There Goes a Really Slow Man

The Padres have dealt first baseman Tony Clark to Arizona for minor-league right-hander Evan Scribner. That’s two trades between the teams in the past 12 months after a decade of nothing, in case you’re wondering.

Most fans in San Diego will remember Clark for his dramatic homer against the Mets’ Billy Wagner on June 8, which culminated a season-high five-game winning streak for the Pads. I’ll remember Clark for talking about his kid’s soccer game during batting practice back in spring training.

That and his being lifted for some random pitcher every time he reached first base. I guess Mike Piazza couldn’t be coaxed out of retirement to serve as Clark’s designated runner.

The short-term impact for the Padres is that Brian Myrow should see more playing time. Not a lot more, mind you, because getting a 31-year-old career minor-leaguer — even one who rakes like Myrow — into games shouldn’t be a priority for a team that is going nowhere and whose best player occupies the same position. Still, maybe he’ll impress someone and have himself a career after all. I hope so.

Long term, Scribner is a 22-year-old reliever with gaudy strikeout numbers in A-ball. In 91 1/3 career innings he’s compiled a 12.12 K/9 ratio and a 5.13 K/BB ratio. The usual disclaimers about A-ball relievers apply. And lest you get too excited, remember that he was traded straight up for a glacially slow guy whose chief skill is the ability to reach base.

I’m also bummed that his last name is Scribner, and not Scrivener. I had a whole bit about Crispin Glover and theremins, but I’d prefer not to use it.

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41 Responses »

  1. The deal’s great news for Myrow. I agree that the rest of us should abstain from getting too excited about Scribner based on who he’s “worth” trade-wise.

    It’s funny; yesterday Peter and I were trying to figure out who might be the target, and since all the rumors said “Double-A” pitcher, we were looking at the Mobile team. Peter said that he didn’t think it was anyone on that team because he thought it would be a reliever with a good K rate…I guess he gets a point :)

  2. At the bottom of this trade lies one hell of a slow man.

  3. I posted a comment along these lines in last night’s IGD … thanks for the reply PaulR … just a followup … anyone else bum’d that Bud PH’d for KG in the 9th? I know that KG is *really* struggling this season … but getting PH’d for seems to be putting nails in the coffin rather than creating opportunities for busting out of a slump. While Myrow was the guy who physically PH’d for him … and I really like Myrow’s bat, and it got brought up a righty/lefty platoon advantage in that AB … the practical bottom line is that then Luis Rodriquez had to PH for the pitcher 2 batters later … so essentially, Bud sent Rodriquez to the plater rather than KG (Myrow coulda/woulda batted anyway) … and that doesn’t seem like a wise trade-off … I know some who are saying it was a horrible trade-off. It seems like an example of “bad process”. I don’t think Bud gets the most out of this team … I think he leaks away a few games, rather than squeezing out a few extra Ws … which doesn’t matter this year … but it did last year (still bitter about the “Sunday lineups) …

  4. Any news on who the Pads are going to call up or are they gonna play a man down again tonight?

  5. #4@Steve C: Clay Hensley is up.

  6. #3@LynchMob: I kinda thought it was a huge slap in the face as well, but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do.

  7. #5@Field39: back to 12 pitchers…Woohoo!

  8. #3@LynchMob: I’ve been bagging on Black all year for poor strategy and I’ve been trying to decide if yesterday was another case of poor strategy. I’m not sure I liked the move to pinch-hit Hairston for Carlin with one out and nobody on in the 7th. Of course, if he homers and ties the game or starts a rally by getting on base, it’s a good move.

    Where it came back to bite him was in the 9th. I know you don’t play for the tie on the road and that’s why they’re not bunting in that situation. Pinch-hitting for Hundley was not an option since he was the only catcher left. So his options were either Myrow-Hundley or Greene-Hundley to try and knock the run home. In retrospect, it would’ve been nice to give Greene a shot (you never know) and then pinch-hit for Carlin with Myrow but Black didn’t have that option. Black didn’t have a lot of options in the 9th. Then again, with only 5 bench players, it’s probably not a good idea to pinch-hit for the catcher in a non-critical situation early in the game.

