperstown … his favorite game (Game 5 of 1984 NLCS, which is mine too :-) … the DH sucks … coulda hit .400 in ’94 …

    His smile … his laugh … never get tired of it!

  35. 14 – I always liked Restovich. It looks like he signed with a team in Japan.

    34 – I think Adam Bass is this year’s KT gem.

  36. While people are busy drooling over Arizona’s starting rotation or Colorado’s offense, the Padres will be overlooked. There are four reasons why the NL West is, easily, the toughest division in baseball. The Padres are one of them (the Giants are not).

  37. 36. Randy Bass might have a better shot.

  38. 38 … good knowledge!

  39. 38 – maybe. I think Bass can do really well in a relief role.

  40. 40. Possibly, but the Padres are deep in relievers and some good ones are going to end up in Portland. I have a hard time seeing how Bass gets a job. We’ll see.

  41. 40 … what do you see in Andy Bass, M317?

    http://minors.baseball-reference.com/players.cgi?pid=16866

    50 IP at AAA last year … good ERA and WHIP … but K/BB barely over 2:1 … have you seen him pitch?

  42. I haven’t seen him pitch. Bass is 6′ 6″ and is making the transition from starter to reliever and has pitched well in the relief role so far. He throws strikes. It’s exactly the kind of guy KT looks for in a back of the bullpen reliever, somewhat similar to Hampson last year.

    Whether he gets the chance or not is another story. Admittedly he’ll have to be lights out to get a shot. But I think if he hangs around AAA he could be useful in the second half when injuries hit.

    Who knows, I could be way off base.