When the Padres traded Mat Latos I felt very disappointed. Actually I was pissed. I remember playing FIFA when I received the ESPN text alert that he’d been traded to Cincinnati. I was up 2-1 late against Manchester City, a perennial powerhouse, playing with poor little underdog Stoke City. Do you have any idea how hard it is to beat a 5 star team with 2 star team? DO YOU?! Well, distracted by the news, I forgot to pause the game, and of course City equalized late. I eventually lost the game in penalties. Fucking Byrnes.
Winter is here and sounds of baseball no longer permeate through the familial living room. It is a time when the women of the AJM household manipulate programming to a far greater extent than they do during the summer season. I am an adult and I have learned to cope with such sacrifice. This free time however, has been known to cause consternation amongst the daughters AJM as they are forced to grapple for leftover scraps of free TV time. Fortunately the Mrs. and I have taught the girls mechanisms for fair decision making . . .
Earlier during the year I found myself engrossed in episodes of Homeland and Breaking Bad, programs that had become standards in the AJM household. At roughly the same time I began following a clever Padres fan on twitter who kept me on my toes by alternating his avatars between the dual awesomeness of Saul Berenson and Walter White. With impeccable taste in modern television and the necessary humor required for survival as a Padres fan, I knew he and I would hit it off just smashingly. The human known to the twitterverse as @haha1721 has now joined Padres Public. And he’s here to tell you about himself . . .
Yesterday I gave some thoughts on the Padres’ farm system. These thoughts were not unique. In fact, the ideas I discussed have become recognized as very basic tenets of operating a baseball team today.
I wanted to follow up on what I wrote with some material that reinforces the idea of patience and not giving away the farm as part of a quick fix. Additionally, I would like to share with you something a family member said to me yesterday regarding the U-T San Diego column that my last two posts are based upon. If you are comfortable with these terms I shall begin.
In a Saturday morning article, Time for the Padres to get bold, the U-T San Diego’s Matt Calkins advocated surrendering the farm system’s pitching depth for an impact bat. Calkins’ suggestions centered around the addition of either Giancarlo Stanton or Mark Trumbo, “the Angel with a lifetime OPS of .768 over four seasons.”
These players have been mentioned before during this off-season and rather than rehashing the pros and cons of adding their bats right now I would rather focus on Calkins’ idea about how the Padres should compete with today’s behemoths of the game:
The Padres aren’t anywhere close to a team like the Dodgers, Red Sox, or Yankees, who can bulldoze their way to the postseason with sheer force. They, however are one that can pirouette their way in with some good fortune and a critical extra piece.
Now’s the time to get that piece. Now’s the time for the index finger to stop wagging “no” and instead pull the trigger.
This is an interesting approach and it begs the question: When is the right time for a team like the Padres (i.e. limited resources and less margin for error) to push all in and go for it?
Without giving the 40-Man Roster a thorough examination we would never know that 30% of the fellas call either California (Brad Boxberger, Robbie Erlin, Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, Dale Thayer, Nick Vincent, Tommy Medica, Carlos Quentin, Will Venable) or Texas (Burch Smith, Huston Street) the place of their birth.*
*Perhaps this is not information that you need but it helps substantiate claims that California and Texas are factories for the assembly of ball players.
New acquisition Josh Johnson is the tallest at 6’7″ and Kyle Blanks is the heaviest at 265lbs. Johnson, at 250lbs, is tied with Yonder Alonso for the next heaviest guys on the team. When I think of Kyle Blanks and Josh Johnson I think of big powerful human beings whose girth is justified through the utility derived from their mass. Yonder Alonso? Not so much.
Yesterday Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers received recognition as the best pitcher in the National League when he was awarded the 2013 CY Young award. It was Kershaw’s second CY Young, interrupted only by a second place finish to R.A. Dickey last season.
Kershaw finished with a 16-9 record for the National League West champion Dodgers but the W/L record barely does the lefty justice. He led the league in ERA (1.83), the lowest for a left-hander since Sandy Koufax posted a 1.73 ERA in 1966 during his final season. Kershaw also led the National League in strikeouts (232) and WHIP (0.915).
In 2013 Clayton Kershaw absolutely dominated Major League Baseball . . . unless his opponent was a little team from San Diego.
What is the most realistic method for the Padres to add talent this winter? While there exists a good number of attractive free agents on the market, is it even feasible for a team like the Padres to add talent in such a way? The Padres may be adding approximately 20% to their payroll this off-season but that still doesn’t leave much to make a big splash. I apologize for having more questions than answers.
Last week, the Angels’ Mark Trumbo was named as a possible player suited for the Padres in 2014. The prospect of adding a first baseman who finished 2013 with 34 HRs, excited a lot of power starved fans here in San Diego. Others however, were nonplussed. The fans in the latter category cited Trumbo’s OBP (.294) and high strikeout rates (184 in 2013) as a reason not to consider giving up any young pitching for his corner infield bat. Maybe there’s something to that argument – despite the HR totals (34), Trumbo’s WAR (2.2) was only 1 better than that of current Padre, Yonder Alonso (1.2).
Truth be told . . . aside from scrolling through Baseball-Reference.com to scan numbers, I don’t know too much about Mark Trumbo. So I decided to ask someone who knows: Sam Miller of Baseball Prospectus.
The other night I sent the following request to our small corner of the world:
— Gaslamp Ball (@gaslampball) October 29, 2013
I thought this was a great question from Gaslamp Ball because, well really, what do we do now? While the Padres have been finished for awhile, the 2013 officially came to its conclusion last night when the Boston Red Sox defeated the St. Louis Cardinals in game six of the World Series. With the Hot Stove season upon us . . . what now?