Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Would the Padres be interested in Gary Sheffield?

Gary Sheffield's days in Detroit are apparently over. According to Tom Gage of the Detroit News, the Tigers have released him and will eat all of his $14MM salary for 2009. Knowing that, you have to wonder if there was an internal conflict between Sheff and the Tigers' front office.

Would the Padres be interested in bringing Sheffield back for another go 'round? I would doubt it unless he takes a minor league deal, which he really could do because he's already getting $14MM from Detroit.

Stay tuned....

Monday, March 30, 2009

Stephen Strasburgh Update

3.30.09 12:43pm

Getting everyone an update on young San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg. There had been talk about whether the Nationals could afford to sign the Aztec to the kind of money agent Scott Boras was looking for, which is reported to be $50MM.

According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Nationals are ready to do just that. One Nationals spokesman apparently told Heyman, "We'll pay the $10 million, and we'll get him signed."

With this in mind, the Padres' front office needs to look past the idea of signing Strasburg and look at their needs and who will be on the board when the 3rd pick in the draft comes up.

A name that has come up once before and is on a few mock drafts is 6'3" 200 lbs right-hander Alex White out of North Carolina.

3.24.09 1:23pm

Yahoo Sports' Steve Henson has an article out on Stephen Strasburg.

"If the Washington Nationals don’t take Strasburg out of sheer Boras-phobia, the Seattle Mariners, who pick second, certainly will. The San Diego Padres draft third and they’ve already come to terms with having no shot at the hometown boy."

In that same article, Henson also says that the Nationals have to fork over whatever Boras is asking for, why wouldn't he say the same about the Mariners or the Padres? Especially with the Padres new ownership, you'd think they would make a conserted effort to land him.

Stay tuned....

3.24.09 11:45am

As I'm sure a lot of you know, or don't know as the case may be, possibly the top draft pick in June's amateur baseball draft could very well be San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg. Since Strasburg added agent Scott Boras, there's been rumors that Boras will ask in the neighborhood of $50MM.

Since that was known, there's been a lot of talk about where the young phenom will fall and what team will actually pay that kind of money to sign him. According to Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, it may not be the Washington Nationals, unless he'll sign for $9MM - $10MM range, which isn't likely to happen as long as Scott Boras is in charge.

If the Nationals pass on him, he'll then fall to the Seattle Mariners at #2, but if Seattle also passes, then the Padres will have a big decision to make. With new ownership, don't be surprised if the Padres sign him, especially since it will keep young Strasburg at home in San Diego.

Padres' talks with Niemann hit stalemate

According to Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union Tribune, the Padres had been talking to the Tampa Bay Rays about pitcher Jeff Niemann, but the talks have apparently died.

When asked about Niemann's availability, the Rays came back asking about San Diego prospects Simon Castro, Wynn Pelzer, Juedy Valdez and Nick Schmidt, a price the Padres felt was too high for their blood.

The Padres still may able to pick him up once spring training comes to a close. Niemann is out of minor league options and may not make the team out of spring training. If that's the case, the Rays will need to make a decision on what they're going to do with him. More than likely, the team will get the deal they want for him, or they'll have to put him on waivers to see who makes a claim. If the Padres are still interested, the two teams will have to come up with a more agreeable deal than what was brought to the table before.

Marcus Giles released

Yes I know Marcus Giles isn't a Padre, nor will he be anytime soon, I still thought it was worth posting.

The younger brother of Padres' right-fielder Brian Giles was released over the weekend by the Philadelphia Phillies. Although disappointed, Marcus says he saw this coming and blamed himself and his poor performance for not making the team.

"I didn't play well enough to make it here. I didn't hit as well as I'm capable of. Don't blame them for their decision. I saw it coming the last week or so. I'll try to get on somewhere else. I just needed some consistent ABs. I got every chance in the world. It's not their fault. There's nobody to blame but myself. I'd probably make the same decision they did, to be honest with you."

We'll see where Giles ends up, though with the numbers he put up this spring with the Phillies (.167/.302/.250) in 41 plate appearances.

Starting rotation takes another hit

If the Padres' rotation wasn't in another trouble, it just took another hit over the weekend.

Cha Seung Baek, slated to be the team's #3 starter, left the Padres' game on Saturday against the Dodgers with what the team is calling a "strained forearm." Baek will undergo more tests to make sure the injury isn't more severe.

Padres' trainer Todd Hutcheson, "All of the testing we did, it looked like a strain. I would say it's mild."

