Rapid Revolution

What fascinates me is how quickly it all happened. The Padres lost their 99th game of the season on September 28, and a little more than four months later, everything had changed.

Sure, Petco Park is still here, as are Kevin Towers and Bud Black. Adrian Gonzalez hasn’t left, nor has Jake Peavy (though not for lack of effort).

Here is a brief recap of key figures that have left since the end of the ’08 season:

Did You Hear an Explosion?
Date Name Role Status
Nov 3 Matt Vasgersian TV voice of Padres since 2002 Left to become first studio host at MLB Network
Dec 4 Khalil Greene Best shortstop in club history Traded to Cardinals for minor-league reliever Mark Worrell
Jan 13 Trevor Hoffman Best reliever in club history (and one of best in baseball history); face of franchise since Tony Gwynn retired Signed as free agent with Brewers
Feb 3 John Moores Majority owner since December 1994; target of fans who felt he owed them more than he was willing/able to give Sold team to Jeff Moorad
Feb 3 Sandy Alderson CEO since May 2005; architect of plan that worked pretty well for three years out of four Announced he would leave team once transition to Moorad’s group is complete
Feb 5 Matt Bush Former first pick overall who couldn’t hit, became a pitcher, blew out his arm, got into off-field trouble, and generally represented organization’s failure to implement a sound draft process Designated for assignment to make room for Cliff Floyd

This is called swift and decisive action. Heck, I can’t clean house that fast, and I’ve only got about 1200 square feet.

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32 Responses »

  1. Hope the new owner takes a lesson from the new Angel owner, make going to petco fun again, family friendly, less expensive. And please, if nothing else, improve the excitement of Padres baseball with a good lead off man who can steal a base and create some offensive excitement.

  2. You forgot about Philly Billy….The Friar Wire is no more!

  3. Matty is the biggest loss.

  4. I can live with all of the losses, losing Matty V does hurt. I hope the new guy mixes better with Mud’s personality than Steve Quis.

    I think Alderson did some really good things here, but the man will never be appreciated by this fan base, so for my own sanity, I’m glad that I won’t have to read another gripey post about Alderson again. As long as Fuson continues to head up our amateur drafts, I will be happy.

  5. +1 on the loss of Matt Vasgersian being the biggest loss for next season. I am a recent transplant (2004) and can attribute the beginning of my padres fandom to the fun of the ch 4 telecast.

    The sad thing is that neither Matt nor Mud are as interesting apart. There was something in the chemistry that they had that made even bad games fun to watch. (e.g. the 22 inning colorado game would be impossible to watch with standard broadcasters)

    Sandy Alderson leaving would seem like a hit if not for the seeming similarity of the Moorad philosophy. San Diego needs to understand how to build good teams on a small budget. SD metro is relatively small and unless we occupy more of mexico, that will never change. So we have to have an owner that will not bend to the UT commenters “Manny! Manny! Manny!” chants, and try to use the money that we have wisely. I just hope that the new ownership does a better job of selling this philosophy. (hard to do with the napoleonic complex that SD seems to have)

  6. I think Alderson is more of a loss than Vasgersian, and I like Vasgersian.

  7. Jeff Moorad represented Matt Bush when he was an agent.

  8. The house is being cleaned or destroyed depending on your perspective. Mine? I’m kind of getting excited to see what this team can do. Most of the players will be a year older and more experienced. You just never know how it’ll all pan out.

    Now that the expectations are gone it won’t hurt as much if we have a losing season. What do we have to lose? Keep some of those rookies and newbies in the lineup and let them mature.

    Sucks Matt V. is gone.

    Here’s to 2009!!!

  9. #1-Stolen bases are fun to watch, but so are home runs–which tend to win a lot more ball games. I wonder if Moorad–perhaps less attached to original park dimensions–will consider bringing in the fences in the power alleys?

  10. Alderson/Towers/DePodesta/Fuson built this team (and did a GREAT job – they went to playoffs while completely rebuilding/stocking the farm). In 2-3 years when the big league Padres are real good, I wonder if any media types will give Alderson any credit?

  11. Matt V, Home Runs, Stolen Bases – I miss them all.

  12. 1) Khalil Greene was not the best shortstop the Padres have had either in terms of defense or offense. I would take several over Greene on defense, Ozzie and Templeton come to mind, and Greene’s atrocious numbers in clutch situations such as RISP (.247 career and .145 in 2008) and RISP with 2 outs (.199 career and .065 in 2008) and with 2 strikes or 2 outs are enough to push him down the list on offense.

    Yes, he hit an occasional HR, but his constant injuries and lack of offensive production when it counted are huge strikes against him.

    2) Greene was traded for Worrell, who is expected to be in the Padres bullpen this year AND a PTBNL.

    3) Not all or even most fans feel that way about Moores. A vocal minority do online.

    Moores brought more wins and titles to this town than we have ever seen before.

    Anyone who is saying anything other than that is really just whining and is undoubtedly a bandwagon fan. I for one am very thankful for what John and Becky Moores have done for the franchise after all I had to endure since arriving in San Diego in 1985.