    Let’s all be honest, though. As soon as Headley’s ball hit that wall instead of going over the wall, we all knew he wouldn’t score and the game was over. The nightmare continues.

  9. #6@Phantom: That’s how I feel … he’s PH’d for KG a couple times now … and I do understand why (I’ve seen him have many bad ABs, and I see the bottom line stats he’s got this season) … but if there’s any chance that his issues have a component of “confidence”, then PH’ing for him seems counter-productive … and if he does get a game-tieing hit in the 9th last night, doesn’t that seem like it’d go a long way to reversing any “confidence” issues that do exist? One other point … if the pitcher, even a righty, does make a mistake, isn’t KG more likely to do more/better with it than Rodriquez?

    #8@JMAR: Agree that the PH Hairston for Carlin was questionable (at the time it happened, and even more so as the events of the 9th unfolded, but that’s besides the point, the point is that it was questionable as it happened). As opposed to the options you’ve listed, I’d put it this way … his options were either KG+Hundley+Myrow or Myrow+Hundley+Rodriquez … the situation was tieing run on 2nd with 0 outs against a RHP … and perhaps Ambres should be on the list of options. See, PH’ing Hairston too early limited Bud’s options in the 9th … and I guess it’s not so much the “too early” part of that Hairston PH as it is that he came up in a pretty low-leverage situation rather than waiting for a higher leverage situation … which did come up in the 9th. Eh, clearly some of that 20/20 hindsight … but it seems like this is a legitmate case to mark down of moves that were easily questionable at the time.

    re: “if he homers and ties the game or starts a rally by getting on base, it’s a good move” … *NO* … that’s one of the points DePo’s been making in his blog and in his talk at Petco last Friday … to me, that seems like it would have been an example of “bad process, good outcome” … which is very dangerous because it’s easy to think that it was “good process, good outcome” and therefore be something that’s repeated often enough to make a difference (ie. lead to more losses than wins) …

  10. DePo with some thoughts on the Clark trade …

    Best part is insights into how/why we traded for Scribner …

    In this case, Doug Dascenzo, our manager in Ft. Wayne, phoned in a report on Evan earlier this season which initiated our interest.

    … solid!

  11. #9@LynchMob: Yeah, it seemed like more of a desperation move by Black to use his bench early and not a strategical move.

    Another questionable move was having Hairston on the bench as opposed to being in the lineup as the starting CF. Gerut has not played himself out of a job, but what else does Hairston have to do to be in the lineup everyday? He’s been the team’s most productive hitter over the last few weeks and now he’s back on the bench to start the second half. C’mon now Bud.

  12. #11@JMAR: As I stated last night during the the IGD, I am baffled as to why you sit Hairston and play Gerut. Look, thanks a million to Gerut for stabilizing the outfield situation in the shadows of the Edmonds debacle but the Padres need to move forward and look to the future RIGHT NOW. As it is, Gerut will have 300 at bats this year and though he performs on an average offensive performance level and plays more than adequate defense – he is not in the future of this team or anywhre else as far as an everyday player.

    Furthermore, why does Corey Brock characterize Gerut’s 1st half performance as “having played very well” ? –shouldn’t a journalist with the talent of Brock look to do a better job at characterizing Gerut’s performnance and/or role. By no standards did Gerut perform “very well”.

  13. Brock writes for what is he suppose to say? And Guret did have a good 1st half in the since that he stabilized the Padres outfield after the Edmonds debacle. Yes his stats were rather average compared to the league but relative to the Padres he had a more productive first half than most every day players and what he really provided was consistency at both the plate and in CF which is really what the team needed at the time he was called up.

  14. 9: Greene might be able to do more with a pitch in terms of extra base hitting, but all we need in that situation is a single to score Headley. Black must have thought that Rodriguez had a better chance of hitting a single than Greene did. I can’t blame him for thinking that…when Greene’s been up the last couple of months I’ve wanted to look away.

  15. Gerut is having almost the same year offensively as Mark Kotsay.
    Would anyone characterize Kotsay’s offensive year as “having performed very well ” ?

    It’s a matter of expectations, I suppose. To say that Gerut has “probably surprised some people with his play and has forged a role for himself as an legitimate major league platoon candidate or extra outfielder after not playing in the majors in 3 + years” is the better way to sum up Gerut’s year thus far.

