Saturday, December 21, 2013

Padres to Sign Joaquin Benoit

On December 3rd, the San Diego Padres dealt set-up man Luke Gregerson to the Oakland A's for outfielder Seth Smith. This trade caused an uproar among Padres fans who wanted a Josh Reddick-type hitter to plug into the middle of the line-up. To put it lightly, Smith is not that type of player. I was among those who were upset by the deal, expecting more and holding concerns about the back-end of the Padres bullpen, with Gregerson out of the picture. The move didn't make much sense, considering they did not have a lot of depth in the bullpen and most fans thought Gregerson was worth more. To appease the fanbase, the Padres made a big move to sign right-handed closer Joaquin Benoit to a 2-year contract worth 14 million dollars with a club option for a third season. 

Benoit will make 6 million dollars in 2014, and 8 million in 2015 with anoption for 2016 that includes a 1.5 million dollar buyout. Benoit will take Luke Gregerson's old role as the bridge to closer Huston Street. The 36-year old Joaquin Benoit has been one of the best relievers in the game over the last four seasons, posting a 2.53 ERA in almost 260 innings since the beginning of the 2010 season. He has a 2.82 ERA in 22.1 playoff innings, meaning he is a postseason performer and has experience in the playoffs, one thing that is lacking on the Padres roster. Benoit can close out games for the Padres if Street gets hurt as well, which has been a major problem over the last two seasons. The bottom line is that Benoit is an upgrade over Gregerson.

The real significance of the signing is that now the Padres have an 85 million dollar payroll, or the biggest payroll in San Diego Padres history (not including 8 million dollars still going to alterations to the ballpark this season). I think these owners are significantly better than the previous regime in spending money as well as interacting with the fanbase. The previous ownership group would have been projected to have a payroll of about 70-73 million dollars in 2014. This move certainly shows that San Diego is willing to open their wallet. I like this move quite a bit and it makes me excited to watch them play this season. With health, I could see this being a playoff team.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Exclusive Interview: Patrick Schuster

The Padres' newest addition was gracious enough to give If I Were GM an exclusive interview last night! We are very excited to have Patrick Schuster in a Padres uniform!

Q: How did you react when you got the call that you had been selected first overall in the Rule 5 draft? Did you think you were headed to the Astros instead of the Padres at the time?
A: I was really excited for the opportunity that the padres were giving me. I knew that the Astros had traded their pick last night but I wasn't expecting the Padres to make that move to be able to pick me.

Q: 2) I see you were "converted" to a reliever from a starter in 2011. How was the adjustment for you? What do you like more and/or less?
A: It was tough because I had been a starter my whole life so it was definitely something different for me but I just kept at it and learning to right and wrong ways of doing and adjusting to how my body felt and everything worked out well with the success that I had last year it makes me a more confident relief pitcher . I'm inclined to say I'll like whichever gets me to the big leagues.

Q: The jump from A+ ball to the majors is a big one. What are you most excited/nervous about in making the jump?
A: I'm just really excited to have a chance to prove to people that guys can be ready to make that jump out of the lower levels. It's a tough mindset grinding in the summer wondering when you'll get an opportunity and I want to show people it can be done and I'm going to work my butt off to show that the Padres didn't make a mistake by taking me first overall.

Q: At the trade deadline last year, the Diamondbacks traded pitcher Ian Kennedy to the Padres for Joe Thatcher. The trade left a gaping hole in the Padres bullpen and is a big reason the Padres acquired you. Did you think much of the trade when it happened?
A: No not at all. It was sad to see Ian go because he was such a big part of the Diamondbacks organization but I had no clue it would affect my career.

Q: The Padres have have Huston Street who has been a top reliever in the the A's and Rockies organization before coming to San Diego and are rumored to be looking into relievers Scott Downs and Joaquin Benoit. How excited are you to be able to work with the Padres bullpen?
A: Very excited. I got to watch Huston throw a rehab game against us in Lake Elsinore and seemed like a great guy. I just want to be able to help the ballclub in any way I can.

Q: Before we finish up, do you have anything you would like to say to all of the Padres' fans out there?
A: I'm so grateful for their warm welcome and glad to see how excited they are about the move. I'm going to do all I can to make the Padres a better ball team and I can't wait to see them this spring training!!

Thank you so much Patrick for giving me the chance to interview you! You are a class act!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Padres Acquire Patrick Schuster from Astros

This morning, the San Diego Padres made one of the most interesting trades of the entire offseason, sending right handed reliever Anthony Bass with cash and a player to be named later to the Astros in exchange for a player to be named later. The Astros selected southpaw reliever Patrick Schuster from the Diamondbacks organization and traded him to the Padres as their player to be named later, the Astros did not see any talent that they liked with the Padres pick (12th overall) and elected to acquire the $50,000 dollar fee (to replace the money spent for drafting Schuster). The deal was announced in a confusing manner, but was cleared up after the rule 5 draft and by quotes from Josh Byrnes.

