Another Lost Weekend

I didn’t see it, don’t even really want to know about it. I was watching Padres GM Jed Hoyer speak — along with former Dodgers GMs Fred Claire and Dan Evans — at SABR41 (I’m still sifting through my notes; a report will follow at some later date) when Aaron Harang and friends almost spun the first no-hitter in club history.

Well, “almost” is an exaggeration. The Padres managed one hit and zero runs, so even if Luke Gregerson had recorded the final out in the ninth, the game would have gone to extra innings.

I followed along on my cell phone and chuckled to myself at the thought that one of these two “offenses” eventually had to score a run. While Hoyer reminded us that the Padres payroll is reality and cannot be used as a crutch, Gregerson served up a double to Juan Uribe.

These two events may or may not have occurred simultaneously. It’s called a narrative device, and I’m asking you to willingly suspend your disbelief… not about the Padres’ inability to hit baseballs, of course; I am a reasonable man…

Moments after Uribe broke up the no-hitter, the Dodgers won. You can read details elsewhere… someone who gives two snorts will tell you all about it.

* * *

I heard a hilarious joke this weekend, but it’s incredibly vulgar so I can’t repeat it here. I’ll tell you a different one instead:

Q: How did the Padres score their only run in three games at Dodger Stadium?
A: Rob Johnson homered on Sunday.

The other joke is funnier… and only slightly more vulgar.

* * *

This is the part where I would break down the season’s first half, but the Padres break down just fine without my help, so we’ll skip the formalities and acknowledge that it sucked. The best that can be said about the Padres is that at least they aren’t the Astros. As consolation goes, that is right there with putting salt in your eyes.

At least we get a break now. Things are bound to improve. And if they don’t… well, sometimes that happens.

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33 Responses »

  1. Scott Kaplan is saying on the radio this morning that Heath Bell is one of the few Padres (along with Maybin, Rizzo, Latos, and Mike Adams) who should be considered untouchable and not be traded. He’s crazy. I agree on Maybin, Rizzo, Latos, and Adams, but Heath Bell needs to be #1 on the trade block. Get what you can for him, put this nightmare season behind us, and let’s move forward with 2012 in mind.

  2. 5 games ago the Padres fans had a glimpse of hope that maybe, just maybe the Padres could at least make things interesting going down the stretch, but once Mike Adams gave up the 5-3 lead in San Francisco it appeared the Padres just about gave up. I can’t explain it, but it seemed like they stopped playing with the fire they had the first 2 games of the Giants series.

    I find it funny how quickly things can change.. Padres just had little room for error prior to the trade deadline. Odds are they would have been sellers regardless, but as a fan I kept hoping they would have some of the success of last year, this year. Even though they did not make the playoffs last year I really enjoyed the season and we all like a winning team, but what it comes down to is it is nice to at least have a competitive team that can make things interesting.

  3. At least now after a 5 game losing streak there is no more false hope about somehow salvaging this season. We can now trade everyone who’s name is not Latos, Luebke, Stauffer, Maybin, and Rizzo. All we need is two OF’s, SS, 2B and a C! Keep the faith!


  4. I heard Ted Leitner say on the radio this morning that James Darnell can play second base quite well. He was saying it in order to make the point that there’s room for Headley, Blanks, and Darnell in the same lineup in the future.

    Is that accurate at all, or is he just blowing smoke? Anyone have any insight?

  5. Not only did I almost throw up in my mouth…but I also threw up a little in my mouth.
    (insert dry-heave sound)
    The Padres losing the combined no-no and we’re talking 8 2/3rd’s —then losing the game…I’m sure you’ve all seen the stat: the last team to do that was the 1967 Tigers.
    Hey, didn’t they go on to win the WS the next year?
    Dear Baseball God(s),
    Please, I beg of you, allow history to repeat itself (like it always does, like it always does).
    San Diego Padres are your 2012 World Series Champions!
    Then the world can end and I wouldn’t care.
    Okay, damn, who am I kidding—yeah I’d care…but it wouldn’t be THAT bad.
    (insert a more violent dry-heave sound)

  6. @USMC

    Leitner’s wrong. He’s probably mistaking Darnell for Forsythe, who the Padres reportedly see as more of a 3b / utility guy.

    The only way there’s room for all 3 of those players is if Darnell can play a capable RF or if they trade Rizzo. The odds of the former aren’t great, but they’re better than the odds of the latter.

