Shadow Puppets

For those of you who might have “missed” Monday night’s game, here is a quick recap:

  • The Cardinals scored their first runs of the game on a fly ball to deep left that Scott Hairston dropped into the stands for a two-run homer.
  • They scored their next run on a bases-loaded HBP to Yadier Molina — yes, that Yadier Molina.
  • They scored their next run on a homer by Cesar Izturis — yes, that Cesar Izturis.
  • Then Albert Pujols homered, which is fine because, well, he’s Albert Pujols and that’s what he does.
  • Then Todd Wellemeyer drove in a run — yes, that Todd — wait, who the heck is Todd Wellemeyer?
  • The game ended.

I see the white flag. I’m not prepared to acknowledge it just yet, but I see it. My faith in the Padres despite all available evidence pointing me elsewhere has been contingent upon the team suddenly reversing course and not sucking. Well, I’m still waiting for them to hold up their end of the deal.

The reality is that very soon I’ll have to re-read some posts from 2002 or 2003 and figure out what we used to talk about back when the actual games weren’t worth discussing. Maybe I’ll break out some shadow puppets. I do a mean dove…

* * *
In other news, Jake Peavy has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a troublesome right elbow. An MRI on Monday revealed no ligament damage, which is good news. As I said in yesterday’s IGD, any on-field outcome against the Cardinals on Monday was secondary to Peavy’s health.

There is no timetable for Peavy’s return, although Tom Krasovic speculates that the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner could miss up to six weeks. As far as I’m concerned, with the way this season is going, Peavy should take his sweet time and make sure everything is okay before returning. There’s no call for misplaced heroism here.

Left-hander Joe Thatcher takes Peavy’s spot on the roster. Thatcher, who started the season in San Diego, was optioned to Triple-A Portland just nine days ago due to extreme lack of effectiveness. Great, he’ll fit right in here.

* * *
I’ve got more thoughts on the Padres over at Viva El Birdos. Read ‘em if you’re so inclined…

Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

127 Responses »

  1. #96@Geoff Young: What would you call the 2004 draft debacle other then incompetent or cheapness? Everyone knew that Bush wasn’t the top talent that year but they went ahead and took him anyway. Take Jared Weaver there and they win the division last season and maybe a playoff series in 2005-2006. Same thing with most of their other draft years — and remember that Khalil was a senior in 2002 and had zero leverage so the Padres were able to keep his signing bonus down. Take a look at this list of all the Padres 1st round draft picks:

    I don’t know if that’s the worst draft history of any team — I suspect the Pirates and the Royals have drafted even worse — but what else can you call it? Even the Giants, who would sometimes sign free agents so they would purposely lose their 1st round pick have drafted better. Cheapness drove their picks in 2004 and 2007 which were potential franchise changing picks. What would call the other years?

  2. #76@Lance Richardson: Assuming the first quarter of ‘08 does not represent a new, reduced level of ability for Greene, DeJesus is not nearly as valuable as Khalil.”

    Based on what criteria? Is Greene that much better at SS than DeJesus is in CF, or do you feel SS is that much harder to fill? Offensively they seem fairly well matched. Khalil much more power but horrendous OBP skills. DeJesus doesn’t hit HR’s like KG does, but is much better at getting on base and hitting for average. CF is also a premium defensive position, which I believe he plays passably well, as is SS.

  3. #100@Schlom: Alot of experts had Bush in thier top ten that year.

    What do you expect KT to do, he had the first pick was told that he could pick anyone who he wanted and literally a few days before the draft he was told he could not pick Weaver or Drew (who he had been scouting heavily) because Moores did not want to pay over slot.

    If you want to kill KT on the draft thats fine it was never his strong suit but the Bush debacle was not his fault.

  4. I am starting to question how soon we build for. Initially, it seemed like 2009, to bring up some youngsters to build around CY, AGon and Peavy, with Bell and Meredith in the pen. KG, KK may be around, depending on negotiations and development.

    Now I am starting to think we might be a 2010/2011 team. This means trading everyone: Peavy, CY and AGon, loading up on prospects, paying for draft slots, assembling a team that could start to gel in 2011, be competitive in 2012. My fear is that if we don’t do that, we lose prime years/contract years from those core guys, and when the system develops, they are gone or tail end of their contracts.

