Links for 17 Oct 08

The topic du jour seems to be Jake Peavy, so let’s get busy…

  • Paul DePodesta weighs in on the situation [h/t LynchMob]: “If you have something you value at one million dollars, it would be foolish to refuse to consider selling it for twenty million dollars. On the flip side, it would also be foolish to sell it for anything less than one million. The thing that makes the market work is that each player has a different value to virtually every Club.” It’s sorta sad that he has to explain this stuff, but there you go.
  • Over at Gaslamp Ball, jbox talks about Peavy’s apparent desire to leave San Diego: “He’s in a safer place because [Sandy] Alderson can’t really fire him. Being the star player allows him to say what a lot of other players probably wish they could say and it’s refreshing to hear it.” I’ve said it before, but Peavy is becoming the new Phil Nevin, the guy who will run his mouth as much as his talent lets him. I’ve been watching Peavy pitch since he was at Elsinore, and it would kill me to see him leave. At the same time, if a guy doesn’t want to be here, then maybe he shouldn’t be here. As for the star player mouthing off, I’ve never been able to get behind that sort of behavior. I’ve worked with prima donnas before, and mainly what they’ve inspired in me is an intense desire to smack them.
  • Dave Cameron at FanGraphs offers his take: “Despite his shiny 2.85 ERA, 2008 was pretty clearly the worst Peavy has pitched since 2003, which was his first full year in the majors and the year before he broke out into an established front line starter.” Worst since 2003? Uh, except for 2006.
  • From ESPN’s Buster Olney: “Multiple sources consider it likely the Padres will deal Peavy in the weeks ahead, and that is a virtual certainty that he will be traded before the July 31 deadline next season. The Padres are seeking at least two young pitchers in return, along with someone who can become the team’s everyday center fielder sometime in the immediate to near future.” In other news, nothing has happened yet.
  • On the non-Peavy front, Corey Brock at delivers some bad news: “Pitcher Mike Adams, one of the biggest surprises in 2008 and one of the Padres’ most successful relief pitchers, will miss the start of the 2009 season after having surgery to repair a torn labrum and damage to his rotator cuff.” Best-case has him back by Opening Day, but he might not be available until June or July. With the way Heath Bell pitched after the All-Star break in ’08, this is bad news. I’m sure Adams, who has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, isn’t real thrilled either.
  • Corey also delivers some good news: “Citing an uncertain economy, the Padres have chosen not to raise season ticket prices for 2009.” I’m pretty sure “an uncertain economy” is a euphemism for “the fact that people stopped going to games last year.”
  • Finally, in case you missed it, Baseball Prospectus has bought Baseball Digest Daily. So, yeah, now I kind of work for Prospectus.

More links are available at the Ducksnorts delicious page, which I update as often as practical. Happy Friday!

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20 Responses »

  1. I don’t think I’d be too disappointed if they trade Peavy, mainly because I don’t think he’s trustworthy in big games and does seem to spout off a lot of nonsense to the reporters.

    However, they better get a Dan Haren like package for him. The A’s got two top 20 prospects (Anderson and Gonzalez), four of the D-backs top 10 (Anderson and Gonzalez #1 and #3, plus #7 Aaron Cunningham and #8 Craig Carter) plus two 23 year old left-handed starting pitchers (Dana Eveland and Greg Smith). If they end up getting a bunch of crap for him, like the Twins did for Santana, I’ll be extremely upset.

  2. Whoa whoa whoa. It might be the beer talking – as it often is – but it’s not sad that DePo has to explain that you should sell high. Of course you should sell high. It would be sad if explaining that principle was really the purpose of his post. Instead, what’s sad is that the team thinks they can pass off a marketing slogan, a sleight-of-hand, as strategic thinking.

    What bothers me is using a valid principle (sell high) as camouflage for the team’s inability or unwillingness to evaluate their own players. It’s absolutely inconceivable that the Padre front office could see Peavy (52 million extension), Maddux (10 million) and Wolf (7+ million with incentives) as good investments in the winter of 2007-08, and then nine months later the team is in a complete rebuilding position. Well, it’s not inconceivable, since that’s where they are, but it means that they were radically wrong about the team’s chances last winter or they’re radically wrong about them now. Is that supposed to convince me that they know what they’re doing? Are we supposed to believe that the team is always ready to explore Sell High options when they failed to move Greene last winter, despite their obvious lack of faith in him? When they can’t figure out what to do with OG until he has 10-5 rights and it’s too damn late?

    It would actually be better, from my point of view, if Moores came right out and said that the reason for these (projected) moves was a cut in payroll. At least then I could still believe that the front office knew what it was doing, and that the parameters of their work had changed. The way things look now, the front office has steered the ship into an iceberg, but it’s telling everyone that “Hey, we’re just stopping to replenish our ice cube supply.”

    If the front office wants me to believe they’re smarter than most, then they need to act like it, not just spout platitudes.

    Front office mendacity is far more damaging to the fanbase, IMO, than a bad season. Bad seasons happen. Front office mendacity endures.

