As the 2015 off-season enters the 2nd half of it’s 2nd month, while it has seemed like nearly every major transaction of this winter hot stove season has involved one of the other teams in the NL West, the Padres have basically the same holes with which they entered the off-season. They’ve made some moves, yes, but because those have been moves meant to add depth, clear payroll, and rebuild the team’s depleted farm system, there has been little done to add to the major league roster for 2016. After last off-season, everyone is waiting for the sequel to start.
The phrase of the year appears to be “contend and rebuild.” The Padres, wary of losing revenue in the short-term for what could be a better chance at success in the long-term, are unwilling as an ownership group to commit to a complete tear down and rebuild, such as what we’ve seen recently from the Astros and the Cubs. The club’s majority/minority owner Peter Seidler, by way of the Union-Tribune’s Dennis Lin this past summer, and brought back to the forefront by Chris from Padres Public’s own The Sacrifice Bunt just last week, is talking about “competing year after year after year.” Whether you fear or hope for a complete rebuild, this is not ownership’s vision for the franchise.
This afternoon, after the trade deadline passed with the Padres making just one small move, trading OF Abraham Almonte to Cleveland for LHP Marc Rzepczynski, Padres GM AJ Preller was not made immediately available to the media, let alone me, not the media whatsoever. However, I decided to interview him anyway.
The following is the full transcript of the interview that did not occur this afternoon between myself and AJ Preller. I repeat, these are not quotes from AJ Preller.
VM Nate: AJ, this is Nathan from The Vocal Minority, what’s going on man?
AJ Preller: Not much, dude.
VMN: First, I have a personal question: Do you know Kimble?
AJP: Whoa! EQ Kimble, the insurance man?
VMN: good enough! Nice to speak with you, brother. Fullerton Chapter, Delta class, fall 2000.
VMN: Yeah, never got to meet him though. Anyway, so the trade deadline just finished up, and you guys were the talk of baseball leading up to it. Then, as the deadline passed, you guys didn’t really do anything. What happened? Read More…
Oh my god, it’s been 3 days and I still can’t believe it’s actually happening.
We did it.
After all these years; all the frustration, the petitions, the dismissals, the insults. We persevered, we kept fighting, we stayed positive, and we’re about to get what we’ve so passionately been asking for.
This morning, the Padres interrupted a lengthy presentation by Padres chairman Ron Fowler, San Diego Mayor/Boltman booking agent Kevin Faulconer, and Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred to unveil the official logo for the 2016 MLB All-Star Game. After rumors had swirled for the better part of the last year or so that the Padres were looking at making the 11th major uniform change in franchise history, many keyed in on this moment as the one to reveal which direction that change may head. Many (including myself) were hoping for a return to the team’s brown roots.
Sunday afternoon at Petco Park, with two outs and nobody on in the top of the 6th inning and the Padres trailing 4-3, Odrisamer Despaigne hit Yasmany Tomas with a pitch to bring up the D-Backs’ young left-handed hitting third baseman Jake Lamb. Although Despaigne had pitched well despite the four earned runs allowed, allowing just 3 hits and no walks to go along with 6 strikeouts and just 84 pitches, Padres interim manager Pat Murphy made the decision that this was an important situation, and he called to the bullpen for young lefty specialist Frank Garces.
It’s not your fault, Frank Garces.
Garces has just barely hung onto a bullpen spot by a thread since the start of the season. He made the opening day roster, was optioned to AAA El Paso on April 25th, and then was recalled from AAA on May 5th. He’s never been better than the 6th or 7th best option in the bullpen (it’s also not Cory Mazzoni’s fault), and at many points in the season better relievers have been sent down to AAA while he’s stuck on the roster because he’s left-handed and he’s the only left-handed reliever they’ve got.
Everybody makes a bunch of decisions every day. Sometimes they work out great and sometimes they fail miserably. Most of them have very minimal impact on your life, either way. Whether it’s deciding to pass the car in the slow lane a half-mile before your exit or having that cup of coffee or soda a little later in the day than you normally do even though it could keep you up half the night, every decision we make throughout the day has a potential negative consequence, and yet almost all of us somehow manage to get out of bed everyday and get shit done.
