Preaching Padre religion one post at time

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Giles Hole

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.

FF approves this message!

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

Kouz Pushes Pads Off Lidge

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.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Kouz on the Block?

CBS Sports is reporting both of the following rumors:
  • Rumor: Kevin Towers may be a fit for the recently vacated Seattle Mariners GM spot, given his ties to the region and misalignment with Sandy Alderson.
  • Rumor: Kevin Kouzmanoff will be unloaded to open up the hot corner for Chase Headley due to concerns that Headley can't cover enough ground in left field.
FF isn't really concerned with the first rumor. The Padres organization seems to be run by committee a this point. The Padre's front office seems to be the First Wives Club of former General Managers. Employed in front office's army are Sandy Alderson (A's and current Padres CEO), Randy Smith (Padres, Tigers) and Paul DePodesta (Dodgers) and Grady Fuson (Assistant GM for the Rangers). We doubt any change in GM would impact the organization too much.

In terms of Kouz, addition by subtraction doesn't seem like a great strategy at this point. Given the Padres' desire for cheap players, a trade would have to be for someone less than or equal to Kouz. This scenario will seem much more plausible if Kouz heats up, the Padres wind down, and a playoff team with a deep farm system finds themselves in desperate need of a third baseman.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bombs Not Enough In Bronx

Three late solo homers San Diego's Brian Giles, Adrian Gonzalez, and Chase Headley weren't enough to overcome a short (4 innings) start by Jake Peavy and a bullpen who allowed the Yanks to keep adding on. The Pads drop Wednesday 8-5 in New York. The Friars conclude their 2 city road trip tomorrow morning and hope to pick up a second win prior to returning to Petco. Josh Banks matches up opposite the much hyped Joba Chamberline.

Friar Facts

Chase Headley's bomb was the first homer and RBI of his young, promising career. Headley filled in for the injured Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base while Paul McAnulty roamed left.

Giles and Gonzalez went back to back with 2 outs in the 7th inning.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yanks Blank Friars

The New York Yankees played longball en route to their 8-0 victory to open a 3 game set against the visiting Padres Tuesday night. Randy Wolf missed with location through the night and the Friars played some sloppy defense behind him, but it was the New York pitchers lead by Andy Pettitte that controlled the ballgame. Padres Chase Headley collected a couple of singles in his 2008 debut and slid up to the 6th slot in the order after Kevin Kouzmanoff was a late scratch due to a balky back (Kouz is day to day at this point). The Friars send Jake Peavy to the hill in Wednesday's contest to try to even the series.

FF Facts:

The Padres had 7 hits Tuesday, all singles.

A foul ball into the seats Tuesday caught a group of Padres fans who included FF contributor, Todd Clark, and his brother Timmy. With the exception of Headley making his debut with a couple knocks, seeing frequent FF readers on camera was the highlight!

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Headley To Bat 7th; Huber To Portland

Padres top prospect, Chase Headley, will start in left and bat 7th in Tuesday night's opener in Yankee Stadium. The much anticipated move should add offensive depth to a line up that has been reliant on Adrian Gonzalez for much of the season. To make room for Headley the Padres sent Justin Huber down to join the Beavers in Portland. FF has not been this excited over a homegrown prospect since Khalil Greene ascended through the system 4 years ago.

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Headley Finally Arrives

The Padres front office has finally pulled the trigger on Chase Headley's promotion. He will presumably take over left field from a revolving case of the following characters: Scotty Hairston, Paul McAnulty, and Justin Huber. Kevin Towers has also indicated the Headley may be used to spell Kevin Kouzmanoff at third. He was quoted as saying,
I think the environment is much better than it was three weeks ago. We have got a lot of guys contributing offensively. When he gets here, he shouldn't have to feel like he's got to carry this ballclub. We're playing good baseball now... To me, now is kind of the right time to have him here, when things are going well.
This move has been alluded to for some time, though it appears that Headley may not see action until the Yankees series starts. A corresponding roster move has yet to have been made, but Scott Hairston's hyperextended elbow could move him to the DL, providing extra time for the front office to make a move.

