The recently signed hurler, Chad Gaudin, has been called up to replace the injured Shawn Hill in the Padres rotation. Gaudin was released by the Chicago Cubs in the spring after failing to make the squad in a bullpen role. The Padres were able to persuade the right handed pitcher by giving him the opportunity to start. Guadin was a part of the Oakland/ Chicago trade last summer. FF is hoping that some new blood will re energize the Padres, who are in the midst of losing 6 of the their last 7 contests. The Friars DFA'd Eulogio De La Cruz to make room on the 25 man roster for the man with the goatee.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
After struggling trough two innings in San Diego's 10-1 throttling by the Pirates the Padres 5th starter Shawn Hill will be headed to the DL with some bicep issues. The Padres have already lost Baek, and Walter Silva. The back of the rotation was a question mark heading into the season, with 3 starters out of action Black will hand the ball to Geer a few more times, and possibly Wade Lablanc will be on his way from Portland to join the Friars rotation.
The San Diego Chargers held the 16th pick in Saturday's NFL draft and were rumored to do everything from draft another running back to trade down to acquire additional picks. When all was said and done AJ Smith selected an outside linebacker from Norther Illinois University Larry English. Although he is not one of the (over) highly touted LB's from nearby USC, English was a 3 time first team ALL MAC selection and seems to be just as good of a person of the field as he is on. FF gives the Chargers front office the benefit of the doubt when it comes to finding linebackers who can make an impact in their 3-4 defense.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Although the Padres are in the middle of a season-long 3 game skid, the team has been nothing short of a pleasant surprise 15 games into the season. Young players, like Chase Headley, and Nick Hundley are starting to look very comfortable at the plate while putting together solid at bats. The middle of the diamond has turned in solid play thanks to a tremendous platoon in center of Jody Gerut and Scotty Hairston. The new double play combination has been solid with the threesome of L Rod, injured Everth Cabrera and the epitome of a professional in David Eckstein. The catching duo of Henry Blanco and the before mentioned Hundley have been more productive than could have been predicted. The corners of the infield have been buoyed by a reversal of an early season Kouzmanoff slump and the pure beauty of Adrian Gonzalez with a bat in his hands. The only issue that FF has with any player at this point is the right fielder, Brian Giles (team stats).
Is it early in the season? Yes. Does he look like his old, consistent, self? No. Through the Pads 9-6 start the Friars highest paid position player has struggled to come up with his 10 base-knocks (just 2 extra base hits, both doubles). Maybe he has hit into bad luck, some hard outs ~ nope, a lot of pop outs and weak ground outs. Well, he is Brian Giles he must be drawing a ton of walks with a high on base percentage ~ no and no. Giles has drawn 4 base on balls while compiling 10 strike outs with an embarrassing OBP of .209.
FF has seen this scenario play out far too many times in the short season: Gerut (or Hairston) double to lead off an inning, David Eckstein lays down a beautiful bunt to sacrifice the runner to 3rd. With 1 out Giles either pops out or K's to leave Adrian to be pitched around with 2 outs. This is not something that the San Diego padres can afford to have happen, this team will be in a myriad of close games and will rely on fundamental baseball to stockpile W's. If Giles continues to "hit" in the 3 hole needs to shape up or sit (or hit) down.
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Monday, April 20, 2009
The Padres reacquired Chris Burke from the Seattle Mariners Monday night in an effort to sure up the infield depth after rookie speedster Everth Cabrera suffered a broken hand during Sunday's walk off loss in Philadelphia (FF pins the loss squarely on Bud Black's mismanagement of the bullpen, more on that later). Burke was brought in as a non roster invitee this spring and was shipped to Seattle after Cabrera won a roster spot.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
In an exciting game for both sides, the Padres pounded Phillie closer Brad Lidge in the 9th inning to take the lead for good. Jody Gerut led off the inning, which the club entered down 4-5, with a laser double (helped by former Friar Shane Victorino's moderate misplay of the ball). Some of the better situational hitting FF can remember from David Eckstein and Brian Giles plated Gerut, pulling the Padres even while simultaneously handing Lidge his first blown save a Phillie (he had amassed a 53 game streak). Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley followed with some patiently aggressive hitting - patient in these cases - with a pair of walks with 2 down. This brought up Kevin Kouzmanoff, who launched a bomb into left center to put the Padres up by a trio. Heath Bell then entered the game, retiring the side in order to pick up his 7th save of the post-Hoffman era (out of nine Friar wins to date).
