Cheeseburger in Purgatory

Jake Peavy isn’t going to the Cubs… for now. And just when I was starting to like the names being mentioned. Did you notice how the rumored packages went from being awful, to decent, to pretty good? At the very least, Kevin Towers deserves credit for not jumping on any old deal, like some folks seemed to assume he would. (Of course, it’s his job to refrain from making lousy trades, so how much credit he deserves is open to debate.)

Still, we’re left with the question: Now what? Well, holding onto Peavy remains an option. Actually, given his lack of potential suitors and questionable desire to accept a trade, it remains a pretty likely option.

The downside is that if the Padres really trim their 2009 payroll to $40 million, then 27.5% of that is tied up in one player. For a little perspective, consider that the Yankees had a payroll last year of roughly $209 million. If they were to pay one guy as much as the Padres will pay Peavy this year proportional to total outlay, the pricetag would be $57.4 million. The Yankees’ most expensive player, Alex Rodriguez, made $27 million in 2008.

Yes, you read that right. If the Padres are at $40 million next year, Peavy at his current price will cost double, proportional to overall payroll, what A-Rod cost the Yankees last year. Is Peavy worth more than twice as much as the highest paid player in baseball? To a team that is coming off a 99-loss season?

More importantly, will the Padres be able to compete with Peavy still on the roster? Ironically, he may actually hurt their chances because the team is now limited in the other moves it can make to shore up holes (and you may have noticed there are a few). When soon-to-be-42-year-old Omar Vizquel is mentioned as a possible replacement for Khalil Greene at shortstop and a 21-year-old who played in Low-A last year is plucked in the Rule V draft (comparisons to Rafael Furcal are fun; comparisons to Donaldo Mendez, not so much), it’s hardly cause for celebration.

Meanwhile, the ownership situation continues to be murkier than Mission Bay after a heavy rain. I keep telling myself that I should be upset by all of this, but instead I just find it fascinating. Like, how much worse can the situation get? And the answer is none. None more worse.

(Incidentally, the comments in that last linked article are hilarious. I considered joining the discussion but balked at the clause in the Terms and Conditions that requires users to “acknowledge that I am a complete moron and agree to clutter this space with words and thoughts that only other morons will understand and appreciate.” I just couldn’t abide by that. Fortunately they don’t seem to need my help.)

So where does this leave us? Pretty much the same place we were before the Winter Meetings — too much money tied up into one (very talented) player who doesn’t want to be traded and whom nobody is anxious to acquire, too many holes elsewhere that will be difficult to fill without funds, and an ownership divided.

Really, with this kind of excitement, who even needs a season?

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31 Responses »

  1. If you factor in Giles’ contract, then half of the Padres $40 mil payroll will be tied up in two players…

  2. Geoff,

    You were right about the UT comments. Opinions 50, Facts 0

  3. If they don’t move Jake before spring training, they will probably persuade Giles to accept a trade and move him instead. Regardless of who moves first, I do not believe either will be on the club after the All-Star break.
    As far as the ownership change is concerned, there are a couple of high-powered divorce lawyers out there, who will make sure that transaction moves along at a snail’s pace.

  4. Looks like the Rockies are going to non-tender Willy Tavares..

    Any interest in him? It would allow the Pads to put Gerut in LF and trade Kouz or Headley for another starter.

  5. #3@Field39: What is the line from 300? “You will not enjoy this.”

  6. #3@Field39: Agree on all counts. I could see Giles going to the Cubs. He’s a 20+ HR hitter again in the NL Central, with a great OBP. Can’t believe they’d sign Jenga to play RF; great hitter, won’t be healthy if he plays the field.

    #4@Steve C: Less than zero. Bad fast players don’t make things better. They can do those things without spending money on Tavares.

    #5@Geoff Young: That “you” ain’t singular.

  7. #2@Josh: The comments on the UT board are your basic Gratification wheel. When you come upon one of those, if you aren’t going to join in, it is best to stay out of the way.

  8. #6@Tom Waits: You dont think it would be worth 1.5 mil to have him hold down CF for a year or two while they are re-building?

