Tag:Padres
Posted on: August 16, 2011 9:49 am
Edited on: August 16, 2011 9:54 am
 

Pepper: Thome's quiet run to the Hall of Fame

Jim Thome

By C. Trent Rosecrans

I don't think there's any doubt Jim Thome will be in the Hall of Fame, but I did find it interesting that my wife had never heard of Thome.

The guy hits 600 home runs and the wife of someone whose life revolves around baseball had never heard of him. How is that possible? I thought chicks dug the long ball. 

Much of it, I guess, is that my wife is a National League kinda gal -- having been born in raised in  Braves country and now living in Cincinnati, the wife doesn't see much American League or even pay much attention to it. But still, Jim Thome?  I went through the teams -- Indians, Phillies, White Sox, Dodgers, Twins -- nope, not a flicker of recognition. The 1995 World Series when the Braves won? Well, He did only go 4 for 19 in the series.

It seems strange that she'd never heard of him, but it also seems to jibe with the relative silence of Thome's march to 600. Is it because Thome has always just been a quiet professional? He's never been in trouble, never even pounded his own chest. He's just been quietly hitting home runs and doing his job, day in and day out.

It's not that he's never been on the biggest stage, he's played in 67 postseason games and made it to two World Series, hitting one homer in 1995 and two in the '97 Series.

My friend Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus has a funny theory of the Hall of Fame -- for him it's all about the fame. If his mother has heard of someone, they belong. If she hasn't, no. So for KG's Hall of Fame, Paul Molitor is out, but Jose Canseco is in. Rod Carew? Nope. Bo Jackson, yes. I'm pretty sure Thome doesn't hit the fame standard, but he certainly belongs in the Hall.

Here's a couple of better articles putting his candidacy in perspective -- Joe Posnanski of Sports Illustrated has the backstory of Thome's bat point at the pitcher and other things in a great blog post and Steven Goldman has the argument against Thome being a mere "compiler."

Meals in Pittsburgh: Umpire Jerry Meals made his first appearance at PNC Park in Pittsburgh since his bad call that cost the Pirates a 19-inning game against the Braves. As you would expect, he was not greeted kindly by Pirates fans. Since the call, the Pirates have lost 15 of 19 and fallen from a tie for first place to fourth place in the National League Central. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

Silly deadline: I understand why there's a deadline for signing draft picks and I even understand why it's in August, but I don't understand why it's at midnight. I talked to a scouting director on Sunday (and because it wasn't the Blue Jays' scouting director, he signed his first-round guy) and he said there's zero movement until late on Monday. On Sunday, there'd been no movement, but because these things go down to the wire, why not make move the wire up to a reasonable hour? How about 5 p.m. so you can announce it before a game and have everything all tidy? They've done that with the trade deadline, now with the increased focus on the draft, they need to do it on the signing deadline.

Full moon in Cooperstown: Did Robin Yount give Bert Blyleven an unusual greeting to the Hall of Fame? [FanGraphs.com

Scranton is nice in September: Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said it's unlikely the team would call up top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos when rosters expand in September. [New York Post]

Nicasio visits teammates: Juan Nicasio, who suffered a broken neck on Aug. 5, visited his Rockies teammates before Monday's game in Denver. Closer Houston Street told the Denver Post that Nicasio was "full of life," smiling and laughing with teammates. 

Career cut short: A Padres  prospect had to retire from baseball at 22 because of an inner-ear problem. Read all about Drew Cumberland. [Pensacola News-Journal]

Another good guy: This seems to fit with the Thome celebration, but if Thome's not the nicest guy in the game, Torii Hunter may be. Like Thome, I've never heard anyone say a bad thing about Hunter. In fact, I have a sportswriter friend who has a long list of people he doesn't like, but he named his dog Torii in honor of Hunter. Here's a good story about one of the good guys from ESPN.com's Jim Caple.

Read this: A really good story this weekend from the New York Daily News about baseball and Sept. 11. Go read it.

It's gotta be the shoes: Evan Longoria's new spikes have made a huge difference for the Rays' third baseman. [MLB.com]

Literary touch: I've only been to Safeco once (well, three games, one series), so I don't know all the ins and outs. I will say I love the park, but maybe even more so after seeing this from the Boston Globe's Peter Abraham -- the park has baseball-themed quotations on all its gates to the park. That's just so darn cool.