  3. Jake Peavy will not go anywhere unless the deal is an absolute sweetheart for the Padres.

    In my estimation, Towers has been an absolute thief more often than not. Ask Texas about Eaton.

  4. Rich Campbell, thank you for your comment above! I’ve been thinking the same thing you wrote for days now. Towers is an absolute thief and there are plenty of organizations well aware of it. Folks, you on the West Coast are lucky to not be here in New Jersey, and the New York City Tri-State area like I am. The Peavy story is a heck a lot more irritating if you’re a San Diego fan where I am. The NYC media is all over this story, but most of the writers and radio talking heads are oblivious to what Rich Campbell wrote above. My Yankees fan friends truly believe they’re getting Peavy. Few in the media in my awful neck of the woods are talking about the no-trade clauses or the fact that Towers will demand something huge in exchange. (Yankees fans historically do not understand you must give up more than AA middle relievers in “blockbuster” trades.) So anyway, I agree, Rich. Jake will be with San Diego on opening day. July 31 trade deadline could be another story though.
    And again, all you lucky fans who live anywhere but New Jersey-New York, realize where I am the Peavy scenario is greatly distorted, mixed up, and irritating. Consider yourself lucky on that at least.

  5. #2@Tom Waits: You raise some excellent points. We know that credibility is a huge issue with the current regime. Add in a tenuous ownership situation, and the potential for disaster becomes very real.

    Well, it’s not inconceivable, since that’s where they are, but it means that they were radically wrong about the team’s chances last winter or they’re radically wrong about them now. Is that supposed to convince me that they know what they’re doing?

    Yes, they were radically wrong about the team’s chances last winter (as was I). When you’re expecting to win 85-90 games again and just miss 100 losses, that’s a problem.

    Of course you should sell high.

    And yet, an alarming number of people fail to understand this very basic concept. That doesn’t mean there aren’t additional, less transparent reasons for what the Padres are doing — it would be naive to believe otherwise — but it’s difficult to have an intelligent conversation about this stuff with folks who need to have such things explained to them.

    #3@Rich Campbell: Exactly. People forget that “hold” is still an option.

  6. #5@Geoff Young: The main problem is that shopping Peavy so openly, they’ve pretty much ensured that they have to trade him. That doesn’t necessarily kill his trade value (everyone knew that Beane had to trade Haren last off-season and he got a great return).

    My other main problem is that there really isn’t any need to trade Peavy unless they think the team is one of the worst in baseball. Without some unlucky injuries to Cameron and Bradley, the Padres would have been the favorites going into the playoffs last year. So in the space of one year, they’ve gone from there to a team that can’t compete in the worst division in baseball. That’s quite a dropoff.

    Obviously, the front office must think that the team’s true talent level is the 2008 team, not the 2004-2007 team. If true, then shouldn’t there be more changes than just trading Peavy? Shouldn’t A-Gon, Chris Young, Heath Bell, Kouz or Headley, and any other player with current value be traded as well? If you are going to rebuild, do it for real, not some half-ass way.

  7. 7: Peavy is not going anywhere. I’m sure the Padres got offers for him every season. The difference is this off-season follows a terrible 2008 season.

  8. #7@Schlom:

    The main problem is that shopping Peavy so openly, they’ve pretty much ensured that they have to trade him.

    Help me connect the dots here. How does “they have to trade him” logically follow from “shopping Peavy so openly”? I’m missing a step or two.

    Shouldn’t A-Gon, Chris Young, Heath Bell, Kouz or Headley, and any other player with current value be traded as well?

    Shopped? Probably. Traded? Only if the future contribution of players received is likely to meet or exceed that of the players given.

  9. #8@Didi: I’ll take that bet. The team has laid a lot of groundwork in the last two weeks – preparing the fans, looking into partners, now pushing the onus for the whole thing onto Jake because he hasn’t invoked his no-trade clause, as if the team didn’t broach the subject with him.

    I’m no Vegas oddsmaker, but I’d put the chances of Peavy being our Opening Day starter in 2009 at 1 in 5. And I’m much less upset about trading Peavy, as a single act, than I’m worried that what this move means about The Padre System. The best possible cause of a Peavy trade is a budget crunch, because that means that things well beyond the front office’s control made it happen. Their plan could have been right given conditions X, Y, and Z, but if the conditions are now different, then the plan has to change. That’s not great news, but it happens. It’s happening to people all over the country right now.

    On the other hand, if they’re trading Jake because they now think that their earlier projections were dead wrong….how much faith should we have that their future projections will be any better?

  10. #9@Geoff Young: The “contributions” are constrained by time, though. Let’s say the Yankees are willing to move Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy for Agon. Over the course of their careers, Agon’s likely to be more valuable than both of them put together. If AGon hits like he has for the next 10 years, he’s a borderline Hall of Famer. But Agon’s only a Padre until 2011 for sure, and he plays the most easily replaceable position on the diamond. Hughes and Kennedy would be Padre properties until 2015.

  11. #11@Tom Waits: Absolutely. I should have made that explicit in my previous post.