    So the question becomes, should we really listen to the minority instead of the many who like all the winning we have seen?

    I will miss Vasgersian, Hoffman, Moores and Alderson and I hope that Moorad can continue the process we have seen the FO of the Padres doing the past 4 years.

    Keep the Faith!

  13. Mike, Have you seen some of the photos taken during the Fans Day on the Field of the surveyors lines that were laid out on the field?

    The outfield fence by the beach was also torn down.

    We may be seeing some of those types of changes sooner, rather than later.

  14. OT … Some fun baseball news …

    http://www.npbtracker.com/2009/02/ichiro-working-out-as-a-pitcher/

    I know it’s unfair to the majority of baseball players, but sometimes it seems like Ichiro! might be the only guy out there not on ‘roids … sigh …

  15. Leave the Park dimension alone.

  16. Holy Moley!!!! Dirk Hayhurst was released by the Jays to make room for Matt Bush! That is absolutely horrible news! Man, I hope we grab Dirk again; he is a great guy and I would love to have him back in the Padres organization.

  17. #13@websoulsurfer:

    1) Overall, Greene performed better during than Ozzie or Tempy. On a per-game basis, the one guy you could make a case for ahead of Greene is Fernandez, and he wasn’t here long enough.

    2) Worrell’s upside is Cla Meredith. The PTBNL won’t be much. This deal was all about shedding $6M. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but let’s be honest about it.

    3). Online. On the radio. In the papers. The dissatisfaction with Moores is pretty rampant.

    #17@Kevin: Interesting. I think I put them at 72-75 wins in the THT Season Preview.

    #18@Pat: Yeah, that stinks for Dirk. I would love to see him back here as well.

  18. #11@Peter Friberg:

    Alderson/Towers/DePodesta/Fuson inherited a farm system that was ranked 29th by Baseball America in 2006, after being 27th the year before.

    Last week the Padre farm system was ranked 29th by Baseball America.

    New paint on the walls isn’t rebuilding.

    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/rankings/organization-talent-rankings/

  19. #19@Geoff Young:

    1. Yeah. Greene was a league-average hitter in his full seasons except for 2008 with good (not great) defense. Ozzie was never close to a league-average hitter with us, he was so far off that even his superlative D couldn’t make up the difference. Templeton was average once as a Padre with the stick.

    2. Yeah. An opportunity to be in the 2009 Padre bullpen is not so much a glowing endorsement as a sign of need. That was a full-bore, hold-on-to-the-sink-for-leverage dump.

    3. Yeah. It’s not just a noisy few. My sense is that Moores is the most reviled of the current cast, then Alderson, then Towers, but with Towers not catching much more flak than most GMs do from a certain percentage of the fan base.

    That projected won-loss record assumes that Peavy and Giles are both here. That might happen, but if we trade both of them in July, we’re almost certain to crater the last two months.

  20. #13@websoulsurfer: I’ve been pretty critical of Moores as I think he’s a pretty crappy owner — the butchering of the #1 pick in 2004, reportedly his decision, puts him on par with the worst owners in professional sports. Moores did only one thing good as owner of the Padres — he ultimately was responsible for hiring Kevin Towers. Now maybe it was his idea, then again, maybe he had nothing to do with it — either way he signed off on it and that is the reason the Padres have been successful since he’s been the owner (of course, splitting into three divisions and doubling the playoff spots didn’t hurt either).

    Speaking of Baseball America, they are running college baseball previews (they are starting in the East and working their way West so they haven’t gotten out here yet) I read that Univ. of Florida pitcher Tommy Toledo, the Padres 3rd round pick in 2007, is undergoing Tommy John surgery. It looks like being drafted by the Padres is the kiss of death! Also, I guess we can’t complain about the Padres not signing him now.

  21. #20@Tom Waits: I know that’s how BA ranked the padres system but do you really think their farm system is at the same level it was in 06?

  22. John Moores deserves some credit for the progress the team has made in the last decade plus, but let’s remember that when the push for the new ballpark came in 1998 it was Larry Lucchino who was out front and center. Also, the ballpark may never have been built had we not won the pennant that season, and that team was put together by Kevin Towers. Towers, with the help of Alderson and DePodesta and others, also put together the winning teams from 2004-2007, not Moores. It seems to me that Moores gets a lot of credit for the team’s on-field success when in reality he has very little to do with that. Yes he signs the checks, but it’s the GM and his staff’s job to pick who gets those checks.

    Moores is leaving the Padres having been an MIA figure over the last season and also ordering a drastic slash in payroll that has cost the team a chance to be very competitive just a year after a 99 loss season. Is the slash in payroll justified? I don’t know, I don’t look at the Padres’ books. But I do know that if KT was working with $55 million instead of $40 million, we would probably be looking at a solid 3rd starter and an above average middle infield. That team wouldn’t be a world beater but it would more than likely stay in the race till September, which seems to fit the organization’s goals. Instead we’re looking at a team full of minor leaguers, AAA veterans, and fringe major leaguers, along with the two best players on the trading block and the franchise’s face playing in Milwaukee. Moores hung the franchise out to dry last season and especially this off-season, and the team and fans are paying for it. Everything good he’s done was indeed good, but his time as owner did not end happily.