Murph blogs: One of the most interesting baseball blogs around right now is from former MVP Dale Murphy, who is enjoying blogging and Twitter. [New York Times]

New caps: Gone, apparently, are the ugly stars and stripes trucker caps to make a buck, and in their place for Sept. 11 will be simple American flag patches. It's certainly an improvement, but still not sure why everyone needs to be reminded what country they live in -- shouldn't the butchered version of the Star Spangled Banner by some American Idol-wannabe before the game be enough? 

New caps 2: That said, I do think it's cool that the Nationals will wear a cap with the Navy SEALs logo tonight to honor the 22 SEALs killed in Afghanistan on Aug. 6. It's the Nationals' first game back in Washington since the attack. [Washington Post]

Odd sight: There was something odd on Sunday in Dayton, Ohio -- empty seats. Home of professional sports' longest sellout streak, Dayton's Fifth Third Field had empty seats on Sunday as the Dragons and Lake County Captains played a continuation of Tuesday's suspended game was played before the regularly scheduled Sunday game. However, once that game started, the Dragons had their 832nd consecutive sellout. [Dayton Daily News]

Step back for Carter: Sad news today, as Gary Carter learned of a "mild step backward" on Monday, as a doctor's visit revealed his white blood cell count was low, which means he won't be able to start a scheduled round of chemotherapy that he was supposed to start today. [ESPN.com]

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Posted on: August 10, 2011 4:39 pm
 

Padres to raise payroll to $70 million by 2016

MooradBy Evan Brunell

The Padres intend to raise team payroll starting next season and eventually reaching $70 million over the next five years, CEO Jeff Moorad told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The payroll next year "will start with a five," Moorad said, which would represent a minimum of a $6 million jump, as the team's payroll will end the year in the $45 million range. San Diego's television contract is expiring after the year, which will allow the team to negotiate a higher price for the next broadcast deal, which "will set the tone for the Padres payroll over the next five years,” Moorad added.

“Our long-term goal is to operate at $70 million,” Moorad continued. “When we get there, we’ll be properly balanced.”

Moorad cautioned, however, that the Padres would not be heavy players in the free agent market, as the team needs to rely on building from within. Fangraphs' Joe Pawlikowski took a look at the finances of San Diego, in which only two players have guaranteed contracts next year: Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett, for a total guarantee of $11 million. Aaron Harang, Brad Hawpe and Chad Qualls all have team options. If they are all declined -- only Harang's might be exercised -- that raises payroll to $13.55 million. Then, the Pads need to take care of their arbitration-eligible players, and Pawlikowski liberally estimates an additional $16 million being spent, bringing the total to $29.55 million.

That leaves about $20 million left to spend. Even if you set aside a couple million for league-minimum salaries for players who start the year with the team or are added as the year goes on, that still leaves plenty of room to play with and opens the door for a Heath Bell extension. The closer has indicated he wants to stay in San Diego and would even accept arbitration over signing a long-term deal with another team (we'll see about that), so both sides should be able to come to an accord. Even if an extension is signed, that would leave roughly $10 million to go hunting on the free agent market, and the right moves could land the Padres back in a postseason race.

“We’re going to run an efficient business on and off the field. The team is going to be homegrown. I’m consistent. We’re not going to be shifting our priorities from year. The plan won’t change," Moorad said. "This is a building year, not a rebuilding year. A lot of pieces have been added to the foundation.”

What other pieces could also be added? Well, it's doubtful that any free-agent hitter of significance would choose to come to San Diego. Both the Padres and Athletics have cavernous parks that are far from friendly to hitters, but the Padres can shop for any bargains that fall in their lap if interest in a player is lukewarm. The biggest area of need on offense would seem to be the outfield, of which there will be no shortage of candidates to choose from.

More likely, San Diego will attempt to upgrade its rotation and bullpen. It won't be players for the elite free agents, like C.J. Wilson, but a middle-tier starter would make sense. Unlike hitters, pitchers would be eager to pitch in San Diego as it would raise their value. Potential candidates include Jeff Francis and Edwin Jackson most notably. Even if that's not a big splash, so much of the team is young -- which is contributing to its last place, 51-66 record -- that normal development will improve the club.

