Thank You, #51

Today, Trevor Hoffman decided to retire, according to MLB.com. He was a class act on and off the field, and a great San Diego icon. Trevor had a Hall of Fame career, and was one of the best closers in MLB history. Whenever he entered to save a game, people knew. The “Hells Bells” song as he entered was one of the greatest moments in sports. Here is my tribute to #51.

Timeline/Accomplishments:

1. Drafted by the Reds as a shortstop in the 1989 amateur draft

2. Switched to pitcher mid-year, because of a suggestion by single A manager Jim Lett.

3. Drafted by Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft

4. Traded to the Padres in a deal which involved Gary Sheffield going to Florida.

5. Took over at the closing role in the strike shortened season of ’94, recording 20 saves and having a 2.57 ERA.

6. In the 1995 off-season, he developed his changeup, which became his bread and butter pitch. 

7. In 1998, he recorded 53 saves and took his team to the World Series. The Padres lost that series to the Yankees. He finished 2nd in the CY Young voting that year.

8. In 2005, he recorded his 400th save in a game vs the Cardinals.

9. On September 24, he became the #1 saves leader in MLB history, in a 2-1 win over the Pirates.

10. On June 6th of 2007, he recorded save #500. 

11. The Padres decided not to pick up his $4 million dollar option. He signed a 1 year deal with the Brewers.

12. He had one of the best seasons of his career, putting up 37 saves with a 1.83 ERA.

13. He returned to the Brewers on another 1 year deal in 2010. 

14. Although having a tough year, he got save #600 on September 7, 2010.

15. He retired on January 11, 2011 with a career total of 601 saves.
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Thank you, Trevor, for everything you have brought to the game of baseball.







Although his on the field accomplishments are over, he is expected to sign and have a front office job with the Padres.
A press conference is expected to happen tomorrow at PETCO Park at around 9 AM PT to officially announce his retirement.
Thank you, Trevor, for everything you brought to San Diego!

(photo’s courtesy of sportsillustrated.cnn.com, photobucket.com, flikr.com, gaslampball.com, bleacherreport.com, youtube.com)

Moving On

The Padres off-season was filled with many question marks after a surprising 2010 campaign where they won 90 games and finished 1 game back of the Giants in the NL West. The off-season started off slowly for the Padres, and quickly for everyone else. There were many free agents going to new teams very early, which Padres GM Jed Hoyer did not expect. “This offseason surprised me. I thought we’d be doing most of this stuff in January, but it went quick, and it was expensive. Our shopping got moved up because we moved Adrian.” I have not written an entry in a while, so I am going to examine the Padres moves so far this off-season, with less than a month until pitchers and catchers report.

The first move Hoyer made was dealing Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb to the Marlins for young talented outfielder Cameron Maybin. You can read about this move right Here.
Next, he made a bold, high risk, high reward move by dealing Adrian Gonzalez to the Boston Red Sox for Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes, and Eric Patterson. Yardbarker sums it up best, saying, “The odds of Ad. Gonzalez signing a long term extension in San Diego are about the odds it might snow there this winter.”
Casey Kelly is a young and talented minor league pitcher who was rated the #1 Red Sox prospect in 2010 and the 24th best prospect in major league baseball by Baseball America. He actually turned down a scholarship to play football at the University of Tennessee to play baseball. He played shortstop for the first half of his minor league career, then turned to the other position he was drafted for, pitcher. 
Anthony Rizzo is a good story. He is a cancer survivor who was drafted in the 6th round of the 2007 draft. Last year, he hit 20 HR and drove in 80 RBI’s in AA. He had a chance, if not traded, to make the jump over Lars Anderson as the next 1st baseman for the Red Sox. He was traded and figures to be the Padres starting first baseman in 2012.
Reymond Fuentes is the sleeper in the deal. He is the younger cousin of Mets OF Carlos Beltran. Reymond can play all OF positions, and can fly. He has some wheels. In Single A he hit .270 while stealing 42 bases. He may be 2-3 year away from the big leagues, but if he pans out the Padres have a gem on their hands. 
Eric Patterson was the PTNBL of the deal. He figures to be on the Padres big league club in 2011 as a utility player.
This Adrian Gonzalez deal is interesting. It’ll only be a matter of time until we see who wins this deal. Right now the clear winner is the BoSox. But in a few years, that may be a different story.
The Padres signed Dustin Moseley a few months later, more than likely to replace Edward Mujica in the Friars bullpen. He can make a spot start here and there, and also be a long-relief man if needed.
 
