Filed under: News, Random Crap | Tags: Arizona Diamondbacks, Chase Headley, Eagles Rugby, Petco Park, San Diego Padres, Tony Clark, USA Sevens
A friend of mine scored some tickets to day 2 of the USA Sevens rugby tournament down at Petco last Sunday. I was all excited to go, except for one problem: I woke up at 7 AM Sunday with the most raging hangover of my life. A ballpark with 20,000 people flying around probably isn’t the best place to recover from that, but I sucked it up and went anyway…it was actually really cool. Watching the games, it’s abundantly clear that the game was the precursor of American football, but there are some major differences: continuous clock, 7 players, no pads, scores are worth 5 points & conversions are worth 2, etc. The game moves really fast as long as they are actually playing; there are weird pauses in the action sometimes for setting up kicks and throw-ins which break up the action and mainly serve to confuse those of us who don’t understand the sport well.
The USA even played a couple of matches, and both ended in dramatic fashion; they beat France on a try and conversion as time expired, and they lost to Wales in the consolation final when a player shanked the conversion kick after scoring a try with no time left to pull the team within 2. The crowd was pretty docile all day unless the US was playing; they actually got pretty loud for the local boys, which was cool to see. All in all, it was a cool event, and we’ll definitely make a point to get back down for it next year.
You know what the best part of the tournament was, though? Being able to spend a day at the ballpark! It was my first time in the park since the 4th-to-last home game last year, and it got me all pumped up to get back down there and watch the Pads. I can’t even express how ready I am for baseball season. Pitchers and catchers report Thursday (I think), and the first spring games can’t get here soon enough.
With that in mind, let’s take a quick look at the Pads’ latest acquisition: 1B/DH/pinch hitter extraordinaire Tony Clark. On the surface, he doesn’t really look like he’ll get a lot of playing time, since Adrian is so entrenched at first base; I really don’t see Clark getting more than 10 starts at first this year. So, this means he’s going to pinch hit. A lot. Clark is a .232/.308/.442 pinch hitter for his career. Though not impressive on the surface, one must remember that pinch-hitters usually succeed far less than the average hitter simply due to the inherent difficulty in coming in cold to face major league pitching. For reference, Padres pinch hitters last year hit .188/.293/.284. Assuming that Clark will get most of his work off the bench, I’d expect his line to end up closer to his career PH numbers than his .249/.310/.511 performance in Arizona last year. Still, a .450 SLG from your primary pinch hitter can’t be a bad thing; having a threat like that off the bench will be a valuable weapon in the Padres always important bench arsenal. My only concern is that this could take away a roster spot for a guy like Headley if it comes down to it, although I think Headley will do well enough in March to force the Pads to make room. Especially given the cost, this seems like a pretty decent move for the Friars.
Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Khalil Greene, Petco Park, sabermetrics, San Diego Padres
Seems like everyone and their mom is talking about Khalil lately and whether it’s a good value proposition to keep him around through the end of his contract. This is especially relevant since the likelihood of him signing an extension is seemingly low and the chatter about him being trade bait seems to get louder daily. Friar Forecast (Greene acres), Ducksnorts (The Khalil Conundrum) and The Sac Bunt (The kase against KT) have chimed in, among others. MB’s piece at Friar Forecast got me thinking about the types of balls Khalil hits and whether that might have something to do with all this.
Let’s first look at Khalil’s line-drive percentages, both in Petco Park and on the road. It’s been said that line-drive percentage can be a decent predictor of average and power. In 2007, Khalil posted a .197 ISO (SLG-AVG) at home; however, in doing so, he hit .215 in the process. On the road, his ISO jumped to .231, while his average jumped to .288; the average is significantly different, but I would argue that the power difference could be nothing more than the elevation change. So, do the line-drive percentages give us any clues as to why Khalil’s splits are so funky? To a point, yes, but I think that this might be a spurious correlation. At home, 15% of Khalil’s hits were line drives; on the road, 24% were liners. At a glance, this would seem to indicate that either the Petco environment or the perception of that in Khalil’s head lead him to get less solid contact at home. However, when we look at the 2006 numbers, it appears that this might not be the answer; his percentages were 22% at home and 24% on the road with similar ancillary splits (.210 AVG/.136 ISO at home, .280/.227 on the road). For reference, the league average line-drive percentage was 19.1% in 2007, while the league hit .271 with a .152 ISO. This probably merits a more in-depth look, but I don’t think there’s much here.
