Tag:San Diego Padres
Posted on: June 8, 2009 7:01 pm
 

Solving the extra-inning problem in San Diego

Beginning with the start of the 10th inning of all games in Petco Park, second base becomes home plate.

You think I'm kidding? Ha! YOU try sitting through an 18-inning game, the kind of which randomly but regularly occur in the Padres' cavernous home park.

The Padres and Arizona played an 18-inning game Sunday, which ended with San Diego shortstop Josh Wilson "pitching" the 18th and surrendering a three-run homer to Mark Reynolds.

This after the Padres and Cincinnati played a 16-inning game on May 16.

Last year, the Padres and Reds played an 18-inning game. Also last year, the Padres and Colorado played a 22-inning game.

As for Sunday's 5-hour, 45-minute affair, the longest game in the majors this season both by innings and by time, the Padres scored five runs in the ninth to send the game into overtime.

And then four Arizona relievers held San Diego hitless from the 10th inning on, becoming, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the first group of relievers to throw nine consecutive no-hit innings in a game since July 29, 1995, when the Kansas City bullpen held Detroit hitless over the last nine innings of Detroit's 16-inning win.

So mark down Arizona's Jon Rauch, Esmerling Vasquez, Clay Zavada and Leo Rosales next to Kansas City's immortal Four Horsemen of Gregg Olson, Jeff Montgomery, Billy Brewer and Hipolito Pichardo.

Wilson, meanwhile, previously had made pitching appearances for Tampa Bay in 2007 and Arizona earlier this season. According to Elias, he is the first position player to "pitch" for three different clubs in the majors since John Cangelosi (1988 Pirates, 1995 Astros and 1997 Marlins).

The extra innings are stacking up in Petco, where fans are in serious need of rescue dogs once the ninth innings end scoreless and the game enters the Black Hole.

Likes: Fun watching Atlanta's Tommy Hanson in his debut Sunday. ... This fascinating story regarding novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby). ... Basic Pizza in San Diego. Great thin crust in the style of New Haven, Conn., pizza. The basic pie with mozzarella and basil is killer.

Dislikes: Aw, they started the final phase of the demolition of Tiger Stadium on Black Monday. Sniff, sniff.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Well you walk into a restaurant,
"Strung out from the road
"And you feel the eyes upon you
"As you're shakin' off the cold
"You pretend it doesn't bother you
"But you just want to explode
"Most times you can't hear 'em talk,
"Other times you can
"All the same old cliches,
"Is that a woman or a man?"
"And you always seem outnumbered,
"You don't dare make a stand"

-- Bob Seger, Turn the Page

Posted on: June 2, 2009 12:06 am
 

On Khalil Greene, St. Louis and San Diego

With Khalil Greene fighting to save his career in St. Louis, some of his ex-teammates say that the social-anxiety disorder that appears to be devouring him was evident only in very small doses when he played in San Diego.

"Maybe it was evident here and there but, in my opinion, no more than any other player," Padres starter Chris Young said Monday. "That doesn't mean it hasn't been eating him up inside."

Greene, batting .200 with seven errors, was placed on the 15-day disabled list by the Cardinals on Friday with stress-related issues that have only worsened during his first year in St. Louis.

Joe Strauss, in Sunday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, writes "Greene's condition causes incessant anxiety based on a fear of failure that feeds his self-consciousness. Unable to channel his emotions, the resulting frustration makes him prone to physical and verbal outbursts in front of teammates. ... The self-punishment and the screams from within the dugout tunnel brought him only passing relief while jarring those around him."

"We all saw bits and pieces of that when he was here," Padres ace Jake Peavy said. "Khalil was a great teammate and is a great friend. He's as talented as anybody I've ever played with. The guy hit (27) home runs two years ago, and he's as good as any player I've ever seen play shortstop."

Greene, 29, always has been a streaky hitter but still knocked out four seasons ranging from fairly productive to exceptional with the Padres between 2004 and 2008. He peaked in '07, when he slammed 27 homers and collected 97 RBI. He also committed only 11 errors in 690 total chances that summer.

