• HaroldHecuba: Mike Mussina is EASTERN EUROPEAN, not Italian....

The San Deigo Padres currently have the worst record in all of baseball, at 38-62. And yet as of this writing they haven’t made any significant moves toward rebuilding the team, and are still acting as if they are trying to contend.

It’s time to get a move on that rebuilding, as the Padres are not going to be contending any time soon if they stand pat.

What the Padres need to do is build a team that can play well in their ballpark. This means building teams the way the Dodgers used to do back when Dodger Stadium was the game’s greatest pitcher’s park.

The Padres should focus on defense. They especially need to find outfielders who can cover the big gaps in the outfield at Petco, and especially in center field. Losing Mike Cameron after last season was a huge blow to the pitching staff.

On offense the Padres should focus on acquiring or developing hitters with skills that won’t be as affected by the big outfield. Hitters who draw a lot of walks, hit line drives, and hopefully have some speed. The Padres should not pay an extra premium to get hitters who hit a lot of home runs in other parks, because a lot of that value will be lost at Petco.

Similarly, when it comes to pitching the Padres should look for pitchers with who don’t walk a lot of guys. There is an opportunity here, in that the Padres can look for flyball pitchers who put up lousy numbers in other parks and can be had for cheap, but who will have a chance to succeed in cavernous Petco Park.

To acquire more of these types of players, the Padres should be prepared to trade most of their big-name veterans, as this year’s team is going nowhere but down any time soon.

In particular, the Padres should look to trade Kevin Kouzmanoff, Khalil Greene, Trevor Hoffman, Randy Wolf, and Tadahito Iguchi. These are all fairly big-name guys who other teams will want, but who are not useful to the Padres. Kouzmanoff and Greene have terrible on-base percentages, and thus have no business playing in a pitcher’s park like Petco, and Kouzmanoff is forcing up-and-coming prospect Chase Headley to left field, where his bat is not as valuable. Meanwhile, Hoffman, Wolf, and Iguchi are big-namers who are set to be free agents, so there is no need to keep them on a last-place team.

Update: The Padres have reportedly traded Randy Wolf to the Astros (!)

- What They Need Index -

21 Responses to “What They Need – San Diego Padres: To Start the Rebuilding Already”

  1. You are aware that the Padres have one of the best defensive records in baseball for 2008, yes?

    http://tinyurl.com/sdg-fielding-2008

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Wait, wait, Andrew. You didn’t just point me to rankings of fielding percentage to make an argument about defense did you? Oh goodness, you did!

    Fielding percentage is one of the most worthless stats there is. Since it is only based on errors made, it says nothing about how many balls players get to, or how many outs they make.

    Looking at Defensive Efficiency, which is simply the percentage of batted balls which a team is able to turn into outs, we find that San Diego is 18th in the majors in defense. Of course they do have that big home park, but suffice to say there is room for improvement.

  3. A few things…

    First off, i don’t think you’re saying anything new here. The Padres are know for acquiring pitchers who attack the strike zone. Its a part of the FO’s well documented strategy and its why we can get guys like Wolf and inflate their number to sell.

    As for trading out players…All of those guys you mentioned ARE on the trading block. The problem is, nobody wants them for what Anderson and Towers are asking for. Greene is having a terrible year and thus his value has slipped way below what he is actually worth. Our front office isn’t the type to sell low.

    Kouz Is gunna be gone at the years end and would be gone sooner if there were a market for a 3rd baseman by the deadline but there isnt.

    As you were writing this article, Wolf was traded.

    Hoffman is kinda untouchable in SD, and even if he wasn’t, his recent string of breakdowns in big games probably worries any prospective buyer too much.

    Iguchi hasn’t played all year but if someone were to offer a trade for him, he’s gone. Edgar Gonzales has filled that spot nicely.

    One guy you didn’t mention who I think is our biggest trade chip is Brian Giles. High Onbase who walks at least 100 times a season would be great to bat in front of someones 3 or 4 spot.

    My $.02

  4. Building a team to play in Petco, especially one with flyball pitchers, might not come in handy in the 81 games they play on the road.

  5. Paul Moro says:

    So “R”, you’re saying that Colorado should say the hell with Coors Field and not invest heavily in groundball pitchers because it won’t matter as much for 81 games? There are pitchers out there who can be had on the cheap because of their poor fit in their home parks. Petco Park allows them to explore that market without worrying so much as other teams would. It’s what smart teams do – find an undervalued commodity and exploit it to your own benefit.

  6. At what stadiums are giving up groundballs going to be a bad thing?

  7. Paul Moro says:

    There are some stadiums that are worse for groundball pitchers based on the length of grass and whether or not they use actual grass at all. Don’t get me wrong, I see your point. I just disagree with your supposition that having flyball pitchers in Petco is entirely negated by the games they play on the road. Besides, it’s not like every other stadium is a hitter’s park. Teams should create a roster that suits their park. For San Diego, getting flyball pitchers on the cheap and having them backed by a strong defensive outfield is a very good strategy.

  8. Nick Kapur says:

    Mike, thanks a lot for your comments and your breakdown of the players I mentioned.