However, this does lead me to believe that another percentage might hold the key to this. When we take Khalil’s line-drive and ground-ball percentages and subtract them from 100%, we get the percentage of balls that Khalil hit in the air. At home in ’07, this number came out to 48%; in 2006, the number was 49%. On the road, 41% of the balls Khalil hits were in the air.
Now we’re getting somewhere. Though the sample is kind of small, it’s clear that Khalil hits the ball in the air a little more at home than on the road. This leads me to believe that since Khalil hits the ball more in the air at Petco, there’s something either in the environment or in Khalil’s head that makes the ball hang up a little longer in Petco. Maybe it’s the big gaps, maybe it’s the climate, maybe it’s psychological…I’m not going to pretend to have the answer. However, I think this may indicate something about Khalil’s game that is not adaptable to Petco Park. The secondary numbers seem to back up this premonition; his BABIP at home over the last 2 years is .250, while it’s .302 on the road. Further, those 2 averages over the last 2 years have only varied by 1 point, which indicates that this might not be a fluke. The small sample size makes me a little skeptical, however.
Anybody think there’s anything to this?
Filed under: Random Crap | Tags: Baseball Reference, Gaylord Perry, Los Angeles Dodgers, Randomness, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants
Wow, it’s like I died and went to work or something.
Winter break got really crazy; I spent a lot of time working and a lot of time doing absolutely nothing. Nonetheless, I am back with more worthless commentary on the Friars.
Let’s begin 2008 with another gem from Baseball Reference’s Play Index. This tool is unbelievable if you like to fiddle around with obscure stats as I do; definitely worth $5 to try it for a month. Anywho, I was watching highlights from the Pads’ 1-0 win over LA back on June 5, not realizing that we won that game with 2 hits. I remembered at least one other game that we won with 2 hits this year, so I got to wondering: what team in the last 50 years had the most 2-hit wins in one season?
The 2007 Padres are one of three teams that have won 3 games with only 2 hits in the same season, joining the 1971 Giants and the 1965 world champion L.A. Dodgers. Kind of cool that no team outside of the NL West has ever turned the trick.
Only 24 teams over that period have won 2 games in the same season with just 2 hits. One of those teams was the 1978 edition of the Pads, led by Cy Young winner Gaylord Perry.
Not that it means anything, but I thought it was cool to think about. Good to be back.
Filed under: News, Stats & Analysis | Tags: Adam Jones, Bill Hall, David Wells, Jeremy Reed, Jim Edmonds, Joe Thatcher, Johnny Damon, Los Angeles Dodgers, Melky Cabrera, Randy Wolf, Reggie Willits, Ryan Church, San Diego Padres, Scott Linebrink, Tony Gwynn Jr., Trevor Hoffman
Now coming down the pipe: Randy Wolf will sign a 1-year deal with the Pads. I like this move; I got to watch Wolf pitch a little bit this year (again, I live in Dodgers’ TV territory) and he’s got underrated stuff. Not a terribly hard thrower (88-90 on the fastball), but he has a sharp, slow (~68 MPH) curveball and will get his share of strikeouts. Plus, he’s a lefty, and he’s not named David Wells. Without getting into the numbers of the deal, my gut says this is a good deal for the Friars.
As promised, here’s the remainder of the trade candidates for center field.
