Peace, Love, and Delusion

Sometimes you can get away with making stupid mistakes against lousy teams. Unfortunately the Cubs aren’t a lousy team, and they saw to it that the Padres paid for their transgressions.

Carlos Zambrano is a terrific pitcher when he’s on his game. He wasn’t at his best Monday night, but the Padres let him off the hook just the same.

Despite having trouble controlling his pitches and his emotions (he needed separate conferences with the catcher, third baseman, and manager at various points during the first two innings), Zambrano limited the early damage and then settled into a groove. And he couldn’t have done it without the Padres — specifically Michael Barrett, Khalil Greene, and Jody Gerut.

Padres Magazine

If you get out to Petco Park in June, be sure to pick up a copy of Padres Magazine (the one with Tadahito Iguchi on the cover). I’m profiled on page 73.

Big thanks to Shaun O’Neill and Leslie Filson for making that happen!

His team up 3-0, with Kevin Kouzmanoff at third and one out in the first, Barrett got a strange case of slideritis. For whatever reason, he felt compelled to expand the strike zone and help his former sparring partner get out of the jam. Maybe Barrett caught it from the on-deck hitter, Greene, who has been similarly afflicted all season. Either way, with Barrett and Greene flailing at pitches from a guy who couldn’t find the plate, Zambrano left Kouzmanoff stranded.

Then, in the second, Zambrano started strong before losing the plate again. He issued two-out walks to Gerut and Tadahito Iguchi, then fell behind Brian Giles, 2-1. Zambrano proceeded to pick Gerut off second base to end the frame. How you get caught napping in that situation, I’ll never know.

At the very least, Gerut could have dived back to the back to make it look good. Pulling a Jeremy Giambi doesn’t impress anyone. Curiously, I can’t find any mention of the play in articles about the game.

You would think that a baserunning gaffe with the team’s two best hitters due up might be worthy of attention. An explanation would be nice, too. It wouldn’t help because what’s done is done, but it would be nice to know what went wrong. Or even acknowledge that it happened.

No matter. From there, it was just a matter of watching a superior team take advantage of the situation in a house full of way too many Cubs fans.

Cha Seung Baek? He reminds me of someone, but I’m not sure who. Maybe you can help:

  • Sean Bergman
  • Dave Eiland
  • Justin Germano
  • Kevin Jarvis
  • Bobby Jones
  • Brian Meadows
  • Paul Menhart
  • Chan Ho Park
  • Adam Peterson
  • Pete Smith
  • Stan Spencer
  • Mike Thompson
  • Brett Tomko
  • Ismael Valdez

Don’t stress; there are no wrong answers…

Jim Edmonds? He stinks when you pay him $8 million but suddenly finds the fountain of youth when you pay him league minimum? What a dork.

Still, I feel good this morning. You know why? Because last night I dreamed that the Padres had traded Adrian Gonzalez for Matt Herges. Is Herges still playing baseball?

Anyway, the point is that it’s possible to remain optimistic about the Padres. You may have to go to extraordinary lengths to achieve that state, but a little delusion never hurt anyone, right?

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74 Responses »

  1. I could be wrong, but didn’t Kahlil win the ROY from some publication? I know he didn’t win it for MLB, but I remember him getting it from some publication like Sporting News or something like that.

  2. #51@PF4L: I thought he won it from Baseball America. Could be wrong, though.

  3. #47 Schlom
    What matters is what they’ve done with the draft picks they’ve made recently, and its been ok. I’m not ready to call it quits on Carillo, Schmidt or even Bush. Stauffer was a bust, and Greene’s a pain in the ass but the draft picks have been better lately, and most publications would agree.

  4. #46@Schlom: It would be nice if you called your shot now instead of second guessing. Let us know which player(s) will still be on the board for the Padres with the 23rd pick, but won’t be picked by the Padres due to signability concerns, and will clearly be a better prospect than the person the Padres do draft.

