Monday, October 4, 2010

A Look Ahead to 2011

Well, the 2010 season is over. No heart attack, but my finger nails are bleeding! I had this team winning between 80-85 games. I rationalized that they would have a solid bullpen, team speed, and good defense. These elements are often overlooked when compared to offense and the starting rotation. I would say this team slightly over achieved.

It's time to take a peek at what the Padres should do to take a step forward in 2011.

The current 25 man roster:

Mike Adams: Unless a great trade option comes up, he will be back.
Heath Bell: Will cost some money to bring back. Trades will be discussed. I think he comes back.
Kevin Correia: Bringing Kevin back would just take a roster spot from several better and cheaper options. He will be gone.
Ernesto Frieri: Young, effective, cheap. Should be considered for one of the final bullpen spots.
John Garland: Team will likely exercise option. Will Garland excercise the mutual option? The Padres should bring him back.
Luke Gregerson: Young, cheap, and usually effective. Padres could feel out a trade and plug Frieri or Webb into the 7th inning. He will likely be back.
Mat Latos: He will be back.
Wade Leblanc: Will likely battle Luebke for one of the final pitching spots.
Edward Mujica: Still under club control. Other than some home runs, he has been very effective and can go 3 innings if needed. I see value in bringing him back.
Clayton Richard: Solid season and under club control. He will be back.
Tim Stauffer: I was asking most of the season why Correia was starting over Tim. If the Padres are smart they put him in the rotation.
Joe Thatcher: One of the best young lefty relievers in the game. He is under club control. He will return.
Nick Hundley: He will be back.
Yorvit Torrealba: Just like with Garland, will Yorvit exercise his mutual option? I see no reason why the Padres wouldn't keep him around for $3.5 mil.
Evereth Cabrera: Put him in AAA. Let him work on his OB skills for a season.
David Eckstein: This is a question mark. I think the Padres will look to add a free agent to upgrade this spot, or may give Antonelli a chance if he is healthy
Adrian Gonzalez: Trades will be discussed. The Padres should give him a take it or leave it offer and trade him he doesn't take it. He will likely be back.
Jerry Hairston Jr: Valuable and cheap bench piece. The Padres would be wise to bring him back.
Chase Headley: Young and Cheap. I would like to see the Padres go after some power for 3B. I expect the tight budgeted Padres will bring Chase back for another .265 with 13 HR and 70 RBI, woo hoo.
Miguel Tejada: Turned out to be a great pick up. I hope than can bring him back.
Chris Denorfia: Should be back.
Tony Gwynn: Defense too valuable to let walk before his arbitration years are up.
Scott Hairston: So long Scotty.
Ryan Ludwick: Big question mark. Will likely cost $7 million. Could be worth the gamble since the FA market is very weak this year.
Oscar Salazar: Candidate to let walk.
Matt Stairs: Blocking guys like Cunningham. Padres should let him sign elsewhere.
Will Venable: Put it together the last 2 months. Good defense, good base running, average offense. Should be back to see if he can put it all together for a full season and reduce the K's.
Kyle Blanks: Could start the Season in AAA, will likely be back on the 25 man at some point.

I realize this is 28 players. The DL carousel always happens.

40 Man players that should be looked at in spring training:

Cory Luebke: Should be given a shot to win a back of the rotation starting spot.
Cesar Ramos: Likely back in AAA, lefties always valuable.
Adam Russell: Likely back in AAA. Webb is pitching better.
Ryan Webb: Legit chance to crack this bullpen, especially if a trade of Bell, Adams, or Gregerson occurs.
Chris Young: Could be offered a $1m base with innings pitched incentives.
Matt Antonelli: Second base will be a possible open spot. I would like to see him in AAA again until he can sustain health and productivity.
Aaron Cunningham: Deserves a shot platooning like he did in September.
Luis Durango: Headed for a trade or AAA. Could be a regular up and down just like 2010.

Prospects with an outside chance to crack the 25 man:

Aaron Poreda: Has to get his control together fast.
Simon Castro: Rotation is already log jammed. A full season at AAA won't hurt.

My 25 man roster expectation:

Bullpen(7 or 8)
Heath Bell
Mike Adams
Luke Gregerson
Ernesto Frieri
Joe Thatcher
Ryan Webb
Wade Leblanc
Edward Mujica

Starting Pitchers(5)
Mat Latos
John Garland
Clayton Richard
Tim Stauffer
Chris Young(if they can bring him back cheaply... Luebke would be first call up if Young injured)

Yorvit Torrealba
Nick Hundley

Adrian Gonzalez
Miguel Tejada
Jerry Hairston Jr

Chris Denorfia
Aaron Cunningham
Will Venable
Tony Gwynn Jr

DL rotation
Kyle Blanks
Cory Luebke
Cesar Ramos
Evereth Cabrera

As for the open spots: The Padres desperately need power. I see no need to go out and get pitching, the Padres have plenty in house.
Open1: Padres should go after a 2B like Orlando Hudson
Open2: Move some extra pitching, Chase, and prospects for Miguel Cabrera or Aramis Ramirez
Open3: Talk to Magglio Ordonez, if he wants too much then bring back Ludwick

These moves would add some serious payroll. The Padres would be looking at a $60-$65 mil payroll but a serious title contender with an improved lineup that could look like:

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Padres Future: Corner Infield

This is the 2nd in a 6 part series.

