Results tagged ‘ transactions ’

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

Another former TinCap was traded by the Padres. Again. Two days ago it was RHP Erik Davis to the Nationals. Yesterday it was 1B Allan Dykstra to the Mets for RHP Eddie Kunz.

Dykstra, if you remember, was a first-round pick in 2008 and played for the TinCaps in 2009. I thought he was a very nice guy with big-time pop, but also has a degenerative hip condition (meaning, not going to get better) which may or may not have had an effect on him. A phrase I heard at least one scout throw around was “slider-speed bat.” And that’s a tough thing to overcome if true. I’m not sure where he would’ve been assigned this year with 1Bs Matt Clark, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Blanks and Nate Freiman also in the pipeline for the Padres.

Kunz was a supplemental first-rounder in 2007. I saw him pitch in the Eastern League in 2008 and he was nasty. Kunz made his big-league debut later that year, but he hasn’t posted a sub-5.00 ERA since then. I haven’t seen any scouting reports lately to explain it, but guys usually don’t go from dominant at Double-A to struggling the next year without an injury or something weird happening.

Random thoughts:

  • Here’s another “what’s it like to work at a ballpark?” example: Before lunch today, I’ve seen our head groundskeeper knock over a full cup of Mountain Dew while using sweeping arm motions at a staff meeting; watched a demonstration of a paper cutter slicing through a phone book (in front of a crowd of about 10 employees, spellbound as if we’d just witnessed atomic fission); and participated in the minor-league phase of our fantasy baseball draft. ‘Tis the season.
  • Yesterday I ran some tests of our new radio equipment from the ballpark, then went to the radio station to check out how it sounded. It’s crystal clear. You won’t even believe it when all dozen of you turn on your radios. And the streaming feed is fixed – no more volume fluctuations between game audio and commercials. Now if we could find a radio guy whose voice isn’t jacked up, we’ll be in business. Big thanks to Mogan David, the engineer at Federated Media for his consulting work with a complete doofus.
  • Former TinCaps RHP Mat Latos was placed on the DL yesterday and the Padres finalized their 25-man Opening Day roster. Six players from the active roster played here: RHP Ernesto Frieri, LHP Cory Luebke, C Nick Hundley, OFs Will Venable and Cedric Hunter and 3B Chase Headley. Mike Baxter, Kyle Blanks and Mat Latos are Fort Wayne alums on the DL.
  • The Padres won’t be sneaking up on people this year. I fear we underestimated the sneakiness last year, and perhaps the team isn’t quite as sneaky this year with the questions about the pitching staff.
  • RHP Aaron Harang got knocked around by the Brewers yesterday in the Padres’ Spring Training finale. INF Dean Anna, RHP Brad Brach, Jaff and Cody Decker are the recent TinCaps who made the box score.
  • Former Fort Wayne RHP Jake Peavy had a good simulated game yesterday, but is bummed he’s not making the trip north yet.
  • Same feeling for Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg, who is staying behind to rehab from Tommy John surgery.
  • Phillies 2B Chase Utley hopes to be back before the All-Star Break. Uh-oh.
  • Intriguing stuff from Baseball America about prospects, when to bring them up to the big leagues, changing the culture of a team, etc.
  • The Mariners have a reliever who is the classic huge-prospect-caught-for-drugs-twice-retired-bartended-backpacked-around-the-country-returned-to-baseball-jumped-to-the-big-leagues story. We’ve heard it a million times. He pitched in the MWL, for Clinton last year.
  • The Jays put Jose Bautista in right field and Edwin Encarnacion at third. In other words, as Buster Olney says, former MWLer Brett Lawrie won’t be in the minors long if Encarnacion doesn’t figure it out.
  • Former megaprospect Alex Gordon is back, and he’s hitting third for the Royals.
  • Baseball now has a 7-day DL specifically for concussions. Which is nice for the minor dings. Who will be the first team to put a phantom “concussion sufferer” on the DL to free up a roster spot?
  • Changes to Wrigley Field? Blasphemy!
  • One fan would rather eat his tickets than eat lunch with his team’s owner.
  • The Giants will decide where to assign 1B Brandon Belt today.
  • A catcher-pitcher argument followed by a dizzy spell followed by vomiting. And “Jungle” Jack Hannahan starting at third base. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2011 Cleveland Indians!
  • “There is no heat in Cleveland in March! And we like it that way!” – Cavaliers TV play-by-play man Fred McLeod. I don’t care if Miami was tanking the game for playoff seeding or not, that win makes Cleveland’s 2011. Now if the Browns get A.J. Green in the NFL draft, we won’t know what to do with ourselves.
  • Oh, that’s weird: another story about corruption in college football. Read this book and tell me the bowl system makes sense. I dare you.
  • Since everybody else is doing it, predictions for playoff teams: Red Sox-White Sox-Rangers-Yankees, Phillies-Reds-Giants-Braves. I really wanted to pick the A’s and Rockies, but couldn’t pull the trigger. In October we’ll all look back on this and laugh.
  • This is the best idea I’ve heard all day.