  5. What ticks me off the most about playing the Cubs is the fact that Jim Edmonds may have even an ounce of success at Petco in another uniform after stinking up the joint in a Padre uniform. At the moment I’m calling that Towers’ biggest gaffe in his Padre tenure (I have little problem/regret over Prior even, compared to Edmonds). The Padres could win this series and if Edmonds makes a play in the outfield or gets another hit like last night, I will still be pretty pissed. (I know, I need to get over the Edmonds thing)

  6. #54@The Fathers: I’m going to guess they are going to take one of the relievers — Josh Fields, Andrew Cashmer or Ryan Perry — and that either Hosmer (most unlikely), Cole or Hicks falls and gets taken by a big market team. Then with their supplemental picks they’ll take polished college hitters — Reese Havens, Conor Gillespie, Allen Dykstra, players like that.

  7. #55@Keith in New Jersey: The 2004 Draft was way worse then the Edmonds signing because it’s not like the $6m they spent kept them from getting a better player. Granted he sucked but it’s not like the other realistic alternatives (Jody Gerut or Scott Hairston) would have propelled them into first place. It was a gamble that didn’t work out but at least they don’t have to pay him after this season.

    Actually, maybe the Randy Myers waiver pickup in 1998 was worse then the 2004 Draft. At least Matt Bush only cost $3.5m or so.

  8. #55@Keith: I’d say the Woody Williams – Ray Lankford trade was worse. Maybe not in terms of win shares, but in terms of the dollars that got tied up. The Randy Myers pickup was pretty horrific as well.

  9. #54@The Fathers: Why does he have to call who won’t be on the board now? The 22 teams before us could pick a ton of high-upside players. It doesn’t mean the Padres wouldn’t have passed on them had they been given the opportunity. They’ve been passing on them for the last 6 years. It’s especially silly to demand that when some of the Padres most egregious picks have occurred in the supplemental rounds, when even more players are off the board. You’re basically saying that unless Schlom (or anyone else) can accurately predict the first 22 picks, his criticisms are invalid. Nonsense.

    The “clearly better” prospect tag ignores the fact that teams already have set values on many of these players. What if Schmidt comes back from Tommy John surgery and in three years is a serviceable LH reliever, but Rick Porcello is bitten on his pitching hand by a heretofore unknown spider variant and his career ends the day before his first big league start? Between the day they were signed and that spider-cursed moment, Porcello would have carried a lot more value, value that could have been extracted by the Tigers in a variety of ways.

  10. #53@Loren: Most publications would agree on “better,” although when you’re starting from near-zero, you’re bound to go up. Those same publications would also agree on “limited” or “not as good as they could have been.”

    We can’t accept the praise of subject-matter experts and then ignore their criticisms.

    If Wallace is still there at 23, I’ll be shocked and then (hopefully) very happy.

  11. #59@Tom Waits: He already did call a few players that he believes will fall to big market teams. People on this forum have been griping for so long about how player X (such as Rick Porcello) was plainly the better pick than player Y (such as Nick Schmidt) but was passed on b/c the Padres insist on going slot and/or is a Boras client and/or they were concerned he would go to college instead of signing.

    So it isn’t nonsense to ask the critics to let us know how it is going to play out again, especially since there is the claim that they have been doing it for six years. In fairness, as long as the critics are posting in the draft day thread and calling it beforehand based on who actually is available, that is fine too.

    I am relatively sure the Padres objectively valued Porcello’s skills pretty highly, but wouldn’t sign him b/c he was a Boras client. What I am interested in is what the critics of the Padres drafting philosophy can predict they will do in relation to draftees that the publications/scouts/whatever say are more likely to be better players, regardless of any hypothetical ailment that may befall them in the future, and who they will supposedly take as the “safe” pick.

  12. #61@The Fathers: He did, but it doesn’t mean that if Hosmer, Cole, or Hicks does NOT fall, that criticism of the Padres for passing over other players would be invalid. What if they pass on Collier? Is the point that the Padres consistently pass on HS talent invalid?

    People have been griping about the Padres passing on better prospects because the Padres insist on passing on them. We won’t know EXACTLY how it plays out until the draft happens, and maybe this is the year they surprise us. Maybe they take Collier. He seems likely to sign for slot, so it’s not a huge reach.