Current Starters: 1B - Adrian Gonzalez, 3B - Chase Headley

2011 Outlook:

I would think the Padres will be bringing Adrian back. The only way he is not the 2011 first baseman is if the Padres get an offer they can't refuse. Pencil him in.
The cheap Padres will also almost assuredly bring back Chase Headley to play 3B. Chase played very good defense but saw his OBP drop this year. He did not advance this year as a hitter. His offensive numbers would be fine as a shortstop or second baseman, but not as a third baseman. He will most likely be back as the starter.

2012-2013 Outlook:

1B will be a huge question beyond 2011. If the Padres ink Adrian to a long term deal then he will be starting there for several more years. If Adrian expects 8 years $150 million then we may be looking at Kyle Blanks. Other 1B options include Cody Decker, Allan Dykstra, Craig Cooper, and Matt Clark. Cooper would likely be no more effective offensively than Headley at 3B. Cody Decker and Matt Clark are showing some promise. Dykstra may be the most talented of anyone not name Adrian, but needs to put together more than "half" of a productive season. My guess is Kyle Blanks is our starting 1B in 2012.

3B is even less certain. I can't imagine the Padres keeping Headly around too much longer if he can't get on base or produce runs. The Padres have James Darnell and Logan Forsythe in the waiting. Another intriguing prospect is Edinson Rincon. I think Rincon is more than 2 years away. We could be talking about him in 3-4 years. Gyorko has an outside chance, but I think the Padres are grooming him for the 2B job if Antonelli can't secure it. If Headley hits .290 with improved power he could be here another 3-4 years. If Headley comes back in 2011 with .260 and 12 HR, then Darnell and Forsythe will be competing for a starting MLB roster spot in 2012.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2010 Padres September Call-Ups

Here is a quick look at players the Padres will likely call up in September.

Been to the bigs before:

Radhames Liz
Luis Perdomo
Cesar Ramos
Adam Russell
Ryan Webb
Dusty Ryan
Luis Durango

The only players I could see coming up that are not currently on the Padres 40 man roster are:
Cory Luebke
Mike Baxter

Monday, August 23, 2010

2010 Padres Draft: Revisited

Now that all the signings are done, I wanted to take a brief visit back to this years draft class and re-grade.

Obviously, not siging Whitson was a major disapointment. With the Padres getting first round compensation in next years deep draft, this failed signing is not the end of the world.

An early look at the top 10:
1) Whitson - Failed to sign.
2) Gyorko - Already promoted to Fort Wayne and hitting well. I think this was a very safe pick for the Padres. Gyorko, if he develops league average defense, could become an everday good hitting 2B.
3) Cates - Glad to see him signed. New to pitching but apparantly learns quick and has some nice upside. Risky pick but could pay off as a late inning relief/closer type.
4) Bisson - Not happy with this pick, very little upside. I think he is just emergency defensive help with the hope that maybe he develops some hitting. Reminds me of Beamer Weems.
5) Rico Noel - Not sold on Noel. I hear he has some upside. Possible project pick.
6) John Barbato - Good to see we got one high school picther signed. Also a project but with some high upside, could develop into middle of the rotation starter.
7) Vanegas - Failed to sign.
8) Jose Dore - Another high schooler drafted in the top 10. If he develops power, Dore could be a steal.
9) Joshua Spence - I liked this pick a lot for the 9th round. Slipped because of previous injury. Excellent command, could develop into a back of the rotation starter.
10) Houston Slemp - Early returns in the minors not good.

Overall, I like the idea of drafting high upside high schoolers. I would like to see the Padres sign more of them.

Post signing grade: C

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Padres Future: OF

This is the first in a 6 part series.

Padres current OF mix:
Ludwick, Gwynn, S Hairston, Venable, Denorfia, Stairs

2011 outlook

Ludwick should be back in the mix even if he costs $9 million through arbitration. Personally, I think the Padres should try and sign him to a 3/$30 type of deal. As long as Gwynn continues to play stellar defense, I see him returning as part of the rotation. I don't think the Padres will need to pay Scott Hairston several million when they have other options. Venable will likely be back unless they trade him in the offseason. Venable is actually a bargain until he enters his arbitration years. The Padres would be smart to bring back Denorfia. Stairs should be gone.
This leaves the Padres with potentially 2 openings in the outfield. The Padres have several options in the Minors. If Blanks is healthy he will likely be 1 of those openings. At AAA the Padres have Durango and Cunningham ready to have another cup of coffee. Baxter and Hunter sure look ready. My gut tells me that Cunningham will be the guy. I think Hunter or Durango could get moved in the offseason for some pitching. The 2011 outfield will look something like:
Ludwick, Gwynn, Venable, Denorfia, Cunningham, Blanks(Durango if Blanks is not healthy)
This outfield mix would be above average defensively and provide a good mix of speed and some power.

