Tag:Adrian Gonzalez
Posted on: October 8, 2010 9:28 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:56 am
  •  
 

R.I.P. Padres: Big year ends with collapse

As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Today: The San Diego Padres.

Few people expected to see the Padres in the playoffs, and in the end, nobody did.

But San Diego’s postseason hopes were supposed to be buried by about June, not the last weekend of the season with a crushing collapse. The Padres spent most of the season in first place in the National League West behind a tremendous pitching staff, only to find that in the end their lack of offense would do them in.

What they accomplished was impressive considering they had the second-lowest payroll in baseball, but Padres fans will remember 2010 for what might have been.

WHAT WENT WRONG

In a word, September. The Padres entered the month in the clutches of a 10-game losing streak that turned their season the wrong direction, and they couldn’t regroup.

Miguel Tejada San Diego went 14-17 after September 1, batting .229 and failing to score more than a run nine times. Clinging to a half-game division lead on September 25, the Padres lost five of their last eight (three by shutout), capped by a 3-0 loss on the final day of the season that gave the division to the Giants and left them out of the playoff picture.

Adding Ryan Ludwick at the deadline looked like a great move, exactly what they needed to give the offense some punch. But moving to cavernous Petco Park, Ludwick’s batting average dropped 80 points after the trade to .211, and his slugging percentage dropped more than 150 points to a miserable .330.

Injuries didn’t help matters. David Eckstein, Jerry Hairston, Everth Cabrera and Tony Gwynn Jr. missed big chunks of the season, as did pitcher Chris Young.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

The pitching, particularly the lights-out bullpen, was tremendous. The relief corps, led by Mike Adams, Luke Gregorson and Heath Bell, had baseball’s lowest ERA, 2.81, and limited hitters to a .220 average. If the starting pitcher left with a lead, it was all but over for the opposition.

Speaking of starting pitchers, the Padres’s top three – Clayton Richard, Jon Garland and Mat Latos -- each won 14 games. Latos went through a streak of near-invincibility, going a major-league record 15 consecutive starts giving up two or fewer earned runs between June and September.

All-Star Adrian Gonzalez was the offensive highlight, batting .298 with 31 homers and 101 RBI, which not only led the team but was 43 more than the next-highest total. Jerry Hairston was a huge spark off the bench, playing five positions and racking up 50 RBI despite batting a modest .244.

HELP ON THE WAY

With the Padres fighting for a postseason berth, Simon Castro didn’t get a September callup, but the right-handed starter is right at the top of San Diego’s prospects list. He struggled after going up to Triple-A, but the 22-year-old has a bright future.

A bit farther away is 20-year-old outfielder Jaff Decker, a left-hander power hitter who will be moving up fast from Class A.
 
EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

The arms are there for another run at the playoffs. The entire bullpen (barring trades) returns, and they have a nice stable of starters. If they can fix their obvious offensive shortcomings, they won’t be catching anyone by surprise next year.

Adrian Gonzalez SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

Owner Jeff Moorad says he won’t allow Gonzalez to be traded before next season, which is a good thing. Even if you could get multiple offensive pieces in return, consider Gonzalez your bird in the hand. There might be no other player in baseball who represents a bigger chunk of his team’s offense, and his $5.5 million option is reasonable.

Young’s $8.5 million option, on the other hand, is not realistic. That would represent nearly a quarter of the team’s payroll, and given his injury history and the team’s other options, they can’t do it. Bell is in his final year of arbitration and will get a raise, and the Padres have to consider trying to lock him up long-term.

Re-sign Eckstein, which shouldn’t cost much. Try to get Hairston back. And look for bargain offensive help that can hit in the gaps.

2011 PREDICTION

You can’t count on the Padres repeating their across-the-board pitching excellence, so it’s going to take more than a token offensive improvement to make them a viable contender. There’s some talent rising up in the division, and it will be tough for the Padres to keep pace with their payroll.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Posted on: October 8, 2010 9:49 am
 

Padres unlikely to re-sign Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez What team wouldn't want a first baseman that hit .298/.393/.511 with 31 homers and Gold Glove-worthy defense? One that knows it'll have to pay market price.

Padres CEO Jeff Moorad told the San Diego Union-Tribune 's Tim Sullivan that he doesn't think the team can afford Adrian Gonzalez past next season.

"While we'd still love to have Adrian here long-term, it doesn't appear to be practical from a financial standpoint," Gonzalez said. "So I'm certainly not counting on that. But we'll engage and see fi there's a deal that can be made."

The Padres hold a $5.8 million club option, one the team will certainly pick up.