The Padres' right-hander isn't slated to start until April 8th at Petco Park when the team will take on those same Los Angeles Dodgers. They want to make sure Baek rests the arm until then and may throw a bullpen session just to make sure he's good to go prior to his first start of the 2009 season.

More roster moves

You can tell the Padres are getting ready for Opening Day, which is officially just one week away.

On Saturday, the Padres traded 2nd baseman Chris Burke to the Seattle Mariners for an undisclosed amount of cash. News that could mean Edgar Gonzalez, brother of 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez, could stay on the team come Opening Day.

Another move made by the Padres over the weekend was right-hander Ceasar Ramos being optioned to Triple-A Portland.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

CY struggles against the Giants

Quick update, although the game is still in progress, Chris Young really struggled in his outing this afternoon against the Giants.

The Padres' #2 starter didn't get out of the first inning, 2/3 of an inning, six hits, six earned runs. If the Padres weren't worried about their staring rotation before, they should be now.

A few good notes, Chase Headley and Adrian Gonzalez both homered and oddly enough, both went opposite field. Adrian homered to left center, Headley to right.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Baek, Correia look shaky

Before the Padres get too comfortable with Baek and Correia as their #3 and #4 starters respectively, they better make sure these are the guys they want.

In Baek's last start, he was torched for nine earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 10-4 loss to the Angels on Tuesday. Then yesterday, Kevin Correia got touched up by the Indians for six earned runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings in a 8-4 loss, his ERA shooting up to 7.63.

This team needs to figure out what they're going to do with both guys prior to the season starting or face falling behind after just a few weeks into the season.

Couple of good notes for the Padres, however, Cla Meredith threw another scoreless inning yesterday. He hasn't been scored on in seven appearances so far this spring. Also, David Eckstein continued his hot spring for San Diego, going 3-for-3 to raise his average to an impressive .467.

Sale of Padres "awfully close"

Three months removed from the announcement of Jeff Moorad starting negotiations to become the new owner of the San Diego Padres. A deal which already has the blessing of Commissioner Bud Selig as well as Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy.

Current Padres' owner John Moores: "We're awfully close to being able to announce the deal. Things have gone as well as I could've expected, particularly because of Commissioner Bud Selig and his staff. The process has been fairly smooth from the beginning up until now. There have been no surprises."

After the deal becomes complete, current CEO Sandy Alderson will step down, an announcement he made through a statement back on February 3rd.

What are your thoughts on this? Does this look promising for the team's future? Will Moorad raise the payroll in the coming years? Does this mean the team will compete for more than just an NL West Championship?

Padres get De La Cruz from Florida

We're getting an early start to the morning, it's currently 6:45am here in Texas and I'm sitting here at work.......ok, you don't want to hear my whining I'm sure, so let's get things started on this Thursday morning, March 26th, 2009.

The Padres made a trade for another pitcher last night, this time with the Florida Marlins for right-hander Eulogio De La Cruz for cash or a player to be named later. De La Cruz made his major league debut for the Marlins in 2008 and had no record with an 18.00 ERA in six appearances.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Quiet day on the Padres front

Not much going on today on with your San Diego Padres. There was a rumor this morning about Jake Peavy possibly getting interest from Milwaukee but that was quickly shot down.

Other than that, spring training continues for the next week and a half at least and then the team will return to San Diego to get ready for Opening Day on April 6th against the Dodgers.

Brewers, Padres talking trade?

Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune got the rumor trained started not long after Peavy returned to camp from the World Baseball Classic. Center is reporting that the Brewers have interest in making a deal with San Diego for Jake Peavy, and although it might be an interesting match knowing that Milwaukee has the prospects to possibly make the deal.

Unfortunately, that rumor died quickly thanks to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinal. Haudricourt apparently talked to Brewers GM Doug Melvin who quickly said there was no truth to Center's article.

This won't be the last rumor you hear that has Jake's name attached to it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Corey Brock Q&A

San Diego Padres' beat writer, and blogger extraordinaire, Corey Brock stopped by to talk a little Padres baseball.

Swinging Friar: I wanted to start with a guy that a lot of San Diegans have been watching at San Diego State. There's been a lot of talk about young fireballer Stephen Strasburg and the possibility that he could move right into a major league rotation soon after being drafted. Is there any possibility that he falls to the Padres at #3 and, if so, do you see any possibility of the Padres signing him?