    I don’t study our minor leagues as closely as many on this page, but I don’t see a ton of guys “clearly ready next year” stickers on them. The only way I see us competing successfully next year, not dependent on young guys suddenly getting ready fast, is paying a lot for FA’s to build a team around Peavy and AGon, and whoever else develops on the team (like KK) or in the system. But this would be big money: 1-2 maybe 3 outfielders, though not all top level. An impact infielder; a 2/3 starter; some insurance in the pen. Those bodies alone could be $60-70 million year marginal salary. I doubt the FO will do that, so we are back at being a 2010/11 team, or, worse, crossing our fingers and hoping guys get better fast next year. Crossing our fingers did not work well this year, so not excited about it for next.

  5. #102@Steve C: I did say that it might have been because of ownership cheapness. However, he is the GM so ultimately it is his responsibility.

    The fact that the Padres were so close to being really good is what makes the past four years so frustrating. I think we all agree that 2007 was much more painful then 2004 even though the end result was the same (home in October). The same thing with 2006 vs. 2005 (the Cardinals were really good and Padres really bad in 2005 with the opposite true in 2006). Any good draft from 2000-2005 (except 2002) might have had a huge impact on the final result. The same might have happened if the FO would have spent some money on a 5th starter during that time.

    As I said above, I think Towers did a great job building the major league team without spending much money or getting anything from his own drafted players — imagine what he would do if he replaced that buffoon in charge of the Yankees. That really is my greatest fear, that he finally says enough with Moores and goes takes over the Yankees. DePodesta might be able to take over but I don’t he’ll be as good as Towers.

  6. Zero depth at Catching and Outfield positions

    The Padres outfield depth looked awfully thin this Winter. They were basically one injury to Edmonds and/or Giles away from being in a lot of trouble. Hence, Edmonds was a bust and we, as a supposed pennant contending team end up with Jody Gerut starting in center in May. Are you kidding ?

    We lose Barrett in April and K.T indicates that he may try to find a veteran backup catcher. He does nothing. Bard burns out in the middle of May. Therefore in May, we bring up a 28 year old catcher (Carlin), after bringing in Morton from AA, who wasn’t even invited to 2008 Spring camp. Are you kidding ?

  7. #105@JP: if he was kidding, then it def. wasnt funny.

  8. #105@JP: I think one defense of KT’s handling of the catching situation is simply that Bard played like 90% of the games down the stretch last year (maybe more) and performed very well. Given that, and since it was early in the season, it would seem reasonable that Bard could handle the load. Oh well. Best laid plans….

  9. #104@Schlom: I have been thinking about your distaste with Estes getting any sort of crack at a starting spot, being the retread he is, and you in the back of my mind I know you are exactly right. However, you should absolutely equally as flabergasted (if not more) with Jody Gerut being the only centerfield option in this organization for anything more than a week or so. You could have also been more than miffed when the only centerfield option in Sept. 07 is Brady Clark.

    It backs up your earlier point about how thin the system TRULY is.

  10. #100@Schlom: A bad plan. Incompetence generally results in firings. A bad plan generally results in developing a better plan, which is what has happened.

  11. #108@JP: I was very disappointed in the signing of Gerut. He’s still a better option then Estes because he’s actually been good in the past 10 years but generally I’m not a fan of picking up guys that were deemed useless by the Pirates. I’ve already fought that battle.

    With the exception of the old, useless retreads like Estes I’m not blaming Towers too much for the roster construction — there is only so much you can do with a low payroll. As the Cardinals are proving this season, sometimes you luck out when you fill your team with older crap. There isn’t much difference between the Cardinals roster and the Padres with the exception of Pujols (of course, they don’t have a Peavy either). Ryan Ludwick’s minor league career is worse then P-Mac’s but sometimes you get lucky. However, that’s still no excuse for not having any young players worth anything. Throughout the Padres history, they’ve always been one of the worst, if not the worst, team at developing their own players. That fact, more then payroll, is why they’ve been the worst franchise in baseball since 1969.

  12. #109@Geoff Young: Has it? Nothing changed last season.

  13. #110@Schlom: With that said, there is nothing wrong with giving Estes or a old vet a spot start in case of injury or something like that. There are plenty of cases where scrapheapers make a difference but when they end up being your only option at AAA for call up, that hurts.

    #107@Marsh: #106@Ian C.: Understood, but what if Bard were to get hurt in April or May (which he actually did) and then what ? In the past, KT has been pretty darn good about bringing in a decent catcher on the fly. I am miffed as to why he didn’t someone in this time.

  14. #37@Mark Ase: Probably because they are too far away from Giles’ coast of preference.

