Everybody Loves Tadahito

Tadahito IguchiSays here we’ve been “dot-com” for 6 years now. Cool.

Anyway, I’m working on an interview with Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune (it’ll run on Monday), and one topic we discussed was potential surprises among Padres for 2008. The name that came up was new second baseman Tadahito Iguchi:

Iguchi had some problems with a finger injury early last year, and the White Sox were looking to save money. He’s a solid player, better than his stats of last summer would indicate.

When Lance and I visited Peoria a couple weeks ago, Iguchi kind of took us by surprise as well. Although he’s a compact guy, as I’ve mentioned previously, he really can drive the ball out to left and left-center. We’ll see how much of that is an artifact of the Arizona spring air, but after seeing Iguchi in person and talking to some folks, I’m starting to have a good feeling — in my usual guardedly optimistic way — about him.

The U-T, meanwhile, has a couple articles up about Iguchi. One talks about Iguchi’s childhood dreams to play in the North American big leagues, while the other focuses on his relationship with translator David Yamamoto.

Iguchi talks about coming to San Diego:

For me, it was very important to play in a city that would be right for my family. (Former Padre Akinori) Otsuka said San Diego is a good place.

My wife (Asumi) and daughter (Rio) moved into a home in San Diego in mid-February. My daughter is already in school. My family loves it there.

He also touches on the difference between spring training in Japan and on this side of the pond:

In Japan, spring is a military-style camp. It is a lot longer and every team has a goal . . . find a sense of unity. The whole team goes for early-morning walks and there are nightly meetings. The first two or three weeks, you work only on fundamentals.

The advantage of the American camps is that every facility has a lot of fields. Some players can be hitting while others are fielding. In Japan, there was only one field for each club.

Guess we’ll soon find out how justified our optimism is…

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110 Responses »

  1. It seems he’s more bad than good, but I really have no idea. He’s getting a free pass in the District because everyone knows they are in rebuilding mode, and Acta helped them over-achieve last season. And woo-hoo, a shiny new stadium, with about five parking spaces.

    But about half of their roster will again look like a minor league one.

  2. If Gerut had talent wouldn’t his minor league numbers look better?


    Sure he took some walks in Double A but he didn’t have any power and wasn’t really that young. Outside of 2003 his numbers have been average at best. With that track record, his 2003 seems like a fluke more then anything else. Again, we’re not the Pirates. He might be better then McAnulty defensively but that’s not saying much.

    I guess it could be worse, we could have signed Juan Pierre or Gary Matthews Jr. to 5 year, $10m plus deals!

  3. Of course, as Headley as been down long enough to keep him from getting Super Two arbitration rights he’ll be the LF so it only matters for a few months anyway. I’m not sure that either McAnulty or Gerut really has any trade value so why bother showcasing them for a trade? I guess is that the hope is that one of them gets really hot and they are able to unload them to a team for a prospect.

  4. Bad typing skills above…I meant to say:

    “As soon as Headley has been down long enough….”

  5. 52: Well, let’s look at those. A career minor league OBP of 387 is awfully good, especially where he played. Headley, for comparison’s sake, has played in much better hitter’s leagues.

    He wasn’t old for a level before he got hurt, and after he came back from that 2001 injury he still wasn’t that old. Headley was older than him in High A and his first go at AA.

    I don’t think anybody is saying Gerut will be a great hitter, but he could be a good one.

  6. 47: Didn’t Gary Mathews Jr come up from the Padres organization?

  7. 52 … thanks for the link to Gerut’s minor league #s … the first thing I notice is the .387 OBP … and then the sub-1 K/BB ratio … looks like a hitter to me.

    53/54 … I think you are right on with the Padres keeping an eye on Headley’s service time clock … pushing his arbitration eligibility out a year is pretty valuable … especially if/when you think that Gerut and/or McAnulty can provide the same production to start this season …

  8. True enough but he’s never had a year like Headley had last season. There are some decent season’s in there but nothing really jumps out at you. Plus with his injury track record (he’s missed 3 full seasons since he turned pro in 1999, that’s 33%), why bother. Again, if Pirates castoffs are playing for you, that’s not a good sign.