Corey Brock: I would say there’s a two percent chance he falls to the Padres. Remember, he would have to pass by the Mariners as well and there’s no way a talent like this gets passed over, even if the financial considerations are steep. From what I hear, the Nationals owner has already watched Strasburg pitch this spring. That never, EVER, happens. He’ll be a National.

Swinging Friar: Another name that's getting a lot of talk this spring is that of 6'6" 275 lb first baseman Kyle Blanks. You mentioned in your blog that Blanks will get some time in the outfield, but not until he starts the year in Portland and only in pre-game warmups. Barring injury to Adrian Gonzalez, will Padre fans see him in San Diego in 2009?

Corey Brock: He’ll be in Portland for the foreseeable future. The outfield thing isn’t something the team is pushing hard. They like him as a first baseman and want to see him continue to develop. He’s a young player still (I believe he’s 22). Big upside. I know other teams have asked about him.

It will be interesting to see if he handles the move to Triple-A better than Matt Antonelli and Chase Headley (at least early on) did.

Swinging Friar: The back end of the starting rotation and the bullpen are still yet to be decided. Let's start with the #4 and #5 spots in the rotation, who do you see filling those last two spots? What about the bullpen, is Kevin Towers still looking at deals and players out of options to fill those spots or will the team fill them internally?

Corey Brock: I see Kevin Correia as the No. 4 and either Walter Silva or Shawn Hill as the No. 5. Correia has looked good this spring. I like that he’s using his changeup more and he keeps the ball down and works ahead. You can do worse as a No. 4. A scout told me today that he likes Silva and he’s a strike-thrower as well. With Hill, we’ll see. He just got here and certainly has a history with injuries. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see additions to this bullpen right up until the team breaks camp on April 2. New faces from outside the organization.

Swinging Friar: I know you've spent a lot of time in Peoria with the team. From what you've seen, who has impressed you the most and who hasn't really lived up to what you expected?

Corey Brock: I like Drew Macias a lot. I think he could be a good fourth outfielder at the big league level. He gets better each year, can run a little, has some pop and plays pretty good defense. Blanks is another, of course. I like watching Correia pitch as well. I think Geer might still be favoring his elbow some. The velocity isn’t there. With Wade LeBlanc, I think his command can be better than he’s shown. I wasn’t sold on Chris Britton as an eighth-inning guy. You need a power arm there. He’s not that.

Swinging Friar: Last question for you and I have to ask about Jake and his time left in San Diego. Is there still a high possibility of him being traded prior to the deadline or, with new ownership moving in, will they attempt to keep him through the 2009 season?

Corey Brock: I think it’s still a very realistic possibility that Peavy gets traded during the season. Of course, he would have to sign-off on the deal, which might be tricky. We don’t know, of course, what the new owner is thinking moving forward and what his take or input will be. If the team is still looking to shed payroll, then he likely goes. That contract gets more expensive the further along we go.

Stephen Strasburg update

Yahoo Sports' Steve Henson has an article out on Stephen Strasburg.

If the Washington Nationals don’t take Strasburg out of sheer Boras-phobia, the Seattle Mariners, who pick second, certainly will. The San Diego Padres draft third and they’ve already come to terms with having no shot at the hometown boy.

In that same article, Henson also says that the Nationals have to fork over whatever Boras is asking for, why wouldn't he say the same about the Mariners or the Padres? Especially with the Padres new ownership, you'd think they would make a conserted effort to land him.

Stay tuned....

As I'm sure a lot of you know, or don't know as the case may be, possibly the top draft pick in June's amateur baseball draft could very well be San Diego State right-hander Stephen Strasburg. Since Strasburg added agent Scott Boras, there's been rumors that Boras will ask in the neighborhood of $50MM.

Since that was known, there's been a lot of talk about where the young phenom will fall and what team will actually pay that kind of money to sign him. According to Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post, it may not be the Washington Nationals, unless he'll sign for $9MM - $10MM range, which isn't likely to happen as long as Scott Boras is in charge.

If the Nationals pass on him, he'll then fall to the Seattle Mariners at #2, but if Seattle also passes, then the Padres will have a big decision to make. With new ownership, don't be surprised if the Padres sign him, especially since it will keep young Strasburg at home in San Diego.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Salute to the Armed Forces

It's not often you get to sit at home and an idea comes to your mind that has absolutely nothing to do with baseball, but you know it's something you want to express to a few thousand people you haven't even met, or know anything about. But there is one thing you share in common with those same people, the love of sports, because they're no different from us sports fans here at home.