Reed came up full-time in 2005, starting for the Mariners in center for most of the year. Over 144 games, he hit .254/.322/.352. However, in 2006, he dipped to .217 before an injury ended his season; in 2007, he fell off the radar, playing just 13 games in the bigs and being passed in the organization by Adam Jones. Reed did hit .298/.349/.451 in Tacoma last year, showing considerably more power than he did with the club in 2005 (although the hitter-friendly PCL probably had something to do with that). For me, he’s probably about a .260 hitter at best, although I’ve heard he’s a pretty good defensive player; he’d probably be very cheap, since he has little value to the mariners at this point in time. Might be another name to throw in the hat…
Edmonds makes his second home on the disabled list, so he’s definitely an injury risk. He battled groin issues last year and underwent two surgeries after the 2006 season. His OPS has declined each of the last 4 years, starting at 1.061 before falling all the way to .727 last year. Some of the drop in power could be attributed to his injuries, so if he’s healthy, he might show a little more pop in 2008; however, the more likely scenario is that age is finally taking its toll on Edmonds. Looking at range factor, he still shows slightly above-average range in center, although he clearly is not the player he once was. He is also a little expensive, as he is due to make $8M in 2008. He might be able to recapture a little of the old magic, but the chances of that happening are slim. Bringing Edmonds in would be a needless risk, in my opinion.
Tony Gwynn Jr.
Ah, the hometown favorite. Gwynn raised his profile by beating Trevor Hoffman for a game-tying triple on the final weekend of the season with the Pads one pitch away from clinching a playoff berth. He’s currently blocked by Bill Hall in Milwaukee, so he would likely be available for the right price. In fact, Towers tried to get Gwynn in the deal that brought Joe Thatcher over for Scott Linebrink. Gwynn served mostly off the bench for the Brewers in 2007, hitting .260 over 123 at-bats; he’s a career .272 minor league hitter. As far as a major league comparison, I’d say Gwynn looks like a poor man’s Reggie Willits; pretty good average & OBP, no power, good speed, good defense, lousy arm. Good enough for the Pads? Only as a fallback if nothing else pans out.
The Yankees seem desperate to pawn off Damon on anyone who will pay a part of his substantial 2008 salary. Melky Cabrera has supplanted Damon in center field for the Yanks, and they do not have room for him in the outfield anymore. For all the whining out of New York, Damon still had a pretty decent 2007; he hit .270/.351/.396 in 141 games. For his career, he’s a .288/.353/.433 hitter with an OPS+ of 102. Those are pretty good numbers for a center fielder, especially in the power department; his numbers dipped last year, at least partly due to an abdominal problem that dogged him in the second half. The perception in the media is that Damon does not have legs to play center anymore; however, his range factor has been above league average each of the last five years, and he still shows good speed on the basepaths (27 SB in 2007). If he’s healthy and still fast enough to play center, he’d probably be a very good fit here; rangy, nice OBP, shows a little gap power. He’s still under contract through 2009 at a problematic $13M per, though, so that could be an issue in trade talks.
Oops. Looks like we’re a little late on this one. He was traded to New York on Friday.
Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Chase Headley, David DeJesus, Eric Chavez, Eric Owens, Gary Matthews Jr., Joey Gathright, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Mark Kotsay, Matt Antonelli, Miguel Cabrera, Mike Cameron, Nate McLouth, Oakland A's, Pittsburgh Pirates, Reggie Willits, San Diego Padres, Torii Hunter, Travis Buck, Xavier Nady
Well, we’ve all probably heard the disheartening trade rumor involving Chase Headley to the Pirates for Xavier Nady and Nate McLouth. Don’t get me wrong; I like X, and McLouth is intriguing. However, why would you give up Head for so little? Especially considering that X still embodies the characteristics (low OBP, can’t hit righties, etc.) that made you want to get rid of him in the first place? I hope it’s just conjecture…I really don’t think this is a serious offer, at least from the Pads’ standpoint.