The deal fills a gaping hole that was opened by the deal that sent Joe Thatcher to Arizona in exchange for Ian Kennedy. At this point, I am very impressed with the Padres brass for finding ways to be creative. The Padres essentially moved up in the rule 5 draft without doing anything, as Anthony Bass would have been the player designated for assignment anyway. The scouting department deserves "kudos" for finding Schuster and Jake Lemmerman (who was picked up in the AAA phase of the rule 5 draft) and not losing any players in the draft.

Here is the rundown on Schuster. The 23-year old is a 6'1 lefty who will compete for the left-handed specialist job in San Diego. According to Josh Byrnes himself, the Padres brass has been eyeing Schuster for several weeks and had received excellent reports from A-ball. The reliever posted an ERA of 1.83 in 55 games in A+ ball, turning some heads last season.

They Padres have had success in recent years in the rule 5 draft, selecting Ivan Nova (who was returned that spring training, but has become a successful starter with the Yankees) and Everth Cabrera, the team's sole all-star representative in 2013. The Padres also have a history of finding diamonds in the rough when it comes to bullpen arms. I love this move!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Minor Additions: Ben Paullus, Alex Dickerson, Devin Jones

Traded Away:


The Padres have made several transactions over the past couple days, due to the looming Rule 5 draft. Rather than lose prospects like Juan Oramas, Donn Roach, and Keyvius Sampson, the Padres added the trio to the 40-man roster and designated several players for assignment. The Padres started their flurry of moves by sending shortstop Dean Anna to the Yankees in exchange for minor league reliever Ben Paullus. They designated Brad Brach, Jaff Decker,  Jose De Paula, and Miles Mikolas for assignment. Three days later, in a span of 15 minutes, Brach was sent to the Orioles in exchange for minor league pitcher Devin Jones, Jaff Decker and Miles Mikolas were acquired by the Pirates for first baseman Alex Dickerson. Here is some analysis of the individual deals and the players involved:

Yankees & Padres Trade:

Padres Acquire:  Ben Paullus
Yankees Acquire: Dean Anna
Grade for Padres: B
Grade for Yankees: B

I don't love this deal but I don't hate it for either side. Anna could have been picked up in the Rule 5 draft, so he was expendable. The Yankees add some middle infield depth in AAA and the Padres picked up Ben Paullus, a young reliever that doesn't need to be protected for a couple more seasons. Paullus could end up doing well in a middle relief role, but is old for his league (24 in A). His age concerns me a bit, but he is an interesting addition.

Pirates & Padres Trade:

Padres Acquire: Alex Dickerson 
Pirates Acquire: Miles Mikolas & Jaff Decker
Grade for Padres: A
Grade for Pirates: B-

This is by far my favorite trade for the Padres out of the bunch. The Padres dealt reliever Miles Mikolas and former 1st round pick Jaff Decker, two players who were not going to make the Padres' opening day roster, in exchange for Poway High School alum Alex Dickerson. Dickerson was a former 3rd rounder who hit 17 home runs and 36 doubles in AA last season. A former player of the year in the Florida State league, Dickerson is viewed as an outfielder by the Padres. Various websites have him ranked between 10 and 15 on the Pirates prospect lists. I really like this addition considering what we gave up.

Orioles & Padres Trade:

Padres Acquire:  Devin Jones
Orioles Acquire: Brad Brach
Grade for Padres: D-
Grade for Orioles: A

Of the three trades made by the Padres, I like this one the least. Brad Brach (27) was a former 42nd round pick who exceeded his label. He posted a 2.34 ERA and saved 118 games in the minors, making it to the majors in 2011. Since then, he has pitched to a 3.70 ERA in 109 major league games. He was an above average option out of the bullpen and had potential as a late inning reliever. The Padres acquired a 23-year old starting pitcher from Baltimore named Devin Jones. The former 9th rounder had a rough year in 2013, posting an ERA of almost 6.00 in AA, and walked 48 in 120 innings, but in 2012 he posted an ERA under 3.00 in A+ ball. Jones profiles as depth and Brach could pitch in the late innings for Baltimore.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why the Padres Need to Sign: Josh Johnson

Former Marlins' ace Josh Johnson has reached out to the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres, letting them know that they were his top choices for where he wanted to land. One major league executive expected him to be the next significant hurler to sign after Tim Hudson's deal with the Giants (Which could take them out of the running for Johnson). His agent Matt Sosnick said that Johnson had narrowed down his choices to three or four teams, including the Pirates. According to MLBTR writer Tim Dierkes, the finalists are National League teams and likely include some on the West Coast. 

The 29-year old is reportedly looking for a one year deal to rebuild his value after a dreadful season in which he went 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA in 16 starts, but also struck out 83 hitters in 81 innings. His batting average on balls in play and home run per fly ball rates were double his career norm, possibly suggesting an outlier. From 2009-2012, Johnson posted a 2.99 ERA in 101 starts, a statline that led the Toronto Blue Jays to acquire him with Jose Reyes in exchange for a package of young talent. A team could look to gamble that he regains his previous form by signing him to an incentive-laden contract. The deal would allow him to regain value and secure a bigger contract next offseason. He currently resides in Las Vegas, and after spending his career in Miami and Toronto, is looking for a team closer to home.