Musical guest… Young MC!

Take care!

DW

Mat being Mat

I’ll preface this by saying I’m a huge Mat Latos fan, so I’m not objective when it comes to stories about him. He played here for a few weeks in 2009. He might be a little rough around the edges, but that’s just him being young. He is a professional butt-kicker on the mound and he has fun doing it.

So when I read a story about Latos signing baseballs “I hate SF,” I don’t think he’s going to suddenly go all Kenny Powers and be a public relations nightmare. We’re so used to athletes either being cliche machines or Chad Johnson publicity hounds that we’re not used to anything in between the extremes. Latos will probably get asked a few questions about it (and booed) when the Padres go to San Francisco for the first time in 2011, but as long as he has fun with it, I can’t imagine it’ll become a big deal.

On the “professional butt-kicker” side, Latos will be treated like any other member of the Padres’ rotation this year. Geoff Young at Ducksnorts examines young pitchers who have gone through a similar workload at a similar age and the effects it’s had. Hint: If you’re going 200+ innings in an MLB season at the age of 22, you’re pretty good.

Random thoughts:

  • Fort Wayne alum RHP Ernesto Frieri has become a big part of the Padres’ bullpen, thanks in large part to a deceptive delivery.
  • The Padres’ team doctor uses all the technology available to keep the players healthy. Including the Wii. Seriously.
  • Today’s edition of Great Moments in Awkwardness is brought to you by Cameron Maybin, Twitter, Panda Express and “Any Given Sunday II: Montezuma’s Revenge,” coming to theaters in October 2014.
  • Notable from the minor-league transactions report: Why are the Red Sox as good (and as deep) as they are? Scouting. They draft well and now they’re finding guys in independent leagues who are good enough to contribute in the big leagues (which is extremely rare). Plus, they have the resources (prospects and money) to fill in the blanks through trades and free agency. All of this – except the money – should be reasons for optimism for Padre fans, since the new front-office regime came from Boston.
  • Tony Gwynn is rebounding from chemotherapy.
  • The Charleston River Dogs continue the trend of minor-league teams giving their customers the option of heart disease with their affordable family entertainment. The River Dogs are famous for their hot dogs – their newest one, wrapped in bacon, is called the Pig on a Stick. One of their other specialty dogs is called the Homewrecker. Which is the second-best name for a food item I’ve ever heard, coming in just behind the Texas Manhandler.
  • The Cardinals’ offer to Albert Pujols didn’t come close to what Albert was looking for. This drama became a possibility when they signed Matt Holliday to a big extension. Now they’re struggling to come up with more cash. Let me ask you this: If you’re a Cardinals fan, would you rather watch Albert Pujols on an otherwise mediocre team or a Pujols-less team that has a chance to win it all? Because it seems like those are the options on the table at this point. This is the Padres-Adrian Gonzalez situation on a larger scale.
  • Meanwhile, Richard Weeks re-signed with the Brewers; 5 years, $50 million. If he stays healthy, it’s a relative bargain for Milwaukee. But that’s a big if.
  • Elsewhere in Wisconsin buzzcut news, Robin Yount is a good dude.
  • I’ve often complained about the decline of creativity in baseball nicknames, and it looks like I’m not the only one who sees it. Did you know Phil Rizzuto called Lou Piniella “The Italian Stallion”? Lou is Cuban!
  • Keith Moreland will take Ron Santo’s seat in the Cubs’ radio booth.
  • Former MWLer LHP Clayton Kershaw will be the Dodgers’ opening day starter.
  • Another former MWLer, Indians C Carlos Santana is one of the few sources of optimism for the Indians.
  • The White Sox are looking for big things from LHP Chris Sale. That’s pretty rough for a guy who was just drafted last year.
  • The once-considered-strong Orioles’ farm system now has two big prospects and not much else.
  • A couple of Mariners pitchers have lots of tattoos.
  • Dave Hutte status updates: “My new car is pretty!” / “Gonna do my side of the guest list for the wedding today. Did you make the cut?”
  • Coming this fall… “Survivor: Toledo, Guest List Edition.”
  • This weather rules. I’m seeing grass poking out from under the snow on the field. First time for that since November, I think.