  23. #18@Pat: I agree about Hayhurst and hope to see him back as well. He’s certainly someone to root for. Baseball needs more Dirk Hayhursts.

  24. #13@websoulsurfer: I’m not a Greene fan, but he is pretty clearly the best Padres SS ever. Obviously no one is on par with Ozzie defensively, but Greene was an above average defender with the ability to make a spectacular play. I think it would be pretty tough to make a convincing argument Tempy was better even though he was also very good. Offensively Greene was horrible last year, but not bad, especially for a SS, for his career. He was clearly superior to either Ozzie or Tempy during their time in SD. If you’re going to put together an All Time Padres Team, based on their careers in SD ONLY, Greene is definitely the starting SS with Ozzie as a late inning defensive replacement/pinch runner.

  25. #23@Steve C: I don’t have nearly the breadth of knowledge of other farm systems that BA does. Nobody who doesn’t study prospects for a living can have the range of information needed to compare all the systems. Disputing our specific place from 20 to 30 is splitting hairs.

    It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that this year’s crop of prospects will be immune to the things that happened to the prospects of 2005 or 2006. Cesar Carrillo was a GREAT pitching prospect in 2006. He’d already made it to AA in his first pro season. I’d have no problem ranking the 2006 version of Carrillo above any pitcher currently in the system, combining stuff, polish, and performance. Then he got hurt. Ben Johnson had just dominated AAA as a 24 year old. That’s a cautionary tale for anyone (including me) who is overly hyped about Kellen Kulbacki dominating High A.

    Would I take the current Padre minor league system over the 2006 version? Sure, but that’s partly because I already know the misfortune that befell some of those 2006 players, while the misfortunes that will befall some (hopefully not many) of the 2008 players have yet to be seen. There’s no way the system has been overhauled to the point that it can reasonably be called “rebuilt.”

  26. #23@Steve C: There’s a near-perpetual cycle of rationalization in some quarters for our prospects. 2006 makes a nice reference point; many Padre fans back then argued that our overall ranking was unfair because it didn’t give proper credit to a catcher with an 800+ OPS in the Southern League (Kottaras) or a 22 year old athletic 2b who was prized so highly that the team traded Mark Loretta to make room for him (Barfield). At the start of 2007 I was told by a fellow DSer not to worry about Carrillo, that he’d be fine without surgery.

    The names change, but the claim that we’re not getting our due remains the same. Unless, of course, Baseball America ranks us 12th. When that happened, Baseball America was Omniscent. They suddenly weren’t overlooking us or being unfair to us or punishing us for the flop picks of 03 and 04. Now that the unfavorable rankings have begun to pile up again, after a brief hiatus, it’s back to selectively looking at certain statistics and acting like the authorities have it in for us.

    The rankings aren’t Fate. The strong Texas system could fail to graduate even a single average major leaguer in the next 3 years, while the World Series Champion Padres of 2011 could have an outfield of Decker-Hunter-Kulbacki behind the 950 strikeout starting staff of Peavy-Young-Latos-Carillo-Frieri. Yeah, that’s right, I said Frieri ’cause I love that kid. But people (not necessarily you) trying to pick and choose the rankings that they like and sweep the ones they don’t under the rug, what’s the point? People have been aggravated at bad rankings before and those bad rankings turned out to be wholly justified.

  27. Moores sure is taking a beating here. If anything good happened during his tenure, he deserves credit. If anything bad happened, he deserves blame. That sort of how the world works.

    I mean, of course, Moores hired Towers or approved it. He’s the owner. Of course, Towers built the 1998 team and all the other good Padres teams of his tenure. He’s the general manager.

    If Moores had the good sense or good luck to hire Towers, Lucchino, Alderson, etc., then good for him. That makes him a good owner. And Bush and all the other poor draft picks go in his debit column, because he was the owner.

    The model for baseball owners doesn’t have to be Steinbrenner, who is out front and center with his hands in every decision and jumping up and taking credit and sometimes blame for everything. I’m not faulting Steinbrenner, but that’s not the only way to do it.

  28. Padres Team Health Report at BP …

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8500 (subscriber only)

    No surprises … and interesting look at the names he included (lots of young pitchers: Geer, LeBlanc, for example) was just a sobering reminder of what’s ahead …

    What I thought was the most interesting comment was about Kouz …

    PECOTA still loves Kouzmanoff despite two years of relative disappointment. I’m worried that his shoulder came up clean in off-season surgery; a real problem there could have at least helped to explain his poor second-half performance.

    … worried that his shoulder came up clean? Bleh …

  29. #27@Tom Waits: I’m not disagreeing with the BA ranking, you’re right they know far more about the 30 teams minor league systems than all of us put together. I was talking more about if the padres system is better now than it was in 05 or 06. I didn’t really follow the system that closely back then so I really don’t know.

  30. #29@Kevin: Word! You can’t say Towers deserves the credit for building the winning teams and Lucchino deserves the credit for getting Petco built without acknowledging Moores was the one who hired them and financed them.