  7. I’m not against keeping Bell for three reasons
    1. Prove you are willing to keep some stars
    2. Adams and Gregerson might get more bang for your buck
    3. Keep your leader in the bullpen to help shepherd the rookies, including Barch and Schreiber and Spence

  8. Scott Kaplan = ill informed

  9. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see Sixto Lezcano and Roberto Pettigini get a crack at the lineup.

  10. Here’s a potentially stupid question:

    For a guy with major league talent, is it a lot different playing LF and playing RF? If the Padres keep Headley, and they end up bringing up both Blanks and Darnell, would it be really hard for Blanks to move to RF after playing mainly 1B and LF?

    I’m trying to figure out how everyone is going to fit into the lineup (and on the field, more importantly) over the next couple of years if Headley, Darnell, and Blanks are all on the major league roster.

    Thanks for your insights.

  11. @USMC

    Blanks wouldn’t be the one to move to RF. Darnell’s a better athlete and hasn’t had surgery on his throwing arm. But he also hasn’t had much experience at all off the dirt, and RF, particularly in Petco, is a big responsibility.

    One school of thought says that Petco holds up so many balls that you can get away with subpar defenders, another school says that’s bullcrap. I wouldn’t want to be Cameron Maybin playing CF between the The Juggernaut and a guy who’s been a third baseman for the last six years.

    My gut tells me one of those two gets traded this winter.

  12. As soon as I read your headline, The Beat Farmers started playing Lost Weekend in my head, on an endless loop. I am finding that preferable to any thoughts regarding The 2011 Padres.

  13. @USMC – The left field versus right field thing really depends on the park and how good your centerfielder is. I read that Darnell looks like he can handle LF. Personally, I have thought about the possiblity that the Padres move Blanks and Adams in a package for Matt Moore of the Rays…. the rays need a DH/1B of the future and bullpen help. Matt Moore would fit nicely right behind Latos.

  14. Headley could probably play a passable 2B right? Wouldnt that put all 3 in the line-up? Then again you have Headley and Darnell being most likely sub-par defenders. Headley can make up for it with the stick especially at 2B, but Darnell is an unknown. Its also probably better Darnell moves to the OF since Gyorko is an above average 3B correct?

  15. @Zmac

    Headley would probably play 2b like Sean Burroughs did. Pass. With as bad as Bartlett has looked at times this year, that might be the worst defensive infield in the majors.

    My guess would be Headley at 3b until (fingers crossed) Gyorko is ready, which in an ideal world happens before 2013. Then you trade the underestimated Headley to a team that estimates him properly and doesn’t treat a 5M arbitration salary as a horse pill.

    If they get a good offer for Blanks or Darnell, pull the trigger, otherwise send Darnell to instructs to evaluate him in RF. I still don’t think they’d want to wait on Blanks possibly injuring himself again, but his bat might be special enough to live with the risk.

  16. Regarding a LFer moving to RF: see Barry Bonds’ throwing arm.

  17. Darnell played RF in college, the Padres want him to try LF… Blanks should out-hit Rizzo and is right-handed in a park that hurts lefties… But for now get Rizzo & Blanks in lineup together. Blanks will out-hit Ludwick as well.

  18. @Sammy:

    What does that mean, exactly? (Another potentially stupid question, but I’ll ask it anyway.)

  19. MadFriars folks reporting Spangenberg being promoted to Ft Wayne tomorrow … rats … I’m just 2 weeks away from a trip to Oregon … now I have to hope Tate’s back in the lineup by then …

  20. Field39 with a Beat Farmer reference! And a Buddy Blue song, no less. I shouldn’t use Geoff’s blog to plug my stuff, but I produced a Buddy Blue tribute album a few years ago, comprised of Buddy-penned songs (including a hillbilly/blugraas versh of “Lost Weekend” from a cool Bakersfield band called The Hooverville Rounders) covered by bands from all over the world. Field39, I’ve still got copies if yer interested (you can contact me through Geoff, or you can get it at CD Baby. Search for “Goldmine… the Songs of Buddy Blue” And enjoy.

