All Over Everything and Stuff

For a team headed nowhere, there sure is a lot going on, eh? Let’s get to it…


The Padres have DFA’d 1B/3B Jorge Cantu and recalled 1B/3B/LF Jesus Guzman from Triple-A Tucson. Cantu never got it going in San Diego, hitting just .194/.232/.285 and looking less than comfortable at both corner positions.

It’s easy to hate on a guy like Cantu for, frankly, stinking up the joint. Less easy is hating on someone who departs with class and grace:

The role I had, obviously, wasn’t to play every day, but the opportunities that [Black] gave me, which I’m very thankful for, I just couldn’t deliver. I understand.

Not that Cantu wants or needs my respect, but he’s got it. He also offered his thoughts on young phenom Anthony Rizzo:

You just watch him take those at-bats; he’s such a pro at such a young age. It’s a joy to watch him. I was in his shoes seven years ago, walking up the big leagues. And I’m just telling you, I’m happy to see kids like him have tremendous success. It’s a great ballclub here, and hopefully he matures early enough.

Still hating? I didn’t think so.

Meanwhile, here comes Guzman, minor-league hitting machine. The native of Venezuela is 27 years old and owns a career line of .305/.373/.480 in 3818 minor-league plate appearances. The right-handed hitter was batting .332/.423/.529 for the T-Padres at the time of his recall.

This isn’t Guzman’s first trip to the Show. He got into 12 games for the Giants in 2009, making his debut on May 21 at Petco Park against his current uniform (he grounded into a double play against Joe Thatcher and struck out against Heath Bell in a 3-2 Padres win).

Guzman looked terrific when I caught a couple of games in Tucson last month. The comparison to Pedro Guerrero may have been a bit over the top (Guerrero did hit 215 big-league homers), but the point is, Guzman can swing the bat.

Whether he can adjust to being a role player, as Cantu apparently could not, remains to be seen. If so, Guzman could be an Olmedo Saenz type weapon off the bench or maybe a better version of Oscar Salazar.


Two recently DFA’d players, 2B/OF Eric Patterson and LHP Aaron Poreda, cleared waivers and were outrighted to Tucson. We discussed Poreda at length the other day, but the gist of the situation is that the other 29 teams didn’t want him or Patterson, so both remain in the Padres organization for now.

What has changed? Well, it’s like going out on a date with an ex… And now the folks who couldn’t fix Poreda before will get another chance to do so. How far has his stock fallen? Apparently there was less demand for his services now than there was for Sean Gallagher’s last summer. That isn’t a ringing endorsement for one’s career.


In other news, the Padres are honoring Trevor Hoffman by retiring his number 51. There will be a ceremony on Sunday, August 21, after the game against the Florida Marlins, who traded Hoffman to San Diego as part of the 1993 Fire Sale.

Hoffman is the greatest closer I personally have seen (Mariano Rivera is better, but the only time I saw him was when he gave back the World Series that Bob Brenly tried to hand the Yankees in 2001). I was there for his 300th, 479th, and 500th saves, and again when he returned to San Diego as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. Hoffman always represented the team and the city well, and Trevor Time provided some of the most electrifying moments in my 35 or so years of sports fandom.

Congrats to Hoffman on the honor. It will be great to see 51 up there with the others. Next on the agenda: removing the 6.


Steve Garvey’s retired number isn’t the only thing that has outlived its usefulness. Take interleague play… please.

The Padres are in Minnesota this weekend for three against the Twins. How do you even market this series? Two last place teams, in different leagues, with two of the worst offenses in baseball… feel the excitement:

Team  W-L    BA  OBP  SLG OPS+
SD   30-40 .231 .301 .335  83
Min  28-39 .244 .304 .350  81

I enjoy a good pitchers duel, but not when it results from offensive ineptitude. The prospect of getting dominated by Brian Duensing does not amuse me.

Still, when I asked if folks are fired up for the series, I received a surprise. Four people said yes, which is four more than I expected. Huzzah!