Musical guest… Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers!

Take care!

DW

Under pressure

Here’s a hypothetical situation… Imagine it’s 2013. Jay Bruce hasn’t signed his huge contract, so he’s two years away from free agency and a huge payday. He’s one of the best young players in baseball. He’s going to play for Team USA in the upcoming 2013 World Baseball Classic. Usually the tournament is a fun international competition. But this year, Jay Bruce and seven other Americans HAVE to win. Why? Because if Team USA doesn’t win, those eight guys will be drafted into the United States military for two years of mandatory service. If they try to skip out of their service, they’ll face arrest or will have to leave the country, unable to return.

That would be a big story, wouldn’t it? Star athletes with two years of peak production (and millions of dollars) on the line. Win or else. So why wasn’t it a bigger story this off-season when Shin-Soo Choo went through almost the same situation?

Acceptable answers: (1) He plays in Cleveland and (2) he’s from South Korea.

Choo went bananas at the Asian Games (.571 with three homers and 11 RBIs), his South Korean team won the gold medal and Choo is now exempt from serving in the South Korean military. He says he was 50-50 on what he would have done if the Koreans hadn’t won: maybe he would have never gone back home, maybe he would have served. As a Cleveland fan, I’m glad he didn’t have to make the decision.

Lord knows we’ve had enough Decisions in the last year.

Anyway, while everybody was falling all over themselves to cover the Derek Jeter contract pout-fest, Shin-Soo Choo was the main character in a far more interesting story. He’s my choice for under-reported baseball story of the off-season.

Random thoughts:

  • Minor-league transactions from the past week were posted yesterday… Two TinCaps from the 2010 squad (RHP Jon Berger and OF Bo Davis) were released by the Padres. LHP Nathan Culp, who was Fort Wayne’s opening day starter in 2007, retired.
  • Also, the Rays signed RHP Juan Cruz to help their bullpen. He was dominant with Arizona in 2007 and ’08 but tanked the last two years with Kansas City. For a team that is trying to rebuild the bullpen, it’s a nice signing.
  • Another signing: The Padres picked up 35-year-old LHP Randy Flores on a minor-league deal. He was really good for Colorado last year (2-0, 2.96 ERA in 47G) but the wheels fell off late, the Rockies waived him, then he stunk it up for the Twins. He’s the definition of a situational lefty and the Padres already have ISU Sycamore Joe Thatcher, so Flores will have to be really good this spring to make the big-league team.
  • Five spring training storylines for the Padres.
  • Highlights of the latest Padres chat from the SD Union-Tribune: Mat Latos will be treated like everybody else when it comes to innings this year, the Yankees may have interest in trading for Wade LeBlanc, Simon Castro and Casey Kelly could be in the MLB rotation by mid-season and Adrian Gonzalez accounted for 23.6 percent of the Padres’ runs produced (runs + RBIs minus HR) total last year.
  • Fort Wayne alum LHP Oliver Perez hasn’t gotten to Mets’ spring training yet, and the New York Post wants to rip him, but they don’t do it directly.
  • Who signed the worst free-agent contract in baseball history, according to the Orioles’ GM? Alex Rodriguez with the Rangers.
  • Here’s a decent Michael Young trade watch; he was almost sent to the Rockies and the Dodgers had interest, but that’s been about it. Supposedly.
  • Nine questions for the Cardinals entering spring training. I have a sixth: Will LaRussa let Colby Rasmus play every day? He played 144 games last year, but at least 15 of those he entered as a pinch hitter. Those two don’t seem to be getting along.
  • Saturday in LA, some of the best high-school players in the country will attend an MLB showcase. One of them is Wayne Gretzky’s son.
  • Headline from a Chicago paper: “Call me crazy, but it’s a Sox town now.” You’re crazy.
  • Somebody is going to take Ron Santo’s seat in the Cubs’ radio booth, but nobody knows who that is yet.
  • Stephen Strasburg threw for the first time since Tommy John surgery.
  • The Indians signed Orlando Cabrera to play second base. A slap-hitting infielder with a .303 OBP who has been on playoff teams a lot, but has rarely been brought back to those playoff teams. At least he can fill in at short and it’s only a one-year deal. This looks like insurance in case prospect 2B Jason Kipnis doesn’t work out.
  • Josh Hamilton says he hopes to be part of the Rangers’ organization long-term. The Rangers say they want him around long-term. So why did he only sign a two-year deal?
  • Yesterday I mentioned Ross Ohlendorf winning his arbitration case against the Pirates. Now, Jared Weaver lost his case with the Angels. The initial reaction is “that’s crazy,” but it’s not that crazy. They’re not really comparable cases.
  • Also recently, we wondered if the Year of the Pitcher was at least partially thanks to new bat-diameter rules. Turns out, it almost definitely wasn’t.
  • Former MWLer Mark Buehrle loves dogs, but he doesn’t love Michael Vick.
  • MiLB.com has a story about a white player who broke the color barrier in reverse.
  • Legendary author Ben Hill tells us about a minor-league team hosting a unique promotion: A human cannonballist will try to shoot himself over the outfield wall from home plate. The world-record di
    stance for non-American Gladiators human cannonball is 185 feet. According to this, the shortest porch at Lowell’s park is 301 feet (down the right-field line). If my calculations are correct, instead of a home run, this guy is going to be a screaming line drive to right. If I lived in the northeast, I’d be buying my tickets yesterday just to see how this turns out.
  • Here’s a website that looks like it has some staying power.
  • When I was sick last weekend, I went to the grocery store and I must have been in a fog because I bought a loaf of bread when I didn’t really need it. So to get rid of the extra bread, I’m going to try making French Freedom toast for the first time at some point this weekend. And you’d better believe I’m putting cinnamon into the mix. Because cinnamon takes a backseat to NO BABKA!

