I Wouldn’t Miss You if I Had Better Aim

Monday morning, it appeared that Everth Cabrera would make the big club as the Padres backup middle infielder. Despite Cabrera’s train wreck of a 2010 campaign and a less-than-inspired spring training, the path looked clear after Kevin Frandsen, the only legitimate contender for the job, was released on Friday.

As I quipped on Twitter, “Never dreamed I’d miss Jerry Hairston Jr. this much.”

Monday afternoon, we learned that the Padres traded for Nationals infielder Alberto Gonzalez, inspiring another Twitter quip: “I hope Alberto Gonzalez is a better pitcher than Josh Wilson.”

I’m not going to explain that joke. If you were here when the Josh Wilson Experience rolled through town, you know what I mean. If not, it would be a gross overexaggeration to say you didn’t miss much. Besides, it’s not funny.

The point is that Gonzalez is basically Wilson:

Player           Age  PA   BA  OBP  SLG OPS+
Alberto Gonzalez  28 641 .253 .292 .331  66
Josh Wilson       30 920 .227 .281 .315  63

Gonzalez cost RHP Erik Davis (who “relies a lot on change” according to Tom Krasovic), while Wilson cost a mere waiver claim. Of course, Hairston is a much better player than either could hope to be, which is sad until you realize… actually, it’s sad regardless of what you realize.

Other available options not exercised include former Padres Luis Rodriguez and Oscar Robles. Hey, go big.

Here are the career lines of our various heroes:

Player           Age  PA   BA  OBP  SLG OPS+
Alberto Gonzalez  28 641 .253 .292 .331  66
Luis Rodriguez    31 984 .243 .316 .323  74
Oscar Robles      35 471 .260 .323 .348  78
Josh Wilson       30 920 .227 .281 .315  63

I’m not interested in debating the relative (de)merits of each. This is just an elaborate excuse to point out a few things.

  • Rodriguez played at Triple-A Charlotte in the White Sox organization last year. Splitting time between second base and shortstop, he hit .293/.364/.493, with 16 home runs.
  • Robles hasn’t seen big-league action since 2007. He spent last season with the Mexico City Reds and hit .355/.443/.486, tying for 10th in the Mexican League in batting average. Sounds exciting, right? Well, okay, but he was tied with D’Angelo Jimenez. And both finished two slots behind Ruben Rivera, who hit .360.
  • Speaking of Rivera, the sure thing that wasn’t has become a beast for the Campeche Pirates over the past several years:
    Year Age  PA   BA  OBP  SLG BB SO
    2005  31 354 .342 .432 .621 44 66
    2007  33 448 .344 .435 .628 57 65
    2008  34 446 .350 .464 .637 66 74
    2009  35 477 .344 .461 .669 77 51
    2010  36 412 .360 .456 .610 57 48

    Check out the plate discipline. Turns out, all Rivera needed was to age 10 years and not face big-league pitching. With numbers like those, I’ll bet he can afford to buy all the Derek Jeter merchandise he wants.

Anyway, I miss Hairston. I’m kidding about the other guys. Sort of.

* * *

  • 2011 Umpire Projections (FanGraphs). Fascinating.
  • NL West Preview (Baseball Musings). David Pinto has the Padres finishing fourth, which is a popular opinion this spring. As I noted on Twitter (I sure waste a lot of time over there, eh?), “Consensus last year was Padres would finish 5th in NL West and they came in 2nd. This year, I’m seeing 4th… so champs, right?” [h/t reader Didi]
  • TinCaps add new dimension to game (MiLB.com). From the article: “The Class A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, will feature a variety of 3D segments on the Parkview Field videoboard during April 7′s gala season opener.” As long as James Cameron didn’t “write” the plot, it should be fine.
  • MLB over/unders: SweetSpotters weigh in (SweetSpot). The Padres are at 75.5 wins; 6 of us went with the over, 4 took the under.
  • Q & A with Jonah Keri, Author of The Extra 2% (619Sports). John Conniff chats with Keri about his latest book.
  • Cooperstown Confidential: Stories of Bobby Grich (Hardball Times). Grich is another of my favorites from childhood. Brian Downing, too…
  • Scrutinizing Sabean (Baseball Prospectus). Grant Bisbee of McCovey Chronicles pens a guest piece. He had me at, “Somewhere out there, a stathead is hunkered down in his neighbor’s gazebo.”
  • Community Forecast. Tom Tango is crowdsourcing playing time projections again. Padres are here. Go do it.
  • More Predictions That Will Be Wrong (FanGraphs). I love that Adrian Gonzalez is now considered a favorite for the AL MVP. As I said in the Ducksnorts 2009 Baseball Annual, “If Gonzalez played in New York or Boston, you’d be sick of hearing about him by now.”
  • FanGraphs Top 100 Prospects (FanGraphs). Another day, another list… Padres represented are RHP Casey Kelly (no. 30), RHP Simon Castro (no. 54), and 1B Anthony Rizzo (no. 72).
  • 2011 Padres Minor League Season Preview (Friarhood). I’m excited to see this year’s Lake Elsinore Storm. An outfield featuring Reymond Fuentes and Rico Noel could be spectacular, at least on the defensive side.