Who are those few thousand people I speak of? It's the men and women of the armed forces, those same men and women who make it possible for me to write an article like this. This isn't just any article, this is my own personal "Thank You" to those serving overseas, or even those who are still here in the US patrolling our borders and oceans. The ones who put their lives on the line every single day so we can go to work, knowing we have nothing to fear.

I moved from Fresno, CA, or more well known as the Central Valley which stretches Bakersfield to just south of San Jose, to San Diego, CA, one of the most beautiful cities I've ever had the chance to live in. While there, being a San Diego Padre fan, I got a chance to go to a lot of Sunday afternoon games at Petco Park, and I watched the Marines file in from Camp Pendleton and it high up in the upper deck in right field, a sea of camouflage. If you've ever been to a game at Petco Park, you know that one moment that will never cease to give you chills, even bring a tear to your eye. In the 7th inning of every Padres home game, the Marine Corps song starts up and every single Marine in the upper deck stands at attention and every fan in attendance stands to their feet, hats off, just like it was the National Anthem all over again. When the song finishes, a standing ovation ensues that continues for a good five minutes. I'm telling you, it's like no other feeling I've ever felt going to a baseball game.

It's moments like that that just make me proud to be an American, the moment that makes you realize that we haven't forgotten about any of you who serve for us all.

So, with all this being said, I wanted to hear from those of you who are reading this and are part of our military forces. No matter your rank, branch of military or where you are. What are your thoughts on the state of the game of baseball? If you're a Padres fan, what are you most disappointed with? What player or prospect are you most excited about? If there's someone you'd love to see interviewed, who would it be?

I'd love for you to leave your comments on the site, give me your feedback and be a part of the site as much as you want to. I look forward to hearing from each and every one of you, God Bless you and stay safe!

Seven players optioned to the minors

The Padres made seven more roster moves this afternoon, optioning players to Triple-A Portland to their minor league camp.

Pitchers Josh Geer, Scott Patterson and Joe Thatcher, catcher Jose Lobaton, infielder Matt Antonelli and outfielder Will Venable were all optioned to Triple-A Portland.

In addition to those six, outfielder Chad Huffman was re-assigned to the Padres' minor league camp.

Dontrelle Willis anyone?

Ok, so I know I've posted a "Freddy Garcia Watch" as well as the possible availability of Rangers' outfielder Andruw Jones to gauge if any of you fans might be the least bit interested in either of those guys.

Well, I've got another one to throw out there...how about Tigers' left-hander, and former Florida Marlin, Dontrelle Willis? Jayson Stark's Spring Rumblings from last Thursday talks about the possiblity that the Tigers may ask Willis to take an assignment to their Triple-A squad. Only problem there is, it's not likely that Willis will take such an assignment.

Since Willis came out as one of the young phenoms a few years ago, Willis just hasn't been the same and the contract the Tigers gave him as a free agent, hasn't panned out either.

One scout, that has watched a lot of the Tigers, and Willis, said, "I don't think he's in their rotation mix at all. When Willis sacrifices stuff for command, he can still throw strikes. But when he gets in favorable counts and has the leeway to add a little more stuff."

Interest anyone....anyone?

Padres sign Shawn Hill

The Padres need all the arms they can get, not only to fill out their bullpen but also to round out the last two spots in their starting rotation. That is, if right-hander Kevin Correia isn't already slated for the #4 spot.

According to Chico Harlan of the Washington Post, the Padres have added one more arm to their roster, signing right-hander Shawn Hill to a minor league deal.

Hill was released last Wednesday by the Washington Nationals and, if healthy, he could take that #5 spot. The other good news is he'll remain under San Diego's control until 2012 as an arbitration-eligible player.

Padres, Cardinals complete Khalil Greene trade

With the season ending injury to right-hander Mark Worrell, one of the players that came over from St. Louis in the Khalil Green trade, the Padres were in need of another arm and had yet to decide who the "player to be named later" would be. That changed this morning after the Padres had announced that they had come to an agreement, with the Cardinals, on that player.

According to MadFriars.com, the Cardinals have sent right-hander Luke Gregerson to San Diego to complete the deal. The 24-year-old spent all of last season in Double-A Springfield, finishing the year with a 7-6 record, 10 saves and a 3.35 ERA in 57 relief appearances.

Gregerson is expected to join the Padres' in Peoria on Tuesday.

Brewers' Hall wants Peavy

Peter Gammons has a blog out this morning, and among it was Brewers 3rd baseman Bill Hall saying he expects his team to go after Jake Peavy if he becomes available this summer.

