Monday, June 28, 2010

Moorad

Jeff Moorad tells me the Padres have money to spend, and an inclination to shop for starting pitching. http://tinyurl.com/232o3es

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Another arm?

Everybody thinks the Padres should trade for a hitter. They might just do that. Starting pitching, though, is definitely on the club's radar leading up to the July 31st trade deadline. http://tinyurl.com/2bfn6e5

Monday, June 21, 2010

Another Beerfest

San Diego's overwhelming response to Beerfest has led the Padres to create a second Beerfest for this season, only they're calling it Oktoberfest. Makes sense. San Diego, remember, is the Munich of the West.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Orange ball

Tony Gwynn Jr. was right about the Lakers and Ron Artest. http://tinyurl.com/2bq7knr

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bullpen

The PENitentiary. http://tinyurl.com/23bayeb

Friday notes

* As it stands now, the Padres will face Stephen Strasburg on July 8.

* I'm interested to see how recent draftees Jameson Tailon (Pirates) and Karsten Whitson (Padres) fare. Tailon was drafted second overall after drawing comparisons to Josh Beckett. Selected ninth, Whitson doesn't throw quite as hard as Tailon but his fastball has more movement. He's also meaner on the mound.

* The Padres knew it would be difficult to sign shortstop Christian Colon when they drafted him in 2007. Colon, who dropped to the 10th round because of his pricetag, wanted about $600,000 to give up a scholarship to Cal State Fullerton. As it has turned out, Colon would've been worth the investment, and then some. The Royals drafted him fourth overall this month and are prepared to offer him a seven-figure sum. Even if scouts are right about Colon ending up at second base, he's the kind of middle infielder the Padres would love to have in their farm system. I've heard different accounts on how far apart the Padres and Colon were -- anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000.

* In 2008, when the Padres guaranteed $5.5 million to a quintet of 16-year-olds, four of them from Latin America, part of their incentive was to create a splash in markets where they long have underachieved. Padres executives trumpeted those signings ad nauseum. The club was, to some degree, trying to build name recognition in the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. From a scouting view, however, the investments were fraught with risk. It's incredibly hard to project 16-year-olds, especially when they seldom, if ever, play organized baseball. The Padres, for instance, knew far more about Colon than they did Dominican shortstop Alvaro Aristy, yet they decided to guarantee $1 million to Aristy. From what I heard from non-Padres scouts at the time, Aristy had very little chance of panning out. Padres rivals saw more value in the club's $2 million investment in Venezuelan pitcher Adys Portillo.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Draft

West Coast Bias looked at some draft fallout in the NL West. http://tinyurl.com/34qvcj5

Friday, June 4, 2010

Gwynn removes hex

Tired of seeing Padres first-round draft picks go bust? Don't worry. The team's luck is about to change. http://tinyurl.com/2doxz4r

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Strassy

Good luck to Stephen Strasburg, the San Diego Kid who had visions of pitching for Padres. http://tinyurl.com/272ar7y. WCB on Padres bullpen, Trevor Hoffman's struggles. http://tinyurl.com/2a2sldc. Debuting at SDSU, Strassy "sweated like a hostage" says Mr. Padre. http://tinyurl.com/32fslqp

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

San Diego summit

Jed Hoyer and A.J. Smith had a lengthy chat recently, the two San Diego GMs meeting before a game at Petco Park. Hoyer is from New England, still roots for fellow Wesleyan University (Conn.) alums Bill Belichick (Patriots) and Eric Mangini (Browns) but says he's a Chargers fan.

"I rooted for them last year and I hope to continue," he said, adding that it's important to San Diego's sports culture that both the Padres and Chargers do well.

Hoyer said Smith has done an "awesome job" of building the Chargers into a "perennial contender."

Looks to me that Hoyer is starting out his GM tenure like Smith did -- impressively. At the season's one-third mark, here's a quick review of the Doogster's key player acquisitions and a grade for each.

* Jon Garland. He's 6-2 with a 2.15 ERA after 11 starts and 67 innings. One-year contract. Not much else to say. A+

* Yorvit Torrealba. Has a .362 on-base percentage and gets high marks for handling a pitching staff that leads the league in ERA. Like Garland, the catcher signed a budget friendly one-year deal. A

* Jerry Hairston Jr. Hit two decisive home runs against the Cardinals and a grand slam in Monday's rout of the Mets. All three homers came at Petco Park, where his pull power plays. Defensively, he's not great but has softened the absence of shortstop Everth Cabrera. The .289 OBP lowers his grade. B+

* Matt Stairs. I wasn't wild about this signing because I think veteran left-handed hitters in decline are extra vulnerable at Petco, as hitting there might lengthen swings that tend to be long already because of age and rust. Stairs has 18 Ks in 42 at-bats and a .271 OBP. Has done some good things, both as a pinch-hitter and a mentor. C-

I've seen comments from Hoyer that he takes little credit for the team's fast start, instead praising the Gunslinger. Nice touch. I'm on record that Hoyer's staffing decisions within the baseball front office brought in or promoted people who get high marks for people skills and work ethic. We'll see how they mesh. I like that he boosted the number of scouts, especially within Southern California, where the Padres have underachieved. In time, I'll be interested to see if he has the ability to coax extra dollars out of the man who hired him -- CEO Jeff Moorad -- if that's what the Padres need to sign impact draftees or major league free agents, or retain Adrian Gonzalez (more on him on another day). I'm not saying that Moorad will be miserly, but part of a GM's job is going to the mat for a budget-stretching gamble when it's needed. Hoyer's mentor in Boston, Theo Epstein, was able to get his superiors on board when it meant spending big bucks for certain amateurs or pros who cost more than the general marketplace had valued them. It didn't always work out, but without Epstein's logic-driven pitches to his bosses, I doubt The Matrix would've had as much success as it's had on his watch.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Ollie

Tough times for Oliver Perez. If the Mets ever cut him loose, the Padres would be among the teams interested. http://tinyurl.com/2b7s2cq