One Less Reason

Greg MadduxAs you are no doubt aware by now, the Padres have traded Greg Maddux to the Dodgers for two minor-league players to be named later or cash. According to Tom Krasovic at the U-T, “By Oct. 15, the Padres will choose two Dodgers minor leaguers from a list of five already agreed upon by the two clubs.” Cash apparently is an option that “would come into play only if injuries weaken the identified trade list.”

Thoughts? Yeah, I have a few…

  • I’m thrilled for Maddux. He’s a class act who has represented the team and the city well. He deserves much better than the 2008 Padres, as do we all.
  • From a business standpoint, this move makes absolute sense. Whenever you have the opportunity to extract resources from a division rival for essentially no cost, you take it. Sure, Maddux has value, but the Padres can lose 95+ games with or without him on the roster.
  • As a fan, I hate it. Maddux was one of the few reasons to watch the Padres. With him gone, I’m not sure what’s left beyond pure love of the game and the ballpark. I guess it’s sort of fun to watch Chase Headley develop, and of course, Adrian Gonzalez and Jake Peavy always deliver the goods, but we’ve gotten a little spoiled watching the Padres contend every year (and many among us haven’t even appreciated that, preferring instead to whine about payroll or concession prices).

Meanwhile, back at the proverbial ranch, Brett Tomko has been activated from the DL to replace Maddux on the roster. There is talk that Josh Geer or Cesar Ramos may be recalled from Triple-A Portland to take his spot in the rotation. Those guys are pretty marginal prospects, but you might as well run them out there and see what happens. I’d rather give them a shot than rush a kid like Will Inman and stick him into a losing environment.

Actually, I’d rather restart the season and not suck this time, but that’s a whole other story…

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41 Responses »

  1. Maddux deal makes sense I just hope they pull up Ramos, Geer and Hayhurst it would almost get me interested in watching games this year again.

  2. I’d like to see Geer get some time. He’s a class act, and got one hell of a change up. I like to call it a “Bugs Bunny Change”. My son attended baseball camp with the Beavers and Geer was my kids pitching coach. He made quite an impact on my 12 year old – and I know he’d love to see Josh get the call as well.

  3. When is Brett Tomko going to hang it up. Better question is, when are managers going to stop hiring re treads like him. Ridiculous. These are some sad days Pad fans.

    I didn’t mind losing at Qualcomm because upper level tickets were $5, and most other things were cheap….plus there was no expectation of winning. I grew up near the stadium, and would save up the money needed each week from doing odd jobs just to go to the games.

    But with high ticket prices, and being told by management that they expected to be a contender this season, I am disgusted with this team and it’s management. I’m over it. For the first time in my life, I look forward to the football season more than I will to the next Padre season. The Padres have broken the heart that I always had for baseball.

  4. Sad to see Maddux go. He’s such a joy to watch and, as Geoff said, a tremendous, classy guy. I feel very lucky to have had him play for the Padres for the time he was here. Thanks, Greg, and good luck!

  5. #3@Cubbuster: Hey, Cubbuster … I assume you were at the ’84 NLCS? Me too … it was fun being part of the Cub Busters :-)

    re: retreads … I think Tomko will stop getting chances when he stops looking better than the prospects we have at AAA. Tomko still looks like he’s good … he still throws mid-90s, right? It often seems like he’s still just a pitching-mechanic-tweek away from being an average-to-above-average starter in MLB … that’s what I see, anyway. And when I see Josh Geer (as I did on TV up here in Oregon just last week), I don’t see a guy who looks like an MLB pitcher … I see a guy with a slight funk in his delivery that makes it look like he’s trying to finesse pitches past hitters … which has worked for him in the minor … less so at AAA … and sure seems less likely to work at the MLB level … I trust the Padres on this one … if/when Geer is the best option for the Padres, he’ll get his shot.

  6. #3@Cubbuster:

    If you’re going to let one bad season ruin your love of baseball, then you were never a fan to begin with.

  7. #5@LynchMob:

    I agree with you on Tomko. As lousy as much of his career has been, he pitched well in stretches for the Padres, and he’s the exact sort of guy the Padres have built their good bullpens around – hard throwing vets with mechanical issues. Think of Doug Brocail or even Heath Bell. The Padres minor leagues are overstuffed with finesse guys, so it’s nice to see a few live arms out there. And hell, it’s not like Brett Tomko’s going to cost the Padres the pennant this season; why not take a look at him.