Musical guest… Queen!

Have a great weekend!

DW

The good, the bad and the embarrassing

There’s nothing that can break the monotony of a cold, gray off-season like watching a sporting event on TV and uncontrollably cackling like the Bishop in “Caddyshack”. That was me last night when the basketball Buckeyes put the beat-down of a lifetime on Purdue. The shots they were making, the Zubaz pants in the OSU student section… Everything about that game was sensational.

Also last night, MLB.com revealed its Top 50 prospects for this year. There were no former TinCaps on the list (RHP Casey Kelly was the only Padre and he came over in the Adrian Gonzalez trade), but there were plenty of guys you may have seen in Fort Wayne over the last few years:

1. OF Mike Trout, Cedar Rapids ’10
7. 3B Mike Moustakas, Burlington ’08
8. 1B Eric Hosmer, Burlington ’09
13. RHP Michael Pineda, Wisconsin ’08
14. LHP Mike Montgomery, Burlington ’09
15. RHP Jacob Turner, West Michigan ’10
16. C/OF Wil Myers, Burlington ’10
20. RHP Shelby Miller, Quad Cities ’10
28. 2B Brett Lawrie, Wisconsin ’09
29. RHP Jarrod Parker, South Bend ’08
34. LHP John Lamb, Burlington ’10
37. RHP Jake Odorizzi, Wisconsin ’10
38. SS Nick Franklin, Clinton ’10
39. OF Aaron Hicks, Beloit ’09-10
44. SS Dee Gordon, Great Lakes ’09
46. OF Brett Jackson, Peoria ’09
47. RHP Chris Archer, Peoria ’09

The first thing that jumped out to me is how much better last year’s top-end prospects were. Here’s why: On MLB Network, it seemed like everybody agreed that Rays RHP Jeremy Hellickson (the No. 2 prospect on the list) would end up as a No. 2 starter in the big leagues (which, like anything else, is debatable). Meanwhile, check out the Top 10 from last year:

1. OF Jason Heyward, Braves
2. RHP Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
3. OF Mike Stanton, Marlins
4. C Buster Posey, Giants
5. LHP Brian Matusz, Orioles
6. OF Desmond Jennings, Rays
7. RHP Neftali Feliz, Rangers
8. 3B Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
9. 1B Justin Smoak, Mariners
10. LHP Madison Bumgarner, Giants

You could make the case that last year’s No. 2 prospect, Stephen Strasburg, was good enough to be the Nationals’ ace when he was pitching at San Diego State. Heyward and Stanton look like stars in the making. Same for Posey, Bumgarner and Feliz who were key players on World Series teams. In fairness, it was an unbelievably talented group last year, but I think it’s easy now to look back and see how spoiled we were when it came to prospects last year.