2012-2013 outlook

The only player from my projected 2011 outfield that would not be under club control is Ludwick. I hope the Padres can sign him to an extension but I don't count on that. Gwynn could still be around for a reasonable salary, but only if he can improve his OBP while maintaining his high level of defense. I don't see Venable around this long unless he can also improve on the OBP. Denorfia will likely be gone. Cunningham and Blanks are the most likely to still be around. For Blanks the question will be: at what position? Farm system players likely to be in the mix include: Durango, Baxter, Hunter, Tekotte, Carroll, Robertson, and Jaff Decker. 2-3 years from now could see an outfield of the following:
Cunningham, Blanks, Tekotte, Decker, Durango, Hunter
This outfield mix doesn't provide the defense of the current one, but would still have speed and some nice power potential.
My Ideal outfield for the 2012-2013 would substitute Ludwick(or similarly aquired FA) for Hunter.

There you have it, a look at the next 3 years of the Padres outfield.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Padres Aquire Ludwick for Prospects

Finally, a move was made that shows real commitment from the organization. This is not a marginal move. The Padres had nobody in the OF that could hit righties. They gave up what I consider to be 2 C prospects. Kluber may become a 4-5 starter and Greenwood probably ends up in middle relief if he makes the majors. If asked what I would consider giving up to aquire Ludwick I would have been ok with a B prospect and a ML ready relief pitcher, so I think the Padres are getting a good deal. In an earlier post I described OF help needing to:
1) hit righties
2) OBPS .750 to .900
3) Bat in the 3-4-5 slots
All three are accomplished and Ludwick is not a liability on defense

I just hope they do not send Denorfia down. They should send down Cabrera or Venable, or cut Stairs.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Tejada Trade

I see Tejada as a marginal upgrade on the bench. Don't get me wrong, I think Tejada will be usefull and may help the Padres win an extra game or two. In the final 62 games this year I see the Padres using him as follows:
5 games starting at 3B with Chase out of the lineup
5-10 games starting at 3B with Chase in LF
10 games starting at shortstop
Maybe a couple games in LF or 2B
Mostly, as a pinch hitter.
They will most likely remove Tejada in close games where the Padres have the lead for defensive purposes.

I hope the Padres get a clue and cut Stairs now that the Padres have added to their bench.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

2010 Trade Deadline - Possible NL Trading Partners

Today, I will take a look at what NL teams may be possible trade partners for the Padres and who may be a fit.

NL West: Arizona is the only team that I could imagine possibly trading with the Padres at this point.

Starting Pitching: I don't see anyone as a fit now that Haren is gone. Kennedy is likely not available and Edwin Jackson(despite a no hitter) is not an upgrade on anything the Padres have in house, i.e. might as well keep Correia.

Outfield: Chris Young could be a good fit and $$ wouldn't be an issue. Would the Dbacks part with him? Would be costly. I like Parra but I don't see him as an upgrade to what the Padres already have.

Infield: Of Kelly Johnson and Steven Drew, Johnson would be more likely to be available. I think Drew would cost the Padres more prospects than they would be willing to part with. Both players would represent a likely upgrade and pad the middle infield depth.

Reality: Kelly Johnson is the only Dback that I see as a realistic possibility

NL East: Washington and Florida

Starting Pitching: I don't see the Marlins making any of their starters available. They are young and controllable and the Marlins are not too far from contending. Nolasco would cost the Padres more than they are willing to surrender.

Outfield: Cody Ross is a possibility but would represent only a marginal improvement on in house players such as Denorfia. If the Marlins are willing to sell low then maybe.

Infield: Uggla would represent an offensive upgrade for sure. Despite rumblings that Florida is unwilling to trade Uggla, I think the right price could convince them.

Reality: The Marlins are an unlikely trade partner as they see themselves not far from contention and do not want to throw away next season.

Starting Pitching: Livan Hernandez would be that innings eater the Padres are looking for to limit Latos down the stretch.

Outfield: Willingham would be an excellent fit for Padres. Definite offensive upgrade and his contract is not too prohibitive. I will throw Dunn in on the outfield list simply because there is no way he plays more then 3 games at 1b with Adrian on the team. Dunn would be huge for the batting lineup, but where do you play him? Owed more money than the Padres are likely willing to pay and Washington is going to want 2 top prospects for him.

