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.

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