Then, a few days later, the Padres swung a deal for Rays SS Jason Bartlett, who did not figure to be in the Rays’ future plans. Brandon Gomes, Adam Russell, Cesar Ramos, and Cole Figueroa. Ramos and Russell had a few stints with the big league club this past year. Brandon Gomes has good stuff and was probably the key to the deal. Cole Figueroa is a young infielder with not much power but is patient at the plate. He has a decent arm and a good glove. He projects to be a 2nd baseman.
Jason Bartlett gave the Padres what they had been needing for a few years ever since Khalil Greene was traded- a solid defender, a veteran shortstop, and a solid bat. 
The left side of the infield was set with Headley and Bartlett at 3rd base and shortstop respectively. But the right side of the infield was a question mark. 
Hoyer then surprised everyone, agreeing to a 2 year, 11 million dollar contract with the O-Dog, Orlando Hudson. Hudson was coming off a decent year with Minnesota, and was looking for a multi-year deal. The Padres gave him one. The middle of the infield was set. Now, trying to find a first baseman was Jed Hoyer’s main priority.
The Padres offered Derrek Lee 8.5 MM, but he declined, signing with the O’s. Adam LaRoche had signed a deal with the Nationals. First baseman/s were going off the market quickly. Jed Hoyer decided to sign Brad Hawpe, who was coming off a down year, for around 2.5 MM. Hawpe had been a 1st baseman originally, but had to play OF because Todd Helton was blocking him at 1st base. He had always wanted to be a starter at 1st base, and he got his chance with the Padres.
Just today, the Friars have locked up Jason Bartlett thru 2012 on a 2 year deal. The middle infield will be together for a while, it everything goes according to planned.
On a non-baseball note, did anyone else see my Packers ballin yesterday! Go Pack Go!!!!
-John

Cameron Maybin

On Saturday afternoon, the Padres dealt young right handers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica to the Marlins for young, talented outfielder Cameron Maybin. The Padres went into their deepest position and talent to cover one of their needs this off-season.

Maybin was drafted 10th overall out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in 2005. He was the 2004 baseball america high school player of the year. He had fantastic success in the Minor Leagues, but has struggled in 548 career big league at bats. 
Maybin has loads of potential, and I’m talking all star potential. He has all 5 tools, but they are very raw, as you can expect. He is only 23 years old. If he did not enter the draft out of high school and went to college instead, in 2011 he will only be in his 2nd pro season. 
There are a few flaws in Maybin’s game, though. Cam has trouble making contact as a big league ballplayer. He only makes contact 81 percent of the time when the ball is in the strike zone, compared to the league average of 88 percent. His defense is sometimes suspect, but he has loads of range. Maybin also has a 3.10 range factor last year, highest in the big leagues.
Now let’s take a look at this deal from a Marlins perspective. It’s apparent that they wanted to rid of any thing that had to do with the Miguel Cabrera blockbuster they pulled off a few years ago, as they also dealt Andrew Miller earlier this week. What the Marlins got were 2 good, solid bullpen arms for Maybin. Ryan Webb has nasty stuff, and will fit in well for the Marlins. Mujica has trouble giving up home runs, but overall he is a solid pitcher.
My take? I think the Padres got a steal. They didn’t deal from their core bullpen guys, and they got a great talent in return. The upside is HUGE with Cameron Maybin. If you look at his stats, you may go, “eh.” But he is only 23 years old. A great talent, and if he can put it together and grow into a big league ballplayer with the Padres, it’ll pay some pretty huge dividends. Time will only tell if this trade was successful or not, but right now, I like it. 
FOR:
and:
Edward Mujica - San Diego Padres  v Arizona Diamondbacks
(photo’s courtesy of zimbio.com, wikipedia.com, and sportsnet.ca)

10 Game Losing Streak

The Padres are in the midst of a 10 game losing streak. I don’t think anyone expected this, but it’s baseball. Anything can happen. You have good games and bad ones. Good streaks and bad streaks. It’s just part of the game. Absolutely nothing is going right for the Padres right now. Nothing is going their way, their D is mediocre, and they’re slumping with the bats. They are pressing big time. The good thing is, even with this slide, they still own a 1 game lead over the Giants in the West. But, of course, the Padres need to start winning. And i’m sure everyone knows that, it’s no secret. 