Now all there is to do is wait for the Baseball America Prospect Handbook. When it arrives in the mail, baseball season is officially coming up.

Random thoughts:

  • We’ll know in a few years just how good the Adrian Gonzalez trade was for the Padres. Also in that column, it seems like folks are frustrated by the economics of small-market baseball in 2010. The Padres weren’t going to get Jacoby Ellsbury or any other MLB-ready young players in that trade, but they did get Boston’s top hitting and pitching prospects. The days of undervaluing young players in trades are over. When you’re an MLB team in San Diego (one of the smallest local TV markets in baseball) that’s fallen on hard times, rebuilding is just part of the deal. The new Padres’ regime is trying to put a sustainable system in place that is constantly building through the draft, but it takes time for that system to pay off.
  • The Padres’ camouflage jerseys got a redesign, and they’re more… camouflagy. In the article photo, players/models Mat Latos and Will Venable are Fort Wayne alums.
  • The Triple-A Tuscon Padres’ new logo is now public.
  • The Padres’ chairman/former principal owner had his divorce case settled. Which is good, compared to the messy divorce of the Dodgers’ owners which seems like it’s hampering the baseball operations budget.
  • In this week’s MiLB transactions, we see RHP Dirk Hayhurst, a Fort Wayne alum and now big-time author, signed with the Rays. There are a TON of former Padres with the Rays now.
  • The Giants’ Top 10 Prospects are posted at Baseball America.
  • Jayson Stark points out today that the last two pitchers to lead the American League in saves aren’t expected to be closers in 2011. I’m not sure if that says more about the uselessness of the save statistic or the value of a good setup man.
  • The Blue Jays traded the just-acquired Mike Napoli to the Rangers for RHP Frank Francisco. So, essentially, that means they traded Vernon Wells (and $5 million cash, allegedly) for Juan Rivera and Francisco. If the Jays were in any other division, they might be the favorite “surprise team of 2011.” But if your aunt had a… never mind.
  • Which was a worse decision (on paper): The Barry Zito contract or the Vernon Wells trade? Fangraphs investigates.
  • From the Rangers’ perspective, Napoli crushes lefties. Which is good when you play against Oakland a lot.
  • Here’s a sports contest Cleveland has a chance to win… Who’s tougher to trade away: Vernon Wells at $23 million a year or Travis Hafner at $13 million a year?
  • Here’s an article trying to predict MLB salary inflation. Hint: It’s about seven percent per year. BUT, that could change with a new collective bargaining agreement probably coming before next season.
  • What could have happened if we’d had the two-division, two-wild-card system over the past decade?
  • If you’re having trouble deciphering what some of the new sabermetric stats mean and figuring out what a good OBP or OPS is, you need to read this.
  • So what you’re telling me is, Derek Jeter doesn’t have enough range to play shortstop, but he does have enough range to play center field? What am I missing here?
  • Meanwhile, Vladimir Guerrero hasn’t had range in years. He doesn’t have a job right now, and Texas is making less sense for him than ever.
  • The Pirates announced higher day-of-game ticket prices for the first time in nine years. I’ve always said, when you want to bask in the brilliance of .38 Special, you’d better be ready to shell out a few extra bucks.
  • If appearing in an MC Hammer video makes you a record mogul, well… Jimmy Rollins has been a mogul since he was 13 years old.
  • As lame as the college football bowl system is, stories like this make it seem less and less likely things will change. Which is a shame, really.
  • Speaking of shames… Sigh. Just embarrassing.
  • You know it’s been cold when it’s 27 degrees outside and it feels warm.
  • Team president Mike Nutter says the only way the OSU-Purdue game could have been better was if Gus Johnson was calling the game. I disagree, simply because I would have been petrified of a Purdue comeback the entire second half. Fact: Gus Johnson only calls close games.
  • Fact: The only way this isn’t soul-crushingly lame is that Ohio State basketball is 21-0. When you’re undefeated and destroying top-15 opponents, you can do whatever you want. You know, as long as it’s within NCAA rules.

Musical guest… The Raconteurs (and friends)!

Take care!

DW

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