    About Maddux: I agree with everything written here – there was no reason not to trade him, though. Even if he came back for another season (which I don’t think he’ll do), this San Diego team needs a lot more than a LAIM at this point. I don’t wish for the Dodgers to win the West, but I hope Maddux does well for them.

  8. #6@David Coonce: Agree. If a fan didn’t lose faith from 1999 to 2003 (especially 03), or from 1993 to 1995, it’s hard to see how 2008 would be the final straw.

    Virtually every expert worth a darn, and every statistically-based projection system you could find, agreed that the Padres would be competitive this year. It wasn’t just the front office blowing smoke. Should they have been better prepared for falloffs? Yes. Did they make some bad decisions and miss some chances to aggressively improve the team? Absolutely. Did they maybe start believing their own press clippings about their skills at building a bullpen? Maybe. The front office did their part to make this season a bad one, but they also got performances that were very unexpected from several players. Put those two factors together and you get a 100 losses.

  9. #8@Tom Waits: Yep. The bullpen flat out killed us this year. The regression and injuries were just crippling. I also think that if Trevor is able to save a few of the early games (or at the very least not lose them), that we might have had a bit more momentum. Of course, momentum can’t really be measure statistically and is likely a myth, but it was deflating anyway.

  10. Hey, as you all know, I’m all for these moves that weaken the team for this season. Speaking of losing as much as possible, Team USA is playing Cuba in the semi-finals tomorrow and the starter is going to be SDSU pitcher Stephen Strasburg.

    Most likely the only good result for the Padres this season is to finish with the worst record in the majors (they might be able to finish ahead of the Nationals since they might not take Strasburg after the Aaron Crow debacle this season). At the moment, Strasburg is the only “can’t miss” prospect. I’m sure there are others that will be as good, or even better than him, but how confident are you that the Padres FO will be able to identify and sign them?

  11. #8@Tom Waits: Last winter, their biggest priority was signing Fukudome, after that fell apart, it was Cameron then finally Edmunds.
    Based on Fukudome’s lack of success anywhere but Wrigley, the complete failure of the bullpen, the starting piching injuries, and the offensive black holes at short stop/ catcher. Had they been succesful in the securing their number one priority, they would be sitting on the same 100 loss pace and be tied to contract with a lot of question marks. An ugly picture, any way you look at it.

  12. #9@Phantom: It’s never really a good time to blow a save, but I think the blown save against SF earlier in the season really killed the momentum. It came with the team about to complete a 3-game sweep on the road, which would’ve pulled them to within 7.5 games of 1st place. Very deflating. However, I think Trevor has proven that he’s good for at least one more season as the team’s closer. I hope they can re-sign him to something like a 1 year, 6 million dollar deal for ’09.

    In regards to the rotation, I think most of us have seen enough of Banks. He is another guy with almost no margin for error. I think he’s realized that himself, which might explain the 13 walks in two games. I’m not too excited about Geer either. I think he’ll have success for a few starts, just like Banks and Germano, but his margin for error is also very slim. I’d like to see what Ramos can do. He seems to have a bit higher ceiling than the others, so maybe he could prove to be a decent #5.

  13. #11@Field39: I wonder how Fukudome’s .268 BA, .758 OPS, 8 HR, and 47 RBI’s would translate if he were playing half of his games at Petco instead of Wrigley. I’m guessing we’d still be in last place and regretting every dollar the team spent on him with those numbers.

    So I guess it really could be worse. They could have spent a ton of money on that guy and might not have realized how good Jody Gerut is.

  14. #3@Cubbuster: Tomko still has the skills to get outs…he certainly does not hurt us this year…and you can still get $5 tickets at Petco.

    I think we are all discouraged this season, but to toss in the towl after this season as a fan is, frankly, weak.

  15. Brad Ausmus is in his last season with Houston.

    Buster Olney is speculating that he will end his career where it began…San Diego.

