Light mailbag today, so a few thoughts on the news of the week first.

The Padres signed Clayton Richard to a two-year, $6 million contract extension on Wednesday. Richard’s an odd breed of pitcher; he’s essentially a replacement level innings eater, at least if you use Baseball Prospectus’ pitching metrics. By BP, Richard’s at -1.1 WARP for his career, and -0.5 this season. While he isn’t good, he’s adequate enough to chew up innings and not embarrass anyone, and he’s got an outside chance of reaching 200 innings this season for the third time in his career.

My guess is he starts 2018 in the starting rotation, but shifts to the bullpen (or pasture) whenever the young arms are ready to take over. At just $3 million a year, there’s really not a whole lot that could go wrong here. The only downside could arise if the Padres are committed to keeping Richard in the rotation, thereby stealing opportunities from younger and more exciting arms. They’ve already indicated they won’t do that, however, so ultimately this is just a mild overpay for a little continuity.

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This is the seventh Friday mailbag in a row; thanks for all the great questions.

Manuel Margot‘s had a really solid rookie campaign, although certain aspects of his game have left something to be desired. On offense, the one thing that’s surprised me is his strikeout rate. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I figured he’d jump into the majors and make a lot of contact right away. So far he’s whiffing 19.2 percent of the time, which is a tick or two better than league average but maybe a bit higher than anticipated for someone who only struck out 11.5 percent of the time in his minor-league career and earned top prospect status largely for his hit tool.

Here’s the encouraging news on that front:

Month Strikeout %
April 27.6
May 19.0
June 27.8 (18 PAs)
July 23.1
August 14.6

Margot’s strikeout rate has been trending down this season, with August by far being his best month. Even more encouragingly, he’s been able to show both power and contact ability at the same time, swatting five homers and 10 extra-base hits this month. That’s a small sample, of course, but he’s hitting .281/.318/.494 in the second-half. He’s a rookie, so there’s not much to go on; steady improvement is all we can ask.

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Sometimes things get a little fuzzy during an evening at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you may have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (47-62) scored fewer runs than the Philadelphia Phillies (51-60) last night in the first of three games at Petco Park, 5-4.

Christian Friedrich (4-7, 4.76) gave up four runs on five hits and no walks in seven innings while striking out four. Cameron Rupp hit a three-run home run with Aaron Altherr and Maikel Franco on base in the fourth inning. In the sixth inning, Rupp’s RBI double scored Franco again. And Tommy Joseph‘s single in the eighth inning drove in Cesar Hernandez for the eventual winning run.

Jeremy Hellickson (9-7, 3.72) pitched six and two-thirds innings, surrendering three runs on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts. Jose Rondon singled to bring Alex Dickerson in to score in the second inning. A sacrifice fly by Dickerson in the third inning scored Travis Jankowski. Alexei Ramirez hit a pinch-hit solo home run in the seventh inning. And Wil Myers hit a solo home run in the eighth.

Paul Clemens (1-2, 4.70) gets the start tonight against Jake Thompson, who is making his Major League debut. First pitch is scheduled for 5:40pm PDT.

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Sometimes things get a little fuzzy during an afternoon at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you may have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (47-61) scored more runs than the Milwaukee Brewers (48-58), 12-3, in the three-game series finale yesterday afternoon at Petco Park.

Edwin Jackson (2-2, 5.00) pitched eight innings, striking out five while allowing three runs on eight hits and no walks. In the eighth inning, Jonathan Villar scored on a Scooter Gennett single and Ryan Braun hit a two-run home run.

Junior Guerra (7-3, 2.93) gave up four runs in four innings on six hits and three walk with five strikeouts. Travis Jankowski scored on a Yangervis Solarte ground out and Solarte and Alex Dickerson scored on a Christian Bethancourt single in the first inning. Dickerson’s double in the third inning drove in Solarte. In the sixth inning, Wil Myers hit a two-RBI single to drive in Jackson and Jankowski and Solarte hit a two-run home run. Jabari Blash hit his first Major League home run with a opposite field shot to leadoff the seventh inning, Rondon scored on a Jackson double, and Jankowski scored on a Ryan Schimpf double. A Bethancourt ground out drove in Solarte in the eighth inning.

The Philadelphia Phillies come to Petco Park for three games starting Friday at 7:40pm PDT. Christian Friedrich (4-6, 4.72) gets the start in the first game against Jeremy Hellickson (8-7, 3.70).

