I’ll Trade You Box Scores for a Time Machine

Actual games, eh? Nice.

The Padres lost on Friday and won on Saturday. Rookie Chase Headley, bidding for a spot in the San Diego outfield, homered and drove in four runs in the victory.

Be sure to read a lot into that. Hey, I like having box scores to look at again, but seriously, it’s March 2.

Randy Wolf had a “rough start” Saturday, throwing 30 pitches in the process. Friday’s starter, Shawn Estes, threw the same number in his outing.

Why is Estes a candidate for the #5 spot in the rotation? On a related note, has anyone invented a time machine yet? I was pretty good in 1997, too… at something, I’m sure.

Wolf was good this century, so he’s got that going for him.

Over in the Macedonian corner, Glenn Hoffman is working with Kevin Kouzmanoff to improve the young third baseman’s footwork and throwing motion. Observers rate Kouzmanoff below average defensively, while those who haven’t seen him play are even less kind.

Finally, happy birthday to ex-Padre Ron Gant, who turns 43 today. Gant played well in 2002, his only season in San Diego, hitting .262/.338/.489 over 353 plate appearances for a mostly forgettable squad that lost 96 games.

Gant is one of 19 big leaguers to score and drive in at least 1000 runs, hit 300 or more homers, and steal 200 or more bases. Other former Padres in this exclusive and arbitrary group include Steve Finley, Gary Sheffield, Joe Carter, and Dave Winfield.

And if you can get yourself into company with a group that includes Sheffield and Carter… then we probably need to come up with a better grouping system, because one of those guys is a great hitter, while the other just drove in a lot of runs.

Speaking of which, Carter was still active the last time Estes had a good season. And that, my friends, is about as relevant as yesterday’s box score.

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24 Responses »

  1. The 5th starter battle should certainly be interesting. Here’s the current candidates on the 40 man roster: Germano, Enrique Gonzalez, Hensley, Prior, and Stauffer. The following are non-roster invitees: Estes, Geer, Leblanc, Ramos and Rusch. Obviously the hope is that Prior is healthy and effective by around June 1st so they would only need a 5th starter for the first two month. Out of all those candidates, only Hensley has been better then average recently (109 ERA+ in 2006). Estes’ was average in 2000-2001 but bad since then.

  2. Rusch was good in 2004 (127 ERA+) as a starter and reliever, OK in 2000 but those are the only two good years in his career. The rest have either never been good in the majors or haven’t played.

    I guess the best case scenario is that Estes (or one of the other veterans) pitches well the first two months and then Prior takes over and pitches close to what he did a few seasons ago. Or that none of their initial options work out and either Geer or Leblanc seize the job and pitch better then Germano did last season.

    Worst case is that no one is good as the 5th starter, Wolf and Prior both get injured and only combine for 25 starts so they to fill in both the 4th and 5th starter spots for long stretches. That might make for a long season.

  3. This is one of my favorite posts you have made recently Geoff. A little weekend edition as well. Thanks for all the time you put into this thing.

  4. Ranking them in terms of likely-to-be-adequate:

    1. Germano
    2. Rusch
    3. Leblanc

    Ranking them in terms of likely-to-be-given-the-job:

    1. Estes
    2. Germano
    3. Leblanc

    Of course anything can happen; Tim Redding was more than adequate for 84 innings in Washington last year after being one of the worst pitchers in the majors the previous two seasons. But if we go with Estes in the 5th spot to start the year, we’re probably giving away most of those games.

    “Yup, here’s your problem. Someone set your fifth starter button to Estes.”


  5. 2: Germano wasn’t terrible last year in his first real major league season; a 91 OPS+. Not good, but some room to hope, as long as he was only experiencing normal rookie adjustments and wasn’t all smoke and mirrors early in the year.

    The second part of your Worst Case is unfortunately also a fairly Likely Case. We have a normal group of retreads and youngsters competing for the 5th spot, not that much different than what our competitors use. Having four or five possible solutions for one rotation spot, all with various flaws, isn’t crippling. Take those possible solutions, add one more name (Wolf), but then double the number of rotation spots, and alarm bells should be going off. Add in a dose of Chris Young’s normal loss of 3-4 weeks…why isn’t Lohse being offered anything again?

  6. So if wolf continues to get bombed in ST are they still going to give him the #4 spot no matter what?

  7. 6: I hope they didn’t pay any attention to the first starts by anybody except to check mechanics.

    If Wolf is healthy, he should get the #4 start regardless of his numbers; he’s been a good pitcher most of his career, despite injuries. I’d feel a lot better if he was one of the 5th starter candidates and we had somebody more solid and durable in the 4 slot.

  8. Re: 7 I know it was only his first start, I guess I just dont feel comfortable with Wolf in the 4 spot and I would hope that he would have to compete for a spot in the rotation instead of just handing him the job.

  9. 8: In an ideal world, or a world in which the Padres weren’t so intent on finding 75% off bargains that they ignore 25% markdowns, Wolf be the front-runner for the 5th spot. Somebody who was healthy more of the last 3 years would be ahead of him in the rotation, and then the Estes/Rusch/Prior mob could really be depth, along with the minor leaguers. But of the current candidates for the last two spots, Wolf has the best combination of upside and track record.

    Track record needs to outweigh spring competition when there are no real attractive options; otherwise you end up with Brazelton in your rotation and Jasons (Boyd and Szuminski) in the pen.

  10. OT: I’m prioritizing names of people I’d like to interview this season. Any requests?

  11. KT
    Chris Young
    Tom Krasovic

  12. Geoff, I’d like to see interviews with players, especially if you can get them to answer more then the just the generic questions (I don’t think anyone would be excited about a “Nuke LaLoosh” type interview). Something along the lines of the Brian Bannister interview with mlbtraderumors.com.

    I’d also like to see interviews with people from involved in player development, whether it be the scouting directors, or coaches in the low minors. I think that we can all agree that young player development will be key to the Padres sustaining success in the future. In fact, it’s been amazing how well they’ve done over the past 4 seasons despite getting nearly nothing (only KG and Jake) from their minor league system. Throughout the Padres’ history, player development has been the main reason they’ve been mediocre overall — since Tony Gwynn debuted the only batters they’ve developed that were at least decent have been McReynolds, Bip Roberts, Kruk, Santiago, Roberto Alomar, Burroughs, Nady, Khalil and Barfield. That’s 9 players in 26 years!

  13. OT: nice column by Doug Glanville.


  14. Great idea! Geoff, I’d highly recommend Jerry Coleman. Great guy, great baseball guy, former Marine/Naval Aviator who saw combat in two wars! And, much as I hate to say it, he’s probably not going to be around too much longer, though I hope he’s here for many more years healthy and happy.

  15. 10: Paul DePodesta, Grady Fuson, John Moores

  16. 12: Wasn’t Bip a Rule 5 draftee?

  17. Definitely KT, Depo, Sandy or Fuson for interviews…not sure if players would happen, but hey that would be interesting for sure as well.

  18. Interviews … MattV … Kevin Goldstein … Keith Law … Tony Gwynn (hey, aim high / think big) … Randy Jones …

    I liked the “blogger roundtable”s you’ve done in previous seasons …

    13 … THANKS, Didi … very good article …

  19. A blogs-eye view of Peavy and his new change-up during today’s game …


  20. Interviews: the clubhouse keeper, the players’ liasons, Kelly Calabrese, the yogi, the pilates trainers, the person/s that make sure the families are taken care of…behind the scene kinda community.

    Re: Headley, let’s not get too excited about ST. Remember when Termell and/or Wiki were having the greatest of Spring?

  21. 12: Derrick Lee?