Friday, February 22, 2008

Dan Hayes of the North County Times

Dan Hayes, who covers the San Diego Padres for the San Diego North County Times, gave me a few minutes on the Padres as spring training gets underway.

Padres Blog: If you had to guess on who the #5 starter will be when the 2008 season opens, who would that be?

Dan Hayes: Right now I'd say the leading candidate to open the season as the No. 5 starter would be Shawn Estes. I know the Padres were really impressed with him two years ago and he's finally healthy. At this point it's really a matter of Estes building up his arm strength. Justin Germano obviously could change this picture if he performs in spring training. He was outstanding in the first half of the year last year and gained a ton of experience. He's also feeling very comfortable in camp this year, which has to count for something. Still, I'm giving Estes the nod.

Padres Blog: Seeing pitchers go through their day-to-day routines, is there something you've seen in one guy that has surprised you?

Dan Hayes: I haven't seen enough of the pitchers yet to determine anything.

Padres Blog: If Carlos Guevara clears waivers, do you think he will have an impact on the Padres bullpen this year, and in what role ?

Dan Hayes: Carlos Guevara came to the Padres as a Rule 5 draftee. So he either sticks with the team out of camp or goes back to Cincinnati. Right now Guevara is injured with a hamstring strain, and although its good timing because its early in camp, it definitely can't be helping his chances. If he makes the squad you're going to see something very similar to the way the Padres handled Kevin Cameron last year. He's a rookie and the Padres will definitely ease him in because he's never pitched in the majors. The staff was very reluctant with Cameron last year and only changed his role late in the year out of necessity. Guevara has a great screwball and his fastball ---- said to be in the mid to high 80s ---- would be well-suited for Petco Park.

Padres Blog: How much of an impact do you see Jim Edmonds having on this Padres ballclub?

Dan Hayes: Edmonds' impact on the Padres is hard to determine at this point because it's completely dependent upon his health. All I can go off is based on discussions with him and the opinions of others. That said, the 37-year-old is very determined to prove that he's still a viable option. He talked about how his legs let him down last year and he focused heavily on strengthening them this offseason. If he can stay healthy and play 135-140 games Edmonds' will have a monster impact because he can provide strong center field defense and a good left-handed bat.

Padres Blog: Last question for me Dan and thanks for taking time out to answer them. Is this the last year for both Brian Giles and Trevor Hoffman as Padres?

Dan Hayes: Brian Giles' contract puts the Padres in a tough situation because he's due to earn $9 million next year or receive a $3 million buyout. He's obviously no longer the big home run hitter that he was when he originally signed this deal with the Padres. But the 2009 free agent class isn't looking strong and the Padres could have to fill out all three OF spots, with very little help coming from the minors at this point. So I could see Giles getting the buyout and coming back at a reduced rate. As forTrevor Hoffman, I know that he's going to have to prove that he's the same old Trevor this year. The team has Heath Bell in the wings and he's a much cheaper option at this point. But Hoffman wants to continue pitching, and if proves to be his consistent self, the team will be placed in a tough spot to let a perennial fan favorite walk away.

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