Well, enough of that unpleasantness. On to the trade candidates…note that not all of these guys have been mentioned in rumors. Some of them are pure speculation on my part as to who might be a decent trade partner. The list ended up being unexpectedly long, so I’m breaking it into 2 parts; I’ll go over a few of the players today, and the rest (hopefully) tomorrow.
We may as well start with the flavor of the week. Mentioned in the Nady-for-Headley rumor today, McLouth hit .258/.351/.459 in 137 games with the Bucs last year. His career big league line is .249/.322/.429 over 284 games; not exactly the stuff of legend, but I wouldn’t say it’s much worse than Cammy would have done. Defensively, McLouth posted a 2.62 range factor and an .886 zone rating, which puts him roughly mid-pack among all NL center fielders. He’s been in the bigs full time since 2006; in 5 minor league seasons, he put up a solid line of .292/.362/.427. A BABIP of .297 in 2007 indicates that his line is probably pretty close to his ability level; moving to Petco, expect the numbers to drop a little, maybe 5-10 points. As far as price, he’s probably not worth it if the deal involves Headley; that’s the offer that was mentioned this morning. If they can swing the deal for someone of lesser value, though, McLouth might be a decent fit. I don’t think I’d go any farther than decent, though.
Some have mentioned DeJesus as a nice fit, particularly because he fits this new “good OBP” mold that KT and the gang are hooked on (with good reason). DeJesus is a .282/.358/.415 player over 4 years as a starter in K.C.; a pretty decent line, all told, for a center fielder. Last year, he experienced a bit of decline, hitting just .260 with a paltry slugging percentage of .372; unfortunately, it looks like this line is closer to his talent level than the 3 years prior. His BABIPs for 2004-2006: .320, .335, .332. In 2007? .291. Not a sexy pick, but probably a very realistic one; with Joey Gathright behind him, and the Royals apparently hellbent on getting a free agent CF, he can likely be had for cheap.
I live in Temecula, so we get Angels games up here; I’ll tune in when the Pads play an early game and the Angels have a late game, or vice versa. I took a liking to Reggie this year; he’s the closest thing to Eric Owens since Eric Owens. Gritty guy, plays his ass off, jersey always dirty…and he can get on base, too. He hit .293 with a stellar .391 OBP for Anaheim last year. Of course, that all comes with a pathetic .344 slugging percentage, so don’t expect Mike Cameron; this guy won’t do anything more than hit singles, take walks, steal bases and make plays in center. Reggie appears to be tremendously lucky, posting a very high .363 BABIP in ’07; however, Reggie’s BABIP has consistently been in the .340-.370 range through the minors, so maybe there’s something to it. His name keeps coming up in the Miggy Cabrera rumors, and with Torii Hunter now in center, Willits is expendable (read: cheap).
Gary Matthews Jr.
Not so cheap is another expendable Angels center fielder. The former Friar signed a 5 year deal last year at $10M per and was lauded as the answer for the Angels in center; however, he proved his 2006 was a fluke (or a product of that bandbox in Arlington), regressing back to .252/.323/.419 in Anaheim. His .283 BABIP in ’07 indicates he’s probably a little better than that; I’d anticipate him being closer to his career line of .261/.334/.419 in ’08. Still not worth $10M a year for 4 years. I wouldn’t seriously consider Matthews.
Longtime Padre fans likely remember Kotsay trolling around center here from 2001-2003. He was a favorite of mine during my high school days, probably because his play reminded me of the aforementioned Owens (if you can’t tell, he was probably my favorite Padre of the early ’00s in spite of his average ability). Kotsay’s a career .282/.337/.415 hitter, pretty similar to DeJesus’ line. He suffered back issues last year and only got into 56 games, hitting only .214. In ’06, he hit .275 with a .294 BABIP, so we can probably expect similar numbers in 2008 if he’s healthy. Due to the injury, he might be had cheap; he’s certainly worth looking into as a low-risk, medium-reward trade option.
