The San Diego Padres are a Major League Baseball team according to various interweb sources. At the moment, then happen to be a fairly troubled Major League Baseball team. I think there was a divorce in the ownership family some years agoā¦assets were liquidatedā¦franchise players were dealtā¦camouflage uniforms were scaled back onā¦.
Itās been a tough couple of years.
In 1998, the Padres represented the National League in the World Series. There were quickly trounced by the Yankees and since then, the team slowly fell from grace in the NL west. First ballot Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman is gone. Jake Peavy is gone. I think they even got rid of the chicken.
So yes. The Padres are waiting for their renaissance period. Is 2010 the start of something special in San Diego? Has the new decade brought with it the return of the Padres to the class of the National League?
Take another gander at that roster. That’s what 40 million dollars can buy you in the Majors in 2010. I hate to keep kicking this team while theyāre down, but there is virtually nothing to be inspired by here. Adrian Gonzalez is the best player on the team by a friarās robe length, and while he is probably the most affordable player -production wise- in all of baseball, many think he too soon be gone so that San Diego may retool itās minor league system with a bevy of Boston or some other prospect laden team headed back to the Padres.
To be fair, that is likely the weakest every day lineup in the league. Once Gonzalez moves on, my goodness, I donāt know what youād hope for at the ball park every day. Maybe a 2 for 1 Hairston Brothers bobblehead giveaway day will be scheduled. I donāt even know how to make a 1-9 lineup card out of those names, although Iāll stick with tradition and say manager Bud Black decides to hit Gonzalez third and the pitcher last. The other seven slots he might as well pick out of a hat.
The rotation isnāt bad by any means. Itāll be difficult to go up against the Lincecumās and Cainās of the Giants, the Kershawās and Kurodaās of the Dodgers, and the Jimenez‘ and De La Rosaās of the Rockies, but there are worse rotations in the league. Correia quietly had a nice year last year, and Latos and Poreda could make a nice duo in years to come. Something to consider though is that San Diegoās Petco Park is the best pitchers park in the league. This team would be better suited throwing the three contributing writers of this blog out there in their starting rotation and spending their money on power/speed/average/lottery ticket type hitters.
Closer Heath Bell continues seamlessly in his transition from set up man to powerful closer, but again, a team with this sort of makeup canāt afford to have their second best player be their 50 innings per year closer.
I watched the Grammyās last night, and apart from the forced duets that the Grammy producers insist upon showcasing year after year, and the very sad and confusing sight that were the late King of Popās children, the thing that stuck out to me most was the Black Eyed Peas. I donāt particularly enjoy the Black Eyed Peas, but many, many people do. The Black Eyed Peas performed a couple of shortened songs with a smattering of backup dancers and DJās and special effects. They were on stage for a total of maybe 5 minutes. The band consists of 4 members. The two that anyone who doesnāt follow the band around the country know include Fergie and Mr. Will.I.Am. There are two other men in the group. They were not permitted to sing and were marginalized to the side stages for any major choreography. They were allowed to participate, but no one was really taking them seriously. They were in short, the 2010 San Diego Padres.
Looking back, this preview looks overly harsh, but in fact I think Iāve sugar coated it a bit. Shout for the pina colada man, Padres fans. Itās going to be a long summer.
Team MVP ā Gonzalezā¦for as long as heās there.
X-Factor ā the amazing weather in the greater San Diego area. Should make this brand of baseball easier to consume.
Standing: 5th in the NL West with a good chance of securing first overall pick in 2011 draft.
Here’s another post from newly minted writer Brent. His sports knowledge is vastly impressive and to be frank, a little worrisome. Below you’ll find a reference to Bo Jackson, someone named Charlie something and a Techmo Super Bowl video among other items. It’s quite the creation. We’ll try to get both new guys set up with accounts this week and cut out this bloviating middleman…
My fellow copywriter Ariel is giving you a taste of what youāll see in the playoffs this fall, but there is a lot you wonāt see again until Spring Training.
