Friday Links (21 Mar 08)

Reminder to folks here in San Diego: I’ll be on “SportsWrap” this Sunday evening at 11:35 p.m. PT. Tune to NBC 7/39 for your chance to see a real-live baseball dork on television.

To the links…

  • Bill Center at the U-T takes a look at roster possibilities. According to this, Glendon Rusch will be in the bullpen and Wil Ledezma (who is out of options) likely will be on the staff in some capacity. In related news, Jim Edmonds is optimistic hopeful he’ll be ready for Opening Day.
  • Tom Krasovic at the U-T offers encouraging news on rehabbing pitchers Mark Prior and Clay Hensley (h/t LynchMob):

    The surgeon’s work is enabling Prior to throw with proper form, to repeat the same release point that he had before injuries led to compensation issues and degraded his silky delivery.

    He said he is able to get the extension and angle needed to hit the low-outside portion of the strike zone, or just wide of it. Last spring training, Prior said, he wasn’t able to smoothly get that done. “I’d come around the ball,” he said, tilting his right hand inward.

    Proof is in the proverbial pudding (is that like tapioca?), but this at least sounds promising.

  • I loved watching the games in China, but I’m kinda bummed we didn’t get to see Jet Li throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Game 2.
  • We also didn’t get to see the cheerleaders.
  • There are a couple of new Padres blogs out there worth visiting. Planet Padres has a bunch of cool photos from Peoria (h/t LynchMob), while the Swinging Friar interviews beat writer Corey Brock. Stop by and say hey, if you haven’t already.
  • Also, FriarBall has moved. These will all be updated at within the next day or two.
  • Keeping with this theme, MB of Friar Forecast fame has joined San Diego Spotlight, and his first post there is a dandy. Among other things, we learn that Greg Maddux throws a much higher percentage of fastballs than Jake Peavy does.
  • Mark Thoma at the Riverside Press-Enterprise has written a nice article on Chase Headley (h/t Pat). Among other things, Headley talks about his approach at the plate:

    …the biggest thing is learning what pitch you can drive rather than going up there and hitting a pitch that you can put in play but not hit for power. Strikeouts are a product of seeing a lot of pitches.

  • Calling my own number, I’ve penned a Padres preview over at Razzball. It has a fantasy slant and is mostly review material for readers o’ the ‘snort.
  • Dirk Hayhurst’s latest “Non-Prospect Diary” is up at Baseball America. This time he talks about winning a championship at Double-A San Antonio last season:

    I know it takes more then one person to play this sport. I know there are nine positions on a baseball field. But the concept of team is more then the numbers required to fill locations. I’d be a fool to tell you money doesn’t talk in this world of ours, and be lying if I said I don’t want to beat all comers to a spot in the bigs. Yet, in my heart, I still believe this is a team game. Not because of what old coaches preach, what numbers say, or what Disney movies evoke. I believe this is a team game because I know what its like to lose with a team, and win with one . . .

    Maybe he’ll win with the Padres one day.

  • Rich at Baseball Analysts examines pitchers (starters | relievers) based on their strikeout and groundball rates (h/t Jim Parish). As if we needed further evidence that Cla Meredith is superfreaky, yow…
  • My esteemed colleague Rob McQuown ranks prospects at Baseball Digest Daily (h/t Pat). Among hitters, Chase Headley checks in at #25, Kyle Blanks at #29, and Matt Antonelli at #34. Will Inman is #14 among pitchers, which may come as a bit of a shock to some folks (okay, me).
  • Brandon Isleib at Hardball Times examines Bert Blyleven’s career, specifically how much fan (and media) exposure he received during his playing days. In light of our recent discussion on marquee players, I found this an interesting line of inquiry. As Yogi Berra might say, It’s hard to be famous if nobody knows who you are.
  • I would kill to have a business like MLB. No matter how much you screw things up, people keep coming back for more (h/t LynchMob). Really, where’s the incentive to improve the product?

That otter do it. Have a happy Friday, and be excellent…

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108 Responses »

  1. I don’t see how Padres left fielders compiled just four Win Shares. Milton Bradley had nine by himself. Jose Cruz had five. That’s 14.

    Left field was a fairly productive position for the Padres, as evidenced by those totals on Four win shares would make it the worst position for any team in the majors, or something like that.

    56: In essence, you are saying you know how to run a team, at least in the offseason, better than Kevin Towers.

    That’s balls.

  2. We’ll be OK in centerfield because Jim Edmonds is athletic….

    And another [scout] noted that without Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds and David Eckstein, “they’ve lost a lot of athleticism.”

    If it’s on the internet, it must be true, right?

  3. 96 – touche, regarding Herndon/Stauffer

  4. I think if Edmonds starts the year on the DL the guys who are on the bubble for losing their spot when he comes back are PMAC, Gerut, or the extra infielder if we carry one (Rodriguez or Robles). Crabbe seems safe.

  5. 101: “That’s balls.” I’m glad someone finally said it!

  6. #70: WS is for starting LF (i.e., the guy who played there the most), which in 2008 was Terrmel Sledge, who earned a whopping 4 of ‘em.

  7. #106: To clarify further, I used the method employed by Bill James on pp. 946-969 of NBJHA. I realize now that I should have included an explanation in the book. That’s what I get for throwing something in at the last minute.

  8. I’m not blaming Towers, I think he’s the best GM in baseball for acquiring players — not so good at the draft but so far it hasn’t really hurt the team.

    How many of you knew that the Royals outspent the Padres by nearly 20% season? My main problem is that the Padres need to win this season, they can’t afford to take a season off. Their main competition (and now it’s three teams, no other division is as deep as the NL West) has either a lot more young (and therefore cheap) talent or will spend more money (or both). Even the hopeless team (the Giants) will spend money — although as long as they keep Sabean they probably won’t be good.

    Moores’ refusal to spend money is really hamstringing the Padres prospects long-term — the Padres payroll was so low they might have gotten revenue sharing money last season. By spending an extra $6m they could have Lohse in the rotation and Rick Porcello as their top prospect. Maybe the Marlins would trade Hanley Ramirez (or maybe now that they have a new stadium agreement they’ll hold on to him). But let’s say they trade him for Headley (blocked by Kouz and not as valuable away from 3B), Porcello and Latos. That would give the Padres an infield of Bard, Gonzalez, Greene and Kouz and an outfield of Hairston, Ramirez and someone else. With the Padres rotation (especially if Prior pans out) that team would be the favorite in 2009 probably. Of course it would mean raising the payroll but unless you bring up your own players good players cost money. Of course maybe the Marlins wouldn’t trade Ramirez but Porcello would be an incredible trade chip (much bigger then the difference between his and Schmidt signing bonus).

    The Padres are going to have to be very aggressive over the next couple of years if they want to compete in the NL West, especially with the Dodgers. Basically we are going to have to hope that the Dodgers prospects fail or Coletti either blocks them or trades them. But what happens if they get a GM that trusts young players?