FF is relieved to finally see the club's top prospect leveraged. We firmly disagree with the mantra of the "bad environment" that Towers has been spouting recently. The bottom line is that struggling club is great way to offer some low-pressure playing time for a prospect to get comfortable. Given the club's general lack of success in bringing prospects on board, we recommend the Friars completely retool this process. Everyone in baseball - and sports in general - knows the story: play well or someone else will get your opportunity. This is another opportunity for KT to learn from AJ.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

New Wave Of Padres

Kevin Towers and the Padres promote 4 minor leaguers on Thursday as three pitchers and AA catcher Colt Morton join the big league club. The three AAA hurlers include Mike Adams, who was 3-1 with a 5.52 ERA, Jared Wells, 5.85 ERA with 9 saves, and Josh Banks who is 1-1 with a 6.66 ERA in 8 games at Portland. To make room for the newest players the Friars sent both Josh Bard and Chris Young to the 15 day DL after they were each injured in the 3rd inning of Wednesday's game. San Diego also sent Joe Thatcher back to Portland and released Justin Germano.

Towers said he was going to make wholesale changes, which he has started to do. The only question FF has is where is Chase Headley?

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Friar Sale?

The San Diego Padres have become a hot topic in baseball's front offices as ESPN's Jayson Stark reported that one AL executive feels that the Friars may open their doors early stocking players like Khalil Greene, Kevin Kouzmanoff, and Randy Wolf on their shelves. FF was a bit surprised to see Kouz on this list, although opening a spot for Chase Headley doesn't seem too far fetched ~ FF still would be shocked to see the 3rd baseman moved this summer. Other players that FF could see being dealt include a myriad of free agents to be; Brian Giles, Greg Maddux, Michael Barrett, and Tadihito Iguchi. If Estes continues to throw well, the Friars might be well served to swap him for a younger model. In smaller moves FF wouldn't be surprised to see a Scott Hairston or P Mac cleaning their lockers in San Diego.

Not even half way through May and it seems that baseball has given up on the 2008 installment of the Padres. Its a little sad, but at least there will be some exciting rumors swirling to help the water cooler chatter.

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Peoria Pairing

As the San Diego Padres get set to open their Inter League play Friday evening in Seattle FF is asking for one player to make a very short trip from Portland to Seattle and take over for a group of unproductive left fielders. The Padres have obviously been trying to "go green" and wait until they traveled to the pacific northwest to call Chase Headley to save the additional fuel, how else can you explain Headley not being with the big boys? The Beavers are at home taking on the Las Vegas 51's this weekend and FF will be disappointed if the Padres leave Seattle without Headley.

As much of a Paul McAnulty fan as FF has been, it does not appear that he is a good fit for this club or ballpark. The Justin Huber experiment can be deemed a bust (although the slugger hasn't gotten too many chances). Scott Hairston has enough pop to stick around as a reserve OF, but should never again be considered for a full time job. At this point there is no reason for the Pads not to dip into their farm system again, and this time hook the big fish.

The Pads dropped 3 of 4 against a solid Cubs team who took advantage of their opportunities, as good offensive teams do. In Thursday's 4-0 snoozer, the only part of the game worth mentioning was a beautiful, run saving, diving catch by center fielder Jody Gerut. The center fielder continues to impress FF with his overall play, we can't wait for balls of his bat to find holes.

Pads & Ends

The Swing 'n' Miss Friars have struck out an amazing 29 time over the last 2 ballgames ~ thats a number that would make Phil Nevin and Rob Deer blush!

As reported by FF earlier in the week; Jim Edmonds has signed with the Cubs and hit 6th and roamed CF for them in the series finale. Edmonds stroked a soft single to right in his first at bat and wrapped into an inning ending double play in his second AB. The former Friar finished 1-4 to raise his batting average closer to .200.

Glendon Rusch has officially declined the Padres minor league option and is now a free agent.

Adrian Gonzalez continues to use a tan glove during day games and black leather for contests under the lights.

Tony Clark will get himself some AB's this weekend as the Friars plan on using the big switch hitter as their DH.

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

ChAAAse HeAAAdley

It would appear that Padres top prospect, Chase Headley, will start the season in AAA Portland. The move will allow Headley to continue to learn his new position by logging as many innings as possible in left field. The switch hitter has proved himself to be MLB ready but finds himself in a log jam in the Padres outfield picture.