  16. #15@Coronado Mike: Please no. We avoided Ausmus when it was only Towers running the show, you’d have to think we’d be even less likely to sign him now that we have so much statistical firepower. Hundley and Carlin can both throw, and Hundley offers pop. Why pay for what you already have?

    #13@JMAR: He’s got a 97 OPS+, which adjusts for parks. Will he go Hideki Matsui and really improve after his “rookie” year?

  17. #16@Tom Waits: It depends on what the Pads plans are for 09…If they see it as a re-building year I could see them signing Ausmus as a back up catcher and a mentor to Hundley. If they think they can re-build and compete again then I think they will keep Bard and have him split time with Hundley all year.

  18. #8@Tom Waits:

    Yeah, I’ve been a Padre fan through some rough seasons – I remember when Gene Harris led the team in saves, with 20, and I just thought he was gonna be the next Lee Smith.

    While I would never pin a bad season down to a single game or event, it does seem that the 22-inning home loss very early in the year sent the Padres on a long downward spiral. I’m sure it was just coincidence, but who knows.

    It’s all 20/20, but it does seem that the front office put a little too much faith in Meredith and some of the other bullpen arms, as well as guys like Iguchi and Edmonds and Hairston. The Padres entered the season without a legitimate outfielder aside from Giles, (Edmonds was hurt), and never really recovered from that, along with the historical offensive ineptitude from the catching position and Khalil Greene’s sudden inability to hit anything.

    The problem with teams like the Padres – mid-market teams – is that they generally can’t spend a lot to cover mistakes. It’s not like the Dodgers, who have a couple 10-million dollar outfielders riding the pine every night, along with a 7-million dollar shortstop. When the Padres invest poorly, as they did in Edmonds, they’re left playing guys like Gerut and McAnulty and Huber. (And I know Gerut’s played well; it was an example)

  19. #17@Steve C: Does Ausmus have much mentoring value left? If he’s reduced to telling Hundley “This is what I used to do, when I was physically capable of doing it,” that lesson seems less likely to stick.

    I agree with the general premise, though. If they think they can compete next year, they don’t sign Ausmus. He’s not a player who helps you win.

  20. I’m beginning to think Buster Olney is a no-talent-***-clown, sorta like Michael Bolton.

  21. #16@Tom Waits: So far Fukudome has shown much less power than Matsui, but I think that was to be expected. I don’t recall Fukudome being as reknowned for being a HR hitter as Matsui was. He has shown very good OBP skills though, which I think was what he was reputed to be strong at, but he’s hitting about 20 points above the league on BABIP so it doesn’t seem as if he has much room to improve there.

    He’s also 2 years older than Matsui was when he came over. I’d say he’s not going to get much better. Whatever adjustments he makes in terms of becoming more comfortable, knowing pitchers, knowing parks, etc. will likely be more or less offset by age related decline.

    That’s my bold prediction anyway. :-)

  22. #20@Pat: LoL nice office space pull!

  23. #11@Field39: Hey F39, Lance Richardson just email’d me asking if I’d post something for him … it’s EdmOnds, not EdmUnds ;-)

    And, just for TW …

    … wow, 3 jabs in one post … I’m on FIRE!!!

  24. #22@Steve C: Thanks. It’s a classic!

  25. Thanks, Greg Maddux, for all the good times here with the Padres.
    Good luck and I hope you make the playoff again…even if it’s with the Dogs.

    re: Tomko. Really? At this point, I’d rather see the youngsters than another retread, even one with a blazing fastball. My guess, he’s warming up the mound for the callups in a fortnight. Isn’t the AAA season ending soon? Bring them all up, especially Hayhurst.

    re: Ausmus, please stay in Houston, you’ll hate it here in SD, not that it’ll matter much to your BA or OBP. Just let Hundley catch and Bard back-up or split 50-50, I just don’t need Ausmus on the roster. That’ll be like having another Tony Clark except he’ll be a third catcher and can’t hit.

    Why can’t Hairston play LF once a week to let Headley rest a bit and keep his bat less rusty? He sure seems to be hacking his way again not unlike a certain SS on the DL.

    OK, go Padres. Don’t lose 100.

    re: Cubbuster, don’t worry, go and take some time off. Be back here after winter, we’ll keep the blog warm for you.