Posted by Matt Clapp | 2/19/2009 12:25:00 AM | Adrian Gonzalez, Brian Giles, Chase Headley, David Eckstein, Jake Peavy, Kendra Wilkinson, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Khalil Greene, San Diego Padres, Trevor Hoffman, Where they stand
Since we're all huge baseball fans here at the Thigh, we've decided to examine each MLB team and where they currently stand. We'll look at how the team did last year, changes that happened or could happen with the team this offseason, and how it looks like the team will do in 2009 as of now. We'll even toss in the hottest thigh associated with each team. In this edition, we look at the San Diego Padres.
2008 Outcome: 63-99, finished last in the NL West, 21 games back of the Dodgers.
What They've Lost: SS Khalil Greene(Traded To Cardinals), RP Trevor Hoffman(Signed With Brewers), P Clay Hensley(Signed With Astros), RP Kevin Cameron(Signed With Athletics), SP Shawn Estes(Signed With Dodgers), C Josh Bard(Signed With Red Sox), C Michael Barrett(Signed With Blue Jays), P Justin Germano(Signed With Softbank Hawks Of Japan), 2B Tadahito Iguchi(Signed With Chiba Lotte Marines Of Japan), OF Paul McAnulty(Signed With Red Sox), C Luke Carlin(Signed With Diamondbacks), P Dirk Hayhurst(Signed With Blue Jays), OF Chip Ambres(Signed With Red Sox), 2B/SS Callix Crabbe(Signed With Mariners), 1B Brian Myrow(Signed With White Sox), P Charlie Haeger(Signed With Dodgers), P Enrique Gonzalez(Signed With Red Sox), P Sean Henn(Signed With Twins).
What They've Added: Signed 2B/SS David Eckstein(1 Year, 850 K), Signed OF Cliff Floyd, Signed C Henry Blanco(1 Year, 750 K), Signed P Kevin Correia(Minor League Deal), Signed OF Emil Brown(Minor League Deal)Signed IF/OF Chris Burke(Minor League Deal), Signed C Eliezer Alfonso(Minor League Deal), Signed RP Chris Britton(Minor League Deal), Acquired P Mark Worrell(From Cardinals), Claimed P Jae Kuk Ryu Off Waivers(From Rays).
Needs: 2 starting pitchers, the bullpen figured out, a shortstop, and more run producers.
The Talk: All-Star pitcher Jake Peavy, the payroll, and new owner Jeff Moorad are taking up the headlines for the Padres this offseason.
The Peavy talk all offseason is actually because of the payroll, and the payroll is actually because of the ownership situation. The Padres were ordered to have a payroll limit of about $40 million by owner John Moores. General manager Kevin Towers has said the Padres are around $5 million over that. The only players on their roster that are making at least that much money this season are Jake Peavy and outfielder Brian Giles, so understandably they've been in a ton of trade rumors.
All of the talk in November and December pointed to the 27-year-old Peavy being a Cub, but the teams were unable to reach an agreement. This was most likely because of to the Cubs not being able to offer a great package of prospects as they have a pretty weak farm system right now. The Cubs have since acquired a few more prospects that may make a Peavy deal still possible down the road, but I don't see it happening. Reports were that of the teams that were interested in acquiring Peavy, the Cubs were the only team that he'd agree to go to as he has a no-trade clause, otherwise he probably would've been dealt to the Braves who had a better offer on the table.
So if they have to cut salary and aren't trading Peavy, naturally the rumors are surrounding a possible Brian Giles deal. The Padres picked up Giles' 2009 option for $9 million, which looks like an absolutely awful decision now considering their payroll and players like Bobby Abreu signing contracts much cheaper than that. Giles also has a no-trade clause, but apparently would accept a deal to the Angels, Red Sox, or Yankees. It's hard to imagine any of those teams rushing to acquire the 38-year-old Giles though unless they only have to pay $4-5 million of his contract.
However, there's also a chance the Padres have more money to work with in the coming months. The reason being an ownership change is in the works. Former Diamondbacks CEO and part owner Jeff Moorad has agreed in principle to buy the Padres. It will take everything at least a few more months to settle it sounds like, but the organization should have a good idea in the near future about some potential payroll flexibility that most importantly could allow them to hang onto their ace in Peavy.
As for what they've actually done, the trade of shortstop Khalil Greene to the Cardinals raised some eyebrows. Greene was coming off the worst season of his career, where he hit just .213, with 10 homers, 35 RBI, and a .599 OPS. He was making $6.5 million in 2009 on the last year of his contract, but the timing of the trade is very questionable. Greene is 29, a magician at shortstop, and has a career OPS away from the pitcher-friendly Petco Park of .802. Would they have been better off keeping him at that price for a year than picking up Brian Giles' $9 million option?