As FF has previously noted, Jody Gerut has not only played himself onto the opening day roster, but he is penciled in as the starter in left. Scott Hairston is expected to fill the shoes of Jim Edmonds in CF until the balky calf of Edmonds properly heals. With the extra spot for an outfielder (assuming Edmonds begins the season on the DL) the Padres are expected to break camp with Paul McAnulty for the 2nd consecutive year. PMac is out of options and can flat out swing the bat. Brian Giles continues to improve from his offseason micro fracture surgery and will start his final season in a Padres uniform in right (KT holds an option for 2009). Bud Black is expected to give the veteran more days off during the long 162 game schedule, and this year it appears that he will have the bodies to fill the spot (no Sledge types on this roster). The Padres will shock FF if they leave Arizona without Callix Crabbe, the speedy and versatile Rule V draftee who has had a great spring and can play both infield and outfield positions.

As the the sand begins to settle on another March in the desert, it appears the Friars roster is coming together and at this point it will not include their stud prospect Headley. The Padres will see him at some point this season roaming the Petco Park outfield, and his tenure as a full time starter is, at most, a season away (with the likely departure of the second Giles in 2 years). The larger question at this point circles around the health of Jim Edmonds, and what to do with the pure hitting Paul McAnulty when Edmonds is healthy.

FF wouldn't be surprised to see the Padres deal McAnulty to an American League team, simply because they do not have a position for him. With the Pads and Peoria Sports Complex roommate, Seattle Mariners, discussing a possible deal for CF Jeremy Reed, it is possible to see PMac in Peoria again next season; this time in the Mariners clubhouse.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Gerut a Go?'s Ken Rosenthal is reporting that Jody Gerut is likely to get the starting nod in left field in the likely event that Jim Edmonds not be available on Opening Day. Additionally, the article suggests that Gerut may be platooning with Scott Hairston should Edmonds be return to the lineup. Rosenthal goes on to link Seattle Mariner Jeremy Reed as a candidate to roam Petco's spacious center field, if needed.

This would mean that Chase Headley is headed to Portland to hone his defensive skills in left field, despite doing as much as anyone could possibly expect to push his bat into the lineup. The cautious road is probably the best bet for Chase. One has to wonder if Bud Black would be as tolerant of a Klesko-esque left fielder (could Headley even be that bad?) as he was of Kevin Koozmanoff's cold start at the plate in 2007. The Moneyball approach says yes, but Black may say no.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Estes Continues To Struggle, Rusch Stays Relevant

The Padres open audition for the 5th spot in their rotation remains a mystery. With the start of the season is rolling towards the Friars, it appears that one of the likely three hurlers is pitching himself not only out of consideration, but out of baseball. Lefty Shawn Estes continued his comeback attempt on Monday by lowering his ERA 5 points from 20.00 to 15.00; not good if you are trying to pitch your way onto a big league roster. Estes' struggles are being taken advantage of by other candidates Justin Germano (current front runner) and fellow come back lefty Glendon Rusch whose spring ERA is hovering close to a run per nine. Both Germano and Rusch have Major League experience in both starting roles as well as serving in a long reliever or swing man capacity. In FF's opinion, Shawn Estes is all but done pitching at the major league level.

Spring Rolls:
Callix Crabbe is inching closer to punching his MLB ticket as he had three more knocks Monday while showing his defensive versatility by playing the hot corner flawlessly.

Young star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is seeing his older brother Edgar's chances of making the team become more slim as Edgar's defensive consistency has been questionable, highlighted by an error on Monday.

Paul McAnulty struck out in both plate appearances Monday to see his batting average dip to .300; PMac still holds high hopes in making the opening day roster partly due to the fact that he is out of minor league options. The Padres (and FF) doubt the talented offensive player would pass through waivers.

Jody Gerut continues his push to make the squad as he powered up for the 3rd time this spring and deposited a ball into the RF bullpen.

Brian Giles saw his first spring action in a big league game while getting two at bats (no hits) and logging time in right.

Chase Headley adds another hit and continues to show that he has nothing to prove in the minor leagues.

