Reshaping the Padres: Let’s Make a Deal (or Three)

On Thursday, we examined what the Padres have and what they need. Now we turn to the question of which teams might make good trade partners and then consider some possible scenarios.

As of this writing, about half the teams in baseball appear to be in contention. Some will fall of the pace, although it’s impossible to know which ones. Others may not be interested in adding payroll despite their hot starts — Oakland, Florida, and Minnesota come to mind. The NL West teams are probably out as well — Kevin Towers has made a total of four trades (one with each team) within the division in 12 1/2 years. That’s out of 139 total trades, at last count.

Almost everyone needs pitching to some degree. Teams that could use help at second base, third base, or right field include Houston, Philadelphia, St. Louis, possibly the Angels (depending on Howie Kendrick’s balky left hamstring), the White Sox, Cleveland, Minnesota, Oakland, and Tampa Bay. Without running through all the particulars (I’ve scoured these teams’ rosters; you are free to do the same), here are a few ideas that I’d be looking to explore if it were my place to do so.

Talk to the Cardinals and White Sox about Iguchi

The Cardinals have Adam Kennedy at second base. He probably isn’t different enough from Tadahito Iguchi in terms of likely overall production to merit serious consideration. If St. Louis feels otherwise, though, I’d be asking about — and this should come as no surprise — right-hander Anthony Reyes.

Meanwhile, back in Chicago, the White Sox have Juan Uribe, who has been awful (.198/.262/.328) while making the switch from shortstop. They also have the untested Alexei Ramirez and might be inclined to bring in a more known quantity to fill the hole. Iguchi played for the Pale Hose as recently as last year and won a championship with them in 2005. As far as I know, he left Chicago on good terms.

Assuming the White Sox have interest, I’d be targeting center fielder Brian Anderson, who hasn’t done much in the big leagues but who has been a decent hitter (.293/.361/.474) in the minors. He is nothing special, but then, neither is Iguchi. We’re not looking for a savior here, just someone who can help plug a hole until Cedric Hunter is ready sometime in 2010.

I suspect the White Sox may be a better fit, although I’d rather find a way to get Reyes.

Talk to the Phillies, Astros, and Twins about Kouzmanoff

Kevin Kouzmanoff is a personal favorite of mine. I love the way he handled his poor start as a rookie and refused to get down on himself when things weren’t going well. That said, if the Padres can improve themselves in other areas, I have no problem moving him, especially with Chase Headley ready at Portland. The big question with Kouz is whether his perceived value might be too low because of his somewhat slow start (as Richard reminds us, his numbers are better now than they were at the same time last year).

The Phillies have Pedro Feliz at third base. He stinks. They also have Shane Victorino in center field. He and Kouzmanoff have similar contracts and should provide similar value. Philadelphia also has been giving Jayson Werth a lot of time in center, and aside from one memorable clank job against the Padres, he’s played well. I’m thinking the Phillies might be willing to fill a hole without creating another. Throw back a spare outfielder for a low-level prospect if needed. Or go bigger and try to include right-hander Carlos Carrasco in the deal.

(After initially coming up with this idea I bounced it off Eric Seidman, who is much more familiar with the Phillies than am I. He seemed to think they would be more interested in dealing Werth — no thanks — and that they aren’t prepared to give up on Feliz, who is signed through 2009. In other words, this may not be as good a fit as I originally thought.)

The Astros have Geoff Blum and Ty Wigginton. As a team, their third baseman are batting .215/.253/.323. There isn’t anyone on Houston’s big-league roster that could help the Padres, but down on the farm, right-handers Fernando Nieve and Bud Morris are somewhat intriguing. I don’t know much about either of these guys, but their numbers look good. According to Ben Badler at Baseball America, Morris throws in the low-90s but needs to refine his secondary pitches and may move to the bullpen. Houston gave up a boatload of prospects to get Miguel Tejada, and the system is a bit thin. I like the concept here, but I’m not sure there’s a good fit.

Up north, the Twins have Mike Lamb at third, but he’s more of a role player. Minnesota probably won’t want to take on salary, which should make Kouzmanoff an appealing option. The Twins have some talented but unproven youngsters at areas where the Padres need help, including right-hander Kevin Slowey (which is the worst name for a pitcher since Bob Walk), shortstop Trevor Plouffe, and center fielders Denard Span and Jason Pridie.