    Someone above talked about trading Headley for Ethier or Kemp. This is who the Padres should really be targeting.


    He’s about to become really expensive and the Marlins only want players without any service time. If that means the Padres have to keep Headley in the minors the whole season, so be it (keep him at 3B so they have an excuse not to bring him up). Would Headley, Matt Latos and another prospect be enough? That would give the Padres the chance to trade Greene if they wanted, or if Ramirez’s defense is as bad as they say, move him to CF and leave Antonelli at 2B.

  9. #56: Yep. Here’s my report on him and fellow outfield prospect Mike Darr from ’98:


    Ah, I feel very old.

  10. 56: I apologize for forgetting Matthews. Great point.

  11. 57: Free P-Mac.

    re: Patterson, you are all right, a minor league deal wouldn’t hurt. I just don’t want a ML roster for him which I thought might be the reason the Nationals cut him.

  12. 59: Dream on. He’ll move to the OF if his glove is not getting better at SS.

  13. 59: No, he never had a full season like Headley’s 2007. But that’s because the Indians promoted him to the majors when he was partway there. if we’re going that route, Headley’s never done anything in the majors and has no time above AA.

    Young was castoff from 3 teams before we got him. Where a player came from has zero real bearing on how good he good be. Gerut might do nothing for us, he might be just another guy who had a great winter season in a foreign land, but he could be a pretty good hitter, too.

    I don’t see the Padres signing Ramirez or trading what it would take to get him.

  14. Pads also developed Jason Bay and X-Nady.

    I would be happy with Mathews in CF, Bay in LF and Nady in RF

  15. I don’t see Ramirez to stick with the Padres since his glove is quite bad. Playing at Petco will require defenses. Yes, he’s a heck of a hitter but knowing the Marlins, the price is going to be astronomical. Look at how Cabrera was traded. Probably not a price that the Padres can meet by will or means.

  16. 65: Bay was really “developed” elsewhere, we were just smart enough to grab him. And then not-smart enough to give the Pirates Nady instead of him.

    Nady is an average hitter who would be brutal in Petco’s RF. I know GY had a thing for him in the past, but he’s up over 1600 at-bats now, still poor at controlling the strike zone, hitting with only moderate power.

  17. #67: Bay also fits your description of CY in #64. The Expos and Mets apparently had no use for him.

    Nady is a marginally useful big leaguer who should have been much more.

  18. can anybody come up with a better outfield made up of active ex-padres that where home grown or played in the minors system?

  19. 68: I don’t know how much you can teach plate discipline. Probably depends on the player. Without any empirical evidence at all, Nady struck me as a guy who had always been able to hit whatever came his way, including pitches out of the zone, until he got to AAA.

    Remember when Shea Hillenbrand talked about how no one ever stressed taking pitches to him in the minors, but now that he understood the value, he’d try to do it? His walk rate never changed.

    Nady was slightly better than average last year, to give him due credit.

  20. 69: No, and that’s disheartening. But I wouldn’t be any happier with Nady/Matthews/Bay (especially at Matthews cost) than I am with Giles/Edmonds/The Plethora.

  21. I don’t think the price for Miguel Cabrera was astronomical. Maybin is a stud but Miller is certainly no can’t miss pitcher . It’s too bad the Padres didn’t draft Porcello as him, Headley and Latos would surely be enough. As far as his fielding goes, he’s no worse then Derek Jeter so that’s probably not a worry although if I traded for him I’d make him into a CF.

    I guess the question would be whether I’d trade Headley, Antonelli and Latos for Ramirez. Looking at the Padres record of developing young players I’d probably do it.

    Personally, I think there’s a huge difference between being waived and being traded. Young was traded from the Pirates, Expos and Rangers (notice something in common with those teams) but at least they got something they though was valuable back. The Pirates (the poorest run organization maybe in all sports) didn’t even think Gerut was worth anything. Now maybe they were wrong, that’s certainly possible, but are there any veteran hitters (not minor league or Rule V guys) that have been cut and then been successful with other teams?

