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 yahoo.com) 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.