  16. #13@Steve C: Sorry, I was thinking that Brock has some independence. Is he actually on the payroll of the club though ?

    Fine, Gerut provided some unexpected, temporary glue for a team on pace to lose 99 games.

  17. #16@JP: I know he works for MLB, not sure if Moores signs his checks or not.

  18. Gentlemen, to be clear, I work for Major League Baseball Advanced Media and have liberty to write what I want without input from the team. It’s essentially like writing for a newspaper, which is where my background is.

  19. #18@Corey Brock: So the team does not review your articles before they post them on

  20. #12@JP: Hairston had a very good June and has been great in July, but he was well below-average in April and May. And Gerut, from what I can tell, plays a better CF.

    #15@JP: Gerut has a 10 point edge in OPS+ over Kotsay. That’s not the same.

    Gerut’s given us an above-average bat and played a very good CF. That justifies “very well.” Two really hot weeks from Hairston doesn’t change what Gerut did. There’s only 2 years of age difference between them, anyway. It’s not like Gerut’s holding back the Next Hot Kid.

    I have no problem with Hairston getting more time in the future, but the decision to go with Gerut is defensible. If Venable can really play CF, which is questionable, a soft platoon of Hairston and Gerut in LF next year could be very productive.

  21. Steve, I just answered that.

  22. #18@Corey Brock: Thanks. I just discovered your blog as well. I’ll look to it and share with others as well.

  23. No input from the team, they don’t see my copy at all. I’m always up for talking baseball. Drop me a line:

  24. #25@Corey Brock: Cool, good to know.

  25. #21@Jimmy Dean: Jimmy, so if Gerut has performed “very well’ in centerfield, then why relegate him to a soft platoon role ?

  26. #27@JP: Because Gerut doesn’t have Hairston’s offensive upside. What he’s done (hit well and played a very good defensive CF) doesn’t mean that’s what he’s going to do in the future or that we don’t need to look for all possible improvements. But whatever he does in the future doesn’t change what he’s done as a Padre so far, which is play very well.

    Scott’s played well, too, although his streakiness works a little against him, and his defense hasn’t been as good.

  27. #28@Tom Waits: Upside ? Is not “upside” somewhat based on conjecture ? Gerut has played very well. He is peaking, correct ? So we take him out of the starting role because he is “playing very well” but will likely drop off in performance ?

    BTW, in comparing Kotsay’s current numbers, down the line, from OBP to SLG % , how is it that Gerut’s number are appreciably better ? You seemed to imply, Jimmy, that the comparison was not legitimate.

  28. #29@JP:

    Yes, upside is partially conjecture. But I expect most observers would say that Hairston has more power potential than Gerut. If you were going to pick one to possibly have a 30 HR season, it wouldn’t be Jody.

    I don’t know that anyone said Gerut is peaking. But there’s no denying that he’s played well so far, which is the part of Brock’s article you complained about.

    As to why you reduce Gerut’s playing time, it’s because they won’t let us play with 4 outfielders. If they promote Venable to play CF late this year or to start next season, and OG is in RF, who goes to left? If it’s my decision, Hairston starts against all lefties and many righties (unless something happens the next two months that suggests he can handle a full time role). Gerut’s the backup there and an awfully good 4th OF.

    The comparison between Kotsay and Gerut isn’t legitimate because OBP and SLG are not adjusted for ballparks the way OPS+ or a variety of other measures are.

  29. #29@JP: To build on Kotsay v. Gerut, Jody not only has that 10 point edge in OPS+, he has a 16 point edge in EQA (another adjusted number). He’s ahead in VORP and Win Shares despite being sent down to Portland, which actually balances the playing time.

  30. The host of this blog understandably desires to cut down on redundancy so on my end I will close by saying that to this point Gerut hasn’t performed “very well” but certainly well enough (and has showed enough ability) to justify a roster spot for the rest of the year and probably on to next on the big league level –this to me is a very nice accomplishment and testimony to the hard work and big heart of Jody Gerut.