  22. #72: Maybe the Pirates were wrong? You mean, the poorest run organization in all sports? Please, tell me it ain’t so. ;-)

  23. 72: Wait, so now Gerut is a “veteran?” He’s had two season’s worth of at-bats in the majors.

    There have been many players who have been waived and then succeeded. Scotty Linebrink was one. Some guy you may have heard of, David Ortiz, is another. There have been players who were considered minor throw ins to deals, like Liriano, who blossomed. That’s why what a team may have thought of a player is less important than almost anything else. I mean, turn that around. The Padres thought enough of Sledge to get him in trade, and he was bad. If a team giving up on a player counts against him, another team picking him up should be seen as a positive. That’s why I prefer to toss that stuff out.

  24. 73: Yeah, any team that pays full price for Matt Morris and drafts a college reliever with the 4th overall pick, that’s who I use as a measuring stick for determining player value.

  25. I hate to bring up the Rick Porcello/Nick Schmidt draft mess again but it just shows what a huge, huge, huge error it was to pass on him. His bonus was just over $2m more then Schmidt’s, although he signed a major league contract so that would cost a lot more over the short-term. However if they traded (much like the Tigers did with Andrew Miller) they wouldn’t have to pay it. Would you rather have $2m, Headley, Latos and Schmidt or Hanley Ramirez?

  26. 76: Never bothers me to discuss the draft. But I don’t see any way this organization makes that trade, not now or in the near-future. Too risky for them. I don’t think they would have made the Cabrera / Willis trade if the parts were available.

  27. 72: I thought a lot of people were very high on Miller. Maybe I missed something there.

    No way do I trade Headley/Antonelli/Latos for Ramirez. He’ll be way too pricey for us to keep him and his defense is atrocious. Comparing him Derek Jeter is probably over-stating his defense, and I think Jeter’s one of the worst out there.

    Wouldn’t rule V guys essentially count as “veteran guys who were successful on other teams”? After all, these are guys that have been around the system for a while and haven’t impressed their teams enough to protect them. Dan Uggla (while atrocious defensively) is a fantastic example of this kind of player.

  28. 76: Isn’t that kind of a false choice? There’s no guarantee that such a trade would go down.

    Also, I’d take our players and the money. I trust our talent evaluators for a reason. Headley and Antonelli are gonna be studs when they get their shot. Who knows what Latos will do? Schmidt may be a useful part when ready.

  29. I wasn’t talking about relievers as I know there are plenty of them out there who have been cut multiple times before they made it good.

    Ortiz is a special case since he wasn’t offered a contract by the Twins because they were too cheap and stupid to figure out he was good (his 2002 season was as good as Gerut’s rookie season but at 26 he was in his sixth major league season, not second).

    I guess my point is that contending teams shouldn’t rely on non-roster players to be contributors. Although I guess that Gerut isn’t really going to be a contributor unless the team suffers multiple injuries in the outfield and if that happens, the Padres aren’t going to be contenders.

  30. I’ll try to address a couple of comments to my above posts:

    Why would you trust the Padres talent evaluators or coaches? There’s Peavy and Khalil but that’s it. The main reason the Padres have been so crappy through the years is that they’ve been completely unable to draft and develop their own talent. Now that might change but there is certainly no guarantees.

    People are saying that the Padres wouldn’t trade for Ramirez because they won’t sign him for big money. If that’s the case, then this franchise is in serious trouble. Unless Kevin Towers can continue to rip off other teams in trades (and I would doubt that will keep happening) the Padres have no hope to compete. You have to pay good player big money. If they are only going to pay Jake Peavy and let everyone else walk, again, they aren’t going to compete. They wasted the most valuable pick in the draft in 2004 and might have wasted another one last season. Those are the people that are supposed to inspire us with confidence?

  31. #81: If I didn’t trust the Padres talent evaluators or coaches, I’d probably just give up all hope and not think about the possibility of acquiring a player like Hanley Ramirez. Presumably our evaluators would have trouble recognizing his value.

    Why do you doubt that Towers will continue to be successful in making trades? He’s been doing it for 12+ years now. What signs point to his demise in that area?