Moorad also took care to explain that ownership won't be profiting from the team, and that payroll will mirror how much money San Diego can afford to spend.

“The goal every year is to break even,” said Moorad. “No profit, no loss. There is a budget every year. That budget will not have a loss. At the same time, no one in the ownership group will be taking any profit out of the club.

“As revenues increase, profits will flow back into the club and ballpark improvements. We will operate at break-even every year. If we create more revenue, we will spend more.

“There is nothing to hide here. It’s a solid corporate business model. The plan is so simple it confuses people.”

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 10, 2011 2:28 am
Edited on: August 10, 2011 11:15 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Wang wins at Wrigley

Chien-Ming Wang
By C. Trent Rosecrans

Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals: The Nationals right-hander took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before giving up an infield single to Tony Campana. He left the game after the inning, allowing just Campana's hit, while striking out one and walking two. He earned his first win since 2009 when he was a Yankee.

James Shields, Rays: Shields recorded his eight complete game of the season -- the most in the majors this season. Not only does Shields lead the majors in complete games, only four teams (not counting the Rays) have more complete games than Shields -- the Phillies (14), Angels (10), Mariners (10) and Rangers (9). It was his fourth shutout of the season, one behind Cliff Lee and tied with Derek Holland for second-most in the majors. The Rays wrapped up their 4-0 victory over the Royals in a tidy 1 hour, 53 minutes, about the same time as a Yankees-Red Sox seventh-inning stretch.

Cliff Lee, Phillies: Lee didn't get his sixth shutout, but he did pick up is 12th victory of the season, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out 10 in eight innings. Sure, that seems like nothing too special for Lee. What made Tuesday's performance was what Lee did at the plate. In the third inning his sacrifice bunt helped lead to the team's first run and he did it all by himself in the seventh inning when he homered off of Dodgers starter Ted Lilly. It was his second homer of the season and his career.


David Pauley, Tigers: The right-hander came into Tuesday night's game on Wednesday morning. Pauley was the Tigers' seventh pitcher of the game and struck out the first batter he faced, Jason Kipnis. But from there he walked Asdrubal Cabrera and gave up a single to Travis Hafner. With a runner on third, he intentionally walked Carlos Santana to face Kosuke Fukudome, who was 0 for 5 with four strikeouts in the game. With a 1-2 count, he hit Fukudome to score the winning run. It was the Tigers' 12th straight loss at Progressive Field. 

Curtis Granderson, Yankees: With the Yankees down two in the ninth inning with two outs and two on, Granderson, the runner on third, fell for the fake move to third and Jordan Walden picked him off for the final out of the game. As if that wasn't bad enough, Mark Teixeira was at the plate for New York and didn't get a chance to give the Yankees a victory after Mariano Rivera blew his sixth save of the season on a two-run homer by Bobby Abreu in the top of the ninth.

Josh Spence, Padres: Spence didn't pick up the loss and wasn't even charged with a run, but he entered the Padres' game with two on in the eight and after a sacrifice bunt, intentional walk and a sacrifice fly, the game was tied. He then walked Ronny Paulino to load the bases and walked Ruben Tejada, a .246 hitter, to force in the winning run for the Mets in the eighth inning. The walk capped a three-run eighth inning for a 5-4 Mets win.

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 11:00 pm
 

Padres to increase payroll in 2012

Jeff MooradBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Padres will increase their payroll in 2012, if only modestly, and hope to find a "resting place" over the next five seasons around $70 million, Padres CEO Jeff Moorad told Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune.

Moorad, whose team will have a final payroll around $45 million this season, said next year's payroll "will start with a five."

The Padres have already committed $10.75 million to shortstop Jason Bartlett and second baseman Orlando Hudson, a raise of nearly $3 million, combined. The team also has a $5 million option on pitcher Aaron Harang, who made $3.5 million this season. They also owe Brad Hawpe a $1 million buyout and could have as many as 10 arbitration-eligible players.