"At this point, I expect him to be on our roster next season," Moorad said.

Gonzalez is a San Diego native, but may have priced himself out of his hometown team.

Moorad tells Sullivan the team, which reports its revenues were "relatively flat" in 2010, despite spending most of the seasoning first place of the NL West, will slightly increase its payroll for 2011. Moorad told Sullivan the team's total payroll in 2011 would start with a "4" meaning $40 million. San Diego's opening day payroll for 2010 was nearly $38 million, second-lowest in the majors ahead of Pittsburgh. They wouldn't move up in that ranking in 2011 no matter what numbers follow the "4." And without moving that to a "5," there's no way Gonzalez will have signed an extension.

Gonzalez has said if the Padres match any other offer, he'd stay in San Diego. That doesn't seem to be much of an option.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .

Category: MLB
Posted on: October 2, 2010 5:15 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2010 5:44 pm
 

Zito puts Giants in jam

Barry Zito
With the Giants needing just one over the Padres to clinch the National League West, Barry Zito put them in a tough spot with a bad start.

The veteran lefty gave up consecutive singles to open the game, and after a sacrifice moved the runners up, he intentionally walked Adrian Gonzalez to load the bases.

After getting the second out on an infield pop fly, Zito needed an out to escape the jam and had a force at every base. And he did the unthinkable, walking the next two batters, Yorvit Torrealba and Scott Hairston, to force in two runs.

After giving up a third run in the third, it looked like Zito was done, as Aaron Roward headed to the on-deck circle to bat in his place. But Bruce Bochy called Rowand back into the dugout and let Zito bat.

Apparently Bochy decided that if he's going to lose this game, he's not going to also come out of it with a burned-up bullpen when there's a Sunday showdown, and a possible one-game Monday tiebreaker, looming. Zito has put San Francisco in a tough spot.

UPDATE: After Zito walked Padres pitcher Tim Stauffer on five pitches to open the fourth, Bochy pulled the plug. Stauffer ended up scoring, putting the Giants in a 4-0 hole, and San Francisco has to get six innings from the bullpen.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:30 pm
 

Gonzalez says Padres fan overreact to article

Adrian Gonzalez San Diego is already getting a little testy about Adrian Gonzalez's impending free agency.

Gonzalez isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2011 season, but he was asked by the Chicago Sun-Times ' Gordon Wittenmeyer if he would be interested in comng to Chicago if the Cubs made an offer.

"There's definitely a lot of positives about Chicago that if they made an offer, I would be interested in it," Gonzalez said. "Chicago's a great town, and they have great fans, and I like the fact that it's a small ballpark. I know the wind can play against you, but it can play for you, too. There's definitely some positives. And my wife loves Chicago for the shopping."

With the Padres falling out of the playoff race in the final two weeks of the season, many questioned Gonzalez's comments. On Wednesday, Gonzalez said it was the timing that got people upset, more than the actual comments.

"The fans' reaction was totally off," Gonzalez told the San Diego Union-Tribune 's Don Norcross . "I think they took this and because we're losing, wanted to turn it into something else. If we would have won those two games [against the Cubs], I don't think they would have made anything out of it."

Padres general manager Jed Hoyer and manager Bud Black backed their player.

"I don't see this as a story," Hoyer said in an e-mail to Norcross.

Gonzalez grew up on both sides of the border in the San Diego area and is due $5.5 million next season before hitting free agency. Many expected the Padres to look to deal Gonzalez this season, but their surprising run -- which included a long stint in first place -- kept him in San Diego.

Gonzalez said he'd like to stay in San Diego -- but did qualify that statement.

"If everyone offers me the same contract, I'll definitely stay here," Gonzalez said.

It's unlikely that will happen. Gonzalez will be one of the premier free agents on the market and the Padres are hardly one of the big spenders in the game.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Category: MLB
Posted on: September 29, 2010 9:53 am
 

Padres' Gonzalez has played hurt since May

Adrian Gonzalez Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez said he's been playing hurt since May.

Gonzalez said his right shoulder "flared up" and taken some of his power. He initially hurt the shoulder diving for a ball and has dived for fewer ball since.

"I had to change the way I hit," Gonzalez told the San Diego Union-Tribune 's Don Norcross . "I'm thinking [of hitting] more on top of the ball and hitting more line drives up the middle, [hit] the other way [rather] than trying to look for situations where I can try to hit home runs."

Still, he's put up MVP-worthy numbers, hitting .299/.390/.510 this season with 30 home runs and 98 RBI. He hit 40 homers in 2009 and 36 in 2008.