  9. I keep telling myself that I should be upset by all of this, but instead I just find it fascinating.

    This is exactly how I am feeling at this point. There is no point in being angry. I am not upset and that is shocking friends of mine who are casual fans. I am just watching every piece of this unfold and am exactly that…fascinated.

    This will be one of the largest opportunities I will ever get to learn a rare side to the game I love.

  10. #8@Steve C: No. That’s about what Gerut will cost, and Gerut’s better. If not Gerut, then why would you not give those at-bats to Venable, who’s already 26?

    Taveras is a bad player. If you’re going to have bad players, pay them 350K, not millions.

  11. Just curious, Geoff. Who were the names being mentioned that you liked in the Peavy talks? I agree that the rumored package was getting better and better… until the Jason Marquis to the Padres rumor kept popping up in the last few.

    I liked the idea of bringing in two lefty mid-rotation, ML-ready starters (Garrett Olson, Sean Marshall, or J.A. Happ) to go along with a power reliever (Angel Guzman – 96 mph) and the Cubs top prospect Josh Vitters. That would’ve been a pretty good 4-for-1 deal, in my opinion, as it would’ve filled two rotation spots and a set-up man spot (and potential future closer) in the bullpen, to go along with a potential star in Vitters. I’ve read that the deal broke down because Hendry would not include Marshall and that Towers was actually trying to get a 6-for-1. Not sure why Hendry would not include Marshall since he would just be a reliever if Peavy was there. And I’m not sure why Towers was asking for six players when he had been talking about getting quality over quantity a few weeks back.

    #4@Steve C: I’m almost positive that Wily Taveras with his .308 OBP is the exact opposite of the type of player the Padres are trying to bring in. Even if they trade one of their OF’s, they still have pretty good depth with Gerut, Giles, Headley, Venable, Hairston, and Macias.

  12. #10@Tom Waits: You think Gerut will sign that low?

    Also I’m all for giving Venable playing time but if he turns back into a pumpkin after the ’08 season hits midnight it would be nice to have a backup plan. Also I don’t see Giles spending all year in SD (especially if they can’t move Peavy).

  13. #12@Steve C: Gerut is not a free agent. He’s arb-eligible. Tavares isn’t a backup plan. He’s a worst-case scenario. Career OPS+ of 72. You don’t pay any extra for that. If you can’t avoid it, you pay the bare minimum. Hairston is a much better player, despite all his flaws.

    #11@JMAR: Marshall was the best SP in the whole schmiel, though. Makes sense to me why the deal would break down there. The rest of the starters look more like warm bodies or okay back-of-the-rotation types.

  14. #13@Tom Waits: Right I know he is not a FA but you think after last season he will only get $1.5 mil in arbitration?

  15. #11@JMAR: At one point, there was talk of Carlos Carrasco and Felix Pie (although the Carrasco rumor has since been denied), and my ears perked up a bit.

    #13@Tom Waits: We actually have at least three internal options for center field that are better than Taveras, four if you count Drew Macias.

    On another note, Charlie Haeger and Clay Hensley have been non-tendered.

  16. im actually upset about the non-tendering of hensley, hes going to be a great pitcher if he can keep the shoulder intact

  17. #14@Geoff Young: You wouldn’t have to work hard to convince me that you’re a better CF option than Taveras.

    Hensley, like Geer, is another guy it would have made sense to trade when his basic numbers were out of whack with his career and his periphs. I hope the front office gets better at that. If there’s any group that should be able to look beyond ERA, even ERA+, and see how important K/BB is, it’s ours.

  18. One quick note, you can catch Geoff’s Top 20 Padres Prospects on Madfriars

    Geoff did a great job and has our thanks.

  19. what holes?

    The outfield is set. corners are set, catcher is set, though we still need a cheap backup. So the middle infield is the only glowing hole. They were going to address the middle infield cheaply whether they kept Peavy or not.

    they aren’t going to go into the free agent market and sign another starter, and Jake isn’t going to bring back two guys ready to go 6 every five days.

    so the only hole really is SS. a hole they just created to keep jake.

  20. #19@william: Forgive me if my sarcasm detector isn’t functioning properly this early in the morning, but basically the pitching staff is a mess and we have no idea what to expect from catcher, second base, and shortstop.