My brother suggested Buck as an option, and it kinda makes sense; Oakland has a surplus of center fielders with Swisher, Kotsay, et al., while we have a surplus at 3B with Kouz apparently entrenched there now. We have a hole in CF with Cameron now apparently out, and Oakland has a quasi-hole at third with Chavez’s health (and the team’s desire to keep him) still in question. A Headley for Buck and token prospect deal almost makes sense. Buck hit .288/.377/.474 last year in 83 games, with a stellar OPS+ of 130. His BABIP of .347 suggests he played a little over his head in 2007, so that’s something to be aware of. Using very unscientific methods to adjust his BABIP back down to league average (.290), I come up with a line of .235/.327/.388; his real talent level probably lies somewhere in between. Like our own Matt Antonelli, he didn’t have much minor league experience before coming up; he played only 127 games in the minors and only 52 above A ball. In those games, however, he hit .325/.398/.510, pretty good numbers by any standard; thus, he’s probably going to be a solid major leaguer. Swapping him for Headley would be an exchange of two prospects on roughly the same plane of talent; surprisingly, I think this might be a fair deal.
More to come…
Filed under: Random Crap | Tags: Bill Conlin, Doug Brocail, Ed Wade, Finals Week, Geoff Blum, Houston Astros, Kevin Towers, Khalil Greene, Marcus Giles, Milton Bradley, San Diego Padres
Ah, the end of the semester. The time when college students all across the country contemplate the meaning of life while destroying themselves trying to finish the race. Good times. I hereby invoke the preceding as an excuse for my lack of decent content from now to the end of the semester. So there.
Geoff Blum is out; he signed with Houston. Quick look at his numbers shows he’s not a “new-guard” kind of guy (low OBP, etc.). He stepped up big replacing Marcus Giles down the stretch and also filled the hole Khalil Greene left after his injury in 2006. That underscores what many see as a major problem with Blum: if he’s not getting a lot of at-bats, his performance tends to suffer. Bochy got him into a ton of games; Black did not, and we saw a commensurate drop in performance until he became the regular 2B. Again, this is not the most scientific analysis in the world, but I can see the line of thinking here. Not surprised to see him out, although he was one of my favorites during his time with the club. I’ll miss the person, but not necessarily the player.
Also heard today that the Broken One himself, Doug Brocail, is headed to Houston. He was one of KT’s scrap heap finds, coming back from an angioplasty and having himself a stellar 2007. Problem is, he’s pretty unlikely to repeat the performance in 2008 given his age, and even less likely playing 81 games in the Juice Box. For my $2.5M, I think there are better options, but in his 2 years here he was a great bargain find out of the pen.
On that note, what’s with Ed Wade all of a sudden scooping up all the ex-Friars? Next thing we know, Milton Bradley will be headed for Houston. Maybe this is also part of why the Pads let him go so easily; he doesn’t completely buy into the KT & DePo’s “new-guard” philosophy. Not like he was the crux of the department or something, but still…
I’m still working on the center field trade candidates, and I hope to have that up tomorrow…
Finally, an interesting conversation between a blogger and longtime Philadelphia columnist Bill Conlin regarding the NL MVP race (hat tip Friar Forecast); just goes to show the divide between the sportswriters and the bloggers is as wide as ever. As a former journalism student, I can understand it to a point, but the fact remains that a lot of bloggers have valid points and interesting insights that sportswriters do not offer. Of course, we could argue this for weeks, and no one will change anybody’s mind on it; you’re either with the bloggers or against them. Here’s hoping you’re with me on this.
Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Aaron Rowand, Adrian Gonzalez, Andruw Jones, Brian Giles, Chunichi Dragons, Dave Roberts, Hideki Matsui, Kenny Lofton, Kosuke Fukudome, Mike Cameron, San Diego Padres, Tokyo Yomiuri Giants
A little late, I know, but here’s a look at the possible free agent targets for center field in 2008. I’ll have something on the potential trade candidates later tonight.
