Friday Links (12 Sep 08)

That was a fun one Thursday night, eh? I’d make a crack about how it’s only the Giants, but seeing as how we have virtually no chance of overtaking them for fourth place, that hardly seems appropriate.

Seriously, though, it’s cool to see a bunch of these kids that I watched at Elsinore come up here and have some success. Matt Antonelli knocked three hits and drew a walk (and only a fine play by Omar Vizquel kept him from reaching base a fifth time), Drew Macias collected his first big-league hit (a homer off Matt Cain, no less), and Josh Geer tossed a gem.

Meanwhile, we’ve got links…

  • Jason at It Is About the Money, Stupid interviews Paul DePodesta. There’s some good stuff in here, but this is probably my favorite bit from DePo:

    We get a pass/fail grade 162 times a year, and no matter how good the team is we will fail a lot. The losing can really take its toll when you dedicate so much time and effort to the cause. On the other hand, the triumph of high achievement that accompanies winning is special.

    It always cracks me up when fans assume that folks in the front office don’t give a damn. I learn more about the pride those fans take in their own work than anything else.

  • Portland manager Randy Ready is up with the big club (h/t Baseball in Fort Wayne). That’s great, but buried in here is a nice quote from left-hander Wade LeBlanc on his difficulties this season:

    If you look at it as a failure, you won’t make it through the season. I looked at it as if that struggle will help me in the long run.

    Will it help him in the long run? Who knows, but at least he’s thinking about it the right way. He’s admitting that it’s a possibility, which is better than the alternative.

  • Could right-hander Mike Ekstrom be a dark horse candidate for the 2009 bullpen? Some within the organization seem to think so. Quoth GM Kevin Towers:

    It looks a little bit like the path that Scott Linebrink followed to the major leagues. Scott was a starter, but his stuff and how he pitched was better suited to being a reliever.

    Hey, why not. Just keep throwing guys out there and see if any of ‘em turn out to be good.

  • Speaking of pitchers, DePodesta talks about the two newest members of the Padres, right-handers Charlie Haeger and Scott Patterson. I find his take on Haeger interesting:

    As is the case with most knuckleballers, Charlie can walk some hitters, and he can give up some fly balls. That’s not a great combo in the American League, particularly in US Cellular in Chicago, but it’s more palatable in our environment. Kevin Towers has said in the past that he’s been intrigued with the idea of a knuckleballer in our park given the coastal weather conditions and the spacious outfield. In a more general sense, knuckleballers can also create some flexibility within a pitching staff due to their ability to pitch often and in a variety of roles.

    The bit about walks being “more palatable” at Petco surprises me a little because the organization typically places a premium on guys who throw strikes. A natural gut reaction is to wonder why they are going against the grain with Haeger. A more telling observation is that the Padres don’t appear to be overly attached to their own tendencies and are willing to be flexible where the situation dictates. This, I like. The ability to adapt has served our species well over the years.

Recent Articles

And here’s what we’ve been talking about this week at Ducksnorts. Some of these discussions are still active, so feel free to add your $0.02:

  • It’s Funny Because It’s Truthy — In the end, does it really matter whether someone is trying to be humorous? If I laugh, it works. (See Wood, Ed.)
  • Help Wanted: All-Time Padres Team — We’re looking for a third-string second baseman and a third-string left fielder. As of this writing, Bip Roberts leads Quilvio Veras, 12-2, for the former, while Rickey Henderson leads Greg Vaughn, 8-5, for the latter. Unless I’m presented with compelling reasons to do otherwise, I’m inclined to put Roberts on the team. I remain uncertain about Henderson and Vaughn; feel free to convince me one way or the other.
  • Bounce or Crash? — Reader Tom Waits wonders about the Padres’ chances to rebound in 2009. Unlike most of us, though, he’s actually studied the issue a bit.
  • Partly Focused, with a Ten Percent Chance of Useful — So, yeah, that whole thing about Adrian Gonzalez fading in the second half? He has three homers in the last two games. Emily Litella sends her regards.

Rock on…

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27 Responses »

  1. Of course people in baseball care. Except for the GMs, the pay is not particularly good, so they aren’t doing it for the money.

    Someone needs to ask if Haeger makes the team long term, can we at least go back to an 11 man staff? With a knuckleballer, you really only need one mop up guy.

    Nice to see with Antonelli. His swing looks very choppy — was his double hit far or was it a down the line-grounder type?

  2. I think we’ve got alot of guys who were starters that need to be moved into the bullpen if they want a major league career; Banks, Hayhurst (who I still don’t think will be even on this team), Hensley (for good). As for Haeger, the issue is more about finding someone to catch the bloody ball and we have at least one catcher that can’t catch a knuckle ball to save his life. I don’t know how well Hundley will do considering he isn’t that good defensively.