The Padres could potentially have interest in Johnson, if the price is right. I would hope that the Padres at least made the call to inquire about what he would cost. A healthy Josh Johnson could slide into the "ace" role for San Diego, a role he was used to in Miami and wouldn't be able to have in San Francisco or Pittsburgh. He would be an excellent mentor to young pitchers like Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, and could easily post an ERA under 3.00 in a still spacious PETCO Park.

If I were Josh Byrnes, I'd be pulling the trigger, assuming that he isn't asking for some asinine amount of money. This looks like a possible playoff rotation, if healthy:

SP Josh Johnson
SP Andrew Cashner
SP Tyson Ross

Friday, November 1, 2013

Potential Padres' Trade Target: Mark Trumbo

According to recent reports, the Padres are interested in adding a "big bat" to the line-up, and the Angels are interested in trading hitter Mark Trumbo in exchange for young pitching. Reports have said that the Padres are interested in adding Trumbo and the two teams match up very well for a trade. The Padres have a plethora of young pitching, headed by Matt Wisler, Max Fried, and Burch Smith. Keyvius Sampson, Robbie Erlin, Zach EflinJoseph Ross and several others could also be a part of a trade. According to Baseball America, the Padres have the 3rd best farm system in all of baseball, so there plenty of excellent prospects for the Angels to pick from.

Trumbo, 27, hit 34 home runs and drove in 100 runs last season. The Anaheim native boasts very impressive power that does play at PETCO, as all 19 of the home runs he hit at home would have been home runs in San Diego's cavernous ballpark. This explosive power is exactly what the Padres need to add to their lineup. A core of Carlos Quentin, Chase Headley, Jedd Gyorko, Mark Trumbo, and Everth Cabrera could set the table for a very good offense.

A possible deal for Trumbo would open the door for a potential trade of first baseman Yonder Alonso. A possible suitor could be Tampa Bay, a team that is currently starting James Loney at 1st base. A possible target from the Rays could be former Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson or former CY Young award winner David Price. Price would certainly be the better option, but on the other hand, he makes a significantly larger amount of salary and would require players beyond Alonso.

Mark Trumbo will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and is projected to make just under 5 million dollars next season. The Padres' ownership group has said that the Padres 2014 payroll will be in the 80 million dollar range, an increase that would most likely cover the raises to players in arbitration as well as leave a little wiggle room for a move like this. 

A possible trade could look like this:
Joe Ross and Zach Eflin for Mark Trumbo

Even though Mark Trumbo strikes out excessively (184 strike outs last season), his power is too good to pass up. Last season, Jedd Gyorko was the Padres home run leader with 23. Trumbo hit 11 more home runs. A healthy Padres team would look quite a bit better with Mark Trumbo hitting in the clean up spot:

  1. SS Everth Cabrera
  2. 1B Yonder Alonso
  3. LF Carlos Quentin
  4. RF Mark Trumbo
  5. 2B Jedd Gyorko
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. C Yasmani Grandal
  8. CF Cameron Maybin
  9. SP Andrew Cashner

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Underrated Players: The Paco Rodriguez Edition

When you look at the Dodgers, or any other high payroll team, you see flashy names. You see Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, Adrian Gonzalez, Hanley Ramirez, Yasiel Puig, and Andre Ethier. What isn't seen could be the role player who plays 7 different positions, or the lefty specialist. I am a firm believer in the fact that a team can have a good core of players, but the bullpen or bench can easily cost the team several wins or allow the team to win a few more, it can be the difference of a losing season or making the playoffs. Certain aspects of teams get passed over by the media for the bigger names who don't necessarily represent the most valuable commodities.

Paco Rodriguez
Even with all the attention the Dodgers have received, one player has been overlooked. In 2012, the Dodgers selected lefty reliever Paco Rodriguez in the 2nd round (82nd overall) of the draft. He flew through the minors, posting an ERA of under one through twenty one games in the Great Lakes (A) and Chattanooga (AA). That very year, he became the first of the 2012 draft class to make it to the major leagues, earning a September call-up in which he gave up a lone run in eleven games. 

The following season, Rodriguez made the team out of spring training, and soon became an integral piece of the Dodgers' bullpen. The 22-year old southpaw posted 1.5 wins above replacement and held left handed hitters to a .131 batting average. In September, things took a turn for the worse, as Rodriguez posted an ERA over 5.00 and gave up 3 home runs (more than the rest of his career combined). His woes continued into the NLCS, in which he gave up 2 runs in 2 games. Considering he is only a year removed from his college days (where there is a much-reduced workload), and this is his first full professional season, fatigue was the likely source of his struggles.

Billy Wagner
A very interesting comparison is Billy Wagner. Rodriguez and the future hall of famer Wagner were both high draft picks who reached the major leagues at young ages and immediately started to pitch well. Rodriguez throws 88-92, while Wagner hit the upper 90's in his career, but Rodriguez has more of a varied arsenal than Wagner had. Rodriguez is currently a lefty specialist in LA's bullpen, but it is entirely possible that he could move into the closer's role within the next couple of seasons. 

