Sunday, April 05, 2009

Batter up: San Diego Padres

It's almost baseball season, that mystical, wonderful time of year where you commit to a team who you know fully well won't win. This season, in honour of an popular Internet meme, we'll present 25 things about each team. Any wagering or fantasy baseball advice is for recreational use only. At bat: The San Diego Padres.
  1. The Blue Jays are having a reunion of the 1993 championship team in August. The Padres will not have one for all the players who were part of their 1993 fire sale, but it would be appropriate.

  2. Their off-season was marred by a messy and very public divorce, but you already knew they didn't re-sign Trevor Hoffman.

  3. The conversation begins and end with incoming owner Jeff Moorad, whose group is buying the Padres in installments. Previous owner John Moores has to sell the team as part of his divorce proceeding. The San Diegans will be competitive later rather than sooner.

  4. From the department of "good to know," ace Jake Peavy has a no-trade clause. Theories on Peavy's next address are like male nipples; everyone's got them, but they're not good for anything.

  5. Pads chronicler extraordinaire Geoff Young is holding out hope that everything breaks right and his favourite team wins the NL West with an 85-77 record. A lot of crockery will get broken in a certain Jays fan's apartment in that event.

  6. More than one MLB mock draft sees San Diego using its No. 3 pick in the first round on Alex White from the University of North Carolina. He threw eight innings to beat Georgia Tech on Friday. Does anyone know how any of UNC's other teams made out this weekend?

  7. First baseman Adrian Gonzalez just needs a little more publicity to officially be overrated for being underrated.

  8. One feel-good San Diego baseball story is that the play-by-play voice Mark Neely, who landed the gig after calling minor-league games for 19 seasons. He must have some stories.

  9. Kevin Kouzmanoff is the best Padres player not named Gonzo.

  10. You can win drinks and impress people at cocktain parties if you know that Brian Giles' is career on-base percentage is among the top 50 in baseball history (he's 50th at .404).

    Giles deserves to get booed in every ballpark he visits after a videotape surfaced of him appearing to assault his girlfriend in a bar.

  11. Giles' no-trade clause doesn't include Cleveland, which is one AL contender which could use a lefty-swinging outfielder/DH type.

  12. Six-word epitaph for their season: "David Eckstein is on the team."

  13. Heath Bell The Closer should be fine, save for not having Heath Bell The Setup Man. Justin Hampson is the only left-handed option in the bullpen.

  14. Their PECOTA projection is for a 74-88 record, which would improve on the 63-99 record they posted last season.

  15. There's not much at the top of the farm system. However, Scott Boras really likes the program Padres icon Tony Gwynn is running as the coach at San Diego State. Since agents already do some of the recruiting in college basketball, couldn't the Dark Lord start steering 18-year-old phenoms to Gwynn's program and giving the Padres a familiarity factor come draft day?

    OK, so that's a stretch.
  16. You really had to be there to understand why Cleveland was the only who threw an extra player into the Kouzmanoff-for-Josh Barfield trade in December 2006. It was probably some karmic rebate for the Padres trading away Carlos Baerga and Sandy Alomar Jr.'s entire careers for one season of Joe Carter posting a .290 on-base percentage (but with a ton of RBIs).

  17. Bill James did a famous riff on this once: Present-day San Diego skipper Bud Black, who is white, played for many years on the Royals with Frank White, who is black.

  18. You have to click through to Minor League Ball's look at the Padres' top 20 prospects, not so much for the article, but for the 1970s Randy Jones baseball card that shows him pitching without a cap. That could have only happened in the '70s.

  19. You probably never heard of Cha Seung Baek, but Ducksnorts is confident he "will be the worst No. 3 starter in the majors." It might only be for a few weeks.

  20. Players don't have roommates on the road, so Cha probably doesn't share a room with Cla Meredith.

  21. Again, minor-league first basemen are a dime-a-dozen, but get a load of Kyle Blanks, who's 6-foot-6 and tips the Toledos at 281 lbs. He on-based .4o4 and slugged .514 as a 21-year-old in Double-A ball last season, but he might be too damn mammoth to last in baseball.

  22. "Bud Black" and "first manager fired" gets only 255 matches on Google at this writing. Granted, he doesn't have a whole lot to work with.

  23. The entire major-league schedule will be aired on XM Radio. I tend to be nocturnal, so get ready to hear a lot of random facts about West Coast teams over the next six months.

  24. The Padres name predates the major-league franchise. It was first used for a Pacific Coast League team. You could have a lineup with Hall of Famer at every position from players who played for either iteration:
    Tony Gwynn CF
    Bobby Doerr 2B
    Ted Williams LF
    Dave Winfield RF
    Willie McCovey DH
    Gary Sheffield 3B
    Mike Piazza C
    Tony Perez 1B
    Ozzie Smith SS
    Roberto Alomar Util.
    Gaylord Perry SP
    Rollie Fingers RP
  25. The recession is not 100% bad (only 98% bad). The Padres' Triple-A team, the Portland Beavers, increased its season-ticket base by 10 per cent. It must be a good place to play, since judging by his spring training, Matt Antonelli really wanted to play there again.

    Portland should get a MLB team someday.

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