    The team learned from its mistakes in 2004, which is all anyone can ask at this point. As for Porcello, we’re not the only team that passed on him.

  32. What’s incredibly frustrating is that the Padres are a good team that could be much better. They’ve won the division 2 of the 3 previous years and with some better luck last season they’d be on a run of three straight. But they are going into this season with some huge potential holes and haven’t really addressed them.

    I’ve always contended that there is no reason that the Padres couldn’t be like the Tigers. Strangely, the Tigers also threw their top pick away in 2003 (they took Kyle Sleeth 3rd, the Padres took Stauffer 4th). That season, the Tigers won 43 games while the Padres won 64. Then in 2004, the Padres took Matt Bush and the Tigers took Justin Verlander. Imagine how different those franchises would look if the picks were swapped.

  33. re: Porcello/Schmidt, let’s see in a few years, OK?
    I still think the Padres could have had Michael Main instead of Schmidt but what do I know?

    81: The Padres wouldn’t trade for Ramirez because there is no players to trade him for and his value is not as high with this organization as the Marlins are thinking. Where do you get the big money? Jake Peavy is signed so is El Hombre and the big tall guy. It’s all about what the team is willing to spend.

    You value Ramirez a lot higher than others. I wouldn’t trade Headley and Latos for him. I don’t think Ramirez is going to be the next ARod. Those type of players are rare.

    For now, let’s see how the plethora are going to do. Getting a single player is not going to change the lot of this team. The Padres still needs more pitching to start in #4-#7 for the season.

  34. As for Porcello, we’re not the only team that passed on him.

    What does that have to do with anything? Just because the other teams were stupid does that mean the Padres have to be as well? As I pointed out the Padres, despite wasting the amateur draft multiple times, spending in the bottom 3rd of all teams in baseball are still very successful. It seems that since they’ve been successful being conservative, they figure that it’s good enough. If the Padres would have taken Jared Weaver (or Verlander) instead of Matt Bush they would have won the division last year, would probably be favorites this season and might have won a playoff series over teh past three seasons. Was going conservative a good option there? Absolutely not. To save $5m they cost themselves many times that.

    If you make a lot of trades, you will occasionally get trade like the CY, AGon trade for Aki and Eaton, while I’m sure you will get dogs like Giles for Bay and Oliver Perez. I just don’t think that it can continue.

  35. 83: Let’s stop with this right now. Batt Mush was a consensus Top 10 and Verlander wasn’t the top pitching in that draft. Remember that everybody was talking Stephen Drew, Jered Weaver, Jeff Niemann.

    One can go back to every draft of every team and finds mistakes after mistakes. My guess is that the Padres are not that much off from the other teams, about average in their successes and failures. That’s not to say that this organization can’t do better.

  36. Didi, you might want to check his stats again (look at the numbers and his age again). He’s 23 and he might have been the best player in the NL last season (certainly David Wright, Pujols, Fielder, Cabrera, Utley also have arguments). Over the next 5 years, only Wright is likely to be better then him (taking account hitting, fielding, speed, etc.). You do know that Ramirez is only 5 month older then Headley, right? Headley’s numbers in Double A weren’t much better then Ramirez’s in the majors.

    The question is whether the Padres can be successful if they don’t spend any money on players (and continue to draft the way they have). The A’s had a nice run but they are in massive rebuilding mode this season and maybe for the next few. Do we want the Padres to be on a boom or bust cycle like them?

  37. 85: If you believe the propaganda (;-)) Geoff publishes in the DS annual, the Bay-Perez/Giles trade wasn’t that bad. Bay’s dropped off badly the past few seasons and Perez still has uber control issues.

    I think the Padres are trying to do the right thing by baseball with the draft. They are trying to respect slotting rules while still getting talent they feel is worth tabbing.

  38. 87: Most of baseball, outside of the elite money teams that can over-spend to compensate, experience baseball ina boom-bust cycle. Part of the beauty of the game is that it’s cyclical. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down.

  39. 86: Well, the Tigers certainly thought he was the top pitcher in the draft (and they were right!) Maybe the Padres should hire their scouting director away. The consensus #1 pick that year was Jared Weaver, wouldn’t that look better in our rotation then Justin Germano?