And then there's Heath Bell, who is a free agent after the season and although he's expressed a desire to remain in San Diego and entertain a "hometown discount," he'd still likely be in line for a raise from the $7.5 million he made this season. 

With all of that in consideration, it's unlikely the Padres will be a big player in free agency this winter. That's hardly unexpected, though.

"The team is going to be homegrown," Moorad said. "I'm consistent. We're not going to be shifting our priorities from year-to-year. The plan won't change."

The team's local TV contract expires after the season and Moorad hinted that the team has another broadcast deal in place that would help .

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 12:38 pm
 

Headley fractures finger, Darnell gets call

DarnellBy Evan Brunell

The Padres have lost third baseman Chase Headley for at least a month to a fracture of his left pinkie, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Headley's absence will be felt strongly in a lineup that was already light on firepower. Enjoying the best season of his career, the 27-year-old hit .292/.380/.407.

Replacing Headley on the 25-man roster is James Darnell (pictured), continuing a parade of strong prospects to arrive in San Diego over the past year. In fact, Darnell joins a team in which over half the club has been a teammate of Darnell's earlier this season at Triple-A and Double-A. 

“The last couple of years, when you look at young players, you try to project what they can do, what they can become,” Padres manager Bud Black said. Darnell is no different, with a real chance to impact the team.

Darnell's calling card is his on-base percentage, resting at a career .404 down on the farm. Over 464 plate appearances split between Double-A and Triple-A, the 24-year-old hit .317/.415/.573 with 23 home runs. While Darnell has never been considered an elite prospect, he could easily take the road Kevin Youkilis did -- using his plate discipline to get a shot with potential of emerging into a solid -- or better -- regular. Admittedly, that's a high bar to set.

Darnell will get an opportunity to play third and also split time in left with Kyle Blanks, but Darnell's future appears to be in the outfield. That may be difficult to arrange, with Darnell, Blanks and first basemen Jesus Guzman and Anthony Rizzo all vying for playing time.

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Posted on: August 9, 2011 2:08 am
Edited on: August 9, 2011 2:11 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Mighty Casey (Kotchman)

Casey Kotchman

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Casey Kotchman, Rays: Kotchman recently qualified for the batting title and is now second in the American League with a .341 average behind Boston's Adrian Gonzalez. But he's not here because of his two singles (though his seventh-inning single tied the game at 1), it's because of his final plate appearance of the 2-1 victory over the Royals -- leading off the ninth inning with a walk-off homer, his seventh of the season, second in the last two days and third in the last six games.

Shane Victorino, Phillies: It's a good thing for the Phillies that Shane Victorino appealed his suspension. Because of the appeal, Victorino was able to play Monday night against the Dodgers and he made the most of his opportunity, doubling twice and adding a solo homer in the ninth inning of the Phillies' 5-3 victory. He scored three times against the team that drafted him in 1999 but allowed him to be drafted twice in the Rule 5 draft -- first by San Diego in 2002 and then against in 2004 by the Phillies.

Charlie Morton, Pirates: Morton threw eight shutout innings, allowing six hits and three walks, while striking out four as the Pirates snapped their 10-game losing streak with a 5-0 victory over the Giants


Daniel Hudson, Diamondbacks: Just a half-game out of first place going into the series against baseball's worst team, Hudson may have been feeling a little too confident before Monday's outing against Houston. The Diamondbacks' right-hander allowed five first-inning runs and two more in the second, falling to 11-8. In his shortest outing of the season, Hudson lasted just three innings, allowing seven runs (four earned) on 11 hits.

Heath Bell, Padres: The All-Star closer came into the game in the ninth with a two-run lead. All-Star closers are supposed to close those types of games, especially against a team so beat up by injures as the Mets. But Bell allowed four singles in the ninth inning to the Mets' Jason Pridie, Justin Turner, David Wright and Lucas Duda to score three runs and give the Mets a 9-8 victory.

Josh Bell, Orioles: Baltimore's third baseman was charged with an error in the sixth inning of the Orioles' game against the White Sox, but it was a play he should have made that didn't get ruled an error that he really regretted. With a runner on second and two outs in the eighth inning, Bell had a shot at Alex Rios' smash but the ball went under his glove and into left field, allowing the eventual winning run to score in Chicago's 7-6 victory.