Infield: I don't see any infield fits.

Reality: The Padres should be in serious talks for Willingham and possibly for Hernandez.

NL Central: Chicago, Milwaukee, Houston, and Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH: I don't see Pittsburgh as a likely trading partner unless they make Maholm available. I suspect Pittsburgh wants to start building around a core of young players. Pittsburgh would be a very costly team to trade with at this point.

Starting Pitching: Dave Bush and Randy Wolf are possibilities, but I don't see either as an upgrade to the rotation.

Outfield: Corey Hart would be an offensive upgrade, but I don' t like the Idea of buying high.

Infield: Ricky Weeks intrigues me. I wonder what the Brewers would want for him? Counsell would simply be depth.

Reality: Milwaukee is an unlikely trading partner unless Weeks is made available at a reasonable cost.

Starting Pitching: Gorzelanny would be cheap but not much of an upgrade. The Padres wouldn't touch Zambrano. Dempster, Lilly, and Silva all cost too much. Unless Chicago eats salary and is motivated to move Dempster or Lilly, I don't see this happening.

Outfield: Byrd and Nady are both possibilities depending on what the Cubs want in return. Soriano and Fukudome are unlikely for the same reason as Lilly.

Infield: Fontenot and Theriot are both possibilities. However, I suspect the Cubs would want more in return than what these players are worth. Both are relatively cheap and why would the Cubs be motivated to move either unless they were wooed with a good prospect package.

Reality: The Cubs are a definite possibility as they have several players that could be made available.

Starting Pitching: If the Padres were serious about WS contention they would attempt to get a guy like Oswalt. He could put them over the top. The Padres are cheap and I just don't see them parting with prospects.

Outfield: I don't see the Astros parting with Bourne or Pence unless a team overpays. I just don't see either as enough of an upgrade to warrant the Padres overpaying. Carlos Lee is a possibility only if the Astros eat a ton of money.

Infield: Keppinger looks like he could be a great fit. He is cheap, productive and a definite upgrade. I have a feeling though the Astros would ask for Cabrera or Castro in return.

Reality: Keppinger could be a real nice grab for the Padres if the Astros are willing to sell at a reasonable cost.

Conclusions on the NL trade market: Willingham and Keppinger would help this lineup immensely. Not a lot of starting pitching available that the Padres could realistically go after.

Friday, July 23, 2010

2010 Trade Deadline - Needs

The 2010 trade deadline is fast approaching. In this post I will explore the Padres needs, who is available, the cost, and the realities.
What are the Padres needs?

1) Starting pitcher
IMO, the Padres need a front line starting pitcher that can eat innings. They seem to be set that Latos will be limited in his innings this season. This poses a problem. Latos has been our most effective starting pitcher this season. We need him healthy and pitching in September. A front line starting pitcher will allow the Padres to limit Latos innings and possibly could contribute in the postseason.

2) Outfield bat
If the Padres starting pitching continues to regress, the offense will be under increasing pressure to produce runs. The outfield has been awful offensively. The recent call ups of Denorfia and Cunningham have helped. IMO, the Padres need 1 outfield offensive upgrade. Preferably a guy that can hit righties and hit somewhere in the 3-4-5 slots in the lineups. Ideally, the Padres need a guy they can count on to produce an OBPS in the .750 to .900 range.

3) Infield depth
With Eckstein out, the Padres will need an infielder, preferably a guy that can produce an OBPS in the range of .700 to .850, while playing multiple infield positions.

The right three players could put the Padres in the driver seat for the National League Pennant. Despite Padres brass making statements about having money to buy, I remain skeptical as to whether or not the Padres will make moves that are more than "marginal". I could see them getting Westbrook and Jed Lowrie and calling it quits. Would be nice if they could get Haren, Tejada, and Dejesus(assuming they believe he will be healthy enough); but, I just don't see it happening. Next, I will take a look at the teams that may be sellers and who the Padres might want from those teams.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Thoughts on the 2010 Padres Draft

Coming into the 2010 draft I was hoping the Padres would go heavy on high-upside high school talent. I was looking for an emphasis on top of the rotation pitching, catching, and always coveted middle infield.

The Padres did well in the high-upside pitching department with Whitson, Cates, Barbato, and Vanegas. They failed miserably to upgrade the farm system at the catching position. The good news is the catching farm hands seem to be producing better offensively this season.

The 2010 draft saw the Padres take a lot of speedsters. I get that the ballpark favors speed; but, I was hoping for more high upside hitting talent. As I see it, the Padres have plenty of major league average "safe" hitters in their system. Tekkote, Cunningham, Carroll, Robertson... just to name a few could turn out to be ok everyday or part time Major Leaguers. I would like to see a little more chance in their drafting.

Overall, I give this draft a B.