Slumps are strange things. You never know when they might strike. Just when you think you’re team will break out of one, something goes wrong. When you never think they’re going to get out of it, something goes right and you’re back on track. It’s weird, it really is. But then again, baseball is a beautiful, mystified game. 
There are a few things that I recommend the Padres do to break out of this funk. I don’t want to be the manager or anything, just my opinions. Here they are:
1. LINEUP CHANGE:
Over this slump, Bud Black has changed the lineup around a little. Yesterday’s lineup was awesome. Here is my proposed lineup:
1. Chris Denorfia/Will Venable
2. David Eckstein
3. Ryan Ludwick
4. Adrian Gonzalez
5. Miguel Tejada
6. Yorvit Torrealbla
7. Chase Headley
8. Mike Baxter/Aaron Cunningham/Scott Hairston
9. Pitchers spot
Ryan Ludwick has been struggling as a Padre2. , so putting him in front of AGon will give him better pitches to hit. Miguel Tejada has been a good addition and has been hitting well, and putting him behind Gonzo is a good idea in my opinion.
2. BREATHE

This team is pressing, there is no doubt about it. They are playing tight, nervous baseball, a far cry from the first half of 2010 where they were playing good, aggressive ball. Adrian Gonzalez said “I see guys looking at the scoreboard to see if the Giants are losing.” That’s a no-no. Forget about the Giants. Forget you are even in a pennant race. Go out, and have fun. Play good, aggressive, relentless ball. That’s what got you here in the first place.
3. PATIENCE

This team has been swinging at a lot of 1st pitches, and has not worked the count. They need to do the opposite. Be patient. Work the count. Draw some walks. Get into the opponents’ bullpen early. 
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It’s easier said, or in this case, typed, than done. This is basically the first test the Padres have had to go through this year. They need to work through this. Put together some good AB’s. Catch the ball. Pitch. Do that, and the results will come. 
As Steve Adler of Friarhood.com said on Twitter, “If you don’t believe now, you never really did to begin with.”
(photo courtesy of swrnn.com)
(photo courtesy of gaslampball.com)

Today the Padres start a 3 game series vs. the Dodgers at PETCO Park. Now, Mat Latos is sick with the flu, so I am not sure if he will make his scheduled start today. The Dodgers will send Vicente Padilla to the mound. 
THE STREAK STOPS TODAY!!!! 
GO PADRES!!!!!!

BELIEVE!!!!! 

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Resilience

The Padres wrapped up a 4 game series vs. the Dodgers in LA on Thursday, hoping to snap their brief 2 game losing streak. They did just that, shutting out the Dodgers 5-0 to take a 2 game lead over the Giants, who lost to the Braves, in the NL West.

