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 BaseballReference.com, 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!