Rowand was healthy for all of 2007 after a nasty collision with the center field fence in Citizens Bank Park cost him about 60 games in 2006. He responded with a breakout year, going .309/.374/.515, including 45 doubles and 27 home runs. All this computes to a 123 OPS+ and a 7.8 WARP1; basically, Rowand had a stellar season by any standard you want to measure with. However, Rowand’s career numbers tell a somewhat jumbled story. His career line is .286/.343/.462 with an OPS+ of 106. When you look at the four years he’s been a full-time player, though, he’s really had 2 outstanding years and 2 mediocre years. Here are Rowand’s numbers over the last 4 years:
Year Team AVG OBP SLG OPS+ WARP1
2004 CWS .310 .361 .544 130 5.3
2005 CWS .270 .329 .407 93 4.1
2006 PHI .262 .321 .425 86 3.0
2007 PHI .309 .374 .515 123 7.8
So, was Rowand lucky in ’04 and ’07, or unlucky in ’05 and ’06? BABIP tells us the answer is the former; from 2004 to 2007, he posted BABIPs of .341, .318, .297 and .350. As noted in earlier posts, league average is about .290. Though not definitive, these numbers suggest that Rowand’s natural talent level is closer to his ’05/’06 numbers. As a point of comparison, ZIPS has Rowand at .276/.339/.444 next year, although those numbers are adjusted for playing 81 games in Citizens Bank Park. Qualitatively, he’s not a great OBP guy unless he’s hitting over .300, his power comes in fits and spurts, and his defense may be a bit overrated (just my opinion). In that case, at the 5 year/$60M price tag indicated by Randy Miller of PhillyBurbs (hat tip MLBTR), I will pass.
Tom Krasovic noted a few weeks ago that the Pads might make a one year offer to the esteemed Mr. Jones, he of the .222 average in 2007. The Pads would offer Jones about $17M; a huge price for any player, especially when you consider that this is the Padres talking. In prior years, Jones was a rather productive hitter hampered by a mediocre batting average and a high strikeout rate.
Talking to my brother a few weeks ago, I called Jones “Mike Cameron with more power.” Is that a fair statement? That depends on whether you can call Jones’ 2007 a fluke. I think, to a point, you can characterize Jones’ 2007 season as a string of bad luck; his BABIP was just .248, well below the league average. Adjusted for a league-average BABIP, Jones would have hit .259, right in line with his career numbers. However, his power dropped substantially last year as well, his slugging percentage falling a full 80 points below his career average. Whether this is related to luck or other factors, such as a withdrawal from performance enhancers, is a matter of conjecture. I would lean towards the former; he’s only posted an OPS below the league average once outside of last year and his peripherals indicate that there were other factors affecting him in 2007. For perspective, PECOTA’s 10th percentile projection for Jones in 2007 was .243/.323/.451, indicating that there was less than a 10% chance Jones would be as bad as he was last year.
“Mike Cameron with more power?” That’s probably unfair to Jones. However, is Jones really twice the player Cameron is? If the Pads were to pay Jones over double what they paid Cameron, that is essentially what the club would be saying. I don’t think I would go that far, but given the market and the need for another bat to protect Adrian Gonzalez in the order, it might be worth overpaying to get him in here.
Here’s a name no one seems to be talking about. Lofton hit .296/.367/.414 for Texas and Cleveland last year, very close to his career line of .299/.372/.423. Lofton is very much a singles hitter, while still exhibiting good speed (23 steals in ’07) and decent range (with a terrible arm) in center. Wow, it’s like Dave Roberts came back to life with 30 extra points of batting average! He’d certainly be a hell of a lot cheaper than Jones/Rowand/et al., and he does some things that help the club win games. According to Baseball Prospectus’ MORP formula, Lofton’s 2007 was worth about $5.4M. If the Padres fail to land one of the big fishes, Lofton might be a nice fallback option, but I wouldn’t make him our #1 target. There are better names out there, whether they come via free agency or trade.