I know the one guy that would lead the charge for the Brewers is former Padre, and long time teammate of Jake's, Trevor Hoffman. You know Trevor would lobby the Milwaukee front office to make a big effort to land him, that is if Jake is made available before the trading deadline.

Also among Gammons' blog is the fact that the Padres have made Brian Giles available. Not that it's really a surprise, but the fact that the Padres are throwing Giles' name out there in trade talks possibly could be a surprise.

Peavy, Bell due back in camp

Jake Peavy and Heath Bell will finally rejoin the team this week after an almost 3-week leave from the team while they played for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic, which didn't end the way any of the players hoped.

Peavy may be the most disturbed, maybe a tad upset, with the way this final game went. He was slated to be the starter against Japan last night, but a last minute change bumped Jake to the championship game and moved Astros' right-hander Roy Oswalt to the starting role last night. Oswalt gave up six runs over 3 2/3 innings in a 9-4 loss to Japan, sending the Team USA players back to their respective Major League squads.

Although Peavy and Bell didn't exactly perform to the level they're both used to, it will be nice to see them back in camp with the Padres and use the last few weeks they have to really get ready for Opening Day on April 6th. Both of these guys have a huge roll with this club, Jake as the Opening Day starter, Heath Bell as the heir to All-Time Saves Leader Trevor Hoffman. Getting them back with their teammates may be exactly what the doctor ordered to bring them up to the level in which they're used to performing.

Newy Scruggs Q & A

I had a chance to do an interview with Newy Scruggs with NBC 5 as well as the host of "Newy and Sean" on 105.3 FM in Dallas, TX. We talked about the radio show, Rangers baseball and former Rangers Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez.

SwingingFriar: First of all, I know you have to have a lot of followers and fans since you and Sean Salisbury teamed up on 105.3 The Fan. Talk about working with Sean and how much fun do you guys have on the air?

Newy Scruggs: We (Salisbury and Scruggs) haven't been on the air for 60 days yet, so we have a long way to go. Our station hit the air in late December, so we are making inroads all the way around. Working with Sean is easy because we are long time friends. He's a great guy and we are loving the show.

SwingingFriar: Getting to the Rangers, the talk, over the past couple of weeks, has been about Andruw Jones. Earlier in the week, it sounded like he wasn't even going to make the 40-man roster, but now it sounds as if he's willing to take a lesser role to stay with the club. Do you have an update on those discussions and what happens with Frank Catalanatto?

Newy Scruggs: I spoke to Ron Washington and he told me, "Rudy's got him fixed". Wash wants Jones on the team and feels like he can help provide protection for Josh Hamilton. The Rangers did not re-sign Milton Bradley and for some reason it hasn't been talked about much by the media or Rangers fans.

Bradley made the All Star team and made pitchers pay. The Rangers have high hopes for Nelson Cruz, but to steal a favorite saying from Wash, "he ain't done it up here". Cruz has to show he can produce a full season at the big league level. We have not seen that yet. I am concerned because Cruz is the type of player who puts too much pressure on himself.

SwingingFriar: I know the Angels are the odds on favorite to win the AL West, what do the Rangers need to do to stay in the race or do you think they aren't quite at that point to be able to challenge the Angels or even the A's?

Newy Scruggs: Pitching. Pitching. Pitching. Did I say pitching? The Rangers starters burned up the bullpen last year. They need Kevin Millwood and Vicente Padilla to win 15 games apiece. Both guys are pitching for money. Padilla will be a free agent and Millwood has to go 180 innings to get a 5th year at over 10 million.

SwingingFriar: Listening to your show every day, when you talk about the Rangers it seems the fans have the same opinion. When it comes to pitching, this team just doesn't have it. Do you agree with that assessment?

Newy Scruggs: Until you see it happen fans should not buy in. The starters have been dreadful this decade. Only two pitchers have made the All Star team since 2000, Kenny Rogers and Coco Cordero. They have traded more guys who've made the All Star team: Edinson Volquez, Chris Young, Justin Duchscherer and Cordero.

SwingingFriar: I got a chance to watch Elvis Andrus when he was the shortstop with the Frisco RoughRiders. I know the Rangers see a lot in him, but do you think he's ready to make the jump to the big leagues?

Newy Scruggs: If the GM lets the manager do his thing. Washington brought up Eric Chavez, Bobby Crosby and Miguel Tejada in Oakland. They let those guys make mistakes. Too many times the Rangers have given up on young talents too early. Andrus will make some mistakes, but the organization has to be willing to let him work through it.