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Sometimes things get a little fuzzy during an evening at the pub. Here’s a friendly reminder of what you may have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (45-59) scored more runs than the Cincinnati Reds (41-62), 2-1 in ten innings, on a run-off walk-off home run last night in the second of three games at Petco Park.

Christian Friedrich (4-6, 4.72) pitched six innings, allowing one run on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Billy Hamilton‘s RBI single in the third inning brought Eugenio Suarez across the plate. Jose Dominguez, Ryan Buchter, Brandon Maurer, and Brad Hand combined to throw four innings of perfect relief, not allowing a baserunner.

Anthony DeSclafani (6-0, 3.09) gave up one run on four hits and two walks in six innings while striking out six. In the sixth inning, a single by Alexi Amarista drove-in Ryan Schimpf to put the Padres on the scoreboard. In the tenth inning, Adam Rosales hit a walk-off (More like “run-off,” amirite?) solo home run to win the game.

Matt Kemp was pulled from the starting lineup at the last minute, before a trade with the Atlanta Braves was made official in the fourth inning.

The rubber game this afternoon pits Paul Clemens (1-1, 4.82) against Homer Bailey, making his first appearance of 2016 after sitting out most of last season recovering from Tommy John surgery. First pitch is set for 1:40pm PDT.

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In Episode 18 of the podcast we chat with John Conniff of MadFriars about the Padres farm system. What prospects does John expect to contribute in the majors this season? What pitcher is John’s sleeper prospect? What did Nelson Cruz say to John just before taking Wade LeBlanc yard in Portland? Where are the San Antonio barbecue joints that refuse to provide sliverware? We answer all these questions and more.

Check out the MadFriars Top 20 Padres Prospects for 2015 featuring commentary on the state of the organization and tons of scouting info on players.

If you have any questions or comments, leave them down below or e-mail us.

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The San Diego Padres have been in the spotlight quite a bit of late, as the recent trades of Huston Street and Chase Headley as well as the firing of Josh Byrnes and the (very public) search for his replacement have garnered national attention. Sometimes, even with stories that produce league-wide shockwaves, minor – and not so minor – details are glossed over. We must not gloss over those details.

(Trevor Gott Here)

Trevor Gott was a pitcher in the Padres organization, drafted in the sixth-round of the 2013 draft. He’s now a pitcher in the Los Angeles Angels organization, as he was dealt along with Huston Street to the Angels last week for a quartet of prospects.

I’ve read at least three or four articles on this deal that failed to even mention Gott’s involvement in it. It’d be one thing to overlook Gott if the Padres had brought back a blue-chip prospect or two, but they didn’t. Baseball Prospectus ranked the Angels system dead-last in the majors for the second consecutive year back in February. Further, the Angels were one of only two teams (the Milwaukee Brewers) not represented at least once on BP’s top 101 prospects list. Baseball America concurred on the state of the system, although Taylor Lindsay (93rd) did narrowly crack its top 100.

That isn’t to say the Padres didn’t acquire some nice pieces for Street, a 30-year-old closer on a team that produces relief pitchers by the dozen, can’t score runs, and might not be competitive for a year or two.

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Sometimes things get a little fuzzy after spending an evening in the pub.  So here’s a friendly reminder of what you might have missed while you were drinking.

The Padres (41-55) started off the proverbial “second half of the season” in much the same way they ended the first half, losing to the New York Mets (46-50) by a score of 5-4.  Joaquin Benoit gave up a run to the Mets in the ninth inning to break a 4-4 tie.  The Padres were then shutout in their half of the inning to end the game.

Ian Kennedy gave up four runs quickly in the first inning, then settled down to pitch five innings with six hits, three walks, and four strikeouts.  Mets’ starter Bartolo Colon also pitched five innings on five hits and a walk with six strikeouts.

Before the game the Padres called up Chris Nelson from AAA El Paso to replace Irving Falu, who was reclaimed off of waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.  Nelson went 2-for-4 with a RBI and had a couple of nice plays at second base.

After the game the Padres announced Huston Street and minor league pitcher Trevor Gott were traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for four minor leaguers:  Taylor Lindsey, R.J. Alvarez, Jose Rondon, and Elliot Morris.

Tonight at 5:40 pm PDT the Friars will have Tyson Ross (7-10, 2.85) taking the mound following his non-appearance in the All-Star Game on Tuesday against the Mets and Dillon Gee (4-1, 2.56).  It’s Andrew Cashner Camo Replica Jersey Night for all in attendance.

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