Monday, March 17, 2008

Dan Hayes - San Diego North County Times

Dan Hayes with the San Diego North County Times, stopped by for another update on the 2008 San Diego Padres.

Todd Kaufmann: I know a lot of fans keep hearing and reading about Chase Headley. In your estimation, has he impressed enough this spring to warrant being on this roster on Opening Day?

Dan Hayes: Headley has absolutely impressed enough this spring with the bat to warrant a spot on the roster. He's done a pretty decent job in the outfield too, but he still needs to be tested. That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if the Padres had Headley in Triple-A Portland for a little seasoning to start the year off. That way his learning curve doesn't come at the expense of major league wins and losses.

Todd Kaufmann: The last time we talked, you had Shawn Estes being the #5 guy in the Padres rotation when the regular season opened. Has that opinion changed?

Dan Hayes: Estes has gotten off to a rocky start. Essentially, he's pitching like a guy who hasn't competed in two years which has pushed him back a little. Right now the Padres are happy with the spring put forth by Justin Germano and he's the current frontrunner. He's only allowed a run over his last nine innings and the Padres like how he's using his change-up more often and his curveball less.

Todd Kaufmann: Wade LeBlanc is getting his first start this spring against the Oakland A's this afternoon. Any chance he's a Padre when the season opens or do you think he needs time in Portland before he makes the jump to San Diego?

Dan Hayes: LeBlanc has opened a lot of eyes around camp this spring and a lot of it has to do with his change-up. Kevin Towers likes his makeup and thinks he's a middle of the rotation guy in the future. I don't think he makes this club out of camp if everyone stays healthy. But Leblanc sounds like the team's top option if someone goes down.

Todd Kaufmann: A guy that Padre fans have been keeping their eye on, if for no other reason than his last name, is Edgar Gonzalez. From what you've seen, has he done enough to make the team or do you think he's too far on the outside looking in?

Dan Hayes: Edgar's in a tough spot. He's one of 13 guys scratching and clawing for two, perhaps three bench spots. He's got great credentials with the bat but his defense isn't quite at the same level. Don't get me wrong, Gonzalez's glove is solid but just not spectacular. One upside he offers is that he's versatile. He has played every infield position thus far and made an appearance in the outfield. And I've heard he's even willing to throw on the catcher's mask to act as the team's emergency backstop. That could help him make the squad.

Todd Kaufmann: Brian Giles and Trevor Hoffman are both at the ends of their respective contracts, but the team does hold options on both players. Will either player be back with the Padres in 2009 or is this the swan song for both?

Dan Hayes: I could see Giles coming back it would be after the team selected to buy him out for $3 million and then re-signed him for a cheap deal. There's no way the Padres will pay $9 million for him. If Hoffman were to have a down year, I could see them handing the job over to Heath Bell because he'll be significantly cheaper and seems to have a closer's makeup. But if Hoffman has another solid year I'd think the team might be hard-pressed to let him walk. He is the San Diego Padres. And even though the Padres are paving the way for this to be Jake Peavy's team, it'd be tough to get rid of Hoffman when he's still performing well. I think odds are better that Trevor returns.

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