Slowey is a command specialist who probably fits into what the Padres like in a pitcher, though not necessarily what they need. He profiles as a back-end rotation option without much upside. Plouffe, who turns 22 next month, is a strong defensive shortstop whose bat has started to come around (.274/.326/.410 at Double-A in 2007, with slightly better numbers at the same level so far this year). This is a guy the Padres might want to target anyway, regardless of what they decide to do (or not do) with Khalil Greene — Pridie would give San Diego some insurance at the position and options further down the line should the club decide to move Greene or watch him walk away as a free agent after ’09.

As for Span, he’s a toolsy guy who is hitting well (.327/.431/.471) at Triple-A but who hasn’t shown much of a bat in the past. Like Slowey, he is 24 years old. Pridie, who came over from Tampa Bay along with Delmon Young this past winter, is the same age as Span and was more highly regarded coming into the season — Baseball America ranked Pridie #6 among Twins prospects and compared him to ex-Padre Steve Finley — but he’s been brutal (.220/.271/.305 at Triple-A) so far in ’08.

Of these possibilities, I like the way the Padres match up with Minnesota the best. I’m not sure how highly the Twins regard the prospects mentioned (especially Plouffe, who would seem to be the key to any deal), but this might be an area to explore. I’d at least want to be talking with these guys.

Talk to the Indians and Mets about Giles and/or Wolf

Because of Brian Giles‘ contract, any deal involving him is almost certain to include cash passing from the Padres to his new team. That said, there are potential suitors.

The Indians have Franklin Gutierrez in right field. Giles, who got his start in Cleveland, would represent a substantial upgrade. The Indians have several promising young pitchers, including Adam Miller, Ryan Miller, and David Huff. I don’t know how good (or available) they might be, but these are some names that stand out to me based on their numbers. Adam Miller once was considered a top prospect but has been slow to develop.

The Mets have Moises Alou in left field — Giles’ primary position before coming to San Diego. They also have a young left-hander who seems to have fallen out of favor (Oliver Perez), as well as some intriguing minor-league arms (Nicholas Carr, Angel Calero, among others). Perez won arbitration this past winter and is making $6.5 million in 2008. Wolf is cheaper and presumably less of a headache to the likes of Billy Wagner.

I’m guessing that the Padres wouldn’t have to pay as much of Giles’ salary in a deal involving Perez (because the Mets would be unloading a hefty contract of their own). It can be tough to get an accurate read on what’s really going on in New York because there’s always so much drama, but I’ve also heard that the Mets might be looking to move Aaron Heilman. I might suggest expanding a potential deal to include Heilman and Heath Bell, but judging from the latter’s first go-round with the Mets, that would be cruel.

Here, I like the Mets’ potential package a little better.

What I Would Do

Well, it’s really what I would attempt to do. Obviously the other teams involved have a say in all this…

  • Trade Iguchi to the White Sox for Anderson (assuming the Cards balk at moving Reyes)
  • Trade Kouzmanoff to the Twins for Plouffe, Slowey, and either Span or Pridie — possibly expanding the deal to include more players on both sides (I’m very uncertain of this move; there’s a lot of risk involved)
  • Trade Giles, Wolf, and some amount of cash to the Mets for Oliver Perez and a minor-league arm
  • Recall Headley and Antonelli (if he’s not ready, then go with Craig Stansberry or Edgar Gonzalez)
  • Release Shawn Estes and Justin Germano (in fact, Germano was DFAd during the course of writing this post over several days), recall Josh Geer and Cesar Ramos
  • Keep Greene — at least until Plouffe is ready
  • Keep Greg Maddux — he won’t bring enough in return to offset the loss of his presence

So we now have a lineup that looks like this:

C: Josh Bard/Michael Barrett
1B: Adrian Gonzalez
2B: Antonelli/Stansberry/E-Gon
3B: Headley
SS: Greene (with Plouffe in minors)
LF: Paul McAnulty/Scott Hairston
CF: Anderson (with Span or Pridie in minors)
RF: Jody Gerut

Maybe one of McAnulty or Hairston emerges, maybe not. Whatever the case, Chad Huffman should be knocking on the door in spring 2009 anyway. Heck, if you’re feeling real crazy, you might even bring him up after the All-Star break.

Here’s the rotation:

Jake Peavy
Chris Young

Geer and Ramos look like marginal big-league pitchers to me, at best, but you might as well run ‘em out there and see what they can do. Once LeBlanc stops tipping his change-up, or whatever the heck his problem is, then you give him a more serious look. Same with Inman when he’s ready, probably mid-2009.