  • Prospect of the Day: Anthony Bass, RHP, San Diego Padres (Minor League Ball). John Sickels on Bass: “I gave him a Grade C in the 2011 Baseball Prospect Book, but his performance in Double-A has been strong enough that the rating looks too low now.” [h/t reader LynchMob]
  • The good Stauff (Hardball Times). Funny, that was the title of the Padres’ souvenir program this past homestand. From the article: “The scouting projections in 2003 seem to be earning more credit, though the timing was a bit off.”
  • Why Did the Marlins Trade Maybin? (FanGraphs). Who cares? Let’s just all say thanks and leave it at that. From the article: “The move really made no sense for the Marlins, even before factoring in how well he’s played this season.” And yeah, don’t trade Miguel Cabrera for Ryan Webb, Edward Mujica, and Burke Badenhop.
  • Marlins ownership shows its true colors again (Yahoo!). In related news, Jeffrey Loria and David Samson are still asses. [h/t reader LynchMob]
  • Which Team Should Switch Leagues? (Baseball Nation). Rob Neyer offers two choices: Arizona or Houston. As many of Neyer’s readers note, the correct answer is the Brewers, who played in the American League through 1997. Or we could just eliminate divisions altogether.
  • Baseball: The Worst Thing That Ever Happened to You. (Dirk Hayhurst). More good stuff from our pal: “Pro baseball is not for the faint of heart, and, like a gang, it has its own jaded sense of values outside those of rational civilization.”
  • Pitchers’ Roundtable – the 1980s [Part Two] (FanGraphs). The discussion continues… Quoth Bud Black: “I think there’s still as much pitching inside today as there was, but back then there wasn’t as much hullabaloo if you did. Now the hitters make a bigger deal of it. You didn’t have that same reaction back in the ’80s.”
  • The best backup catcher in the majors (SweetSpot). David Schoenfield isn’t the first to profess his love for David Ross, who played for the Padres ever so briefly in 2006. I barely remember Ross’ time here; what I do remember is the home run he hit, while a member of the Dodgers, off SDSU alum Mark Grace back in 2002. It was Grace’s first and only big-league pitching appearance. He did a sweet Mike Fetters impression… What, you were expecting Rob Johnson?
  • Eugene Emeralds 2011 Season Preview (MadFriars). John Conniff gives us the scoop, including projected lineups and a chat with Randy Smith. Several 2011 draftees are on the roster, among them first-round pick Cory Spangenberg and USD alum Zach Kometani. Also appearing will be 2009 first-round pick Donavan Tate and one of my favorites, second baseman Jorge Minyeti.
  • MadFriars’ Interview with Kevin Goldstein (MadFriars). Goldstein talks about the Padres 2011 draft. He likes Joe Ross, Austin Hedges, and Mark Pope.
  • MadFriars’ Interview: Padres’ Jason McLeod (MadFriars). And here is a look at the same from within the organization. McLeod on Spangenberg: “…his skill set is what can really fit into PETCO Park. He’s not going to be a home run hitter, but I do think he will send a few over the wall. We see him more as someone that will hit for high average, can run and has very good on-base skills.”

Happy Friday. Go Padres!

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20 Responses »

  1. re: removing the 6 … you know I’ve tried … and you know I’d be the first to comment. Seriously, if/when someone else wants to give this a go, sign me up! I still think the core of my idea is the best / most likely path (we’ve got to convince Garvey to renounce) … but, imo, we missed the best opportunity in 2009 (the 25th anniv of the 1984 NL Championship). How? How? How?

  2. As someone who stood in line in the wee hours of the morning to get 1984 World Series tickets, and who saw the only WS win in Padres history, hugging total strangers in fan ecstasy…I say remove the Garvey 6. It was a reaction to a moment in history, not an actual Padre “great”.

  3. Totally with you on ending interleague play! Lucky us, we get to go into Minnesota to play the Twins right when they’re getting hot, 8-2 over their last 10. Hopefully they’ll play down to form and we’ll come away with a couple of wins before going to Fenway to play one of the hottest teams in baseball. What does this have to do with the NL West? Nothing I can see, but they’ll count in the standings nonetheless!!!