He never could get untracked in 2008, however, and the frustration boiled over when he suffered a broken left hand while slamming an equipment trunk in late July. He finished with the lowest batting average of his career, .213, and eight errors in 443 total chances.

"That thing that happened last year can happen to anybody in this game," Padres outfielder Brian Giles said of Greene's broken hand. "It happens. That's what makes this game so unique. It's a game of failure. And it's all about trying to control the mental side of failing."

Always exceptionally quiet, Greene, whose long, blonde hair reminded many of the surfer character Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, was a fan favorite early in his career in San Diego. By the time he was traded to St. Louis last winter, though, he seemed more misunderstood than anything.

"He's so quiet," Giles said. "You feel for him. Baseball is just a game. It's just a piece of your life. He's such a good guy. You hope he can find a way to deal with it and get back on the field.

"I feel for him. I'll probably give him a call. The guys that played here with him, we've got his back."

Said Young: "Khalil is a great guy and and I hate to see him going through this. Every player comes up the tunnel every now and then and lets off steam. I didn't see Khalil doing that more than anybody else.

"I've had some of my best conversations in baseball with him, just sitting in the sauna or clubhouse, about life in general. He's an extremely smart guy. I wish him the best."

Things went especially sour for Greene with the Padres when the club late last season attempted to dock him two months' salary for the time he missed in August and September because his injury was self-induced. The club has filed a grievance attempting to recoup up to $1.47 million in salary. A hearing is expected to be held sometime in August when the Cardinals and Padres play (so that officials from the Padres and Greene can attend).

"I just hope those guys over there support him and are good teammates," Peavy said of the Cardinals. "I think we all would love for him to get past this thing so that the game of baseball can get the Khalil that everyone knows back."

Likes: Hitting streaks. What a hoot it would be to see someone seriously chasing Joe DiMaggio's record 56-gamer. Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki jacked his up to 25 games Monday night. But you know what? They all seem to die right around the 30-game mark. ... The excitement Matt Wieters has brought to Baltimore. ... Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown rocks. ... Henry Poole Is Here is very quirky, very interesting and worth renting. ... The Girlfriend Experience? It's OK, but I wouldn't rush out to see it. Interesting concept. Could have been painful if it didn't get the job done in a Greg Maddux-like 77 minutes. ... Kemo Sabe, an Asian-Southwestern-fusion restaurant in San Diego's Hillcrest area. The blackened jerk chicken with plantains over the weekend was tremendous, as was my wife's Ahi tuna/calamari/salmon sampler dish.

Dislikes: Khalil Greene is a good dude, and I hope the Cardinals are patient and helpful with him and that the poor guy figures things out. ... Cleveland's Grady Sizemore and Texas' Josh Hamilton on the sidelines. The game is better when they're in the lineup. ... The Mets' J.J. Putz in the eighth inning. It seemed like a no-brainer. ...

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Back in the days of shock and awe
"We came to liberate them all
"History was the cruel judge of overconfidence
"Back in the days of shock and awe"

-- Neil Young, Shock and Awe

Posted on: May 21, 2009 11:50 pm
 

Only a matter of time until Peavy is dealt

The joy in Padreville in the aftermath of Jake Peavy torpedoing the proposed Chicago White Sox trade may be very real, but it also will be very short-lived.

Padres fans, better brace yourselves: It's only a matter of time until Peavy is shipped away.

In fact, look closely enough and you'll see that the proposed deal in which the White Sox were to send left-handers Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard and two other young pitchers -- one believed to be Lance Broadway -- to San Diego might not even be permanently vetoed.

Peavy appeared to leave the door cracked -- ever so slightly -- in his brief comments to reporters in Petco Park on Thursday afternoon.

"As of right now, this is the best place for us to be," Peavy said Thursday afternoon, speaking of himself, wife Katie and the couple's three sons, all of whom are under 8. "We made that decision for the time being."

As of right now? For the time being?

Sounds like the words of a short-timer, which Peavy surely is despite the nixed White Sox deal. While he will start for the Padres against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night in San Diego, there are those who still believe the deal with the White Sox could be resurrected within the next several days.