    Look at the teams that blew the #1 pick, do we want the Padres lumped in with those teams?

  40. 84: There are multiple ways a player can be valuable to your team, though, and what they’re doing professionally in a few years is only one of them. The moment Porcello signed, he was worth 2x or more of Schmidt in a trade, even if the latter had been healthy. It lets you trade players who would otherwise rank higher in your system.

    Ramirez is a terrific player and I’d move Headley/Latos for him in a heartbeat, if there was any chance we could sign him. There’s a good chance he’s a better hitter now than Headley will be. Younger, better athlete, faster. Not a guarantee, but a good chance, and he’d be a better 3b than Kouzmanoff. Then you move Kouz.

    85: The Giles trade wasn’t great, but when you get 145, 128, and 147 OPS seasons out of the guy you acquired, it’s not a dog.

    86: Disagree. Verlander was considered a top arm, but didn’t have a great junior year and had one of his worst games in front of the Padre scouting staff. The “consensus top 10″ doesn’t fly, either. There’s no consensus, BA ranked him highly but the Padres weren’t even thinking about him until Moores changed the budget. An atrocious, panic-driven decision all around.

  41. 88: Whoa. Bay dropped badly in 2007. He beat Giles in rate production from 2004 to 2006, although it was a near-thing the first two years. OG was healthier in 2004, which at least balances that year out. But Bay has not faded badly the past few seasons. He’s had one bad year, last year.

    The “right thing by baseball?” How about doing “the right thing by the Padres?” You are never, ever going to build the best organization possible if you choose to limit yourself in ways that other teams do not.

    I love the optimism on Headley, Antonelli, and other recent draft picks, but look at GY’s reports on Darr/Matthews, or the reports on almost anyone from our (or most) systems from the last 10 years. You’ll find 20 Chase Headleys and Matt Antonellis who didn’t pan out. That doesn’t mean our boys won’t, but let’s not say the system is saved quite yet.

  42. #85: The relevance of my comment regarding Porcello is that if you’re going to hold the Padres accountable for passing on him, then you’ve got to hold most other clubs accountable for doing the same. This isn’t the Padres’ mistake, it’s everyone’s mistake.

    As for KT’s trades, you say, “I just don’t think that it can continue.” What is the basis for your belief? Convince me that after 12+ years of making mostly good trades, he’s going to stop now.

  43. #92: Right, the system definitely is not “saved,” but it’s in a lot better shape than it was 3-4 years ago. I think we’re all agreed that a more aggressive strategy is needed in the draft. Hopefully we’ll see that happen.

  44. 93: That’s an easy one, Geoff. No GM known by his initials, as KT is, has ever continued to make mostly positive trades beyond his 12th year. I thought this was common knowledge.

  45. Let’s put it this way, I don’t think the Padres should rely on KT’s ability to rip other teams off in trades. If he gets too successful, other teams will stop trading with him.

    John Schuerholz, the Braves GM, was good at trading his young players for more then they were worth but the Braves were incredible at drafting and developing young talent and they also spent a lot of money on their major league team, two things the Padres haven’t done over the past years.

    We all agree that the Padres need to be more aggressive in the draft but when, or if, is that going to happen? In 2003 they had the chance to get the 4th best player, in 2004 the best, and in 2007 the 2nd best player in draft. Unless Schmidt turns it around, they will have blown it all three years. All to save about $5m.

  46. 94: When you have a sabermetrics driven draft, it is difficult to tell when they are being agressive. We call it agressive when they adhere to the imagination old school scouts, and they call it agressive when they give weight to their internal analyists.

  47. Adrian showing good hustle in a ST game, scores from second on a single.

    Khalil had a better AB in his first showing and smoked a ball to third that was snagged. Padres down 2-1 bottom 2. 1 ER for Germano (should be 0 ER but you can’t assume a DP).

  48. Tie game on a smoked gap double to LFC by Hairy.

  49. Padres up 3-2 at the end of two. Iguchi called out an a HORRIBLE K call, otherwise would have been bases loaded.