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Saturday, March 8, 2008

Trade Front And Center For Padres

The Padres couldn't or wouldn't come to an agreement to retain their free agent center fielder Mike Cameron this offseason and instead turned the position over to former All Star and Gold Glove winner Jim Edmonds, who was acquired in a trade with the Cards. Immediately following this trade, questions regarding the age and health of the Friars CF (Edmonds) and RF(Brian Giles) accompanied the questions about the lack of a starting left fielder. Through the first week of Cactus League play the Padres Edmonds and Giles have combined for 1 base hit, granted Brian Giles has yet to lace up his spikes due to his recovery from offseason knee surgery ~ but then again, that in itself is a problem. Edmonds is now on the shelf for 2-3 weeks due to a calf strain he suffered while in the batters box in a game this week.

The only left field clarification to date is that Jody Gerut , Chase Headley, and even Paul McAnulty have all proved that they can hit enough to compete for playing time with incumbent Scott Hairston, who himself has never been an everyday major league starter. So, lets toss in the huge hole in center created by Edmonds' calf muscle and the Padres have a tough situation with few in house fixes.

On Friday Kevin Towers reported that he had talked with the Boston Red Sox regarding Coco Crisp, it is suspected that the Sox would want top prospects Chase Headley or Matt Antonelli ~ and the Pads are not giving those 2 away for almost anyone at this point. So, may the Friars see yet another aging player passed their prime sporting the sand and navy in FA Kenny Lofton? Or would the Pads give up top talent to bring Tony Gywnn, Jr. back home from the Brewers? Something will have to happen, because the season is drawing ever closer and the Pads outfield is getting older each inning that passes.

Look for the Pads to also speak to the Angels, who have too many bodies in their outfield - some who are out of minor league options. FF believes (or wants to believe) that the Friars will find a way to get younger, healthier, and faster in the outfield prior to the March 31st opener.

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Aged Outfield Doubts Spring Forward

Brian Giles
Frair fans have feared that 2008 would require the bulk of the outfield to maintain a RICE diet. While news that CF Jim Edmonds has only suffered a calf strain (likely to sideline him for 2-3 weeks), an injury at this early date of season is a harbinger of things to come. The other senior member of the outfield, right fielder Brian Giles, has yet to participate in a game and is now slotted to get his first action as a designated hitter in March 15. The additive nature of these reports doesn't bode well for the opening day lineup. On the plus side, these injuries should provide an extra-long look at Chase Headley and Jody Gerut, among others. General Manager Kevin Towers will have plenty of information upon which to act or hold tight within a couple of weeks...

A calf strain is defined by Wikipedia as:
A torn calf muscle happens when the calf muscle is pulled apart from the Achilles tendon. Severe pain is felt by the victim – you may think you've just been hit in the leg and hear a "pop." Sudden pain is felt around the leg.

This injury happens during acceleration or changes in direction. The torn calf muscle may spasm, and contract forcefully. The toes will point down. Bruises can show up in the leg, foot and ankle due to pooling of blood from internal bleeding. It may take some time for the bruises to occur, from hours to days depending upon where the tear occurred. The circumference of the leg will most certainly increase.

This injury may take several months to heal. Its important not to continue the exercise if muscle is torn as internal bleeding is taking place. See a doctor immediately after muscle is torn to get you on a rehabilitation routine.

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Monday, March 3, 2008

Headley & Gerut Continue To Pound Pitching

The main storyline in Padres camp this spring is, has and will continue to be their left field situation. Two of the three prime candidates continue their torrid offensive attack on Monday against the Brewers. Jody Gerut and Chase Headley each collected 2 more hits while avoiding any defensive miscues. Paul McAnulty, whose name resides further down the depth chart came into camp in great shape, after shedding some 20 pounds, circled the bases after drilling a 3 run homer in a 6 run Padres outburst.

Scott Hairston is still the safest bet to assume the starting position, but the gap may be closing with each base knock by Gerut and each 440 foot bomb that exploded of Headley's lumber. This battle is heating up with the Phoenix heat index, and doesn't figure to be decided anytime soon. FF hopes that this is not the most exciting aspect of the Padres season!

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