Failing that, it's clear the Padres remain determined to move him. They are still under a mandate to reduce the payroll to $40 million, and they're currently at about $45 million. Peavy is due $11 million this season, and $63 million through 2013.

Aside from the money, the Padres have regressed so badly on the field that they realize there is more value in the package of players they could obtain for him than in keeping him.

There is no way the club intends to retain Peavy.

What's not so clear is whether Peavy, who owns a full no-trade clause, will be able to steer the deal toward one of his desired destinations -- either in Chicago with the Cubs or in Los Angeles with the Dodgers, according to sources close to the pitcher.

One major league executive with knowledge of the Cubs' ownership maeuverings says that prospective majority owner Tom Ricketts and general manager Jim Hendry have discussed the possibility of acquiring Peavy. But the club's $900 million transition into ownership by the Ricketts family still isn't completed.

Bottom line here is, Peavy's continued presence is becoming a problem.

The Padres have have wasted an ungodly amount of hours since last October in trade conversations.

The growing perception of Peavy is that he's impossible to please and that he's afraid to pitch in the more potent American League (nevermind the fact that he long ago earned his no-trade clause and has every right to tell the Padres to stuff it).

Peavy's camp, understandably sensitive to him being branded the bad guy in Chicago, was not happy that details of the potential deal became public.

"Not only is the public airing of this stuff counter-productive, it's probably destructive," Barry Axelrod, Peavy's agent, told CBSSports.com earlier in the day Thursday.

Axelrod added that to say the fate of this trade was in Peavy's hands "is a simplistic view of it. Approval or disapproval, it's not necessarily in black or white. One thing we talked about six or seven months ago are the considerations that (might) need to be given should Jake agree to a deal."

In other words, depending on how geographically desirable a trade destination is, Peavy could request anything from a cost-of-living allowance to airline tickets for his wife and children to an entirely re-done contract, ala Johan Santana when the New York Mets acquired him from Minnesota two winters ago.

 

 

Posted on: May 21, 2009 6:49 pm
Edited on: May 21, 2009 10:59 pm
 

Peavy nixes White Sox deal

It's another swing and a miss for Chicago at Jake Peavy.

The Padres ace declined a proposed trade to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday afternoon, a source with knowledge of the talks told CBSSports.com, preferring to remain in the National League with the Padres than move into the unfamiliar, heavy-hitting American League.

Looking to get younger and add depth to a thin farm system, the Padres were set to receive four pitchers from the White Sox in exchange for Peavy: Left-handers Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard, and two others. One of them was believed to be Lance Broadway, who surrendered five earned runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings of Thursday's 20-1 White Sox loss to Minnesota.

The Padres have been intent on trading their ace pitcher since last winter, when the divorce of owner John Moores and the recession combined to cause Moores to order the payroll reduced to $40 million. The Padres currently remain at about $45 million; Peavy is due $11 million this season.

The club continues to think that the best combination for hitting their budget and upgrading the roster following last season's 99 losses and this year's inconsistent start is to deal their ace pitcher. Peavy was nearly dealt to the Chicago Cubs last December, but that fell apart at the last minute when the Cubs, according to sources, grew impatient when the Padres continued asking for more players after the Cubs thought they had a deal in place.

The Padres also nearly traded Peavy to Atlanta in November. The Braves thought they were closing in on a deal, but sources say the Padres changed names at the 11th hour and asked for minor-league catcher Tyler Flowers. He eventually was dealt to the White Sox in the Javier Vazquez deal.

News of the impending White Sox-Padres leaked late Wednesday night when, after the Padres' victory over San Francisco 2-1, Peavy was summoned into manager Bud Black's office to discuss a potential deal to the South Side of Chicago.

Peavy's camp, sensitive to him being branded the bad guy in Chicago, was not happy that details of the potential deal became public.

"Not only is the public airing of this stuff counter-productive, it's probably destructive," Barry Axelrod, Peavy's agent, told CBSSports.com earlier Thursday.

Axelrod added that to say the fate of this trade was in Peavy's hands "is a simplistic view of it. Approval or disapproval, it's not necessarily in black or white. One thing we talked about six or seven months ago are the considerations that (might) need to be given should Jake agree to a deal."