    Good to see these young kids up there, I personally am feeling a bit more optimistic about hundley, headley (can ya give the brother a day off?), venerable, leblanc and even geer. Antonelli, jury’s still out.

  3. I put up a few words on Adrian’s second straight 30-100 season on my site, if anyone would like to check it out.

  4. #1@Alan: It was a down the line grounder type.

    Last night T. Gwynn made a comment about how Adrian’s success wasn’t a fluke. That as long as the people ahead of him keep getting on he will continue to have great seasons.

    It made me think about how important OG was this year. Without him I can’t imagine that Adrian gets nearly as many RBI’s. Adrian needs to be sending OG a nice X-mas gift this year, maybe a life time membership to sunset tan. (if he doesn’t already have one)

    (I will have to look up and see how many of the RBI’s were with Giles on base. )

  5. Rob Neyer blogs about Charlie Haeger move. Neyer adores knuckleballers, so consider that when reading his prediction:

    Next spring, Haeger opens the season in Triple-A Portland, where I will enjoy him personally. He’ll pitch moderately well, and get the call from the Padres in the second half of May. Pitching in a variety of roles, he’ll finish the season with seven wins with the big club. Management, impressed with a couple of September starts, signs Doug Mirabelli and pencils Haeger into the rotation. And in 2010, he goes 14-9 for the National League West champions.

    Hey, a guy can dream a little, can’t he? (Neyer’s comment, not mine)

  6. kevin
    I like to dream too but the idea that that fool Doug Mirabelli joins the padres again isn’t dreaming but going through a nightmare. No thank you. Sooner teach Carlin to catch a knuckle ball.

  7. From SF:

    Cocky or confident? Mouths were agape in the clubhouse after rookie Conor Gillaspie, a college student three months ago, declared in print, “I think I can play as good as any of these guys up here.” Gillaspie might get a talking-to from some of the more seasoned players.

    Third-base coach Tim Flannery laughed and said he was the same way when he came up with the Padres, recalling a 1980 game at Philadelphia.

    “I was runner-up for a couple of batting titles in the minors,” Flannery said. “I came up here and batted third. Dave Winfield was fourth. I drag-bunt for a single, get to first base and Pete Rose is standing there. He said, ‘That was nice, kid. You trying to get your team going?’ I said, ‘Pete, I’m going to be going after some of your records.’

    “He said, ‘Kid, not only are you not going to hit in 44 straight games, but you’re not going to play in 44 straight.’ After 10 years, I don’t think I did.”

  8. #7@Didi: Great story about Flannery. He was a character.

  9. Went to saturday’s game (the lincecum/young match) and haeger did not look good. Most of the knuckleballs that he threw were up in the zone and didn’t seem to fool anybody. I guess that is to be expected at times with that particular pitch.

    I understand the theory that we need to play for next year at this point but it was particularly painful to be at the game and watch the padres just give it all away. (this was doubly painful as I was right behind the giants dugout and the Giants fan were unusually snarky and arrogant) I guess that I will have to just close my eyes and grit my teeth for the next couple of weeks. :(

  10. I watch every Padres game with as much excitement now as I have all year. Why ? They have some young players that look like they belong.

    You hate to see anyone get hurt, but Jody Gerut’s minor injury has been a bit of a blessing in that it has meant more playing time for guys like Venable and Macias — and the Padres have to like the brief look they have seen so far.

    Drew Macias looks like he could be a decent 4th or 5th extra outfielder for the 2009 squad. His defense is superlative (he possesses a rocket arm) and his offensive capabilities may continue to develop.

    Antonelli looks like he is worthy of this September call up as well. He has an eagles eye at the plate, with better speed then I thought – though he needs some more work defensively.

    Josh Geer reminds me a bit of Rick Reuschel as his delivery looks like he is weakly flinging it up there but in actuality he throws in the low 90′s and locates the curve –not too mention,the kid possesses what you like in a young pitcher –he is cocky and brash.

  11. #10@JP: Yup I agree with you, September has really given me a little more confidence in the Padres future, I really would not mind seeing a complete youth movement next year. I would love to see the Pads move Kouz or Headley in the off season for a good young starting pitcher and continue putting lineups out like they have been doing this September. I would be ok with a rotation of Peavy, Young, New pitcher, Leblanc and Geer next year with the possibility of Carrillo being called up when he is ready.

    Would anyone else be ok with an OF of Venable, Gerut and Hairston with Macias on the bench?