  21. please correct me if i am wrong, but we have Matt Antonelli, Travis Denker, Luis Rodriquez, Edgar Gonzalez, and Everth Cabrera all penciled onto the 25 man roster? Certainly they are on the 40. In the past, I could see Kevin bringing in a very cheap vet to compete, but times they are a changing. I agree they aren’t the best of choices, and in general, that middle infield should be considered “a hole”, but i have a feeling that is what we are taking to spring training. Maybe one more guy but he will be cheap.

    Jake Peavy’s contract shouldn’t have any bearing on the middle infield.

    at least thats my thinking.

  22. 20: The same old problems the Padres always have, starting pitching, and up the middle. It’s weird that despite being successful at Petco (until last year), there is always a flaw even while having a couple of good pitchers shoring up the top of the rotation. One would have thought that getting decent back end starters wouldn’t be so hard.

    The Loretta and Greene years didn’t happen together for long and somehow the opposite side would just suck.

    I hope Hensley gets better and will have a somewhat decent career as a reliever.

  23. #21@william: Return on Peavy + $11 million off the books should make it easier to fill some holes, of which there are many.

  24. I’m guessing that Mark Worrell is replacing Hensley.

  25. The Padres already decided to not be competitive in 2009 when they decided to cut their payroll in half. So, saying that it will be difficult to be competitive without cutting Peavy’s salary is kind of a moot point. At least with Peavy, they have a chance to be competitive in games every 5th day (at least until the 6th or 7th inning).

  26. #25@Geoff B: It isn’t only 2009 that concerns me. The longer Peavy stays in San Diego, the less flexibility the Padres have. Period. That will continue to be a problem as long as a) Peavy remains on the roster and b) the ownership situation remains unresolved.

    At some point the Padres need to be competitive. At least, I hope they do.

  27. Why does rebuilding have to mean fielding a bad team?

    Why does cutting payroll have to mean not being competitive?

  28. #27@Kevin: If you don’t have a strong farm system and the lowered payroll prevents you from filling holes through free agency, then that’s exactly what rebuilding means. We don’t have a strong farm system, particularly in starting pitching, which unfortunately happens to be our biggest weakness.

    The only way the 2009 team competes is insane, absolutely insane, luck. As in, the guys we get for Peavy (assuming he’s traded) all contribute, Mark Prior’s healthy on opening day and throws 200 innings, and Young is healthy all year, and the crud at the back of the rotation sacrifices a chicken before every start and keeps their collective ERA under 4.5.

  29. #27@Kevin: Those are good questions. One thing that might be worth studying is the payroll distribution of teams that have been competitive in recent years despite a relative lack of funds. My suspicion is that you’d find more balance — possibly a lot more — than what the Padres currently have, although I haven’t tested the hypothesis.

  30. I guess what I’m trying to say is: “Rebuilding” has become a sports cliche that means nothing. It’s sort of code for — we’re going to be bad for the next few years, but it’s OK, because we’re rebuilding.

    First, it’s not OK. If a team loses 90+ for three years or more, they are not rebuilding. They are really bad. (I know this is not relevant to the current Padres.)

    Second, teams can reduce payroll and improve, and teams can improve while rebuilding.

    The Padres could improve in 2009 just through blind luck. It’s a feat to lose 99 games. Granted, losing 90 would still be lousy.

    But it’s also possible Kouzmanoff and Headley improve a notch or two, centerfield is a real strength with Gerut and Venable and Giles remains about where he is. Yes, catcher is a big question and the middle infield is a mess, but it would be hard to be worse in those spots in 2009.

    Maybe Towers puts together an excellent bullpen again. My guess is Peavy and Young will play more like they did in 2007 than they did in 2008.

    The starting pitching still stinks.

    I’m sort of rambling here, but I get the impression that some fans and commentors on various blogs think that the Padres will definitely lose 100 games next season.

    I’m sure they COULD. But not if their young, cheap, lesser known team plays better than last year’s more expensive, known quantities.

  31. #30@Kevin: Oh, I think you’re exactly right in terms of general team competitiveness. The 09 squad with Peavy, Young, and a healthy portion of luck might get within shouting distance of .500. Don’t know what their chances are, but not 0%. But any improvement is going to have to come through a lot of our own players progressing or by rolling the hard six with reclamation pitchers.