In other words, depending on how geographically desirable a trade destination is, Peavy could request anything from a cost-of-living allowance to airline tickets for his wife and children to an entirely re-done contract, ala Johan Santana when the New York Mets acquired him from Minnesota two winters ago.

 

Posted on: April 3, 2009 2:58 pm
 

Spring training: The outtakes

Spring training, that's a wrap. From the Grapefruit League to the Cactus League, a few of my favorite things:

Future song lyricist: At a Mariners' game in Peoria last week, they gave a public address microphone to a fan between innings for a daily contest in which the contestant must finish the lyrics to a Jimmy Buffett song, with the prize being a $25 gift certificate to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurant.

So they play part of the song Margaritaville, then cut it off. The guy successfully finished the line "Searching for my lost shaker of salt."

So far, so good.

Then he ad-libbed, singing something along the lines of "Yeah, and we don't have Richie Sexson anymore."

The red-faced Mariners quickly grabbed the microphone away from the dude, but not before it elicited quite a laugh from the Peoria Stadium crowd.

The joke, though, was on the contestant:

Quoth the Mariners: No way you're getting that gift certificate now, buddy.

Best nickname: One of the contestants for the Padres' rotation this spring was a young lefty named Cesar Ramos.

Or, as manager Bud Black referred to him, "The Joker."

Outstanding.

For those of you not old enough to remember the old Batman television show, the Joker was played by  Cesar Romero.

If I'm the Padres, I make Ramos pitch with that evil red grin painted onto his face. Not many hitters could deal with that.

So what is it, then? Everyone knows Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia, maybe the best in the business right now, creates his own culture inside his team's the clubhouse.

But he took creating the Angels' world to new extremes last week when downplaying ace John Lackey's sore right forearm.

"It's not really an injury," Scioscia said. "It's tightness and inflammation."

Uh, OK. The Angels had to scratch Lackey from his opening day start. He will open the season on the disabled list.

But it's not really an injury.

Forget "Save the Manatees", somebody save the Pirates: We know Pittsburgh has precious little at the major-league level. The Pirates are embarking upon what will be a record 17th consecutive losing season.

Judging by Thursday's exhibition game against Manatee Community College in Bradenton, Fla., the Pirates' immediate future doesn't look so hot, either.

Manatee beat the Pirates 6-4 at McKechnie Field in Bradenton.

Swear.

Did I mention it's a community college, not a four-year baseball factory offering scholarships?

The Pirates' regulars were elsewhere. It was a team consisting mostly of players who will play for Pittsburgh's Triple-A Indianapolis.

Still. Manatee is a community college.

As a chat-room poster going by Dubers 15801 noted on the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Web site:

"Another great moment in Pirates baseball!

"Schedule only gets tougher with Bradenton Central High School tomorrow. They have a kid who throws, like, 85."

Pizzeria Bianco: Knocked one more thing off of the spring training to-do list this week in Phoenix when I finally dined at the place that has gotten notoriety from coast to coast, thanks largely to rave reviews by Oprah and Rachel Ray, among others. Apparently, the Food Network did something from there recently as well.

Pizzeria Bianco is a tiny joint -- seats maybe 40 for dinner -- that has such buzz that, routinely, the wait is two or three hours. I mean, it's absurd. They're not open for lunch, and they do not do take-out pizzas, either. We got there early the other night -- 4 p.m., an hour before they open at 5 -- and there were 25 people waiting outside the doors at that point. We got in at 5 -- arriving that early apparently is the only way to wait an hour, instead of half the night.

It is very, very good. They have a white pizza, fennel sausage and sweet onions, that is incredible. We had that, and the salami pizza, which was mouth-watering. And we had the margherita pizza, which was world-class. The ingredients are as fresh as you'll find, and they make the mozzarella right on site.

Part of the experience is the wait, and the scene. But I'll tell you this: Bring a book to read. And if you're starving, or actually have things going on in your life that maybe make waiting two or three hours for dinner not so enticing, maybe there's other pizza alternatives in town you'd like to investigate.