As a Japanese player, Fukudome is a bit of an enigma; we don’t really know how he’ll do against players in this league. Fukudome suffered an elbow injury in the middle of the 2007 season; prior to that he hit .294/.443/.520 with Chunichi. For his career, he’s a .305/.397/.543 player; look here for his NPB statistics. A good comparison might be Hideki Matsui, who hit .304/.413/.582 in Japan (NPB stats here) before coming to the Yankees. Matsui has hit .295/.371/.485 since coming to the States in 2003. If Fukudome can come close to those numbers, he’ll be worth at least the $12M per year that he’s expected to fetch. Problem is, it looks like he’ll be no better in center than Brian Giles, and he might be worse. According to Mike Plugh (via MLBTR), Fukudome’s best defensive position is right, which may create a defensive problem for the Friars. However, if he hits anywhere close to the way Matsui did when he came over, it would likely be worth the defensive headaches we may experience with one of these guys in center.
Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Brian Giles, Cedric Hunter, Geoff Jenkins, Jason Lane, Kosuke Fukudome, Mike Cameron, San Diego Padres
Well, with Mike Cameron a free agent and Cedric Hunter still a few years away, center field might be the biggest hole the Pads need to fill before the start of next season. As it stands now, assuming no moves between now and opening day, it will be Brian Giles or Jason Lane in center on March 31. It’s very likely the Pads will look outside for help, so let’s run down the candidates for the position in ’08. Today I’ll look at the in-house candidates; over the next few days, I’ll also comment on the free agent and trade possibilities. Finally, I’ll make my recommendation for who the Pads should use in center in 2008.
The 2006 Gold Glove winner took a step back in 2007, his average dropping from .268 to .242 while posting his second highest strikeout total of his career. His on base percentage dropped 30 points from 2006, while his slugging percentage dropped 50. He still managed to post an OPS+ over the league average, although his 2007 number was down 18 points from 2006 (121 to 103). Though his defense is still well regarded, he struggled through the first few months of the season, losing multiple balls in the dusk at home. All this certainly hurt his value on the free agent market; now that his 25-game amphetamine suspension will cut out a part of his 2008 season, his value has dropped even further. He could still be had cheap; in spite of everything, he was also one of the Pads’ more valuable players overall last year, garnering 22 win shares (3rd on the club) and a 5.1 WARP1. However, given the stigma associated with his suspension, in addition to his lackluster 2007 season, signs point to Cameron having a new home for the 2008 season.
I know, Giles is the incumbent in right, but the possibility still remains that the Friars could sign a quality right fielder, i.e. Kosuke Fukudome or Geoff Jenkins, and move Gilly to center. Giles has played center in the past, posting 301 games in central over his career. However, only 18 of those games have come with the Pads, and only 1 in the last 2 years. Even so, he still shows good range in the outfield, as well as a decent arm. Giles’ offensive profile certainly fits better in center than it does in right, given his high OBP and loss of power in recent years. By all accounts Giles is not the player he once was; still, he managed to post a respectable OPS+ of 109 as well as a decent 3.2 WARP1. If the Pads can bring in a right fielder who can do better than Cameron’s 2007 line, it might be worth it to consider Giles in center, since he still presents a viable defensive option as well as lots of aptitude with the stick.