Concluding Thoughts

My suggestions may not be as radical as some people might like, but I don’t see a need to blow up the team based on the quaint notion that “48 games are more important than four seasons worth of games” (thanks to MB at Friar Forecast for expressing this sentiment more eloquently than I can). The important thing is to make incremental improvements and maintain a disciplined approach to whatever moves you end up making.

The problems with this team feel monumental because we’re experiencing them right now, but really this is just part of the cycle — well, unless you’re the Pirates — and things will get better. Not because of some magic pill or because anyone believes it will (ugh, please!), but because the management team in place has a proven track record of success. Does this mean they’ve never stumbled in the process? Well, you really don’t need to look further than the first third of this season to find your answer. But it also doesn’t mean they stumble all the time, or even most of the time.

It will be interesting to see what kinds of changes are in store for this team over the coming weeks and months. That’s the great thing about baseball: Even when the on-field product is scarcely worth mentioning (Thursday night’s power surge being a notable exception), there’s always something happening. Guess that’s why we keep coming back for more…

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173 Responses »

  1. #98@Geoff Young:

    If we did fleece them, I’m all ears on your reasoning. Only two guys I’m familiar with in that trade are Inman (top 100 propect, could be good) and Joe “0-2 fastball right down the middle” Thatcher…

  2. #100@Schlom: Rivera isn’t a CF though, right? I think a CF is probably one of the more important things we should target via trade.

    A SS back would be good, but I’m not sold on Wood. I don’t thik Wood and Rivera is nearly enough for Greene and Bell.

  3. #100@Schlom:

    If you could get Wood and Rivera (or Willits even though Rivera is a lot better) for Greene and Bell I don’t know why you wouldn’t do it.

    LOVE Brandon Wood, if we could get him on the squad it would be exciting. Like you said though, any deal with the Halos seems unlikely.

  4. #103@Dave H: If Brandon Wood is so damn good, why aren’t the Angels currently using him? Wasn’t he supposed to “break-out” in like 2006?

  5. #102@Phantom:

    I would do that deal in heart beat! I don’t think the Angels do though.

  6. #104@Phantom:

    If Brandon Wood is so damn good, why aren’t the Angels currently using him? Wasn’t he supposed to “break-out” in like 2006?

    Dude’s had a couple small cups of coffee, hit 30+ homers at AAA last year and is still only 23 years old. OBP and average aren’t that great.

    Yeah, maybe he’ll never be better than Greene, but who knows?

  7. #97@Geoff Young: Following a win I am fully in favor of incremental change and a diciplined approach. Following a loss I lean more towards “Back up the truck.” Perhaps it is a good thing, that I have to pay to get in.

  8. #104@Phantom:
    Too many strikeouts and a guy named Orlando Cabrerra. They did try moving him to 3rd to get his bat in the lineup quicker. That is actually one of the things I have never understood about the Angels. They always seem to under-utilize the good prospects it seems like they always have. Could be me though I don’t watch them all that closely.

    One team I think might be an ok fit would be maybe the A’s. They have what seems to be WAY too many outfielders. Gonzalez is probably not going to be a guy we could steal from Billy Beane but it would be interesting to talk about maybe Ryan Sweeney or Travis Buck. Then again I don’t know what we have that they might want.

  9. #106@Dave H: Sorry to sound so vitriolic in my response, but I think that Wood, like many of the Angels’ prospects, is one of those guys who dominates in the minors and never really does much in the bigs. I could be totally wrong, but I swear I remember hearing that he was supposed to play 3B for them at some point in the past few years and be their solution there.

    Admittedly, I know little about the Angels farm system. But I also thought that Rivera was strictly a RF? We really need a CF more than a RF at this point, I would think.

  10. #108@KRS1:

    One team I think might be an ok fit would be maybe the A’s. They have what seems to be WAY too many outfielders. Gonzalez is probably not going to be a guy we could steal from Billy Beane but it would be interesting to talk about maybe Ryan Sweeney or Travis Buck. Then again I don’t know what we have that they might want.

    I’m all in favor of Travis Buck being a Padre.

  11. @103 Dave H: I like the Rivera idea, but he is a free agent after the season and the Padres would probably be better off waiting and trying to pick him up as a free agent. Trading Bell makes sense, given what he could get in return. Two trades involving relievers have worked out well, Otsuka and Linebrink.

  12. #104@Phantom: Wood just turned 23 in March, expecting a 21 year old to “break-out” is a little much — there aren’t too many Alex Rodriguez’s out there.