Interestingly enough, Rodriguez has received next to no media attention in Los Angeles, despite being in the middle of one of the biggest markets in all of baseball. Many relief pitchers are overlooked by fans, but fortunately for Rodriguez, teams seem to know the value of a good lefty specialist. Jeremy Affeldt of the Giants will have earned 42 million dollars and Sean Marshall of the Reds will have collected 32 million by the end of the 2015 season. Darren Oliver earned just under 50 million dollars in his career. If Paco Rodriguez keeps up what he has been doing, he could earn himself a nice chunk of change in his time in the major leagues.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Revisiting the Andrew Cashner-Anthony Rizzo Trade

Pitcher A: 16.7% of team's wins were his, 2.67 ERA, 141 k's in 171 innings
Salary: 19 million dollars

Pitcher B: 13.3% of team's wins were his, 3.09 ERA, 128 k's in 175 innings
Salary: 480 thousand dollars

Pitcher C: 15.7% of team's wins were his, 3.23 ERA, 180 k's in 203 innings
Salary: 4.25 million dollars

Pitcher D: 9.3% of team's wins were his, 3.43 ERA, 139 k's in 170 innings
Salary: 10.1 million dollars

Which pitcher would you rather have? The answers to who is who will be down below.

Pitcher A: Zack Grienke
Pitcher B: Andrew Cashner
Pitcher C: Mat Latos
Pitcher D: David Price

Andrew Cashner
On January 6th, 2012, the San Diego Padres traded first baseman Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs in exchange for pitcher Andrew Cashner. The trade was widely viewed as one of the worst trades in Padres history, and it only got worse after Cashner spent most of the season on the disabled list. He finished with a 4.27 ERA in 33 games (5 starts). Rizzo rubbed salt in the wounds of Padres fans as he hit .285 with 15 home runs in a year where the Padres hit .247 as a team. In the next offseason, the Cubs signed their rising star Rizzo to a 8 year extension, while Cashner lacerated a tendon in his finger after slicing his finger while trying to skin a dear. He missed the first several weeks of the season. 

After some mechanical fixes and a conversion of his "knuckle-slider" to a traditional slider, Cashner came back with a vengeance. In 26 starts (and 5 relief appearances), Cashner tossed 175 innings, securing 10 wins and a 3.09 ERA. Excluding those 5 relief appearances, his ERA drops to 3.04. He was one hit away from a perfect game earlier in the season, and still has one start to go.

On the other hand, Anthony Rizzo is hitting .230 with 22 home runs in a very hitter friendly field in Chicago. 

Both players' numbers are inflated by their home parks, as Cashner has a 1.95 ERA at home and a 4.00 ERA on the road (and an almost perfect game on the road) while Rizzo is hitting .247 at home with 13 home runs, while only hitting .213 with 9 home runs away from Chicago. 

The verdict is still out on the deal, as both pieces have had their ups and downs with their new teams, but the deal is not as uneven as it once looked. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Commenting System

After getting some emails about comments not showing up on the website, I have decided to implement a new commenting system from Disqus. You can still post comments as a guest if you would like. I am working on importing all of the old comments from the original format onto this one, but there are no promises. Feel free to leave me feedback about the new system! Thanks!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Breakout Prospect: RHP Matt Wisler

The Padres have been mathematically eliminated from the postseason, so it is time to start looking at some prospects that could help us as soon as next season. In 2011, the Padres had 6 picks in the first 2 rounds. The group Cory Spangenberg, Joe Ross, Michael Kelly, Travis Jankowski, Brett Austin, and Austin Hedges was the haul the Padres brought in with so many high picks. Catcher Austin Hedges, the second rounder, looks like he could easily end up as the best of the bunch. He is the best defensive catcher in the minors and isn't too bad with the bat. The Padres missed on Austin (DNS) and Kelly (Injuries), but hit on Hedges and Ross. Interestingly enough, both Hedges and Ross had commitments with UCLA and were considered extremely tough signs, but San Diego decided to invest in the draft that year  and so far it is paying off. After Ross and Hedges, the Padres hit on several picks in later rounds. Matt Andriese (4th), Matt Wisler (7th), Kevin Quackenbush (8th), Burch Smith (14th), and Matt Stites (17th) all look like possible major league players from the 2011 draft. Burch Smith actually won his first major league game today, striking out ten batters and holding on to a no-hitter through five innings.

