Open Thread: So, What’s On Your Mind?

What the heck, let’s try this again. You wanted open comments; go ahead, say something…

If you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few prompts to get you started:

  1. Who are your one or two breakout candidates for the 2011 Padres, and why?
  2. Which of the newcomers are you most excited to see?
  3. On a scale of 1 to 10, how did the front office do this off-season?

Take a moment to read the comments policy and then dazzle me with your brilliance.

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21 Responses »

  1. I’m glad you asked!
    I read Will Carroll’s piece (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/will_carroll/02/01/baseball-injuries/index.html) on the cost of injuries and the relative success of some clubs at preventing injuries over the last decade a few days ago and have been mulling it over. Among the key nuggets:
    What’s clear is that player movement can be affected by the team context. It allows a team like the Brewers to make a deal for Shaun Marcum, knowing that even with his significant injury history, he’s more likely to stay healthy in Milwaukee’s rotation than in Toronto’s.

    I know that many of the Padres players in the earlier part of last decade were very vocal about the skills of both the medical and training – particularly the massage – staff. I’d love to know whether that remains in place even though Kelly Calabrese isn’t around to offend Keith Hernandez any more, and how much guys like Dr. Fronek and other team physicians are involved in developing injury-prevention regimens for minor leaguers.

  2. 1. Believe it or not, Ludwick. I expect him to be the player he was in St. Louis, with numbers down only somewhat due to Petco.

    2. The O-Dog. The guy is a winner — an important regular for teams which have made the playoffs in three of the last four years. Major coup by the front office to land him.

    3. 10. Hard to see how they could have done much better.

  3. 1. I like Stauffer to solidify his spot in the starting rotation and Cameron Maybin to respond to getting the everyday nod in CF. I hope @The_Slasher14 is right but I think Ludwick was a product of hitting in front of Albert Pujols. I’m wrong about a ton of stuff though so that’s working in Luddy’s favor.

    2.) Obviously, I love the Maybin deal. Giving up relievers for a high ceiling talent is always a win in my book. I don’t think O-Dog and Bartlett will be spectacular but they’ll give more than JHairston/Eckstein offensively/defensively without losing intangibles of post-season experience and leadership.

    3.) It’s difficult to grade the front office without knowing what Kelly/Rizzo/Fuentes will become and without them contributing to the team this year. But if you examined it as though AGon were a free agent who walked after the 2010 season (due to salary demands) and there was no compensation (giving no consideration to compensatory picks the next year) how could you not rate the winter a huge success?

    Jed Hoyer has $42 million+/- to work with and he acquired Hawpe/Cantu/Bartlett/Hudson/Harangue/Maybin… which I find crazy. Jed knows how to use what’s available to him and that bodes well for the future.

    So, I’d give him the front office a conservative 8.

  4. My break out candidate is Venable. He looked like he was going to break out last year, then he came down with a bad case of Petcoitous. It all depends on how he responds, when a couple of his cannon shots get caught in death valley. If he accepts it and moves on, he could have a big year. On the other hand, if he lengthens in his swing, in order to get just a little more power. He will spend the season chasing breaking balls in the dirt.

  5. These kind of questions are hard for me … which is why I don’t have my own blog :-) But I’ll take a shot …

    Who are your one or two breakout candidates for the 2011 Padres, and why?

    I don’t see any … Latos is already broken out, imo … I’m hoping Blanks returns and turns into the stud that his AA numbers suggest is (was?) possible … perhaps Tim Stauffer turns into an above-average starter … maybe Luebke … and of course I hope Venable or Headley … but those seem like more hopes than possibilities.

    But don’t get me wrong … I think the team will again exceed pundit expectations … I think they have good depth, in that they have a lot of players who I expect will be slightly above average … and I think that gets them to 80-85 wins … I guess that assumes that they don’t trade Bell, or that, if they do, the rest of the bully steps up and they continue to provide the late-inning shutdown that they did last season.

    Which of the newcomers are you most excited to see?

    Maybin … just hoping, again, that the Padres can find a Jason Bay-type stud (and this time, keep him)

    Harang … Padres need as much good starting pitching as they can get

    On a scale of 1 to 10, how did the front office do this off-season?