For example, the other day I thought it would be fun to pick up a bag of Doritos Roulette chips at the grocery store. They were on sale and I was shopping hungry. The thing about these chips is that most of the chips in the bag are just regular Nacho Cheese Doritos, but at least one per handful, though they all look the same, is a very spicy chip. As someone who enjoys very small amounts of danger, large amounts of junk food, and does not enjoy spicy things very much, I figured this kind of challenge to my manhood was perfect.
I was wrong. This was a poor decision. I now have 90% of a bag of chips and post-traumatic stress disorder. The hot chips were too hot. There were too many hot chips. After 3 hot chips in my first 10 chips, my mouth was on fire. The can of coke I was drinking wasn’t helping. I needed a base to alleviate the burning, but I didn’t want to drink milk. I grabbed 2 slices of bread and stuffed them in my mouth. It worked. Great decision, me.
There are a lot of lessons here. One, don’t hire me to be your nutritionist. Two, know your limitations. Three, when you make a bad decision, recognize that it’s a bad decision, fix the mistake, try to make a better decision next time, and move on. This is where this post starts talking about the Padres, right before you were about to click away.
Even for veteran players on minor league deals trying to re-ignite their careers or find that one last chance to make a team, if they’ve made it to the last week of camp, they’re going to keep playing and seeking the chance to play the game that’s given them their livelihood, whether it’s in El Paso or with some other organization’s AAA team. There’s even a chance this year that a player who doesn’t make this year’s Padres roster will still be in a major league uniform on opening day, even if he just got off the plane.
Two years ago, with Chase Headley hurt to start the year, the Padres started the year with 37 year old infielder Cody Ransom on the opening day roster. Ransom had just come off a career year in 2012, mostly notable in that it was the first time in his career, at 36, that he’d earned more than 100 at-bats in a big league season. He’d actually been valuable in 2012, posting 1.1 fWAR, and 2013 turned out to be his 2nd best season, but not with the Padres. He went 0-11 with 5 strikeouts in his short stint with the Padres, who then traded him to the Cubs for nothing.
Ransom didn’t see the bigs in 2014, spending the year in Japan. You’d think at 39 and with just 859 career plate appearances since his major league debut in 2001 he’d call it a career, but he signed a minor league deal without a big league camp invitation with the Diamondbacks in late February. If he was a catcher, they’d write an 80’s movie about him. If he were a catcher, it might actually make sense, as those guys seem to play forever.
Opening day rosters can be full of Cody Ransom’s, guys destined for the scrap heap or the DL, players who will have little to no impact on their team that season. For fans, though, opening day rosters are crack, and I’m an addict. Read More…
AJ Preller likes Hector Olivera. Not only did he watch on the field in showcases and private workouts in the Dominican Republic, he went to his house for some QT and things have even gotten physical. Now the question becomes how much does AJ like Hector? Does he really like him? Does he really really like him? Does he really really really really really like him, Carly Rae Jepsen style?
The smell of fresh-cut grass, the crack of the ball off of the bat, the cleats clapping on the sidewalk like a bizarre sort of show pony parade, and the warm (Arizona/Florida) sun beating down. Pitchers and catchers make their annual return to (city) today, the official start of Spring Training. For the (team) and 29 other clubs, hope once again springs eternal.
It’s an amazing time to be a Padres fan. At 11pm last night local time (2am for me in Cleveland), free agent starting pitcher James Shields agreed to terms with the Padres on a 4 year deal worth $75 million. It’s a landmark deal for the Padres and represents a sea change in the franchise’s approach to free agency in an off-season full of sea changes in the franchise’s approach to being a MLB franchise.
Then we found out today that not only were the Padres working out Cuban free agent super-stud infielder Yoan Moncada, but were expected to be aggressive in bidding for his services, and maybe weren’t too worried about the penalties that will be imposed to whatever team ends up with his services.
The Padres are taking over the world: Sources say San Diego is working out Yoan Moncada today and plans to be aggressive in bidding for him.
This is damn exciting stuff, and with Shields signed and all the trades the team has made, why shouldn’t the Padres be expected to get whatever they want right now? If AJ Preller wants Yoan Moncada, he’s going to get him, right? Well no, probably not.