  4. Maybe we should see if the Marlins are feeling as generous as they were this past off-season and see if they want us to take that trouble maker off their hands. I’m sure we can find some decent players to trade for a very good player who, i think, can play 3b and hit well.

  5. If I remember correctly, Ross is the one that hit the liner in the gap that resulted in the awful collission between Mike Cameron and Carlos Beltran at Petco

  6. So, you saw Hoffman at his best, and the only time you saw Rivera, he was at his worst?

    Wow, what are the odds of that?

  7. well, I was kinda excited to watch the Twins series (I mean, have you ever seen Target Field or a complete Joe Mauer AB?), but after watching us play defense like little leaguers in the bottom of the first, and Duensing start get that look like a guy thats about to retire 17 in a row. im not so sure I care to see Target Field anymore.

  8. From Bud Black’s description of pitching inside, the ’80s were just like the ’60s and ’70s, and likely before that too. I remember watching Don Drysdale bouncing a baseball off a batter’s hip right after the catcher signaled to walk him. The batter trotted to first. Afterward Drysdale was asked if he was trying to hit him, and said “the manager said to put him on. Why waste four pitches when you can get it done with one?” That might have just been vintage Drysdale.

    In the ’70s, Johnny Bench described a game against Bob Gibson. Bench got a hit his first AB, and another hit his second AB. His third AB, he got a fastball in the ribs. The interviewer asked excitedly “What did you do?” Bench said he put his head down and went to first. He said his teammates told him, “don’t mouth off to Gibson, he’ll come over and rip your head off.”

    Batters apparently started getting sensitive about inside pitches in the ’90s, and I think I know why. One Padres game, Andy Ashby was pitching in the 7th against the Rockies, down by a run. He got two quick outs, but a hit, error and walk loaded the bases, and up came a player who crowded the plate and had already been hit several times. Ashby’s first pitch was low and outside, and the batter reached across the plate to foul it off (it wasn’t a strike). Ashby came inside to back the guy off and hit him.

    The last thing Ashby wanted to do is hit him and force in an insurance run in the 7th, but the batter went nuts, had to be restrained from charging the mound, and eventually went to first, mouthing off at Ashby every step of the way. From that I gathered that the reason there’s so much controversy over inside pitches is that there are too many dumb ballplayers who crowd the plate and don’t understand that’s why they get hit, don’t pay attention to the game situation, and have managers who won’t sit those players on the bench and tell them they’ll stay there until they keep their ego in their lockers and their head in the game .

  9. Several draftees made their debut last night in the Emeralds season opener.

    Jace Peterson was 1-3 with a BB
    Cory Spangenberg was 0-3 with 2 BB
    Kyle Gaedele was 1-4 (infield single)

    There were some others of note as well:

    Tate was 0-5
    Jose Dore was 2-4
    Barbato, making his pro debut, both struck out and walked 5 in 2+ innings.

    I listened to some of the game and it sounded like Barbato’s stuff was filthy and hitters couldn’t catch up to his fastball.


    I’m not seeing that the Padres drafted any players who will be playing in this year’s CWS (which has started today) … and I’m OK with that … not sure if it means anything or not … just sayin’ …

  11. @ Sammy: I also was at the ’84 World Series and witnessed history: the Pads’ only WS win and only home run (Kurt Bevacqua). And I’m steadfastly with you (and LynchMob, see above)
    regarding removing Steve Garvey’s number 6 from retirement and its prominence at Petco.
    Granted, we couldn’t have gotten to the WS without his dramatic home run (an enduring part of
    Padre history) but the deal he made with Ballard Smith, et al (going to HOF (ha!) as a Padre) was undiluted BS. Slime ball was, is and always will be a damn Dodger.

    Rally the troops! Our cause is just. I’m in a wheelchair, but will be with you in the frontline.

  12. Amen to erasing the Garv from Pad immortality. I recall he was asked what he was interested in doing after baseball back in the day and he said politics, but nothing lower than Senator. Before long, it turned out he had the morals of a Senator, to complement being one of the most overrated players ever.
    And I’m with you on interleague play. Real baseball doesn’t have designated hitters, instant replay, or hills in the outfield. Selig is eroding what little the National League has left of what the game once was. If they increase interleague play, keep switching teams from league to league or mess with the already bad playoff system we’ll have games on Thanksgiving and the Dodgers and Yankees in the same league because it might generate more money.