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Posted on: August 7, 2011 10:51 am
 

On Deck: We're going streaking

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

Winning streak: Roy Oswalt returns from the disabled list and looks to extend the Phillies' winning streak to 10. To reach double digits, Philadelphia will have to top Tim Lincecum. Lincecum set the tone last postseason against the Phillies, topping Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the NLCS, before losing Game 5 in a rematch against Halladay. A little more than a week ago, Lincecum threw six shutout innings in a victory in Philadelphia in a 4-1 Giants victory over Kyle Kendrick. Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt is making his first start since June 23, spending the last six weeks on the disabled list with lower back inflammation and two bulging disks. Phillies at Giants, 4:05 p.m. ET

Losing streak: On the other side of Pennsylvania, the state's other team is looking to avoid a 10-game streak of its own. Pittsburgh has lost its last nine and 11 of its last 12. The Pirates now trail the Brewers by nine games and any shot at making the playoffs seems remote at best. The team may now have to change its focus from the postseason to ending the streak of 18 consecutive losing seasons. The Pirates stand at 54-58, so that's a more realistic goal than the playoffs at this point. All-Star Kevin Correia (12-9, 4.71 ERA) starts for the Pirates opposite San Diego's Mat Latos (5-11, 3.94). Padres at Pirates, 1:35 p.m. ET

Dan UgglaFreddie FreemanHitting streaks: Braves second baseman Dan Uggla extended his hitting streak to 27 games on Saturday, going 3 for 5 with his 24th homer of the season on Saturday in a loss to the Mets, but he's not alone on the Braves' streaking list -- rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman singled in the third inning to extend his hitting streak to 20 games. Uggla's homer was his 12th during the streak and has seen his average rise from .173 to .220 during the streak. He's 2 for 8 against Sunday's Mets starter Dillon Gee. Freeman is 1 for 5 against Gee. Braves at Mets, 1:10 p.m. ET

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Posted on: August 6, 2011 12:27 pm
 

On Deck: Phillies/Giants becoming rivalry

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

PhilliesGiantsNO LOVE LOST: The Phillies and Giants seem to be sparking a rivalry, the seeds sown from San Francisco's victory in the NLCS last October en route to a World Series championship. Both teams have continued their division aspirations this year, and another wrinkle was added to the rivalry at the trade deadline when Carlos Beltran moved from the Mets to the Giants. Philadelphia had to contend with Beltran in its division and now is on a competitor vying for the world title. Then, on Friday, both teams had a benches-clearing brawl. Yeah, I'd say there's a rivalry brewing. It continues Saturday when Cole Hamels and Matt Cain oppose each other. Phillies vs. Giants, 4:10 p.m. ET

BeavanChatwoodROOKIE PITCHERS: Two rookies take the mound in the Seattle/Los Angeles tilt on Saturday, and not only are both off to solid starts, it's rather flukish. Take Blake Beavan for starters, who replaced Erik Bedard in the rotation and has made five starts. In 33 1/3 innings, he's walked six, struck out 15 and given up 31 hits. Only 25 percent of batted balls are falling for hits (league average: 29 percent) and it's not a happy accident -- batters are making hard contact off Beavan. He could still develop into a solid mid-rotation starter, but his 3.24 ERA on the year belies a 4.50 xFIP, more in line with his talent. Similarly, Angels rookie Tyler Chatwood boasts a 3.93 ERA in 20 starts -- but 60 walks and 58 strikeouts is horrendous, no matter how you slice it. His xFIP? 4.84. Only one can win Saturday. Mariners vs. Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET

PiratesSKIDDING: Both the Yankees and Phillies have won eight in a row, the best winning streak currently active. The "best" losing streak active is also at eight games and at the hands of the Pirates, who are now eight games out of first place. Their Cinderella season has now been relegated to finishing about .500. While eight games is not a death knell just yet, when you factor in that Pittsburgh had been playing over its head, it's quite a tough road for the club. Paul Maholm will attempt to snap the losing streak at home against Cory Luebke. Maholm has been the best starting pitcher all season for the Pirates, never amind the performances of Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia. Padres vs. Pirates, 7:05 p.m. ET

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