    As far as why the Angels aren’t using him, who knows? But what’s that have to with anything? The Rangers didn’t use AGon, the Mets didn’t use Heath Bell. Obviously those teams were wrong. I understand the need for a CF but if you got Rivera that makes it easier to trade Giles (although his contract is going to be a big stumbling block). Rivera’s not an ideal player but unless you are going to get just prospects from the Angels (maybe if they traded Sean Rodriguez and Brandon Wood you could then move Antonelli to CF which covers three positions). The problem is that it’s going to be hard for the Padres to get established players back in trades, they are going to have to gamble and hope to get lucky in what they acquire. On a related note, how come Towers is able to identify players in other organizations that are going to be good but he’s so terrible at doing the same for amateur players? Can’t be that much difference in the two types, can there?

  13. #86@Tom Waits: You really think they will turn it around that quick ? I am not disagreeing with you, its just that my experiences in witnessing these types of things, leads me to believe it is a 3year minimum plan.

  14. #94@Dave H: No, you couldn’t argue that. Petco suppresses offense, including singles.

    #106@Dave H: That’s a specious way to argue anything. If Adrian Gonzalez was so good, why did Texas trade him?

  15. #99@Dave H: Re-read the article. I’ve offered my thoughts on this already.

    #101@Dave H: Thatcher outpitched Linebrink by a wide margin after the trade last season, and we got two decent prospects in the deal. That’s a win every time.

    #107@Field39: You’ve correctly identified part of the problem. Many people prefer day trading to investing long term. That’s not necessarily a better way to get a good return, but it’s how a lot of folks think.

  16. I know one person who is hoping that the Padres don’t do a fire sale — Steven Strasburg of San Diego State. I can see him sweating out the rest of the season, thinking to himself:

    “Please, anyone but the Padres or Pirates. Anyone but the Padres or Pirates.”

    Seriously, if I were a pitcher and either the Padres or Pirates drafted me I’d want the largest contract ever given out to an amateur player. That way I’d have enough money to overcome the inevitable elbow surgery.

  17. #115@Geoff Young:
    Re-read the article. I’ve offered my thoughts on this already.

    Thatcher outpitched Linebrink by a wide margin after the trade last season, and we got two decent prospects in the deal. That’s a win every time.

    My bad, I read your thoughts, but I thought maybe there were some other rumors floating about or an actual deal on the table.

    And you’re right, Thatcher did outpitch Linebrink last year. But my point was, say we had traded Linebrink a year earlier when his value was highed, don’t you think we could have gotten better players? Didn’t the Astros offer us some good players in ’06?

  18. Dave H, you need to put the copy from other posts into italics or something as it’s confusing on whether it’s what you are saying or what you are replying to.

  19. LOL, my bad dude. Totally new to this system of responding to comments.

  20. #114@Tom Waits:

    OK, so explain how a larger outfield supresses singles? Are the gaps between outfielders and the foul lines bigger, therefore creating more space for the ball to drop?

    I’m all ears…

  21. #97@Geoff Young: (re 46): That’s exactly it. If you can move people for valuable returns (how valuable remains to be seen), then for the rest of the year you only need to paper over the holes. The important thing is to either use paper you don’t care about or determine if the paper you have is any good. You just don’t want to waste the good stuff.

    #113@parlo: There’s no real standard time frame. In 2005 the Tigers finished 4th in the AL Central; the next year they were in the Series. The core of a Padre team that won 89 games in 2007 will still be in place next year, unless they radically tear it down. If they don’t think they can compete in the next 3 years, they should trade almost everyone currently on the roster, including Young and maybe Peavy.

  22. #116@Schlom: Yeah, I bet every amateur player is begging to stay away from their hometown team, where his favorite athlete plays (Jake Peavy), in one of the most desirable cities in the country to live, with a front office that has a clue on how to construct winning teams, because of a whopping four injuries in the past.

    Every team has pitchers that get hurt. It’s what pitchers do.

  23. #120@Dave H: All you have to do is look at the splits. In 2007 the Padres had 156 fewer hits at home:

    70 fewer doubles.
    27 fewer HR.
    7 MORE triples.

    Leaving us with 66 fewer singles.

    That’s been true every year that Petco has been open. In 2005 the gap was smaller. In 04 and 06, and so far in 08, it’s approximately the same as the 07 level.

    You’re the only one talking about gaps between outfielders. The ball doesn’t carry in Petco. That plays into how many balls fall for hits, what the pitcher throws, and where defenders are positioned.