Gonzalez said he's not dealing with much pain, but is using a more compact swing and lighter bat. His .299 batting average is his best since hitting .304 in his first season in San Diego, 2006.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .



Category: MLB
Posted on: September 25, 2010 12:40 pm
 

Chapman hits 105 -- for real

Aroldis Chapman
This is not a matter of a "hot" radar gun, or an overzealous scouting report, or an urban legend. Reds reliever Aroldis Chapman hit 105.1 mph Friday night, the fastest major-league pitch ever legitimately recorded.

Baseball doesn't keep pitch speed as an official statistic, but it does employ a consistent, high-tech system in ballparks that uses trangulation to capture pitch velocity and movement. You can see the Pitch F/X report for Chapman's outing here.

The young Cuban threw 25 pitches, all but two of them over 100 mph (you have to occasionally mix in that 99.6-mph changeup just to keep hitters off balance, right?). He entered the game against the Padres with two out in the seventh inning to face Adrian Gonzalez, who swung and missed at three pitches: 101, 102 and 103.

The 105-mph pitch (shown in this photo) was a ball, thrown with a 1-2 count on Tony Gwynn, who would strike out. He pitched a scoreless 1 1/3 innings, and in his first 11 career appearances has a 1.86 ERA and has struck out batters at a rate of 12.1 per nine innings.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .
Posted on: September 10, 2010 9:47 pm
 

Cabrera becomes third AL player with 30 IBB

The designated hitter changes many things -- but no record seems to have a bigger split among leads than the one for intentional walks.

The Major League and National League record is 120 -- set by Barry Bonds in 2004. The American League record is nearly a fourth of that -- 33, done twice -- by John Olerud in 1993 and Ted Williams in 1957. It should be noted, of course, that this statistic wasn't kept until 1955, so Babe Ruth isn't on it (but he had some pretty decent protection in the Yankees lineup).

Miguel Cabrera On Friday, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera became just the fourth American League player to ever receive 30 intentional walks in a season. In addition to Olerud and Williams, George Brett was intentionally walked 30 times in 1985.

It's a different story in the National League, where Barry Bonds had nine different season with 30 or more free passes, and Pujols has three.

MLB.com's  Jason Beck had a good article on this today, with this great statistic -- entering Friday's game, one in every 14 intentional walks in the American League have been to Cabrera.

"Believe me, I don't care who hits behind Cabrera," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said told Beck. "I will walk him. We did it three times in Chicago [in mid-August]. We did it [Wednesday] night. We only failed once."

The fact the Tigers have had injuries and nobody near as fearsome as Cabrera in their lineup has led to the free passes. And that's why it worked for the Orioles on Friday.

After Austin Jackson tripled to lead off the seventh ina tie game, David Hernandez struck out Will Rhymes and got Johnny Damon to pop up before giving the free pass to Cabrera. Ryan Raburn then struck out to end the inning before the Orioles scored two in the eighth to take a lead.

"I try to impress upon him to just take it as the highest compliment you can get," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.

So far this season, only one National League player, Albert Pujols, has more than 30 intentional walks. He's been given 34 free passes. Adrian Gonzalez is the only other NL player with more than 12, with 26. In the AL, Ichiro Suzuki and Joe Mauer are tied for second with 13 intentional passes.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Posted on: September 9, 2010 9:50 pm
Edited on: September 9, 2010 10:05 pm
 

Adrian Gonzalez unlikely to be dealt in offseason

Adrian Gonzalez It once seemed a foregone conclusion that Adrian Gonzalez would be traded.

Yet, he remains in a Padres uniform, and to hear ESPN's Jayson Stark tell it, he'll remain there until at least the 2011 trade deadline.

"Coming off a year this successful, it would be difficult for [the Padres] to move him," a team official told Stark of the first baseman. "They're still scrapping and clawing, trying to get people back into their park and build back their base. So it would be a precarious decision to endanger that and trade him. I'd really be surprised if they did that now."

Gonzalez is currently hitting .308/.398/.524 with 27 home runs in 595 plate appearances. He isn't hitting as well as he did in 2009, but is still among the best players in the game -- especially with Petco Park as his home.

Trading the team's best slugger coming off a successful season -- and it will be successful, playoffs or no -- would send the wrong message to the fanbase. What's more likely is A-Gon will be dealt at the trading deadline, presuming the Padres are out of the race.

So for those looking to anchor their lineup with a slugging first baseman (looking right at you, Red and White Sox, among others), they'll have to wait July.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com