I am going to zoom in on one of those prospects. Matt Wisler from Bryan High School in Ohio was drafted in the 7th round by the Padres in 2011. He was committed to Ohio State, and considered a very tough sign. The Padres offered him a half million dollars to bribe him into going straight into the minor leagues. Wisler accepted the signing bonus and joined the Padres organization. As a freshman in high school, Matt only threw 73 miles an hour, so he decided that since he wouldn't overpower hitters, he had to trick them. He created an arsenal of five pitches, two fastballs (two-seam and cut), curveball, slider, and change up. As a result, he ended up being a very polished pitcher for his age, and eventually his velocity on his fastball crept up to the lower 90's. Wisler became a pitcher who could throw hard. He was the 2012 Padres Minor League Pitcher of the Year and this year led the San Antonio Missions in the playoffs to the Texas League Championship. Wisler was 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 31 innings in Lake Elsinore, which bought him a promotion to San Antonio. He went 8-5 in 20 starts with a 3.00 ERA and 103 strikeouts in 105 innings. The 6-3 righty threw extremely well in the playoffs, posting an ERA of 0.56 and winning game one of the Texas League championship. Matt Wisler has been compared to another pitcher who was drafted in late rounds out of high school by the Padres, Mat Latos. This comparison does make sense, and he does have the stuff to be an ace.

Matt Wisler needs to be up much higher on prospect lists. I consider Wisler to be the Padres second best prospect and a potential top 30 prospect in baseball. I am a big fan of this 20-year old right hander, and hope to see him be up in the major leagues as soon as next season!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Next Season

With the way the Padres are playing, it is highly unlikely that they will win the division. Third place is slowly slipping away, and the Padres didn't help their case by being mashed last night by the current team in 3rd place (Rockies). It seems like we need to (again) look to next year and the future.

AP Photo/Chris Schneider
Currently, there are incentives to tank. We are currently projected to have the 7th overall selection in the draft, while we are 2.0 games back of the 4th overall pick and 8.5 back of the 2nd overall pick. We are even 15.5 games back of the first overall pick. There is no incentive for being in the middle ground, since you get a higher draft pick, more international money, and more draft pick money for losing, teams should lose if they aren't going to make the playoffs. There are a lot of bright spots to this team and they have a good amount of money to spend in the offseason, so maybe they should go the route the Indians took last year. They lost so much that they scored a protected pick, and then scooped up two big name free agents without giving up draft picks (Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn). Looking at this year's free agent class, it is probably the strongest in recent memory. Looking at next year's team, the Padres could use a veteran catcher to pair with Nick Hundley until Yasmani Grandal is healthy (or Austin Hedges is ready). Carlos Ruiz or Jarrod Saltalamacchia could be good fits. The outfield seems set with a combination of Cameron Maybin, Jaff Decker, Carlos Quentin, Kyle Blanks, Chris Denorfia, Rymer Liriano, Reymond Fuentes, and Will Venable, but an established major league outfielder could be a good addition. If the Padres don't think Liriano is ready for the majors after a stint in the Arizona Fall League, a veteran outfielder would be a good pick-up. Nelson Cruz could be an interesting pick-up, since he would come cheap and on a one or two year deal after involvement in the biogenesis scandal. Since 2009, the 33-year old outfielder has averaged 27 home runs a season with a .270 average.

Looking at the pitching, this is where it gets complicated. After trading away Joe Thatcher, the Padres will need to add another lefty to the bullpen, because Colt Hynes isn't cutting it. 38-year old Scott Downs is looking sharp for the Braves and will be a free agent. Another lefty, Eric O'Flaherty is coming off elbow surgery, but would be a good minor league signing. Two other buy low candidates are Red Sox reliever Joel Hanrahan and free agent reliever Ryan Madson, who hasn't pitched since 2011. Madson will have a hard time getting a major league deal, but from 2007 to 2011, Madson was one of the best relievers in the game, before his injury. Hanrahan had 76 saves over the last two seasons, but this year he was injured early. Now moving on to starting pitching. Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross, and Andrew Cashner have looked like front of the rotation starters. Eric Stults has proven to be reliable. Youngsters Burch Smith, Robbie Erlin, Matthew Andriese, and Keyvius Sampson are knocking on the door. Injured pitchers Joe Wieland, Cory Luebke, and Casey Kelly are all trying to squeeze their way into the rotation. Depending on the next couple months, whoever steps up could win a job.

It seems that the biggest hole on this club is at catcher, and Austin Hedges is still a year and a half away. A couple bullpen arms would also be helpful. There is a large surplus of pitching depth, but a good starter wouldn't hurt if the price is right. A veteran outfielder could be worth the investment too, depending on Liriano's performance. Here is what the team would look like with some moves in the offseason:

1) SS Everth Cabrera
2) 1B Yonder Alonso
3) LF Carlos Quentin
4) RF Nelson Cruz FREE AGENT
5) 3B Chase Headley
6) 2B Jedd Gyorko
7) CF Cameron Maybin
8) C Carlos Ruiz FREE AGENT

SP1 Tyson Ross
SP2 Ian Kennedy
SP3 Andrew Cashner
SP4 Eric Stults
SP5 Keyvius Sampson

CL Huston Street
SU Luke Gregerson
SU Joel Hanrahan FREE AGENT
MR Nick Vincent
MR Brad Brach
LR Sean O'Sullivan

BN Chris Denorfia
BN Kyle Blanks
BN Logan Forsythe
BN Nick Hundley
BN Alexi Amarista