  13. Funny that the A’s fired their manager for having 1 less win than the Padres, the Indians fire their hitting coach despite leading their division, and yet the Padres brass seems happy as clams that they’re going to set the league record for shutouts.

    It reminds me of last year with the Chargers special teams where they kept saying “we’re not going to fire the coach it’s not his fault” and eventually when it’s cost them games they fire the coach and things turn around. Athletes know their jobs aren’t usually at risk, it’s when it costs someone else their job that they tend to respond.

  14. @Ben- the Padres have been through several hitting coaches in last 5 years and the firings haven’t exactly lit a fire yet.

  15. @Ben

    I am with PadresFuture. When a team sucks, I look at the GM. There may be a few really good coaches that have a material impact on players (thinking Duncan, maybe Balsley; I might even put fired-now-with-Boston Magadan on the hitting side).

    Firing the manager is just a form of distraction unless the team is not playing hard. If they are trying, which they usually are, it is usually bad player selection by the GM and/or just some bad luck.

    I lay this all at Jed and Moorad’s feet. And baseball economics, but within that constraint, they are not doing well. Couple that with firing one of the best GM’s in the business, it makes me frustrated with this FO.

    Hoyer deserves more time to see how things play out. He is clearly smart, trying to do the smart things, but wanting to be find good value in the market and actually finding it are very different things.

  16. @ Jay – I agree that KT is a good GM. No surprise that he attcked AZ’s weakness(bullpen) and low and behold the team can now win games instead of blowing them late. That said, I don’t think Hoyer is doing a bad job. I think he got a fair deal for Adrian, considering the Padres had no chance of retaining him and the Red Sox knew it. I was glad to see the Padres address middle infiled and catching in the draft, but then went almost exclusively pitching. The Padres are littered with bullpen arms throughout the the minors, but very little true impact everday players. The Padres will always be able to attract pitching because of their park, why not trade some of it for some impact bats. Padre fans may scoff at me for suggesting this, but why not leverage a guy like Mat Latos to get some better hitting talent. The Padres are never going to be able to draw top hitters to Petco unless they overpay. They are gonna have to trade or draft. I will evaluate Hoyer in a couple years on how well he improves the Padres ability to score runs.

  17. @LynchMob et al.: I know many Padres fans feel the same way about no. 6. I’m not sure, however, that it’s the sort of mistake one can undo without a great deal of effort or possibly even at all.

    @Sean: Good memory. Ross did hit that ball.

    @Parlo: Heh, I never thought of it like that. I’m probably the only person in America who can make that claim about Hoffman and Rivera.

    @Larry: Thanks for the Drysdale and Gibson anecdotes… love ‘em. Reminds me of the time Stan Williams plunked Hank Aaron and told him, “Hank, I’m sorry I hit you in the head… I was trying to hit you in the neck.”

    @dts317: Thanks for the report from Eugene.

    @jay: Three questions:

    1. As a percentage, how responsible are Hoyer and Moorad (who still doesn’t have full control of the team) for this year’s failure?
    2. How responsible were they for last year’s success?
    3. Using information available at the time the current roster was assembled, what would you have done differently and how much would that have changed the outcome?

  18. I think Jed Hoyer’s off-season was pretty good under the circumstances. I think the return for Adrian was more than decent. I thought the losses of Torrealba and Garland would hurt the team, but those two are struggling this year. I thought a little too much was given up for Hudson ($) and Bartlett (3 players, $), but consistency up the middle is key, and hopefully there are positive returns still to come. I think the pace of the ownership transfer deserves some grumbling, and next year’s payroll had better increase. But the jury is still out on the Moorad group.
    Looking at last year as a fluke helps put this year in perspective!

  19. Adams to the Yankees would make a lot of sense. They need a setup guy, not a closer. I know they don’t have a great farm team but getting hitting prospects seems pretty important right now, especially since the Rizzo era has begun. Get the kid some help.