A key part to this Padres ballclub is resilience. They do not get upset if they lose a couple games in a row. These last 3 games were a prime example of it. After being on the wrong end of masterful pitching performances by Ted Lilly and Vicente Padilla, in which the Padres only scored 1 run in 18 innings. The Padres had to face the Dodgers right-hander Chad Billingsley on Thursday. They needed a win. They needed runs. And in the 4th, they finally broke through, scoring 3 runs highlighted by RBI singles by Yorvit Torrealba and Chase Headley. The pitching did the rest. Kevin Correia, Joe Thatcher, Esterno Frieri, Luke Gregerson, and Heath Bell pitched scoreless baseball to give the Padres a 5-0 win. The Padres scored their last 2 runs on possibly the wackiest inside the park home run ever.
Tony Gwynn Jr led off the 9th with a walk. In stepped Chris Denorfia. He took 3 pitches, 2 balls and 1 strike was the count. On the 2-1 pitch, Tony Gwynn Jr was attempting a steal. Chris Denorfia swung away and chopped a ball over Casey Blake at 3rd base. The was going down the line, and Scott Podsednik, the Dodgers left fielder, misplayed the ball, as it went all the way to the wall. Denorfia, hustling, made it all away around the bases for a ground ball chopper inside the park home run. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, something you’ve never seen happens. I love that about baseball. 
Getting back to the resilience factor, let me give you some stats. Following a shutout loss, the Padres are 6-0. Following 2 straight losses, the Padres are 12-1. They never give up, and I love that about this team. That is a big part of why they are in first place, 2 games over the Giants, in the NL West.
The Padres head to Arizona where they take on the Diamondbacks for 3 games starting today. First pitch today is 6:40 PM PT, Jon Garland pitches for the Padres vs. Daniel Hudson of the DBacks.
GO PADRES!!!!!!

Miguel Tejada & Ryan Ludwick Acquisitions

The Padres made 2 key moves within a matter of 48 hours, improving their lineup and their ballclub overall. They acquired Miguel Tejada and Ryan Ludwick. In this post, I am going to break down the trades & explain why both trades made sense for the Padres.

Miguel Tejada
On July 29th, the Padres bolstered their infield by acquiring Miguel Tejada, a veteran that was, before the trade, a Baltimore Oriole. With the Orioles in 2010, Miguel Tejada hit .269 with 7 homers and 39 RBI. The trade was made because the Padres needed a proven hitter who could play multiple positions. Also, with Everth Cabrera struggling to produce (.199 AVG), it made sense for Jed to go out and get someone that could produce and become an everyday SS. Now, to acquire Tejada, the Padres gave up minor league pitcher Wynn Pelzer. Pelzer will be a reliever. He has a 6-9 record with a 4.30 ERA with San Antonio, can throw up to 95 MPH, but it erratic at times, walking 56 in 96 1/3 innings. Overall, I think it was a good acquisition for the Padres, as they got a solid bat, and, from what i’ve seen watching Tejada play short the last 3 games, a decent glove, too.
(photo courtesy of chrisoleary.com)
Ryan Ludwick
On the July 31st trade deadline at about 9:45 AM, I turned on MLB Network, which had up-to-the-minute trade deadline coverage. They had Jon Heyman on the phone, and I heard them talking about a proposed deal which would send Ryan Ludwick to the Padres as part of a 3 team trade. The deal would send Jake Westbrook to the Cardinals plus a prospect, Ryan Ludwick to the Padres, and a minor league prospect to the Indians I was excited. A proven right handed OF hitter, solid defender, I was stoked. I then heard it was official. Ryan Ludwick was a Padre. Ludwick had a .281 batting average with the Cardinals, hitting 11 HR and 43 RBI. Oh yeah, and he leads the league with a .448 average with RISP. So then I was wondering who the Padres had to give up to make a Ludwick 3 team deal even possible. Turns out, the Padres had to send Nick Greenwood to the Cardinals and Corey Kluber to the Indians. Greenwood has a 1.63 ERA in 66 IP in single A, and Corey Kluber, a right hander, has a 6-6 record in AA with a 3.45 ERA. What I like about this deal is not only did the Pads get Ryan Ludwick, but got to keep Corey Luebke, Simon Castro, and Keyvius Sampson, their top minor league pitching prospects. I believe Ryan Ludwick will really help the Padres lineup. Also, Ludwick is a good defender, so the defense will be solid out in right-center-left field, depending on where he starts. 