Notice I left out a couple big names, including Dale Thayer, Jesus Guzman, and Will "Potential" Venable. I really don't like Dale Thayer and don't trust him in important innings. He could slide into a middle relief role I guess. Guzman is a good bench bat, but Blanks is better and gets priority. Venable is one of my least favorite players in Padres history. He has been given chance after chance and will be 31. He hasn't ever done anything to prove he is a quality major league outfielder. Venable has consistently had a .250 average with 20 SB and 15 home runs, as well as good defense. He also strikes out one time every four at bats. I don't like Venable and I think we should trade him if another team makes an offer.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Should We Forgive Users

Nelson Cruz
About a week ago, several players were suspended by Major League Baseball for association with a clinic in Florida that sells performance enhancing drugs. Headlining these suspensions were shortstop Everth Cabrera (Padres), outfielder Nelson Cruz (Rangers), and third baseman Alex Rodriguez (Yankees). The players took different approaches when addressing the media and their teammates. Both Cabrera and Cruz had emotional apologies to their teammates and fans, while Alex Rodriguez appealed his suspension that would have taken him out of action for the rest of this season and all of next season. His suspension was the most substantial out of the group due to Rodriguez impeding the investigation and trying to buy evidence. Since Rodriguez appealed, he is allowed to play until his appeal is processed. He has been greeted with boos in every city he has played in. After looking at how (some) players graciously apologized and took responsibility, would you forgive them?

Alex Rodriguez
These players will all lose north of 300,000 dollars. That is enough to buy a house or a very nice car. They paid the consequences. Rodriguez is set to lose at least 30 million dollars with his suspension. These players are all going to be missing the rest of the season, and Nelson Cruz was on the last year of his contract, meaning instead of a 5-year contract worth 75 million dollars, his deal could look similar to Melky Cabrera's 2-year 15 million dollar deal with the Blue Jays (also suspended in his contract year, and also connected to biogenesis). They committed a crime and are doing their time. The problem is, the punishment isn't enough to prevent a player like Alex Rodriguez from using PED's and getting a 300 million dollar contract instead of a 100 million dollar contract. They are essentially stealing money from teams and other players. Let's imagine a scenario. Pretend you are in a job interview for a high paying job, and you say in your interview that you have multiple degrees from Harvard, when in actuality, you are a high school dropout. You then you get the job over other highly qualified candidates, and end up making lots of money. It eventually comes back that you lied on your application and in your interview. Scott Thompson (former CEO of went through a similar scandal when he lied on his resume about his degree. He was forced to resign. He now is working for Shop Runner, a shopping website owned by eBay. The job pays less and is less desirable. The players padded their stats with the PEDs, so why should they be any different? After paying the consequences, the players could essentially be shunned by fan bases and cause negative PR for the team (ex: A-Roid).
Here is Everth Cabrera's apology, either he truly was sorry or he is just a fantastic actor! Anyway, would you accept a player after this type of scandal, or would you shun them? They did suffer consequences, and this will follow them around their entire career. In your opinion, does owning up to their mistakes and taking responsibility improve your opinions of these players? Would you give stiffer punishments?

Here would be my proposal.

1st Time Offender: All years left on the contract are reset to league minimum, with the team still on the hook for the rest of the money, donating it to charity instead of giving it to the player. The player will also have a salary cap for future salary (3 million a season), never be allowed to make it to the hall of fame, and not be allowed to make any future all star teams. He will also have all past, present, and future records set eliminated from the books. Fine the player 15% of what he has earned in his major league baseball career.

2nd Time Offender: Lifetime ban. Donate all money owed to charity. Fine an additional 15% of what he has made in his career.

The severity of this punishment is easily enough to scare any player and agent into not using PED's, and allows Bud Selig to lay down the law.

If you are reading this in an email, you may need to go to the site to watch the video. 

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Padres to Acquire Ian Kennedy

After an offseason of doing nothing, and seeing injuries, suspensions, and bad performances galore in season, the Padres may finally have some hope. This offseason, the Padres resigned pitcher Jason Marquis and acquired pitcher Tyson Ross from the A's. The offseason was largely uneventful, and looking back, Tyson Ross has pitched well and Jason Marquis is out for the year. Ross has a 2.90 ERA in 59 innings (24 games, 5 starts) and Marquis went 9-5 with a 4.05 ERA in 117 innings before being out for the season and ending his Padres career by blowing out his arm. The year before, the Padres had lost most of their rotation for extended periods of time, with the exception of Edinson Volquez and Clayton Richard who were steady pieces in the rotation, which resulted in the pick-ups of Marquis and starter Eric Stults, who has gone 16-12 with a 3.36 ERA in 36 starts (40 games) in parts of two seasons while providing the Padres with a reliable starter. The team has seen virtually every offensive player get hurt or suspended or both this year, which is tough to see. The Padres ended up in the cellar early after a slow start (5-15), but climbed up to 2nd place (36-32), before falling back down. Today, the Padres are in 4th place, and 8.5 games out of first, but only a game out of third, and 5 games out of second. The team's only all-star, shortstop Everth Cabrera, is facing a suspension soon in the Biogenesis scandal that could take him out of action until September. The team also lost catcher Yasmani Grandal to a 9-12 month ACL tear. Today, on the trade deadline, many "experts" thought that San Diego would come in selling Carlos Quentin (he has a full NTC and he has said on the record he will not waive in, and ESPN seems unable to understand that), Chase Headley, Luke Gregerson, Joe Thatcher for prospects.