    I like what they’ve done … I’d say 8 … the major leaguers they’ve gotten seem solid … and the pundits like the trio hauled in from the BoSox for Adrian …

  6. It’s also worth noting that while Cameron Maybin and Adrian Gonzalez are entirely different types of players they are similar in that they were high draft picks who didn’t have someone commit to running them out there each day to work through their problems when they began to struggle.

    Had Klesko returned from injury in 2006 Bochy would have yanked Adrian when he was going through that horrendous swoon during the summer. Klesko stayed hurt. Adrian developed. Now we have all of Boston’s prospects. Phil Nevin is a similar high draft pick story who didn’t get it going until he hopped through a few organizations and then he stuck with the ’99 Padres.

    It’s a mental game and some times these guys just need someone to show faith in them even when they struggle. I hope this is the case with Maybin.

  7. The breakout player this year will be Will Venible, and possibly Nick Hundley. These two are prime for a great year.

  8. Who are your one or two breakout candidates for the 2011 Padres, and why?
    Maybin. Because he is going to be relied on in Center Field and will finally play more than half of a season. I think his consistent use will help him become more consistent at the plate, and his speed is going to be used often to steal bases and move him into scoring position.

    Which of the newcomers are you most excited to see?
    Maybin. I think that the trade for Maybin is going to payoff. Giving up two of our relievers, who were not really a part of our best set of 5 relievers, for a (hopefully) everyday young CF, with tons of upside. Good trade, and I am excited to see him out there in a Padres uniform.

    On a scale of 1 to 10, how did the front office do this off-season?
    9.5- Pretty solid outfield with Ludwick, Veneble, and Maybin, with Denorfia and Cunningham as good backups (Hawpe too if needed). Much better middle infield with O-Dog and Bartlett, but we could use a back up SS; we need someone better than Everth, I cringe every time that guy is in the lineup. 3rd is still solid with Headley and we added Cantu to finally give him rest during the year. 1st, although a huge step down from A-Gon, is not bad with Hawpe and Cantu trading off, and Blanks hopefully coming back during the year. Same, best bullpen and closer in the league. Different, but good starting rotation. Iffy backups at catcher, hopefully one of them pans out. I am excited that they made all of these moves after trading A-Gon. The only knocks i think that do not make it a 10 is the backups at SS and C, and I would have liked them to grab a starting pitcher that could take some pressure off of Latos. Maybe Harang can be that guy if he has a better year, and hopefully PetCo Park will help him out with that. Overall, a good off season, considering the loss of A-Gon. Looking good for this year, and for next year with some of the prospects we got from the A-Gon trade.

  9. I agree, Veneble. He seems to have the talent, the athleticism and the confidence. Hopefully he’s surrounded by enough experience that he can pick himself up when he slumps.

  10. Ya, I know this is not a reliable source, but I heard HACKsaw mention today of a possible trade of Wade LeBlanc. Anyone else hear this?

  11. 1.Who are your one or two breakout candidates for the 2011 Padres, and why?

    I’m with Lynch on this one. I don’t see any breakout candidates. I love the optimism on Venable, but I don’t share it. Blanks has too far to go to come back from his injury. Relative to his to-date MLB performance, Maybin is the closest to a breakout candidate, but I don’t expect him to be good relative to the average MLB player, just in relation to what he’s done so far.

    2.Which of the newcomers are you most excited to see?

    Cameron Maybin and Cameron Maybin and Cameron Maybin and Cameron Maybin!!!!!!

    3.On a scale of 1 to 10, how did the front office do this off-season?

    Does this thing go to 11? Unreal, unbelieveable, phenomenal! Thrree of Boston’s Top 10 prospects for one player with one year of below market value left. A potential star for a couple of relievers. A complete overhaul of the middle infield for a few more low level prospects and a very reasonable FA deal. A couple of bargain basement pickups to shore up the corner infield. I think it was truly extraordinary what the FO accomplished given its contstraints!

  12. Believe it or not, I see Headley as a breakout candidate. I think this is the year that he finally puts together a full season of baseball and hits .290/.360/.470 with 19 hrs and 80rbi.

    I like the front office moves to keep this a competetive team without sacraficing the future or tangling up their payroll for years to come. The Padres should be the type of team to have payroll flexability at the deadline for the next couple of years, should they find themselves in contention.

    Excited to see if Harang can bounce back and be dominant at Petco.

  13. 1. I want Blanks to be that player, but getting at bats coming off an injury with Venable, Maybin and Ludwick will be the challenge.