    If the Padres draft in 2008 like they’ve drafted since 2001, then they will take almost entirely college players who will sign for slot. Unless Moores has removed the slot requirement, anybody they take will have to sign for it or he won’t be a Padre prospect. Those are the facts of the last several drafts, both before and after the Alderson-Fuson regime took over. I fail to see why critics need to be as specific as “The Padres will take Josh Fields instead of Collier at 23, Schlereth instead of Galloway at 42, and Danks instead of Chatwood at 46…”

    Maybe that’s not what you’re asking for, but suggesting that critics must put names on the page before we know who’s available doesn’t seem worthwhile.

  13. #61@The Fathers: In terms of who they will pick, GY’s recent review is a good start. I wouldn’t be surprised by any of several college relievers (disappointed, not surprised). There are a few college bats without strong defensive positions who seem right up our alley. Havens feels like a strong candidate to me. Collier would be a major change and a welcome one, and of the HS kids around, he seems the most likely to accept 23rd pick money.

    As I and many others have mentioned before, the Padres don’t have to go crazy with every pick. Taking (and signing) even a couple high-reward players who require more than slot money would be a good start.

  14. #45@Phantom: Because SI isn’t very good.

  15. #51@PF4L: Baseball America

  16. #53@Loren: How is Greene a pain in anything?

  17. #57@Schlom: The Randy Myers pickup did what it was designed to do, keep him away from Atlanta, which wanted a left-handed reliever. If Atlanta got him, maybe he would have done well against the Padres in the NLCS. We don’t know.

  18. #67@Kevin:

    1. Was that a worthwhile goal? I thought Schuerholz later said the Braves had no interest. Even if they did, was it worth it? I suspect even Towers would say that move wasn’t well considered.

    2. We do know that Myers had a 62 ERA+ for us in the regular season, a 13.50 ERA against the Braves in the NLCS, and a 9.00 ERA against the Yankees.

    3. If the Braves had wanted a LH reliever, there were others available.

  19. Getting in late on some of these…

    #38@Lance Richardson: Nice pull!

    #49@Steve C: Thank goodness for Jake Peavy in the 15th in ’99, eh?

    #56@Schlom: Thanks for dropping some names. I agree with your assessment of how our draft likely will go.

    #58@BigWorm: Pads got burned on the Williams for Lankford for deal. That really should have worked.

    #67@Kevin: The Myers pickup was a disaster. Towers got completely schooled on that and, to his credit, hasn’t done anything like it since. Among other consequences, Myers’ contract kept us from hanging onto Bret Boone during his MVP caliber seasons. For as bad as drafting Bush has turned out, it’s nowhere near trading for Myers in terms of bad moves. Bush cost $3.5M and has a chance — albeit remote — to make something of himself. Myers stunk and cost the Pads $13.5M, which had repercussions that were felt for years.

  20. #69@Geoff Young: Ha even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and again…

  21. #69@Geoff Young:

    The points I always bring up when someone says that “X” cost us Brett Boone’s 2001 are:

    1. A decision to not spend money is different than not having it to spend. The Padres could afford Boone in 2000, when he made 3.75 million, and when they were still paying Myers. In 2001 Myers was off the books, and Boone ended up signing in Seattle for 3.25, after we declined his option and paid his buyout.

    2. Does Boone…how shall I put this….commit himself to the weight room and its associated paraphenelia if he isn’t cast aside by the Padres? Or was he driven to that level of…..dedication?….by the realization that he was not in high demand?

  22. #71@Tom Waits: Well, yes, it’s an unstated assumption that the Padres chose not to spend that money on Boone. Presumably the team had set a budget for ’01 and had no advance knowledge of what it would cost to re-sign him. A similar thing happened this past winter: I’m pretty sure if the Padres had known they could keep Mike Cameron at 1-year, $8M, they’d have done it.

    As for Boone’s “dedication,” that’s a whole other issue and I don’t have an answer. We’ll never know, but you’re right that it’s possible he wouldn’t have “applied himself” in the same way if he’d remained here.

  23. #72@Geoff Young: Whatever their budget for 2001 was:

    1. Boone had an option that wasn’t onerous.
    2. Any 2001 budget didn’t include any money for Myers. His contract mercifully ended in 2000.

    Which doesn’t mitigate what a disaster the decision to claim Myers was.

  24. #73@Tom Waits: Hey Waits, how do you like your steak cooked ? Branyan’s as hot as a Texas summer, which probably guarantee’s him 100 or so more PA’s.