  24. #51@Tom Waits: Not sure you can compare the early mlb struggles of Cust (1st rounder) with PMAC (12th round pick) & Huber (undrafted) and hence then say “how can you give Cust a shot and not Justin Huber”. It simply doesn’t fly. Doesn’t make sense.

    All were judged negatively early based on small samples at the
    major league level, certainly but Cust was of course a highly touted 1st rounder out of the amateur draft who regularly had minor league seasons with 110+ walks and much better power numbers. Its comparing apples and oranges,

  25. #123@Tom Waits:

    OK, that makes sense, good enough for me.

  26. #123@Tom Waits:

    So I’m curious for the DS take: what is the prototypical Petco Park hitter? Or is there such a thing?

  27. #126@Dave H: Albert Pujols. We should build a team with 8 of those guys.

  28. #126@Dave H: for the official DS take you should ask GY.

  29. #127@Ben B.: Yeah we could beat other teams just by injuring them until they no longer have 9 men to play on the diamond!

  30. #127@Ben B.:

    LOL, naw, I say only 6 Pujols and mix in two Ichiros.

  31. #126@Dave H:

    There isn’t a DS take dude. Everyone here has their own ideas and philosophy. We argue all day long about them.

    For me it will be generic but I would imagine a guy like Hanley Ramirez would be pretty freaking ideal because he hits for a high average and power and has plenty of speed. But like I said he’s generic because he is probably the prototypical hitter in every stadium on the planet.

  32. #129@Steve C:

    Either that or get Bugs Bunny, the guy plays all nine positions at once!

  33. #84@parlo: When I said “make this team better” I didn’t mean “make this team better this year.”

    #85@Tom Waits: I’m of the opinion that OPS+ kinda sucks.

    #87@Dave H: Dick Wade is my grandfather. I go by Richard or if you prefer Ricky. It’s hard to say they’ve made a case against themselves since they’ve taken a farm system ranked by many as either the very worst or among the worst into one that is ranked closer to about 12th in just a couple of years.

    #90@Dave H: I stand by what I said. Giles has been worth about two runs more than Nady this year. First of all, you can’t seriously be quoting me team dependent stats like R & RBI to make your point. Secondly, you have to take into account park effects. Among NL right fielders, only Ryan Ludwick is having a better season than Brian Giles.

    #94@Dave H: No, you can’t argue that. PetCo Park suppresses singles, doubles and home runs.

    #97@Geoff Young: I seem to recall the Padres getting an .802 OPS out of left field last season (15th in the Majors). Our inability to get production from left field is overstated.

    #98@Geoff Young: Yeah, we gave up something like 30 innings of Linebrink for Thatcher, Inman and Garrison. That was an outstanding deal. Hell, Thatcher out-pitched Liney last season. If we see no return on any of them ever again that was still a win for us.

    #100@Schlom: If you can get Wood (arguably the best SS prospect in baseball), you would do it. I doubt we can get him.

  34. #131@KRS1:

    Yeah dude, that’s kind of my philosophy as well.

    Just get guys that are pure hitters, period. If you lose a few homers at home oh well, you still play half the games on the road.

  35. #80@Tom Waits:My point is that we have 3 infield positions filled today with young players that have proven (at one time or another) that they can play at the major league level. The question marks aren’t hanging over their heads. Yes, Kouz needs to hit for better power at third, KG needs to hit for average along with his power, Gonzalez needs to strike out less, but most positions in all cities need improvement. I’d like to lock these guys up because honestly they are worth paying for.

    In reference to Bartlett, again, I sat in the Crapper Dome here in Minnesota and watched him play the worst shortstop defense in the league. I’ll testify that what he is doing so far this season with the Rays is nothing short of amazing.

  36. #133@Richard Wade:

    OK, we got over on the Linebrink trade, fine. The only reason I brought that up was as a rationale that we should trade Heath Bell now before he starts to suck like Scotty did so we can optimize any return we get on a trade.

    Agree? Disagree?

  37. #123@Tom Waits: How many of the so called pitchers parks are left ? Petco, Dodger, Shea……Is Miami considered a pitchers park ? There are also a few that favor left or right handed hitters while suppressing the other.

  38. #116@Schlom: You’re either not serious or not paying attention. The Padres have lost 2 recent first-rounders to injury, but overall their pitchers don’t get hurt more than anyone else’s.

  39. #135@MinnesotaMo: You may testify to that, but lots of people (and the defensive stats) think Bartlett is a very good defender.

    You can’t lock Greene up if he doesn’t want to be locked. So what we really have long-term is two positions, one of which (Kouz) has a rather large question mark over his head.