    2. It will be interesting to see how Hawpe re-adjusts to 1st base. Petco is not Coors Field, but he has shown in the past that he can put up big numbers.

    3. I think Hoyer added enough pieces to replace AG by committee. He brought in veteran players and largely kept in tact one of the best staffs in baseball. On paper, I give him a 10. Looking forward to another competitive season from the Pads.

  14. As far as breakout candidates go, I don’t know if I see anyone that will truly break out. Improvements? Sure, but not so much to constitute a breakout. If I had to pick one, it would be Headley, but that may be wishful thinking on my part. Venable, I believe, has his age working against him. He’s already 28, so I only expect better numbers as a result of more playing time.

    I’m really looking forward to Maybin. He may never ever be a star, but I will take Mike Cameron type production with a .250 BA and 15-20 homers and stellar defense.

    Finally, I think Jed did a great job this off-season. I’d give him a 9, only because I am not sold on Fuentes and was hoping for more than Patterson as the PTBNL.

  15. Is anyonse else worried about the starting rotation this season?

    Latos – How will he do in his second year around the league now that everyone has a book on him?
    Richards – Solid
    Harang – Can he bounce back in Petco?
    Stauffer – How will he do as a full time starter?
    5th starter – How much production can we expect to get out of this spot.

  16. PS thanks GY for doing this!

  17. My breakout candidates are Venable and Headley, not because they seem poised, but because they’re under pressure.

    Venable has shown flashes, but he got a late start in baseball and his baseball age requires that he show more at this point. He’s getting the starts in RF and 600 PAs to show what he can do. If he can’t do better than flashes, the Padres have other options.

    Same with Headley. His first year as a fulltime 3B he showed the defense, but he’s barely avarage for a 3B with the bat. If he doesn’t show more offensively, the Padres have other options there too.

    Maybin, Hundley and Gregerson didn’t make the cut. Maybin gets his first chance for a fulltime season, but he’s still a couple years away from a make-or-break year. This year is a test for Hundley, but if he’s not the starter, he’s the backup, and he plays a tough position to upgrade. Gregerson isn’t so much under pressure as having the opportunity to show he could be the closer. He’s under club control longer than Adams and is much younger and cheaper, so Jed is probably watching if he can mature enough to be a potential closer.

    I’m looking more at make-or-break than breakout, but I think Venable will show more as a regular than he has part time, and it’ll be good enough to be considered a breakout season. Headley concentrated on defense in his first full year at third, possibly because of the fawning over Kouz’ low error rate, but when he works on his hitting (and conditioning), the improvement will also be considered a breakout season.

  18. Hey, AJM … I’m with you … the stories of Adrian and Nevin are what I/we are hoping for Maybin … high draft pick prospects who didn’t dominate early in minor league career and got traded and then blossomed … can lightening strike a 3rd time??? :-) (4th time if you count Jason Bay, but I think he was more of a out-of-nowhere guy rather than high-draft-pick-late-bloomer guy)

  19. I am nowhere near as optimistic about Maybin as some of the others on here are. I just see him as a high K, low BA, low OBP hitter.
    I could see Ludwick having an improved year in 2011. Nothing outrageous, but better numbers across the board.

    Last season I picked Headley for a breakout year. He got off to a great start then fizzled. I still believe in him, and will make him my choice for breakout candidate in 2011

  20. What’s on my mind?

    1. let’s see, this is Feb 7 and next week would be: pitchers and catchers report!!!
    2. i love all the optimisms so far but i can’t help but wonder if the team will win 75 games this coming season. i think the team is capable of playing .500 for the season but a swing of 6-7 games either way can happen which would put the team at 75 (low end) or 88 (high end). i don’t see the pitching to hold up better than last year.
    3. when is Ludwick going to be traded?

    and if so, will Aaron Cunningham be the breakout player of the team? i see Luebke to be pitching much better than expected this season.

    as much as i love what the FO had done so far given all the restrictions put on the payroll, i’m a bit skeptical that the all pitching additions will work out well. offensively, the team improves (better production from OF, MI). some regression defensively and more regression from starting pitching (i expect the bullpen to be about league average this season) will add up to more losses than last season. i give the FO an 8 for the Adrian “trigonometry teacher” Gonzalez trade, and the MI pickups, and 7 for pitching side (given how poor the market was for FA) for an average of 7.5 score.