  31. If the offseason were to start today, we would have three in-house options in CF: Gerut, Hairston, and Venable. Mike Cameron would be an interesting free-agent, but it doesn’t seem like he left on a good note and likely wouldn’t return. I don’t believe there are any other interesting, affordable options available via free agency and the team does not really have the resources to make a trade for a CF upgrade. Thus, we are left with the in-house options. Who gets the job?

    Hairston: I’m not sure I’ve seen Hairston make a bad play all year in CF. He’s also shown good range and has made a few spectacular catches. Offensively, he’s a guy who has 25-30 HR potential and an ability to carry the team for days at a time. Similar to Khalil Greene, pre-2008. However, like Greene, he appears to be a streaky hitter that might frustrate the heck out of Padre fans at times. He’ll still be 28 at the beginning of next season.

    Gerut: Another guy who’s been very solid in the outfield, with pretty good range and also an ability to make great catches. I’m not sure he can ever hit 22 HR’s again, as he did his rookie season, but he should be a solid .280 hitter with 10 HR’s and 10-15 SB’s. He’ll be 31 at the start of 2009.

    Venable: If neither Hairston or Gerut end the season on a high note, Venable might be the favorite going into next season. He’s hit over .300 in every month this year and has shown some power potetntial and supposedly has proven that he can handle CF. Like the other two, it doesn’t seem like he’s going to steal a ton of bases but he’s athletic and will add speed to a very slow lineup. He’ll be 26 at the start of next season.

    With all that said, I think Hairston should be given every chance to be the guy, starting right now, since he has the most offensive upside of the three. If he fails, Venable should be put in the mix. And if he isn’t the guy, then we all know what Gerut can do. Nothing special, but solid and consistent.

  32. I’m not a Dave Winfield fan … if it were up to me, his #31 would be the 2nd one down off the OF wall … ie. I still feel the sting of his free agency departure to the Yankees … but, as this story says, we all “do get older” …

    (note: you can get into via user = “neverbotherme” and password = “please” (compliments of

    I’m going to send an email to the BP guys suggesting Dave Winfield as a speaker for next year’s event …

  33. Add me to the list of people wondering why Gerut got the start last night. Why do you bench the hottest hitter in the NL during July, especially considering he just had 3 days off. Don’t they know what to expect out of Gerut? He’s a decent to good fielder (although Hairston grades better in Range Factor, BP’s stats, and Win Shares), has no power but gets on base, and outside of this year’s 46 plate appearances, hasn’t hit left-handers at all. He could be the left-handed hitting part of a platoon on a good team certainly. On the down side, he turns 31 in September and has major injury concerns. For a good team, his best role (especially if they keep Brian Giles) is as a 4th outfielder. I think everyone would agree (not only the fans but the Front Office) that’s a pretty accurate assessment of his talent. So why does that profile generate the first start of the 2nd half? The only explanation that I can come up with is that Padres are coming around to why way of thinking — I’ll give you a hint, the initials are S.S.

  34. #9@LynchMob: A good look at Kulbacki …

    … which talks a lot about the mental game … which I think / hope is a component of KG’s struggles this season …

  35. #34@LynchMob: That is a great article. Not just the story itself, it is well written too. I try to check the NYT on a daily basis, but it ends up being more like 3-4 days a week.
    Thanks again

  36. If you like good writing about sappy/pseudo-romantic baseball-related experiences, check this out …

    … it made me wish I was there … and I *hate* the Yankees ;-)

  37. #35@Schlom: Gerut’s had 226 PA in the past 3 years. We still really have no idea what to expect. If he plays at this level next year, he’s a solid starting centerfielder/good platoon outfielder. If he regains some of his power from earlier in his career as he gets further away from his injury, he’s a good starting center fielder. If he plays to your preseason expectations, he’s one of the worst players in the league. 226 PA is not nearly enough data to determine which path he’ll follow.

    Sure, he doesn’t have as much upside as Hairston, but his upside still has him starting on the 2009 Padres.

  38. 36: Interesting that Fuson doesn’t se Kulbacki moving up a level this year. At 22, he’s not age-inappropriate for High-A, but he would certainly not be too young for AA ball.

  39. #38@LynchMob: “You spend a good part of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around” JIM BOUTON

    I responded to your post on the previous thread about SA. I just noticed it about 20 minutes ago