  12. I don’t want to play too dumb, but I’m not even sure I understand the concept of rebuilding.

    For many teams, it seems to mean getting rid of every good player and/or players who make $5 mil or more a season. In many cases, teams are trying to be cheap and spinning it as “rebuilding.”

    I understand the concept of no player being untouchable, but that sounds a little like hyperbole in this case.

    Peavy is a bargain at his salary. He is a top-flight pitcher. With Peavy and Gonzalez — the Padres two best players — being such bargains and locked up for a few years, it shouldn’t be that hard to build around them. It’s not Peavy’s fault that the Padres signed Edmonds, ignored the problems at the No. 4 and 5 spots in the rotation, failed to build its usual excellent bullpen and on and on.

    (Oh, and Giles is one of the best bargains in the game.)

    Let’s say there’s a guy. Any guy. He loses his job. His dog dies. He gets in a car wreck, suffering minor injuries.

    He has one thing going for him though: A great wife. But he dumps her in an effort to scrap everything and “rebuild.”

    I don’t know how much of what I’m saying applies secifically to the Padres and Peavy, but I’m tired of hearing “rebuilding” — not just with the Padres but in general. It doesn’t mean anything. It’s just a sports cliche.

  13. #9@Geoff Young: If there is talk for the next couple of months of an impending Peavy trade, is there any way that he’d want to come back here if one didn’t happen? I’m no expert on player psyches, but that certainly can’t be good for it, can it?

  14. #5@Geoff Young: I really wonder if hold is still an option when there is talks about moving Peavy before the winter meeting and the Dodgers being a possible spot for him to land. You can talk about what the Dodgers could offer back in the deal but dealing one of the top 5 pitchers in baseball and the face of you franchise to your bitter rival? I don’t know if I could take that.

    Also if hold is an option how long will it last? Peavy’s contract takes a big jump in pay after ’09 and who knows where the Padres payroll will be at that point. The reason why I think the Padres are pushing so hard to get the Peavy deal done is because they have to pick up Giles option in November and if they can get a young MLB ready CF in the deal then they can move Gerut to RF and keep Shrek in LF and save themselves $6M.

  15. #13@Kevin: People like dichotomies. Either we are trying to win now or we are rebuilding. The concept that an organization can move in both directions at the same time causes confusion.

    #14@Schlom: Unfortunately Peavy is the only one who can answer these questions. I will say that if trade talk is so damaging to any player’s psyche, then that player might wish to consider another line of work.

    #15@Steve C: I hope you’re wrong about the motivation. If the Padres are anxious to move Peavy so they can afford to keep Giles, then we’re probably better off with Ned Colletti running things around here.

  16. Sometimes there may be some truth to the simple dichotomy. Is it completely irrational to suggest that the Padres are not motivated by baseball considerations and may not intend to field a competitive team again under this (short-term) ownership? The fear is that the FO is in short-term mode and is acting only to cut costs, with little interest in what they acquire in return so long as it is a reduction in salary. Conspiracy theories abound about Moores’ intentions, either due to his divorce or the intricate development deals surrounding Petco Park. I assume that even if Moores intends to sell soon, he will want to have the team looking stocked for the future to impress any suitors and get the most out of his investment. Sort of a re-paint before selling the house. Perhaps someone could do some research into the history of the moves other FOs have made before selling their franchise. I’d like to know if there are some patterns and what the short and long term outcomes were.

  17. #16@Geoff Young: That’s not what I meant; I think they want to move Peavy to cut payroll due to Moores’ personal issues… I think they have not picked up Giles’ option yet because if they get a MLB ready CF then they will put Gerut in RF and not pick up Giles’ option…

  18. Getting back to one of the links, in particular, the Gaslamp Ball assertion that Peavy is orchestrating this move. Every story I can find leads to this timeline:

    1. Padres approach Peavy with the idea, because they don’t think they’re going to be any good.

    2. Peavy basically says Wow, that’s how things are, huh? Well then, sure, I’d be open to going elsewhere if you’re telling me that we’re gonna stink and you’d rather use my salary for other things.

    3. Padres then explode (in Padre terms) across the media with stories about what they’re looking for in return.

    4. Jake takes exception to the tone of some quotes (or references) by Padre front office types, which make it sound like this was all his idea.

    5. Instead of owning up, the team, in particular Kevin Towers, totally puts the blame on Peavy. “He’s driving this bus.” Bull. You went to him with the idea, and because he didn’t put an end to it immediately, he’s driving it? He’s forcing this situation?

  19. On the subject of links: Fire Joe Morgan kills it with its take on Jerry Manuel’s bizarre rant to some reporter(s) about statistics.

    A bit of it:

    “You don’t see a lot of guys that have statistical numbers play well in these championship series,” Manuel said.

    This is so bonkers I don’t know where to start. First of all: what are “statistical numbers”? How do they differ from “numbers,” “statistics,” or “numerical statistics”? Are there “statistical letters”? We have a right to know. Second: Jerry Manuel is claiming that doing well in the regular season is a detriment to playing well in the playoffs. That’s right. You want to be a playoff hero? [Expletive] around for 162. Careful, David Wright. Don’t let those numbers get too statistical!