Likes: Atlanta's Derek Lowe starting against Philadelphia's Brett Myers on Sunday night. Play ball!. ... Derek Jeter and David Wright competing for charity with their batting averages this year. ... Still love pulling Sports Illustrated's baseball preview issue out of the mailbox every year. ... Absolutely thrilled to see television's Friday Night Lights get extended for two more years. ... The MLB Network is off to a terrific start. Check it out. If you get cable television, you get the network. ...  Baseball-Reference.com. ... Texas president Nolan Ryan attempting to make men out of his boy pitchers. ... Peter Gammons, still healthy and productive after suffering that aneurysm a couple of years back. For a lion in the industry, Peter always has been remarkably humble, and so many people are so happy he's not only recovered, but thriving. ... Leonard Cohen, one of the best songwriters of our time, on tour. Wish one of his shows would line up with my schedule (or vice-versa). ... Go Spartans this weekend in the Final Four. ... Getting home after seven weeks on the road. I can actually walk down to the park and watch my daughter's softball game this evening. Very cool, and about time.

Dislikes: Is there ever a good time to block out to get your taxes done? Short answer: No.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day

"Fat bottomed girls
"You make the rockin' world go round"

-- Queen, Fat Bottomed Girls

 

Posted on: February 3, 2009 6:58 pm
 

Party time in San Diego

Ace Jake Peavy's chances of remaining in San Diego for the 2009 season just improved markedly.

So, too, did Team USA's chances of retaining Peavy as part of its rotation for this spring's World Baseball Classic (if Peavy were traded, he's expected to opt out of the WBC out of obligation to a new employer).

And the fortunes of the Padres for '09 and beyond are far brighter today than they were yesterday.

That's the long (term) and short (term) of Jeff Moorad's agreement to purchase the Padres from beleaguered and soon-to-be-divorced owner John Moores, an agreement which was finalized Tuesday.

Call it a win-win-win deal for everyone involved whose name isn't John Moores.

The Padres had reached an untenable situation under Moores, whose cash flow has been reduced to a trickle as a result of the economy and his impending divorce.

In the view of San Diego fans, he never delivered on his pre-Petco Park insinuations (not promises, but definite insinuations) that the team would be financially competitive once it moved into a new ballpark.

Moores has steadfastly denied promising more than he could deliver, but perceptions usually are reality, and once Becky Moores filed for divorce last winter, the squeeze was on her soon-to-be-ex.

Whatever version of the truth you believe, the bottom line is this: Peavy's deal (three years, $52 million from 2010-2012) is just this side of a bargain-basement price for a true ace.

If the Padres couldn't afford that, what hope did their fans have of them ever being able to retain legitimate stars and compete with the Dodgers and Giants in the NL West?

Nobody is expecting Moorad to become George Steinbrenner West. But the way it's been in San Diego, if he'd even become Mark Attanasio (owner of the Milwaukee Brewers), it would be a distinct improvement.

 

Posted on: December 9, 2008 9:48 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2008 2:17 am
 

Padres, Cubs progress in Peavy talks

LAS VEGAS -- Jake Peavy may or may not have been singing Go Cubs Go in a bar here after attending the Brooks and Dunn concert with his buddy, Houston Astro Roy Oswalt, the other night.

But after more talks Tuesday between the Padres and Chicago Cubs, Peavy's long, strange trip out of San Diego appears to be moving along to a place where Peavy will be able to memorize those lyrics for good.

The Padres and Cubs were scheduled to hold another session of talks later Tuesday evening, according to San Diego general manager Kevin Towers, who said he "feels probably better today at this time than yesterday at this time" regarding the progress of the trade talks.

"We've made some progress," Towers said. "We're just not there yet."

He described the Cubs as having some work to do. Though he wasn't specific, sources with knowledge of the talks say the Cubs must move payroll to take on the $63 million Peavy is owed over the next four years.

Specifically, they're attempting to move pitcher Jason Marquis and his $9.875 million salary owed for 2009.

Though Towers said the Padres and Cubs haven't completely settled on the pieces Chicago would send to San Diego, there is general agreement. Third base prospect Josh Vitters certainly would be in the package, which also is expected to include right-handed pitcher Kevin Hart and possibly pitcher Angel Guzman. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno is also a possibility.