SwingingFriar: Last question for you, Padre fans continue to talk about the trade that brought Chris Young and Adrian Gonzalez over from the Rangers a few years ago. Is that a trade that will go down as one of the worst ever made by the Rangers?

Newy Scruggs: George W. Bush traded away Sammy Sosa and Wilson Alvarez in a deal to the Chicago White Sox. I'd say that was the worst deal in Rangers history. The Young/Gonzalez deal is one of many bad trades that started off the Jon Daniels era.

Big thanks to Newy Scruggs for taking his time for the interview. If you're in the Dallas/Ft Worth Metroplex, you can catch him and former NFL quarterback Sean Salisbury on 105.3 FM from 12-3pm Monday through Friday. If you're not, log on to 1053thefan.com and you can listen online.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Cla Meredith having a dominate, but quiet, spring

Don't look now, but submarine right-hander Cla Meredith hasn't allowed a hit or a run in 8 Cactus League innings, showing that if current closer Heath Bell can't get the job done, that he could be the guy to look to if the team needs him.

As for right now, Meredith will be Bell's setup man in the 8th inning when the season opens in just a few short weeks.

For those of you who are worrying about the Padres' current 4-15 record in Cactus League play, I'd recommend that you not freak out about games that don't mean a thing. The team has been without Adrian Gonzalez, Edgar Gonzalez, Scott Hairston, Heath Bell and Jake Peavy for the better part of three weeks. When the season opens, the Padres will have their full roster and will be at 100%, barring any injuries to Jake Peavy or Heath Bell as they finish up their stint with Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

The team will open the season on April 6th against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers and will close out their opening home stand on April 12th against the San Francisco Giants.

Worrell's season comes to abrupt end

Well, though Kevin Towers is well known for making trades that end up being highway robberies (see: Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young from the Rangers), the deal that sent long time short-stop Khalil Greene to the Cardinals for Tim Worrell has done the opposite.

Worrell came out of a game early a few days ago with elbow soreness, something you never want to hear a pitcher say. Padres' manager Bud Black was quoted as saying that it didn't look good after the pitcher was examined by team doctor's back in San Diego. On Saturday, the worst fear was realized as Worrell will need to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2009 season.

Manager Bud Black, "our fears were confirmed when the elbow was examined. It didn't look good. He hadn't had any pain in the elbow. It just came on late. He's a pitcher we thought highly of. We wanted to give him a god look, now we have to move on."

With Worrell lost for the season, the Padres have even more of an urgency to find bullpen pitchers as well as fill the #4 and #5 spots in the starting rotation. Towers has a lot of work to do prior to Opening Day and not a lot of time to do it, so believe that he's already had several conversations with teams about available players.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Peavy to make semi-final start for Team USA

Jake Peavy hasn't had the best time during the WBC, getting a no decision in the team's come from behind win over Candada in Game 1 and getting hammered by Venezuela for six runs in Team USA's 11-1 loss.

Back out west, Peavy has a chance to pitch in a park he's very familiar with, not to mention a park he's had tremendous success in. Team USA will face Japan tonight at Dodger Stadium to decide who goes on to the WBC Championship game. Jake will need to show just how dominant he can be as a starter, throw strikes, get outs and get run support. If Team USA can give Peavy the run support, I have no doubt that Jake will take care of the rest.

Peavy will need to keep his emotions in check. He can be fired up, he can be confident and ready to go, but don't be too over confident because once that happens, he starts to overthrow pitches which will get him into trouble.

Freddy Garcia watch

The Padres are looking for a #5 starter and probably won't find the guy they want from within their own system. Enter former White Sox right-hander, and a guy the Padres' considered in the past, Freddy Garcia.

According to Bart Hubbuch of the NY Post, the Mets are not considering Garcia for the 5th spot in their rotation and he has already made it known that he will not pitch in the minor leagues.

If I'm Kevin Towers, I'm already talking to his agent and gauging what Garcia would ask for at least a 1-year deal and get him into camp ASAP. He's a guy that has had success in Chicago and could very well have success in a place like Petco Park. If he'll take a 1-year $1MM - $2MM deal, I sign him to it now.

Adrian switching sides?

Good for Adrian Gonzalez. The Padres' first baseman was asked if he would play for the Team USA in the WBC if they were to call him, Adrian didn't even hesitate, “why not? I qualify for both countries.”

Team USA is looking for a replacement at first base after losing Red Sox first baseman, and Boston fan favorite, Kevin Youkilis.