(photo courtesy of gsmcellphonereview.com)

I am really happy with what Jed Hoyer, the Padres GM, did at the trading deadline. These last 2 and a half months of the season will be really exciting, there’s no doubt about that. I am really excited to watch this ballclub play day in and day out.
GO PADRES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Day at the ballpark

The Padres started off the second half on a fantastic note, sweeping a 3 game series versus the D-Backs. I was lucky enough to go to one game, thanks to Hyun Young of Perpetual Padres Saga

So first of all, Hyun Young had a contest. The Eckstein’s offered her 4 tickets, and she could only bring 3 people besides herself. 10 people entered the contest, and me, Kaybee (from Unfinished Business) and Hyun Young’s friend won the contest, so we got to go to the game. It was awesome.
We all met up in front of the VIP entrance at 3:30, and entered the stadium. We went to find out seats, (which were on field level, 21 rows up on the first base side) then tried for some autographs. Kaybee got Adrian Gonzalez’s and Chris Young’s, but i couldn’t quite get theirs. It was okay, though. We were walking back up to our seats when Angela, the head of the photograph crew at PETCO, came down to see us. She gave us a tour of the press box, which was absolutely amazing. I saw Dick Enberg and Andy Masur up there, we got to visit Jerry Coleman’s box, and more. It was awesome, and Angela was really nice to give us a tour of the press box.
After we toured the box, we watched batting practice for about an hour, then David Eckstein came out of the dugout. Hyun Young had a sign that said “Fear The Scrappy” and she got that signed. She introduced us to him, I shook his hand and he signed my baseball, which was awesome. He was really cool. After Eck talked with us, he went to go warm up his arm with Chase Headley. While we were watching the players warm up, and just before the lineups were announced, Eckstein’s wife, Ashley, showed up, and we all got to talk with her for like 4 innings, she was awesome, and i got to hear a lot of stuff about her and David’s life. All the stuff I did before the game and during the game i will never forget.
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                                             GAME RECAP

I was hoping that the Padres would score a lot of runs, because usually, when I go to a game, it’s a 2-1 or 3-2 game. I was lucky enough to see a high scoring game, with some rare moments.
In the first inning, the Padres broke through on an RBI single by Yorvit Torreabla. This guy has been a tremendous addition to the ballclub.
In the top of the 3rd inning, the D-Backs offense broke through against Clayton Richard, scoring 3 runs highlighted by a couple of RBI base knocks.
In the bottom of the 3rd, though, then Padres got those runs right back. Jerry Hairston Jr. led off the inning with his 7th big fly of the season. After Eck and A-Gon were retired, Chase Headley walked. Yorvit Torreabla promptly smoked one over the left field fence, making it 4-3 Friars. 
In the top of the 4th, Chris Young hit a solo shot for the D-Backs, banging off the second deck, making it a tie ballgame. 
Clayton settled down after that home run, though. And in the bottom of the 5th, Adrian Gonzalez went yard to dead center field, giving the Padres a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the 6th, the first two Padres were retired in order. Tony Gwynn then hit a sinking line drive to left field, Rusty Ryal dived….. and could not make the grab! The ball rolled all the way to the wall, and everyone in the crowd was rooting Tony on, he rounded second, rounded third, the throw home…. SAFE!!! An inside the park home run! Everyone, including me in the ballpark was going absolutely crazy. Tony is the first player since Jimmy Rollins in 04 to hit 2 inside the park home runs in the same season. 
The Diamondbacks made it interesting in the 8th, though. They got an RBI single by Justin Upton to make it 6-5, and Upton stole second shortly thereafter. Mark Reynolds then grounded out, and Joe Thatcher, the lefty specialist, came in to K Adam LaRoche. After 6 1/2, it was 6-5 Padres.
In the bottom of the 7th, with 2 out, Adrian Gonzalez walked. Chase Headley came up, and drove one into left center field. Justin Upton took a bad route to the ball, and the ball got past him and rolled all the way to the wall, and Adrian Gonzalez was chugging around the basepaths and scored easily, as Chase Headley had a stand up triple. Yorvit Torreabla then surprised everyone, laying down a perfect bunt and beating the throw to first to make it 8-5. 
Luke Gregerson got a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th, and Heath came into the 9th. He came in to face the 8-9-1 hitters, and he truly “blew them away” as his entrance song is. Padres win 8-5!!!
I had an awesome time at the game. The crowd was electric, it was all around a great experience. Thank you Hyun Young for the ticket, it was awesome!
Today the Padres have an off day, but head over to Atlanta to take on the braves in a 3 game set.
GO PADRES!!!!!!!