  15. #110 Schlom; You are not a fan of picking up players deemed useless by the Pirates??? That is too funny!

  16. I would not give Khalil Green away in this firesale unless the return was huge. He is one of the best defensive shortstops I have seen in three decades of ball. Its not unusual for a guy to hit the skids like this for a 1/4 or 1/2 a season. He’ll bounce back.

  17. #86@Steve C: Why is Crisp still coveted by anyone?

  18. Newsflash: The Aztecs lost to the Rebels 6-2 in the ninth on a bases loaded 2-run hit and another flyball that got lost in the sun that scored 2 more runs.

    Crappy day getting crappier.

  19. Waits is right. Kouzmanoff should be given another full year. I know he looks more and more like Wes Helms but I am not sure yet. I sure like the way KK hits to all fields and this year, though the bat this year is powerless, he seems to be more patient at the plate and better again at fighting balls off and shooting into right instead of pulling off. I think the homeruns will come again like last year.

  20. 116: Because we are scrapping the bottom of the barrel for….anything.
    Crisp shouldn’t be in the discussion for anything. He’s not going to be better than Gerut/Hairston in CF.

    All this suppositions and conjecturings is making me hungry.

  21. #93@Schlom: There’s a big difference between 03/05 and 04. In 03 and 05, they picked good players who got injured later. Carrillo, in particular, was a potentially huge return, a shorter, slimmer RHP who had fantastic stuff. 04 was the only year the whole process was broken.

  22. #118@JP: That’s not quite how I feel. I don’t necessarily want to give Kouz more time, but if he’s just a throw-in to a trade, we may be better off keeping him so he can produce as a platoon player for us. If he could bring back a good player, I’d move him without much worry. He’s struck out 35 times and walked……4. That doesn’t sound like improved patience to me.

    I’d much, much rather have Headley playing 3b in the future, with Huffman in LF, than Kouz (3b), Headley (LF), Huffman (RF), and a necessarily superhuman CF covering 70% of the outfield.

  23. #112@JP: They had a 3 million dollar backup in Michael Barrett, who is good enough to start. There aren’t many ways to plan for both your top catchers to go down that don’t involve replacing them with the Carlins and Mortons of the world.

  24. Ho hum. Luis Gonzalez year in and year out fashions an OPS that hovers right around the high .700′s to low .800′s. I wanted him in the Padre camp as a reliable platoon guy to 1 year stop gap until Chase time in late 2008 or early 2009. I was roundly hissed at by many of this blog when it offered it as a suggestion. Our in house guys are better.

    Remember the Winter 2007-2008 articles about how PMAC was looking to battle back from the fringes and the deep cellar on the depth chart. Little did he know, he would be relied upon as the main platoon guy with the other in house candidate Jody Gerut.

  25. BTW, and it again makes Schlom’s point. ‘Who would have thought we would lose a catcher ? sounds an awful like (therefore justifying Brady Clark in center) :”What team could have replaced two outfielders that late in the season. We have NO farm system now outside of two to three good prospects.

    #122@Tom Waits: But wait, Waits.

    I am talking of course about when Barrett went down. It seemed like the obvious question for KT (in which he received) at that time from sportswriters was “will you get someone in here to help at the catching spot”. KT hardly brushed the question away but rather took it like head on as if a legit. query, answering “maybe, we will see how things go”. Things went awful and may continue as there is no guarantee that Barrett makes it back or Bard gets/stays healthy.

  26. #100@Schlom: I haven’t analyzed the Padres’ draft history — Geoff, maybe something for the book? — but why would you point out only the first round?

    The Padres drafted Tony Gwynn (third round), Jake Peavy (15th) and Ozzie Smith (fourth). Those are just the biggies. Not sure how many other productive, but not great, players they drafted after the first round.

  27. #123@JP: Until 2 weeks ago Gonzalez had hit worse than PMac. How was a worse hitter going to prevent the start we had?

    #124@JP: It’s still true, unless you can name a team that wouldn’t have turned to a Brady Clark if their 2 best CF went down the last week of the season. Any team that loses its two top catchers has 3 options:

    1. Promote a youngster (and if you read about the minor leagues, there are very few good catching prospects)

    2. Rummage in the Gary Bennett / Corky Miller scrap heap. Bennett has a career OPS of 64. That’s fairly typical of the veteran stopgap catchrs. Yippee.

    3. Make a trade for a good catcher, if they feel they can contend.