Searching for middle infield help with the loss of Greene, the Padres went out and signed veteran pesky player David Eckstein. The Padres told him he could have shortstop or second base and it sounds like he chose the latter. They have a hole at shortstop still and that job will be up for grabs with Luis Rodriguez possibly getting the job there. It's fair to say they're probably going to miss Greene unless he plays as badly as 2008.
The Trevor Hoffman era in San Diego came to an end when the 41-year-old closer signed with the Brewers. Heath Bell, who's been one of the top setup men in the league, is expected to step into the closer role. The way the rest of the bullpen will appear is very much in question.
The rotation has the potential to be a strength but has plenty of question marks outside of Jake Peavy. The 6'10" Chris Young dealt with a few injuries last year, but is one of the best pitchers in the league when right. For the Padres to compete at all this year, Young must stay healthy. Cha Seung Baek figures to get a spot in the rotation, but is a #5 in most rotations. Will Mark Prior ever do anything in San Diego? I'm gonna lean towards no on that one.
The lineup is definitely headlined by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. This guy is one of the top five hitters in the National League right now and I'd take him over any first baseman in the league not named Albert Pujols. The 26-year-old hit .279, with 36 homers, 119 RBI, and an .871 OPS. That's playing in a bad lineup and at a pitcher's park. Away from Petco, the sweet-swinging lefty hit .308, with 22 homers, 70 RBI, and a .946 OPS. So that's 44 homers and 140 RBI in a full season in other parks. Oh, and he won the NL Gold Glove at first base in 2008.
The Padres made a few nice moves for depth in signing veterans Emil Brown, Cliff Floyd and Henry Blanco. The 34-year-old Brown has some pop, hitting 13 homers in 409 at bats for the A's in 2008. Floyd's 36 and injury-prone but an .804 OPS in 284 at bats for the AL Champion Rays in 2008. He'll be a nice lefty bat off the bench that will get some starts at the corner outfield spots. Blanco, 37, is as good of a backup catcher as there is in the league. He's still a solid defensive catcher, a great mentor for young catcher Nick Hundley, and an outstanding handler of the pitching staff. He also brings more to the table at the plate than your normal backup catcher, as he hit .292 for the Cubs last season.
Free Agent Signing/Trade Prediction: They won't be acquiring anybody of significance.
It sounded like the Padres might bring in a veteran starting pitcher to compete for a spot in the rotation such as Livan Hernandez(who ended up signing with the Mets) or Steve Trachsel, but the talk is now that they're probably going to go with what they have. Don't be surprised if that changes and they sign a pitcher to a Minor League deal in the next month and a half, but it won't be a big name by any means. They're already pushing the payroll limits and won't be spending anymore money.
If they make a notable trade, it will likely be giving up Jake Peavy or Brian Giles.
Young Player(s) To Make 2009 Impact: OF/3B Chase Headley and C Nick Hundley.
The 24-year-old Headley impressed in 360 plate appearances in 2008. The switch-hitter batted .269, with 9 homers, a .337 on-base percentage, and a .420 slugging percentage. Away from his home field at Petco Park which is the worst hitter's park in baseball, he hit .301 with an .831 OPS.
This season, Headley figures to get over 500 at bats as the starting left fielder, and should get some time at third base as Kevin Kouzmanoff's backup. Look for him to get 15-20 homers, and possibly be the Padres' best hitter outside of Adrian Gonzalez.
Nick Hundley is a 25-year-old catcher that is expected to start for the Padres on Opening Day. He showed good power in the minors but only hit .253 in 1172 at bats there, and then hit .237 for the Padres in 198 at bats in 2008. He threw out 14 of 56 baserunners trying to steal last season, but had 4 errors in 59 games.
2009 Outlook: On paper, this is the worst team in the NL West again. They figure to struggle tremendously on offense again, but if Peavy pitches like the guy that won the 2007 NL Cy Young, Chris Young is healthy all year and pitches like he's capable of, and they get some surprises in the pitching staff, you never know. However, a realistic prediction is about 65-70 wins, and last place in the NL West. Seeing what Jeff Moorad will allow the team to do with the payroll is something to be optimistic about, because it can't get any worse than the $40 million they're limited to now.
Hottest Thigh Association: Kendra Wilkinson.
Kendra's is known for being on the reality show The Girl Next Door, where she plays Hugh Hefner's third girlfriend... whatever that means. The 23-year-old model and actress(?) might be better known by sports fans as being engaged to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Hank Baskett. She is a big Padres fan as she displays on her MySpace page. In the bottom picture, she's standing with Kevin Kouzmanoff at Petco Park.
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