Saturday Links (1 May 10)

Hi there, and welcome to a very special “Day Job Kicked My Keester This Week” edition of Saturday Links…

  • Padres Win Streak Ends; We go To Lake Elsinore to See The Storm (Avenging Jack Murphy). Mike visits The Diamond at Lake Elsinore and, like everyone else who goes there, falls in love.
  • Latos vs LeBlanc in the rotation? (Padres Trail). A different Mike wonders about the back end of the Padres rotation and suggests that maybe Mat Latos should be sent down when Chris Young returns from the DL. I see Mike’s point, but I wouldn’t jerk Latos around on the basis of four starts.
  • Seriously, now… (The Watson Files). Dan Watson offers his thoughts on some current TinCaps players: “Rymer Liriano has a TON of potential. He’s 18, he’s built like a tank, shows all five tools and is still learning the game.”
  • Visual Baseball: Introducing the Score Tracker (Hardball Times). Kevin Dame gives use more cool charts.
  • Good GMs, Bad Agents (FanGraphs). Matt Klaassen uses the recent Ryan Howard contract extension as a launching point for a fascinating question: “What interests me is the comparison of the negative cases: while someone might call a general manager ‘terrible’ or ‘incompetent’ because of foolish contracts, I’ve never read a piece going on at length that an agent should be fired because of an extremely team-favorable contract.”
  • Why We Watch (FanGraphs) Carson Cistulli asks, “Why do we watch? Or, more specifically: all things being equal, what compels us to watch one game and not another?” and identifies five potential criteria. I might suggest a sixth: being at the ballpark.
  • Pair of Padres in fine form … at the hoop? ( Matt Antonelli and Wade LeBlanc are famous on the Internet.
  • Is the win a useless statistic? (Hardball Times). Pat Andriola suggests that “If we want to attract casual fans to sabermetrics, then instead explain why wins are useless!” Speaking from personal experience, it’s difficult to get people to hear things they don’t want to hear. And I’ll piggyback on Studes in the comments, who says: “I like to think in terms of wins.”
  • Incidentally gang, beer fest is terrible (Sacrifice Bunt). Hard to tell from the title, but I don’t think Melvin liked Friday night’s promotion.
  • NL Central: Trouble brewing in Milwaukee bullpen (Kansas City Star). Speaking of terrible, that’s the kind of start Trevor Hoffman is off to this year. Reader LynchMob shares his thoughts: “Hoffy’s struggles seem to be exceeding anything I/we’ve groused about in the past… is the end now near? I know I’ve Chicken-Littled before… but… really! Especially with a prospect at AAA (Zach Braddock) being lights-out (11.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 22 K).”
  • Video: Bango strikes again, this time from above the rim (Ball Don’t Lie). LynchMob also sends us this, noting that “The Chicken now has some competition for ‘best mascot’.” Indeed.

That’s all, peeps…

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11 Responses »

  1. Here’s the funnest fact I’ve heard today … who got the first hit in Petco Park history?

    … says it was Lance Zawadzki!

  2. I’d normally agree with you about Latos, but the Padres have six starters and somebody has to leave the rotation to make room for Young. Latos is the youngest, the least experienced and has the worst performance.

    Mat pitches Saturday, and LeBlanc on Tuesday. Young has a Sunday rehab and would be available on Friday, but the Padres have Thursday off, Latos’ next start. Garland’s normal next day after Sunday is also Friday, and the Padres have the following Monday off.

    It looks like a good time for Bud to re-arrange his rotation! Does he keep the rotation order, skipping both Latos and Richard, giving Young another rehab start to kick the can down the road, or does he mix up his rotation order for the 10 game stretch with the Dodgers and Giants, with Seattle, St.Louis, Washington and the Mets coming up?

    I know what I’D do – hand off that question to the proprietor of Ducksnorts! But It would be nice to know what Latos does Saturday and Young does Sunday.

  3. @LynchMob: I had forgotten that. Do you (or anyone else) remember who hit the first home run at Petco Park?

    @Larry: Good points, although you give me entirely too much credit at the end. I will say this much: These are much nicer problems to have than trying to decide between Josh Geer, Shawn Hill, Walter Silva, et al. I don’t know if any of the current starters could work out of the ‘pen, but CY’s return might provide an excuse to jettison Sean Gallagher and move someone else into long-relief duty.

  4. Geoff, as always, thanks for the link.

    LeBlanc has pitched his butt off so far, which is why I think it would be inherently unfair to send him back to Portland. Latos has been bi-polar this season (good start, then a not so good one, etc), but those results haven’t made him a slam-dunk to send down either IMO.

    I like the thought of moving Gallagher out and one of them to the bullpen, but then we’re back to square one: who do you send?

    I’m glad I don’t have to make this decision.

  5. I don’t think moving Latos to long-relief (and waiving Gallager to AAA) is a bad idea … there was still talk going into this season of limiting Latos’ IP for the season … now’s a good time to act on it … just slow him down … take some pressure off him …

  6. @Mike: My pleasure. Thanks for providing the food for thought.

    On further reflection, I’d go with LynchMob’s suggestion and move Latos to the bullpen. I might explain Earl Weaver’s Eighth Law to Latos first so that he understands this isn’t a demotion, but rather a way to ease him into his eventual role. I might also point out that Johan Santana began his career in long relief (65% of his appearances from 2000 to 2003 were out of the ‘pen; of course, he won the first of his two Cy Young awards in 2004, so that worked out okay).

    Latos has upside and is the one the Padres need to protect. LeBlanc, not so much. LeBlanc is what he is (which is a better pitcher than he gets credit for being) and seems to have overcome whatever issues he had on first arriving in San Diego. Not that he won’t be tested again, but right now he looks more big-league rotation ready to me than Latos (who is doing a credible job himself, but again, someone has to move when CY returns).

  7. What LynchMob said. If the intention is to keep a leash on Latos with his IP then why not let him do his work out of the pen (considering how well LeBlanc is throwing). I’d rather see Latos stay and work in relief than have Gallagher stay. Of course, I’m a selfish sob…

    Thanks for the link from me as well, Geoff.

  8. Um, maybe the Padres don’t have to rush the Latos/LeBlanc debate … CY didn’t get out of the 1st inning @ San Antonio today …

  9. As LM says, we could be weeks away from making a CY-based decision. He’s now been out a month with an ailment that was originally called “not a big deal.” Wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t pitch in the majors until the end of the month. Wouldn’t really surprise me if he’s out until June.

    With every win, and with every 3 walk “performance” in the 9th inning of a blowout, it becomes harder to justify keeping Gallagher on the active roster. Bud Black must have nearly erotic dreams of replacing him with Russell.

    I’m not sure that Weaver would convert Latos at the major league level, after he spent all spring and the first month working on the 5 day schedule. That doesn’t mean we can’t make it work, but there’d be some adjustment period.

  10. @Tom: That is a good point about an adjustment period. As you say, though, the decision may not be made for a while.