Preaching Padre religion one post at time

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Change We Can Believe In

For a community that has consistently been promised change over the years, we here at FF hope that we finally have some change we can believe in. This is, of course, a loaded statement, what with the series of disappointing regimes we have faced over the years. A quick stroll through memory lane doesn't bode well for the nascent reign of Jeff Moorad, the new Padre co-owner/CEO:
  • The Krocs had their ups (Ray) and downs (Joan)

  • Tom Werner is synonymous "The Fire Sale I"

  • John Moores has had his moments, but personal issues have clearly impacted the team
Then again, Moorad is sending all the right signals so far:
  • According the Union-Tribune, he chimed in on the possibility of moving Peavy this season to meet payroll with:
    It would be premature for me to say what is going to happen. The goal is to build this for the long term. I don't know how that impacts the Peavy situation. But we're going to do whatever we can to improve the team.
    Sure, this doesn't say that they will keep Peavy, but it also seems to eliminate the probability of moving him at fire sale prices. Let's be real, by not moving him this offseason, the club was put in a position where Peavy's value declined on a daily basis. Every club knew Moores couldn't afford Peavy on his own, and the club would become disparate to move him at some point. The idea of someone over paying for him when the club doesn't have the ability to just stay the course is ludicrous.

  • Moorad seems poised to draft based on talent over affordability. Also from the U-T article previously referenced:
    We'll look at the minor league system. There have been some drafting challenges. I'm looking forward to drafting near the top ... in that aspect, we'll go in the right direction.
    The Chargers used to engage in draft trickery during the Bobby Beathard era. It didn't work for the Bolts, and it surely hasn't worked for the Padres. The good news here is that Moorad seems to have an AJ Smith vibe toward the draft. This can only be a positive move. Even (former?) nemesis of Friar managament Scott Boras seems to agree.

  • According to ESPN, Moorad has signaled that "...his goal is to compete with a payroll of $70 million to $80 million." Hallelujah.

  • Multiple reports indicate that Moorad is not in this to make a quick profit. He gives the impression that he wants to right the ship, then let market forces provide the profit. This is a stark contrast to what Friar fans have become accustomed to - no more Blue Light specials.

  • Given the fragile state of the economy, funding the purchase was difficult without a source of credit, but Moorad and company were creative, and found a model leveraged in the NFL as a template to stretch the sale out over time. Moores must be credited here as well, as he has essentially agreed to become Moorad's line of credit.
Sure, Moorad's tenure is still a giant unknown. But we have to be encouraged that his brand of change is thus far devoid of double talk, shortsightedness, outright inaccuracies, or anything else we've all become used to. A little change that we can actually believe in would be a nice.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pads Add Arm On Sandy's Final Day

The San Diego Padres continued their quest for effective pitchers Wednesday when acquiring Eulogio De La Cruz (who goes by "Frankie") from the Marlins for cash. The 25 year old Dominican born starter routinely touched the high 90's while posting a 13-8 record in Triple A last season. De La Cruz has worked out of the bullpen as well as starting which fits the needs of the Padres who have holes to fill in both possible roles. The right hander is likely to break camp with the Padres who will keep him on the roster due to his lack of minor league options just as much as his power arm and and potential upside. The Friars scooped up Shawn Hill after the right handed started was released by the Washington Nationals. The Padres seem to have at least 2 rotations spots still up for grabs, and the bullpen remains a wide open competition. FF does not beleive KT is done adding pitchers prior to opening day. FF also predicts that freshly released lefty Royce Ring will be back in San Diego within a week.

Another step towards new ownership will take place on Thursday as owner John Moores will bring Jeff Morrad, the owner-in-waiting, in as the CEO while Sandy Alderson will step down from that same position. FF will recap the Alderson Years in a fuure post.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Secret Farm Facility Revealed

In Car & Driver style, we are pleased to reveal the location of a secret, next-generation farm stop within the organization. While it looks like a restaurant, it really trains players in a style adapted from Mr. Miagi in the Karate Kid. Wax on Padres.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

G-Men for GM?