Adrian wouldn't be a bad guy to call, especially a guy who is a great defensive first baseman, can spray the ball all over the field and has good power. Even with that being said, I'd be surprised if it's Adrian that gets the call, but stranger things have happened.

Baek not impressive

Just when you thought Cha Seung Baek had the #3 rotation spot sowed up, he didn't exactly impress against the Mariners yesterday afternoon.

The Padres had built an early 5-0 lead after just 1 inning, but Baek gave that all back and then some, giving up six runs on eight hits over just 4 1/3 innings, striking out six. It just leads to more concern for this Padres team, not only does Baek look shaky, but Bud Black, Kevin Towers and the rest of the front office haven't decided who the #5 starter is going to be.

The one thing this team doesn't want to get themselves into is a starter by committee to open the season, going with a new guy every time the #5 spot in the rotation comes up. I have an idea though....HEY GREG MADDUX! FEEL LIKE COMING OUT OF RETIREMENT? PLEASE!?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Blanks showing no signs of slowing down

Leave it to Kyle Blanks to keep making his case for a spot with the San Diego Padres, unfortunately that's probably not going to happen until he can prove he can play the outfield without being a liability, because first base just isn't an option with Adrian Gonzalez already there.

Yesterday, in a 9-4 loss to the Rangers, Blanks would double and score in the fifth inning on Will Venabl's RBI single.

Blanks is going to force the hand of Kevin Towers if he keeps this up. But, again, Blanks will probably start the year in AAA and get some time in the outfield. If he shows that he can do that with no problem at all, don't think it's going to be long before he gets the call up to San Diego, especially if this team struggles offensively.

Padres lose another pitcher to injury

Speaking of ill-timed injuries, sidewinder Mark Worrell has been shut down by the San Diego Padres for soreness in his pitching elbow.

Padres' manager Bud Black: "He came out of the game Tuesday with soreness. We're going to let it quiet down. We might possibly do some further tests."

Worrell returned to San Diego to be examined by team doctors, after which Black said, "it doesn't look great."

Worrell was a guy that the Padres really liked as a late inning specialist and he had a good shot at being that guy, but after the pain intensified after being pulled from the game on Tuesday, the Padres had to know that they weren't going to get good news back. Where the team goes now is anyone's guess. They could look internally, or the more likely scenario is GM Kevin Towers looking outside the team to find a late inning reliever. We'll just have to see who Towers comes up with.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Andruw Jones could be looking for new team

I know this isn't a Padres story, but it caught my attention immediately. Andruw Jones could be looking for a new team for the 2009 season, because according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com, Jones will not make the Rangers squad out of Spring Training. That's not to say he won't take an assignment to their AAA club, but I think he would rather go somewhere where he has a chance to start.

I know San Diego isn't exactly looking for outfielders, but if they can make a deal to send Kevin Kouzmanoff somewhere for a few prospects, move Chase Headley to 3rd, you can get Jones for cheap, slide him to left, since the Dodgers are paying him a huge chunk of his contract from 2008.

Takers anyone?

Red Sox cut Josh Bard

Josh Bard seems to be running into bad luck since his stint with the Padres. The former Padres' catcher was cut by the Boston Red Sox today according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.

This move comes as somewhat of a surprise to me, especially since Bard wasn't exactly struggling during Spring Training, hitting a torrid .429 with one home run and five RBI's in six games played. Taking Bard's place as the backup catcher to Jason Varitek will be former Padres' prospect George Kottaras, who is out of minor league options.

Blanks will get fly balls in the outfield

Apparently Kevin Towers has become a full fledged fan of young first baseman Kyle Blanks. So much so, that he talked to Grady Fuson, the Padres' Director of Scouting and Player Development about getting Blanks some work in the outfield but only in pre-game workouts.

Padres' GM Kevin Towers: “We're not going to stick him in the outfield. We may hit him some fly balls in pregame, see how he does.”

This comes on the heels of Adrian Gonzalez getting ready to return to the team after Team Mexico was eliminated from the World Baseball Classic, meaning Blanks will see limited playing time.

I'm all for this move, if you can get Kyle Blanks and Adrian Gonzalez in the same lineup, it gives this offense a definite boost. Don't expect young Blanks to start the year in San Diego, Towers has already said that he'll be in Portland to start 2009, but if he impresses coaches during his workouts in the outfield, don't be surprised if it's not long before he gets the call up.