Don’t forget about Jason Lane, either. Picked up during the last week of the season after the catastrophic injuries to Cameron and Milton Bradley, Lane only posted 2 at bats with the Friars, going hitless. With Houston, he was a disaster, hitting just .178 over 169 at-bats. Hold on a second there, professor. As noted by many scribes, KT likes to use a statistic called BABIP (batting average on balls in play) to measure how lucky or unlucky a player was in a given season; it can help indicate how far off of a player’s natural talent level a given statistical line is. Looking at Lane’s 2006 and 2007, he hit .201 and .178, respectively. However, he had a BABIP of .217 in 2006 and .168 in 2007. According to Fan Interference, league average is about .290. This indicates that Lane has been terrificly unlucky over the past 2 years. This does not mean that we can automatically expect Lane to perform to his potential in 2008; however, I definitely would not sleep on him having a big year given the chance to play everyday. Defensively, I don’t know a lot about Lane; he’s posted a 106 Rate2 in center over his career (100 is average). TangoTiger’s Fan Scouting Report puts Lane at a 56, which is about average. This is definitely a KT kind of move: buy low on a player who may have been unlucky, put him in San Diego with a supportive team behind him, and let him go to work. Lane is definitely a player I will have my eye on next year as a potential bounce-back guy.
OK, enough for today. Tomorrow: the free agent guys. Saturday: the trade candidates. Sunday: my recommendation.
Filed under: Stats & Analysis | Tags: Barry Axelrod, Barry Zito, Carlos Zambrano, Jake Peavy, Kevin Towers, Miguel Cabrera, Petco Park, San Diego Padres
Sorry for the layoff, school is owning my life right now…better stuff coming over the holiday weekend. I hope.
Not to beat a dead horse, but with Jake winning the CY, the Pads have started talking extension with agent Barry Axelrod. This is a pleasant surprise, as the general consensus seemed to be that Jake will play out 2008 in San Diego and then be traded for cheaper personnel. The Cy Young just pushed the value of his 2009 option to $11M; he’s due to make around $6M next year.
So, what does winning the award mean for Jake? He’ll probably get some extra nationwide fame and notoriety out of it, but you can’t pay for a car with fame and notoriety; primarily, this affects Jake’s price on the market. We already know what some of the bigger names are fetching; Carlos Zambrano, who hasn’t done nearly as much as Jake in the bigs, fetched $91.5M over 5 years, while 2002 AL Cy Young winner Barry Zito fetched $126M over 7 years. I think the award makes management willing to pay him a little more, but I still don’t think they will go past 5/75 with him. Would Jake take that money, or does he want the big payday? His agent is not named Boras, which is a good sign. Publicly, Jake and his agent have shown a desire to stay here; Axelrod told the UT that “Jake’s probably going to be willing to back off of Zambrano’s numbers,” while the man himself told padres.com that “I want to be a Padre for my career.”
Posturing? Who knows. Reason to be optimistic? Given the track record, I’m not making parade plans yet. Should we be encouraged? Probably.
So, what about that trade market? I have to think that Jake could pull at least what Miguel Cabrera seems to be drawing on the open market; i.e., a huge prospect package from an organization with a good farm system. We earlier mentioned Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and Melky Cabrera, but there would certainly be more suitors than that.
I do believe that this is the peak of Jake’s value, no matter how you slice it. If the Friars seriously want to make Jake the next in a tremendous line of career Padres, they will need to step up and pay up. If not, they’ll probably get more out of Jake on the market now than they will at any other point in his career. Personally, I think a bona-fide ace like Jake is probably the single most important element of any successful ballclub, especially one that plays 81 games in Petco Park; in spite of the injury risk, they would be wise to pay the man now and avoid taking a huge hit on the field and in the community when Jake walks after 2009.
The last thing the club needs is the PR fiasco that will ensue if they let Peavy, the guy who might end up being the best pitcher of this generation, walk because they wouldn’t pay him enough to remain a Padre.
Filed under: News | Tags: Cy Young Award, Jake Peavy, Randy Johnson, San Diego Padres
Great news: Jake Peavy is the National League Cy Young Award winner for 2007, and deservedly so. Jake was better than pretty much anyone all year, even taking into account the 2 eggs he laid at Arizona and at Colorado. He’s the first unanimous Cy winner since Randy Johnson and the first Padre to win the award unanimously.
You may recall that I spoke about Jake’s dominance in an earlier post. Maybe I’ll elaborate on the significance of this for Jake a little more tonight. I have a presentation in 2 hours, so it might help if I started preparing for that…