In 2011, Ian Kennedy was coming off a season where he went 20-4 with a 2.88 ERA in the hitter friendly Chase Field in Arizona. He was voted 4th in the CY Young award voting, and he was only 26. Two years later, the 28-year old has an ERA of almost double what his 2011 ERA was, and he has given up nearly as many home runs as he gave that year through half a season. His team was only 3.5 games out of first place, and he is creating negative value for them. They have youngsters Tyler Skaggs and Randall Delgado knocking on the door, and the team needs bullpen help. The former ace had some of the lowest value in his career, and there was a slow deadline day, until the once thought to be sellers, the San Diego Padres, became buyers and bought low on the former ace. San Diego shipped left handed specialist Joe Thatcher, Matt Stites, and a draft pick. The deal gives the Diamondbacks some bullpen help and some help for the future.

For the Padres, the deal's effects will go beyond the baseball diamond. The deal inspires the Padres fan base by an acquisition that shows that the Padres want to compete. The deal gives San Diego some hope on the baseball diamond too. Kennedy was at one point one of the best pitchers in baseball, and is under control for 2 and a half seasons. The deal brings in some help now and in the next two seasons, as Kennedy immediately becomes one the best pitchers on the Padres, possibly behind Andrew Cashner. The deal infuses some talent, a guy who could be fixed by pitching coach Darren Balsley like Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, Eric Stults, and countless others. The deal is exciting and I am happy!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Midseason Comments

First off, If I Were GM is working on a few renovations including the "Automatic Player Linker" provided by, which will attach a link to any MLB or minor league player I put in my article. The other renovations are coming and I will let you know when they are up and ready! Also, I am sorry about the lack of content coming from the website in recent weeks, as I have been on vacation. I have been paying closer attention to the ballclub, even going to a couple games while I was here in San Diego. I was able to see Eric Stults throw a complete game and Sean O'Sullivan hit a double in his Padre debut. I was able to see a win and a loss, so I could see the good and the bad. I will admit, there has been a lot more bad than good of late.

San Diego is in a very interesting position, where we are just as easily able to compete for the division as we are for the number one overall pick in the draft. This has been made possible by our recent cold streak and the inability for anybody in our division to play good baseball. San Diego is 8 games out of the worst record in the league, and 8.5 games out of first in the division. This is a situation where Josh Byrnes has a choice at the deadline can choose one of three options. He can buy, sell, or stay put. He has a chance where he could easily make it to the top or sink down to the bottom if he decides to inject talent or sell the talent he has on the ballclub. The club has talent (Gyorko, Stults, Cashner, Quentin, Headley, Cabrera), but they enjoy getting hurt. Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, Everth Cabrera, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin,Cameron Maybin, Cory Luebke, Joe Wieland, Casey Kelly, Clayton Richard, and others have all had DL stints. Chase Headley broke his thumb and hasn't been the same since. The team had a very cold streak, a very hot streak, and another very cold streak to start the year. If Byrnes chooses to stand pat and not make any moves, Jason Marquis will not hold up in the rotation. The team would fall hard and probably end up with a 3rd, 4th, or 5th place finish depending on other NL West team moves. A top 10 draft pick could be in order. If Byrnes bought an arm like Bud Norris or Yovani Gallardo, then San Diego could be carried to a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd finish. I do feel like Norris or Gallardo would be the difference maker. The problem with San Diego's deadline potential is that Byrnes has said he isn't going after rentals, which would knock off popular target Matt Garza. Even though Byrnes doesn't want rentals, a deal of Will Venable for Phil Hughes could make sense, if San Diego could extend Hughes. The extra benefit to acquiring one of these players is that Norris, Gallardo, and Hughes all could stick around in future years and provide a veteran presence in a rotation that could include youngsters Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin, Joe Wieland, Burch Smith, and Andrew Cashner next season.

Realistically, buying isn't the best option if San Diego opens the break to 3 more losses and falls further behind, and the more logical option in that case would be to sell. Send off Edinson Volquez, Eric Stults, Huston Street, Luke Gregerson, Dale Thayer, Will Venable, and others off for prospects. The list of players to ship off DOES NOT include third baseman Chase Headley. Headley's value is way down, and it wouldn't be smart to sell low. San Diego could trade off pieces of the pitching staff, and sign some veterans like Jon Garland and Jamie Moyer to finish the season. In theory, the destruction of the pitching staff would allow the team to perform poorly enough to grab the first overall pick. Unlike the past couple seasons, there is a clear cut player that should be the first overall pick. Southpaw Carlos Rodon out of NC State is like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in the fact that he is a clear number one pick. A player of that quality is franchise altering. This brings me back to 2008, where we finished 4 games out of the first overall pick, and we ended up with Donovan Tate instead of Stephen Strasburg. My best advice for Byrnes: Pick one way or the other (buy or sell), and don't be caught in the middle (stay put), because there are benefits to picking either side, but none in the middle!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Proposed Deal: If I Were GM