  21. Regarding the Headley-Darnell-Rizzo-Blanks dilemma, If they ALL become all stars, and Decker & Gyorko hit in the majors as they have in the minors… crap, we’ll just run Blanks out at shortstop everyday and bludgeon our oponents 12-10 and 14-9. :-)

    I’ll be happy to deal with that problem if it ever becomes a problem. To date, only Headley and Blanks have had even limited success against big league pitching. I’m fairly confident that Rizzo will develop into a good hitter, but it may be a few years before he offers even average production for a 1B. Darnell’s numbers look great, but he’s about three years older than Rizzo, and just now reaching AAA. I’d be happy if he became a Joe Randa- Cory Koskie type player. Let’s just wait and keep hoping that more than one of these guys become the type of player who helps push a team toward a pennant.

  22. Hi Lance. what’s up?

    from fangraph:

    Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb have combined for 0.4 WAR this season. Cameron Maybin? 2.3. Advantage — Padres.

    yay, we won something. maybe, more this time next year.

  23. I’ve been lurking quietly all season, Didi.

    Maybe the second half will inspire more noise from me. Run for cover…

  24. LR … noted … we’ve been warned!

    Also, you mentioned Decker … but have you seen what he’s been doing lately? Scary bad :-(

    He only hit .170 in May … and only .135 so far in July … I’m paniced about it …

  25. @USMC53: As others have noted, don’t expect Darnell at 2B anytime soon. He might stick at 3B, but corner OF is the more likely destination.

    @FBRF: There is always room in my OF for Lezcano.

    @Tom Waits: “My gut tells me one of those two [Blanks or Darnell] gets traded this winter.” Yeah, big time. I have no inside information whatsoever, but I’m not expecting to see Blanks in SD next year.

    @Field39: In addition to producing a tribute CD, Lance also plays in a band (as do I) that covers a few Beat Farmers tunes. We have a gig coming up later this month, although the details escape me at the moment.

    @Lance: Darnell is a better hitter than Randa but a worse fielder. Think more along the lines of Larry Parrish or Todd Zeile.

    @Didi: The Maybin trade looked great at the time and it looks even better now. I still can’t believe Florida made that deal.

  26. @Didi,

    Thanks for those WAR numbers from the Maybin trade. The anti-Hoyer crowd should take notice of that. Hoyer needs time to build this thing. Yes, the stop-gaps he signed for this year and next (like Bartlett and Hudson) may not look great at the moment, but acquiring Maybin, Rizzo, and Casey Kelly may look beautiful by 2013 or so. The same might be said of the system-building trades he’s going to make in the next couple of weeks.

    Go Padres!

  27. @USMC53,

    more importantly, the bullpen didn’t implode after trading two arms for a premium defensive player. So the potential of getting a quality everyday player or two shouldn’t be overridden by the sentimental value of having Bell as the closer.

    You are right, Jed’s moves have pointed to a goal of improving the team within the budget and some will work and others won’t.

    It’d be exciting to see what upcoming trades will bring. I’m sure we’ll find things to like and dislike.

    re: Blanks, I hope he’ll perform to increase his trade values. It’d be nice to see him in Padres uniform before getting traded.

  28. @Didi

    How much do the Brewers use advanced statistics? If the answer is “at all,” they wouldn’t seem to have any interest in Bartlett. We may be stuck with our underperforming middle infield for a while.

  29. @TW: they may not have to use advanced statistics to not have interest in Bartlett with as many errors as he’s had so far and how poorly he’s been hitting. On the other hand, they have Yuniesky Betancourt, and they are contending for the division.

  30. @Didi

    Yes, Bartlett is at least on the positive side of the fWAR line, albeit barely. And he has the reputation for being a steady player even though he’s done little to show that this season. But 2M this year, 5.5 next, and an option that can vest automatically for 2013, for what may be a <1 WAR player…maybe he would be the best they could do given the sorry state of their farm system. This is probably their last shot with Fielder as part of the team.

  31. @TW: Plus, he’ll be playing in NL Central where the pitching has given up at least 406 runs with the Pittsburgh being the lone team giving up only 346. In NL West, 407 RA is the maximum given up by Diamondbacks and Rockies. Sure, it’s a function of poor hitting in the division as well but just in general, perhaps, it’s easier to hit in the central division this year. No to mention that Bartlett seemed to have lost interest in fielding baseball here with all the losing. Perhaps, competing for a divisional title and a chance at the playoff will get him going again. Though, as you mentioned, the contract structure maybe a problem.

    JoeP on RBI% and the last paragraph described the our team to a tee, and gave me a chuckle, so there is that.