  40. #136@Dave H: I think relievers have a short shelf life. If the right deal comes along, I’d trade him in a heartbeat.

  41. #124@JP: You don’t like it with McAnulty and Huber? There are dozens of players with undistinguished draft histories who needed some time to adjust, the same as high round picks. It’s patently absurd to say that McAnulty or Huber can’t hit based on 100+ major league at-bats.

  42. FYI, the Marlins are good again. I love how they win multiple World Series and re-load while teams like the Padres twiddle their thumbs with veteran busts, poor player development and bad draft picks.

    Sorry, but am I the only fan that is REALLY down on the entire organization right now, Alderson’s philosophy included?

    Maybe it sounds a bit negative, but it’s because I DO care about the home team I grew up with…

  43. #140@Richard Wade: Agree. It would be unpopular, but Liney and Bell both came off the scrap heap.

  44. #139@Tom Waits: I’ll continue to testify to that. But if he was such an asset, the Twins would have kept him, especially at the price. Not to mention his job at the plate is skeptical at best. Greene has never openly said he’s ready to leave SD. Thats as much someone filabustering as anything. Albeit he is a different breed and doesnt address media very often, I’m optimistic he would re-sign here.

    Bottom line is we agree to disagree which is fine. Thats what makes this fun.

    I really dont see the question mark over Kouz. What are you apprehensive about with him? I’m curious.

  45. #142@Dave H: You’re certainly not the only one. You have a lot of supporters of that argument in talk radio callers. The last four years have been the most successful in team history. It seems like a weird time to be down on the team.

  46. #138@Tom Waits: No I wasn’t serious about the Padres although they are 4-4 for serious injuries on their last 4 pitcher top picks (although Stauffer was already injured). Not really joking about the Pirates, except for Maholm and last year’s pick of Moskos their last 7 top pitcher picks have gone down with serious injuries. I definitely wouldn’t pitch for them if I had any kind of choice.

    What’s odd about the Padres drafting philosophy is that in the past 10 years they’ve only really developed 1 player — Jake Peavy. Yet oddly, except for their bust pick of Mark Phillips the following season — they seem to prefer to draft college players who don’t improve at all for them. Even there only other draft success, Khalil Greene, isn’t really any better then he was when he first came up. His best season was definitely his best and his 2005-2007 were about the same (more power last season, less outs created the other two years).

  47. #145@Richard Wade:

    I know this blog mainly focuses in on stats, trade proposals, etc., which is great. That’s why we all like baseball.

    But I think one of the things that’s off-putting to longtime Pads fans is the marketing of the team. I’m talking about things like being told that “big name” free agents are going to be signed, the uniforms obviously created by some trendy design firm using focus groups, and bad giveaways (where are the bobbleheads?!?!).

    Yes we won two “pennants,” but would we have gotten those under the old two division system? No way. Me (and many other fans), saw this house of cards collapse coming 2 or 3 years ago…

  48. #144@MinnesotaMo: Greene hasn’t said he’d leave, but when the Padres approached him about a longer deal, he demurred. Not a lock, but the only guarantee is that we can have him here for this year and next. That’s not long-term.

    You don’t see a question mark over a player who has defensive shortcoming and is currently hitting 274/303/398, with 4 walks (yes, that’s 4, the same amount Giles gets in 2 games) to 38 strikeouts, and does almost all his damage against LHP? He’s got talent, and I love RH hitters who can go to center and right with authority, but if that doesn’t make you question a little bit whether he’s a good fit, what would? Satanic rituals in the clubhouse?

  49. 147: Sure, wait long enough and your prediction will come true. That doesn’t make you right, now, does it? And to try and compare the trendy using old system, are you kidding me? The point is to win it within the new system. With the old system, the 98 Padres wouldn’t have made the playoff either.
    At some point, 4 winning season in a row has got to count for something.
    By the way, I don’t remember hearing ‘big name’ are going to be signed. Two things wrong with that statement, one, we all have different idea of what a big name is, and two, you can’t sign them if they don’t want to.

  50. #147@Dave H: I personally don’t care about the marketing because that’s not why I watch baseball. I was under the impression that’s what we were discussing here anyway.

    What house of cards? They won 89 games last year and were one of two NL teams to have winning seasons the last four years. What exactly do you think is reasonable to expect?

    #148@Tom Waits: I’ll develop questions about Kouzmanoff if his bat doesn’t heat up with the weather like it did last season. Until then, I’ll personally be willing to attribute his slow start to his being a slow starter as demonstrated last year as well.