A third team almost certainly would need to be involved, and possibly, according to Towers, a fourth club.

Philadelphia, which could end up acquiring infielder Mark DeRosa from the Cubs and sending pitcher J.A. Happ to the Padres, remains one possibility.

Baltimore, which would sent pitcher Garret Olson to the Cubs for outfielder Felix Pie -- and then the Cubs would pass Olson along to the Padres -- remains another possibility.

The Cubs were said to have been approached by another club -- or more -- Tuesday involving players that could be in the Peavy deal. That could mean either Marquis or DeRosa, or both.

Another twist, that likely will mean more delays if this deal is to be completed: The Padres are looking to pick one player -- and perhaps more -- in Thursday morning's Rule 5 draft and, as a result, they may need to clear some space on their 40-man roster to make room for some of the players in a potential Peavy trade.

That presents a scenario in which the Cubs and Padres could agree to a deal in a day or two but delay announcing it until Friday, Saturday or later.

Towers said he believes Hendry has the power to move now in personnel decisions despite the Cubs' impending sale.

"My impression is he has the ability to move if he is comfortable with what he's giving up," Towers said.

Hendry said on Monday that he is operating with no restrictions while the impending sale progresses.

Posted on: November 14, 2008 5:31 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2008 6:56 pm
 

Braves pull out of Peavy talks

The Atlanta Braves have pulled out of the Jake Peavy trade talks and will move ahead with other plans general manager Frank Wren told CBSSports.com on Friday.

"We notified the Padres yesterday that based on our last offer not being accepted, we were out of it," Wren said.

The Braves were set to send shortstop Yunel Escobar, pitcher Charlie Morton, reliever Blaine Boyer and Class A outfielder Gorkys Hernandez to the Padres for Peavy, who would have had to waive his no-trade clause.

The Braves felt they were moving toward a deal, according to sources, and on Wednesday believed they were going to obtain the pitcher they had been attempting to acquire since October.

But then something changed, and in Wren's conversations with the Padres it became apparent that a deal was not as close the Braves were thinking. The Atlanta GM declined comment on what explanation the Padres gave him for not accepting the deal.

"It just didn't work," Wren said.

The Braves became perplexed over the past six weeks by the Padres' handling of the negotiations, sources with knowledge of the talks say, and still don't know for sure why San Diego sent such conflicting signals to them this week.

The Braves believe that they were assuming significant risk in the deal not only because of the package of players they were willing to deal, but also because of Peavy's history of injuries.

"We were never that comfortable with the players we were talking about because we're a club that likes to build from within," Wren said. "And as the deal evolved, it was going to impact too many of those players."

Despite periodic trepidation as negotiatons were moving forward, though, the Braves ultimately were willing to part with some prospects they viewed as key -- except for prospect Tommy Hanson.

Even at that, they still feel that their offer for Peavy surpassed any others the Padres have received.

So now the Braves will take their search for two starting pitchers elsewhere. Wren said that they have a couple of trade possibilities working, plus they will dive into the free agent market.

Aside from CC Sabathia, who they view as too expensive, the Braves figure to be involved in anybody and everybody on the free agent market. They've already believed to have touched base with A.J. Burnett, and figure to do the same with Derek Lowe and Ryan Dempster, among others.

"Jake is a player who would have fit into our club very well," Wren said. "But it was a very rich deal, and at the end of the day we just didn't feel like it made sense for our organization to keep talking."

Of course, the offseason is filled with posturing as clubs seek to make deals -- both in the trade and free-agent markets -- and everybody has an agenda and wants their angle out there.

Could this be a case of the Braves doing the same? If the Padres were to call back before Atlanta finishes its pitching plans for the winter, could something still get done?

"We're trying to improve our club," Wren said. "I'm never going to close the door to anything. We have no active discussions going on. We're actively pursuing other things.

"Would I take a call? Yes. But that's not our focus."

The Chicago Cubs, also searching for pitching, are believed to still be interested. However, Towers told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Friday that the club may turn to the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees.

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