Ring a Bell
FF was not pleased to see Bell warm up and enter the game. He threw 47 pitches in the last two days and has appeared in 7 or the Friars 12 games overall. We love having a guy that wants the ball, but we'd love to see Bud Black play things safe with Bell, especially given the 3 run lead in the game. Counting tonight's game, Bell has now thrown 67 pitches over three outings across three days. Even a burly dude that is "Wii Fit" needs a break every now and then.
Down with OCD
While we at FF generally like Black, we've long been concerned about his bullpen management, which seems to rely on a few relievers ad nauseam. See "Everyday Cla" and "The Joe Thatcher Story". We here a new installment featuring Luke Gregerson is in the works.
Monday, April 13, 2009
FF congratulates Heath Bell on his 4th save of the young 2009 campaign to preserve a 6-5 win for the Friars on the road. While it wasn't a numerically significant achievement, Bell was fairly open about wanting to stick it to his former employer and opponent on this night, the New York Metropolitans. And he did just that, providing the perfect bookend to a game that started with Jody Gerut's leadoff home run that became the first hit recorded at Citi Field. We could recap Bell's beef with the Mets, but Padres.com did a fine job of just this, so here are some of the highlight quotes from Bell:
On the club's frequent use of his Minor League options:
It's just part of the game... Unfortunately, I was the only guy in '05 and '06 in the bullpen who had options, so I could go up and down. I remember once, Billy Wagner noticed I wasn't there one day. When I came back he asked, 'Did you leave or get sick and not show up?'
On the new grounds for his old team:
A piece of me is still here with the old Shea. I was a non-drafted free agent and they gave me a shot. There's so much to be thankful for. On the other hand, I really never felt like I got a chance. I felt wronged in some ways
Okay - we all get the point. The moral of this story is simple: if your old teams treats you bad, simply retire the side for a save against them on opening day in their brand new ballpark. Good for you Heath - you've made FF proud.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
The first place San Diego Padres (how many time will we be able to report that) have signed Chicago Cubs castoff Chad Gaudin to a minor league deal. The Cubs released the 26 year old righty after a tough spring in the hot, thin Cactus League air. The Padres will only be on the hook for $400K of his $2 million contract (the Cubs will eat the remaining $1.6M). This is a classic Kevin Towers deal where he is buying low; however Guadin seems to have more upside than Friday's waiver wire acquisition of Luis Perdomo, a rule five draftee from the San Francisco Giants. The Padres seem to provide Gaudin with the best opportunity to pitch at the major league level quickly. FF is cautiously optimistic regarding one of the two recent signings...we'll let you, our loyal readers, read between the lines!
The Scott Hairston dichotomy is one of our real frustrations. He has games where he is nothing short of a world-beater, like Friday night's performance where he robbed a go-ahead homer in the top half of the 8th inning, then hits a 3 run bomb of his own to put the club up for good. Then he has other nights where he runs the bases poorly and looks lost at the plate. We'd love to see Hairston harness his inner Steve Finley, but we've jumped on the Scotty H bandwagon too many times to do it again without prolonged success (i.e., more than a consecutive week of solid play). Imagine if one could combine the omnipresent heady play of David Eckstein with the raw potential of Hairston...
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Following the Padres first win of the 2009 season the Padres are set to announce the addition of Tom Garfinkel as president and chief operating officer of the club. This move was somewhat expected as Garfinkel held a similar position with the Arizona Diamondbacks with new owner-in-waiting Jeffrey Moorad.
In the Friars 4-2 victory Tuesday night FF was impressed with the over powering fastball that propelled Heath Bell to striking out the side in a scoreless 9th to earn the first save in as many chances in the post Trevor era.
FF is concerned with the amount of free passes given up by the bullpen in 3 scoreless innings: 2 issued by a visibly nervous Edwin Moreno in his MLB debut, and one by Bell to bring the tying run to the plate in the 9th. The frames were blank but the Pads were playing with fire.
Duaner Sanchez tossed a perfect 8th in his Friar debut.