I love Spring Training. I love that it gives every team a brand new start so they can suck and fall well short of expectations (New York Mets, Chicago Cubs), be awesome (Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees), or just experience more fledgling mediocrity (Milwaukee Brewers, Toronto Blue Jays). But for me, it doesnāt get much better than post-season baseball. Iām a Minnesota Twins fan and while the Twins havenāt had much success in October in the last decade, they have at least been in the playoffs in four of the last seven seasons, including a Game 163 in 2008 that they lost to the Chicago White Sox. John Danks shut the Twins out in that game but could not deliver the same result in his regular season finale this year against the Detroit Tigers when he walked three in the first inning, including one with the bases loaded. Now the Twins and Tigers will square off in Game 163. 2009 is the third season in a row to require a 163rd game. Two years ago the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 9-8 in 13 innings.
But there are guys who had phenomenal seasons who wonāt see stadium lights after October 4th. Zack Greinke led the majors in ERA at 2.16, led the AL in WHIP at 1.07 and finished 3rd in strikeouts in all of baseball. And he won 16 games on a team that won 65 all season.
Albert Pujols got all the press this year in the NL, but what about Prince Fielder’smonster season? Prince set a Brewer record for RBIās at 141, he hit 46 home runs, behind only 47 by Albert Pujols, and he hit .299 with an on-base percentage of .412.
Roy Halladayās reputation speaks for itself and because Toronto couldnāt get a deadline deal worked out (other than sending Alex Rios to the Chicago White Sox), he too will miss the playoffs, just as he has in every season of his career. The Toronto Blue Jays havenāt seen the post-season since they won back-to-back World Series Championships in 1992 and 1993. Remember Joe Carter jumping around first base? That team also had Minnesota natives Paul Molitor, Jack Morris, and former Minnesota Golden Gopher basketball stand out Dave Winfield (yes, basketball, he was also drafted by the Minnesota Vikings without ever having played a down of football in his life) on the roster.
Fernandez went from the Pads to the Mets in 1992 in a deal involving former outfielder/running back D.J. Dozier and then the Mets traded Fernandez back to the Blue Jays in June of 1993. The Padres received McGriff, Dozier, and Wally Whitehurst in exchange for a World Seriesā¦ (more or less, Iām blowing it out of proportion. But I canāt help but be reminded of when the Vikings traded for now MMA fighter Herschel Walker and gave the Cowboys a dynasty. I think Hershal Walker also tried out to be an Olympic bobsledder at some point, too. He dabbles.).
Our old friend Charlie Leibrandt from a few paragraphs ago played with a couple of two-sport athletes. He was a teammate of Bo Jackson on the Royals, who of course was an Oakland Raider and legendary Tecmo Super Bowl player.
Besides getting ready to vacation in warm climates, what else do these guys have in common with Greinke, Fielder, and Halladay? In the next few years, theyāll each probably receive ginormous contract offers from teams you will see in the playoffs this year: Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, and The Los Angeles, California Angels of Aneheim, USA. Or other big market teams, like the New York Mets, Chicago Cubs, and Chicago White Sox.
Small market teams find it difficult to hold on to their best young talent, even through the playersā arbitration years, after all, Ryan Howard was awarded $10 million in arbitration after striking out 199 times. I wonder what Mark Reynolds of the Arizona Diamondbacks will get after striking out over 400 times over the last two seasons?
There are pitfalls to rooting for both small market and big market teams, however. Small market teams, like my Twins, have to wave good-bye to guys like Johan Santana and Torii Hunter because they cannot afford to keep them. The Tampa Bay Rays will find out the same thing when they try to hold on to Carl Crawford and others. The Florida Marlins know this reality well and will face it again when it comes time to pay Josh Johnson, Dan Uggla, and Ramirez.
Big market teams throw money at players like they are Pacman Jones making it rain. But that comes with great risk sometimes, too. San Francisco gave Barry Zito $126 million over seven years and they got a #3 starter at best. The Cubs are locked in to Alfonso Soriano for more than any club would like to be. Mike Hampton signed a monster deal once upon a time and then spent much of that time on the DL. The same can be said about Carl Pavano, Kevin Brown, Jason Schmidt and others.
Things you should know that have happened sort of under-the-radar and may be of help to you in future fantasy drafts or baseball nerd conversations:
Jair Jurrjens had a 2.61 ERA for the Braves this year, good for 6th best in baseball.
The New York Mets hit 95 homers as a team, last in the league and 149 behind the league leading New York Yankess. The Mets could combine home run totals with seven other teams and still have fewer than the Yankees did. Handfuls of players could combine their home run totals to have the greater than sign in their favor when compared with the Mets.