The Union-Tribune's Bill Center reports that the brothers Gonzalez (a.k.a, the G-Men) were behind the Padres interest in rotation candidate Walter Silva. The enigmatic 32 year old has spent his career in the Mexico, where he has put together a solid career, first as an outfielder, then as a pitcher, posting an sub-4.00 ERA and winning record over the his last troika of seasons. Center quotes the youngest Gonzalez:
He makes pitches, and (he) pitches down. And he has great poise. He doesn't panic or rattle.
While he has been slowed by a sprained ankle this Spring (his first with a Major League club), Silva notched a solid outing Friday night, allowing a run on a couple hits over 4 innings. FF thanks the G-Men for taking an interest in making the club better. A pro from the south can't be any worse than course of the season.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

WBC Blues

As if Friar fans didn't have enough on their minds from sitting through Jake Peavy's recent World Baseball Classic outing, now Kevin Youkilis wants Peavy in a BoSox jersey (from CNNSI):
...If we could get him, that would be great. It's not to say we don't have enough pitching as it is, but Jake Peavy is a heck of a pitcher.
Oh, how the other half lives. Why can't Obama just tax the BoSox and the Yankees? Anyway, we digress. Unless Peavy changes his tune, the BoSox are not on the list of teams he is looking to consider. Frankly, we here at FF would rather see any big decision - trading Peavy certainly counts as that - be deferred until the pending sale of the club either goes through or falls through.

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Towers Snags Sanchez

Much of the Padres' potential for success in 2009 relies not only relies on club veterans improving on their 2008 performance, but also on their General Manager doing the same. Kevin Towers has his moments. Many folks think of him fleecing other teams in horribly lopsided deals (most recently, Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young in exchange for Akinori Otsuka). We at FF think that Towers' prime skill has been building stellar bullpens out of thin air (2008 was a notable exception). To that end, the whole of Friar nation hopes that KT has his mojo back, particularly in light of his most recent acquisition, Duaner Sanchez. Many Padre fans are familiar with Sanchez, who spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons with the hated Los Angeles Dodgers. Padres.com reports that his most recent past-employer, the New York Mets, apparently had concerns over his declining velocity, leading to his release and the Padres acquisition. Sanchez had his best season in 2007, when he posted a 2.60 ERA in 49 contests. Of special note to Padreball watchers, Sanchez has maintained a near-constant K/BB ratio of a little under 2-1 (not exactly the type of high ratio Towers typically covets in his pen).

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Slow Start Yourself

LT finally signed, so we don't have much of an excuse to postpone the pain and agony that this season seems primed to deliver. It's game time 2009. How better to start than to pick on one of our least favorite analysts - Keith Law. Mr. Law posted the following about Chris Young Yesterday:
Young was awful all around; he topped out at 86 mph and threw a couple of fastballs at 83. We're at the point in camp when pitchers should be at or near their regular-season velocity, and Young is 4-6 mph below where he should be.
(There's more - use your ESPN Insider account to view it). We have nothing personal against Mr. Law, but we constantly find ourselves disagreeing with his analysis. Here's the real story - Young never plays well in Spring Training. He's a bright guy, he uses the time to work on different things. We aren't worried about him at all. Here are his recent Spring Training lines:
  • 2009: 6.75 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 8 IP

  • 2008: 4.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9 IP

  • 2007: 5.14 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 14 IP

  • 2006: 9.90 ERA, 2.15 WHIP, 20 IP

And his corresponding lines for those seasons:
  • 2009: To be determined

  • 2008: 3.96 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 102.3 IP

  • 2007: 3.12 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 173.0 IP

  • 2006: 3.46 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 179.3 IP

About all that can be extrapolated from these numbers is that there is no correlation between Young's play in Spring Training and his in-season performance. One would expect a paid analyst to do a little research, but journalism isn't what it used to be.

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