Phil Hughes
I was looking through the free agent list of starting pitchers in the offseason, to see if there were any interesting targets for the Padres to go after, and one name caught my eye. Phil Hughes is a 27-year old righty who has thrown for the Yankees his entire career, and has been mediocre. In parts of seven seasons, the hurler has put up a 55-42 record (mediocre for a Yankee) and a 4.47 ERA. He tends to have a high strike out rate and a low walk rate, which is always good, and give up a fair amount of home runs. The home run prone Hughes would thrive in a pitcher's park like PETCO (still a pitcher's park, just not as extreme as before).

Hughes is the absolue perfect trade deadline acquisition for the Padres. I honestly couldn't think of a better target. For a young team that doesn't have many players that have been in the spotlight and have postseason experience, Phil Hughes boasts 7 years in a Yankee uniform, and about 40 innings of postseason baseball. This season, Hughes is 3-6 with a 5.09 ERA, so he is a buy low. I think if he pitches well in San Diego, and likes it, he becomes more than a rental. A four or five year deal keeps him in San Diego until age 31 or 32, so it isn't as risky as usual with a free agent pitcher, since he is so young.

With Michael Pineda coming back from an injury, an underperforming Phil Hughes might end up being the odd man out. A trade to San Diego benefits all three parties involved. The Yankees add whatever prospects the Padres give in the deal and open a spot for Pineda, as well as gain salary relief (to get under the luxury tax). Hughes gets to lay low in San Diego and make the media go away, and San Diego gets a veteran leader who will move from the AL East to the NL West from one of the most hitter friendly parks to the most pitcher friendly park in the majors. I think Hughes could be exactly what the Padres are looking for.

Proposed Deal:

Padres Acquire:
RHP Phil Hughes

Yankees Acquire:
RHP Brad Boxberger
RHP Miles Mikolas

I personally think that New York would be looking for some young relievers to deepen a bullpen that is  losing Mariano Rivera, the second best closer of all time. Boxberger and Mikolas are two high upside arms that could end up successful in New York. 

Trade Deadline Update: Padres Interested In Arrieta (Again)

Jake Arrieta
Josh Byrnes really likes Jake Arrieta. This is the second time in the last year that Byrnes has been in talks with the Orioles about Arrieta, to go as far as offer the Orioles a deal for Chase Headley revolving around Arrieta and two prospects at the trade deadline last year, which was swiftly rejected. The Orioles are now kicking themselves over that deal. Headley finished last year with 31 home runs and a .286 average, and Arrieta finished to a 3-9 record with a 6.20 ERA. Rumors have been swirling that several teams are interested in pitcher Edinson Volquez, who was "effectively-wild" last night, striking out 7 and taking a no hit bid into the 6th inning, but was tagged with the loss, 5 runs (2 earned), and 7 walks. I think of all the scouts that were at the ballpark, at least one liked that stuff.

Anthony Bass
It has also been made aware that the Orioles scout at the ballpark was also looking at long reliever Anthony Bass. He suggested a possible swap of Arrieta and Bass, or a deal of Arrieta and more for Volquez. Edinson Volquez has had a pretty miserable season, posting a 5-6 record with a 5.67 ERA. The interesting part of Volquez's year, is that his walk rate is actually down from his career trends, his strikeout rate is also down, and his hit rates are up. His FIP is under his career rate, despite his ERA being over, and his BABIP is up, suggesting that he is having a great season with terrible luck. One would think when a player gives up less home runs and walks, he would give up less runs. I am thinking bad luck when digging deeper.

Edinson Volquez
I personally can see Edinson Volquez being dealt if the Padres are still in contention. Volquez has been the second worst pitcher on the Padres staff, and at first, I was surprised at the interest in him. It took a look into his peripherals to understand that he was just unlucky, and he could provide major value if he is "on" down the stretch. I was actually down on this team this year, which was a first for me. I think that we do end up keeping this incredible run that has put us in 2nd place and 2.5 games out of first and we reach the deadline as contenders. Here are my proposed deals.

Padres trade RHP Edinson Volquez to Orioles for RHP Jake Arrieta and a prospect.
Padres trade 1B/OF Jesus Guzman to the Royals for a prospect or two.
Yankees trade RHP Phil Hughes to Padres in exchange for prospects.
Indians trade RHP Chris Perez and RHP Ubaldo Jimenez in exchange for prospects.
Marlins trade OF Giancarlo Stanton to Padres in exchange for prospects.*

If I was San Diego's GM, these are the moves I would make. I think the first three are really interesting, and I will break down a proposed Hughes swap soon. I think the 4th trade is a little bit of a stretch, but it is possible that San Diego acquired Jimenez, and obviously the 5th deal is really not going to happen, but I can get my hopes up. I think San Diego could pay a price around Max Fried and Rymer Liriano plus more to get Stanton, but any move seems like it will wait for the offseason.