Fielder, Braun, and Mike Cameron > 2009 Mets.
Mauer, Morneau, and Michael Cuddyer > 2009 Mets.
The second baseman of the AL East* > 2009 Mets.
Pujols, Fielder, and Carlos Zambrano > 2009 Mets.
So I just barely missed the trade deadline blog by about 5 weeks. Many, many apologies, but itās been really busy around here lately. So, Iāll do my best to get up to speed on all the big baseball moves of the last month.
The Philadelphia Phillies acquired Cliff Lee from the Indians and so far the results have been mixed. Lee has gone 5-1 with an ERA under 2. Heās good. The Phillies were set the tone for the July trade deadline and as they tried and tried to land Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay, they stumbled into this little deal that netted them last yearās AL Cy Young winner, a right handed bench hitter that can play every outfield position, and they did all of this without giving up any of their top prospects. In the street we call that armed robbery with intent to do bodily harm. In Cleveland they call it business as usual. The Phillies now boast a playoff rotation of Lee, World Series MVP Cole Hamels, Joe Blanton, rookie star J.A. Happ and potentially Pedro Martinez or Jamie Moyer depending on need. It was strong statement and the Phils have been rolling ever since.
Jake Peavy was the National Leagueās Cy Young winner in 2007 and after a winter that saw the White Sox try to deal for him, a spring that saw him spend most of his time on the DL, Chicago GM Kenny Williams finally got his man, as Peavy agreed to waive his no trade clause and join the White Sox for their playoff push. The Good Guys have fallen further behind the Tigers in the AL Central, and the Minnesota Twins led by Joe Mauer arenāt far behind them. Speaking of Joe Mauer, I made a tiny wager with a few friends that Joe wouldnāt hit .390 this year, and for about a week there, I thought I was going to have to flee the country. Hey Joe, do me a favor and keep it around .370 will you? Peavy might not start again this season, but gives the White Sox 4 legitimate starters heading into next season. Should be fun to watch.
Alex Rios came to the White Sox as well in the biggest salary dump in MLB history. Rios and his 60 million plus remaining on his contract head to Chicago. The White Sox in return will send the Blue Jays a fruit basket and a thank you note. Rios has all the tools: heās an above average outfielder, he can hit for power, average and steal bases, but he hasnāt really been able to put together a full season since signing his contract. Weāll see if a change of scenery will make a difference for him.
Victor Martinez also “left” Cleveland to join Boston, where the switch hitting catcher will provide a power presence behind the plate, at first base and DH. His value to a team like the Red Sox is really immeasurable, and he should help them as the chase the Yankees to the playoffs this year and next as well. Plus, his knowledge of handshakes in unparalleled in Major League Baseball.
Matt Holliday was perhaps the quietest and most important of all offensive player moves , as he went from ghost townOakland to one of baseballās best cities; St. Louis. Now I would argue that I could hit behind Albert Pujols and be an everyday major leaguer, but Holliday is hitting over .400 since his acquisition and the Cardinals have rocketed into first place in the division, so Iād say St. Louis made out pretty well hereā¦.Observe Matt Holliday in the AL. And now in the NL.
Who else, who else??? Scott Rolen went from Toronto to Cincinnati for a package of prospects. Scott is 35 years old, a heck of a baseball player and simply not worth a box of crackerjacks to the Cincinnati Reds at this juncture. Bizarre move by Cincinnati.
Jarrod Washburn went from Seattle to Detroit to shore up their rotation as they look to get back into the playoffs.
Finally, my childhood hero, Jim Thome went to the Dodgers to provide lefthanded power off the bench. Thome has entered the Karl Malone or Ray Bourque stage of his career where he’s ready to start chasing a championship. And I don’t blame him one bit. My only hope is that if the Phillies and Dodgers don’t meet again in the playoffs and save me from the uncomfortable situation of wishing prfound failure upon someone that I like so much.
And I think that about brings us up to speed in baseball. It was about the busiest deadline in recent memory and with the playoffs just around the corner, weāll see which of these transactions works out best as the season wraps up.
Item of the week is any of these. Pick one up and celebrate a little vintage style as your team marches into the playoffs.
Back with more football previews sometime next week. Enjoy the long weekend.