Friar Fashion Marks:
In the first, and hopefully last, installment of FF Fashion question marks we would like to call into question the hair of 2008 NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. FF is wondering if the addition of Randy Johnson to the Giants has brought about the silly looking long locks of the talented young starter.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
FF is please to announce that we have a new contributor - Travis. Hailing from less than a mile of the childhood home of the FF founding fathers in Point Loma, Travis is a lifelong Friar fan who has first hand baseball experience with both Ryan and Scott. All three current contributors (as well as former contributor Shane) learned to play ball the right way (that is in fact Coach Hill's way) with the Green Team in the now defunct Peninsula Pony League. We are confident that you'll find his contributions to be inline with your expectations of FF content. Welcome aboard!
Jeff Moorad has reportedly moved to demystify any general misconceptions surrounding the reporting and decision making structure within the front office. As we noted in December, the Friar front office was rumored to have a bizarre reporting structure where GM Kevin Towers had to get his baseball operation moves cleared by former CEO Sandy Alderson's deputy, Paul DePodesta. This rumor had a number of variations, making it difficult to know the real story. Regardless, it remains clear that front office gossip is a negative development, possibly impacting the perception of the club as a destination for players in the process. New CEO and partial owner Jeff Moorad has clarified the situation, according to the U-T, altering the front office organizational structure to have DePodesta report to Towers. While the article contains a number of interesting quotes, all seemingly aimed at portraying the story as a non-issue, we can't help but read into the following statements by Towers:
“If anything, it'll be good for all of us... I doubt there was really any truth to Paul nixing deals. Sandy always gave me full autonomy. Did Paul have the authority to maybe squash a deal or maybe talk Sandy out of it? I doubt that ever happened. I think from a perception standpoint, it put all of us in an uncomfortable situation.and
“If anything... it should help Paul in the way of fitting in with everybody else. Even if there was zero truth, maybe what people speculated (about who was making decisions), I don't think there will be that now.Hmmm... this doesn't exactly leave the impression that Towers felt like he was fully in charge of baseball operations. Kudos to DePodesta for being classy about the whole thing, saying:
“Really, for all practical purposes, nothing really changes for me. I've always deferred to Kevin on baseball issues and always felt I reported to Kevin on baseball issues. I did some non-baseball work for Sandy, which is the primary reason I reported to him.”FF thinks Moorad made the right decision here. One less thing to focus on off the field makes the club stronger.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Former 1st overall pick, Matt Bush, has been released after a short stay in the Toronto Blue Jays organization due to - brace yourself - “failing to comply with team guidelines that were set out for him". Bush struggled as an infielder, hitter, and human being while in the San Diego system. He was shifted to the mound last season and showed promise before an arm injury cut his season short. The Padres traded him after an off the field incident became the straw that broke the Friars back. FF thinks the former Mission Bay High star is getting what he deserves. He seems to be a bad seed.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
It appears that Tony Gwynn Jr is on the outside looking in with the Milwaukee Brewers and out of minor league options. This means that he would have be placed on waivers available for the rest of MLB. FF wonders if KT and the Friars would take a flier on the son of Mr Padre? The positive aspects of Jr's game include above average speed (seen first hand by Padre faithful on his infamous 2 out, 2 strike triple down the right field line in 2007 that essentially kept the Pads out of the playoffs), and a swing that has his fathers finger print all over it. The problem is that his name is Tony Gwynn; and he is not a future Hall Of Fame player, he has the look of a future 4th outfielder.
The Padres are entering a season without fan favorite Trevor Hoffman for the first time in over a decade, and without much hope of playing games with much importance beyond July. Will Tony Gwynn Jr put people in the seats at 19 Tony Gwynn Drive, most likely. Being out of options would mean that room on the Padres roster would have to be made, although Jr is slender the Frairs may not have room. The Padres major league outfield roster is set with Jody Gerut in center flanked by top prospect Chase Headley in left and an aging Brian Giles in right. Scott Hairston will get his at bats late in games (although new owner/CEO, Jeffrey Morrad, has already traded Hairston once in his career). FF assumes that Drew Macias and Will Venable would be ahead of Gwynn Jr down in Portland.
With all that said FF would love to see Gwynn given a chance to grow into a solid major league player in a stadium with a statue of his father. If the Padres and Gwynn Jr find themselves together we all need to realize that he will not produce to the level of his father; but his speed and name sure would look good at 19 Tony Gwynn Drive!
*** UPDATE ***
Tony Gwynn Jr has cleared waivers and has accepted his demotion to the Brewers Triple A affiliate. FF is surprised that zero organizations were willing to take a shot on the 26 year old center fielder, especially considering he would have only cost $20,000. FF wishes Little T the best of luck, and we hope to see him back in the bigs sooner rather than later.
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