Bell continues to struggle during WBC

No more Hells Bells, no more Trevor Hoffman, so us Padre fans have put our faith in a guy we believe can do the job and do it just as well, if not better, than the All-Time Saves leader.

Heath Bell is the guy now for the Padres, the guy that will be coming in in the 9th inning to close out a Padres' victory. But if the WBC is any indication of how he'll perform, I'm more than a little worried about his ability. Bell has continued to struggle during the World Baseball Classic, his ERA sits at a hefty 10.50, giving up 3 runs in just 2 2/3 innings including giving up a run last night against Puerto Rico in USA's dramatic 6-5 win.

So, does that make you question Bell's ability to get the job done for the Padres? Or do you chalk this up to him just getting his feet underneath him and that he'll be ok when the regular season opens? The Padres need Bell to be their guy, they don't want a closer by committee situation, this team just can't handle that right now.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Gerut shines, Geer does not

I was just talking to a friend of mine this afternoon about a name I hadn't really heard all of Spring Training, and wouldn't you know it right on cue, Jody Gerut shows himself with his first home run of the spring...nice timing Jody.

Also having a good day this afternoon were third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, outfielder Chase Headley, outfielder/infielder Chris Burke, outfielder Chris Snelling and first baseman Kyle Blanks. Kouzmanoff, Headley and Snelling each drove in a run and Burke would drive in two while Kyle Blanks would add two more hits to his already torid spring, raising his spring batting average to an incredible .341. Watch out Adrian Gonzalez, Blanks is coming for your job.

Would the real fourth and fifth starters, in the Padres rotation, please STAND THE HECK UP! Wade LeBlanc, would had an outside shot of landing the 5th spot in the rotation, was sent to the Padres' minor league camp after giving up seven earned runs in six combined innings. Now Josh Geer, another guy who had a shot at the 5th spot, struggled today as well. Geer gave up six runs on nine hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The Padres may need to look outside their own organization for those final two spots, because it doesn't look like Geer is going to be one of those guys as well, although non-roster invitee Kevin Correia has shown flashes of brilliance and could land at #4.

Roster moves

Corey Brock checks in through his blog, reporting that right-hander Chris Britton was told by Padres' brass that he will not make the San Diego Padres.

Other moves made today, five players were moved to the minor league camp including left-hander Wade LeBlanc who was hoping to make the team as the 5th starter, but after allowing seven runs over six innings of work, he may have more to work on than the thought.

Adrian Gonzalez or Kyle Blanks

Ok, now this isn't a question that came up last year, but believe me when I say this, it will come up this season.

Young prospect, though he doesn't quite look young at 6'6" and 270 lbs, Kyle Blanks has started to make a case for himself during Spring Training while current Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez plays for Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic. Blanks is currently hitting .325 with a .429 on base percentage, a stat this organization absolutely smiles upon, as well as 3 HR's and 9 RBI's in 40 total at bats.

The reason this becomes a question is, with Blanks just below the majors as he'll start his season in AAA-Portland, a lot of teams will be looking at him with the assumption that the Padres will not be willing to part with Adrian Gonzalez, so they might possibly have to unload Blanks in a trade. There has been talk, however, that the Padres have kicked around the idea of sliding him to the outfield to have both his and Gonzalez' bats in the lineup. Although Blanks has good speed for a guy of his size, he doesn't have quite the lateral movement needed to cover the vast outfield of Petco Park.

If Blanks tears up AAA and shows no sign of slowing down, the Padres may have some serious decision making to do about his future. Do you call Portland and move him to the outfield to see how he does, or do you really want to risk him being a defensive liability?

If you're asking me, Blanks can be the Padres' future at 1st base, but with the offensive output that the Padres have gotten from Adrian Gonzalez, it definitely could be one of the toughest decisions they'll make, because after Blanks, there isn't a prospect in their farm system that could make the kind of impact than that of Kyle Blanks.

Welcome back Padre fans!

Ok, so I've been on a long hiatus and I've been doing some writing for my close friend Todd Pichierri and his site Planet Padres. But I'm returning and should be here for good, especially with another Padres season starting back up.

There is so much to talk about as we get into the final few weeks of Spring Training and into the regular season, but instead of going back to what the Padres have already done, we'll start on what they're doing today and go through the regular season.

The Padres will be in Tempe, AZ to take on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at 1:05pm local time. A new arrival who could see his first game action for the Padres is right-hander Duaner Sanchez, who the Padres picked up after the Mets released him. Though he may not have the form he had in 2006, the Padres hope he can at least be effective out of the bullpen.