    If the Padres already recognize the need to do what I said in this post, than that is a credit to them, not an indictment against me.

    After all, this series of posts is called “What They Need” and not “What They Need But Don’t Know They Need”, so I’m not required to focus only on needs the team is not aware of.

    But that said, I really do think the Padres should move as many of those guys as they can, and if they haven’t because they are asking too much, then at some point they may need to lower their asking price.

  9. Nick Kapur says:

    R., I’m not saying that it is preferable for the Padres to focus on flyball pitchers over groundball pitchers. Obviously, groundball pitchers are better, if you can get them. But as Paul alluded to, all I am saying is that when you play half your games in a park like Petco, there may be an opportunity to find a decent flyballer at bargain rates, due to the fact that he might pitch better in your home park than he did in, say, Cincinnati’s

  10. It’s not just the games they play on the road, it’s the numerous critical games they play in Coors and Chase, two extreme hitter’s parks.

    If you build a specific team, they’re only going to win in specific situations. If you build a team that can survive in universal conditions (high on-base percentage, strike zone control, defense) then your odds of success are higher.

  11. Paul Moro says:

    Well, that’s all well and good. No argument there. But it’s not exactly easy to do anymore. Those have become very valuable skills that get money on the open market. Let’s face it, the Padres can’t compete financially so they need to keep tapping into undervalued skills. And, obviously, draft well.

  12. Nick Kapur says:

    R., everything you say is true. But in actual practice, baseball is never a game of absolutes. Other than the Yankees and sometimes the Red Sox, few teams can afford to just go out and sign the absolute best player available. It’s all about maximizing the value you get for your dollar. So while it is true that the Padres play 9 or 10 games in Coors Field, if they can get a bargain basement pitcher who had an ERA of 5.00 last year but who might have an ERA of 4.35 playing half his games in Petco, that is an advantage they should try to exploit. No?

  13. They could, but he really wouldn’t be anything special. He’d be a back of the rotation guy, who they’d take what they can get from, but he wouldn’t be anyone that the team tries to rely on.

    If anything, Petco allows them to take better risks because pitchers are more likely to take a sweetheart one-year deal to come into Petco and build up their value.

  14. Paul Moro says:

    So basically what you’re advocating is that the Padres go out and get a high-strikeout groundball pitcher who doesn’t walk anyone. That sounds easy enough.

    (Crap, why can’t I control the snark?)

  15. Why would high strike out/ground ball pitchers that don’t walk anyone need to take one-year contracts to build up their value?

  16. Paul Moro says:

    I think we’re starting to talk about two different things here. I wasn’t referring to your point regarding the one-year contracts in the earlier comment, but I should have.

    Anyhow, to that point, I do agree with you to an extent. But that’s no way to construct an entire pitching staff. I mean, that’s what the Pads did with Wolf and Prior, which hasn’t worked out that well (not awful, but not well). And I liked those deals when they were done since I like payroll flexibility. But those are very short term solutions. There’s certainly no guarantee that there will be guys like Wolf and Prior seeking one-year deals year in and year out. The point that was being made doesn’t mean that if similar situations arise for the Pads in the future, that they shouldn’t explore it. They’d be stupid not to. But there are pitchers out there who would thrive in Petco. I don’t see anything wrong with the team targeting these arms.

  17. They would thrive in Petco, but most pitchers do. Would these poor flyball pitchers be so much better than the pitchers they go against in San Diego? Because it seems unlikely that they would be much better than the pitchers they go against in most other parks.

  18. Paul Moro says:

    Put it this way – let’s say the Padres have two free agent options in the off-season. Pitcher A is an extreme flyball pitcher that was a White Sox. Pitcher B is an extreme groundball pitcher that was, I dunno, a Ray. Both guys had an ERA of 4.50 the prior season and similar K and walk rates and both are looking for similar contracts. Knowing these things, I’d guess that the flyball pitcher would have a better shot of improving upon that 4.50 ERA to a greater extent the following season as a Padre than the groundball pitcher would.

    It’s an oversimplification, to be sure. And what are the odds that there will be two guys who fit the criteria above. But it’s a hypothetical that’s the clearest way for me to explain my rationale. And I don’t have much else to add beyond this. Feel free to disagree.

  19. Sarah Green says:

    It just seems to me that when you play half your games in one park, it would help if your skill set was complemented by that park…

    …but I could be biased by years of experience observing Fenway’s left field wall.

  20. I’d guess that the fly ball pitcher would have a better shot of improving upon that 4.50 ERA to a greater extent the following season as a Padre than the ground ball pitcher would too.

Leave a Reply

Marketplace

    Subscribe via email

    Enter your email address:

    Archives

What's Popular

Featured posts

220px-Bbwaa_logo_web

December 5, 2011

Will anybody get elected to the Hall of Fame this year?

Last week, we asked you to vote for who you would like to see enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame. The verdict? If it were up to UmpBump readers, nobody would make it in. The leading vote getter (so far) is Jeff Bagwell, who has 60% support. Of course, in the real voting, players need […]

January 5, 2011

Annual UmpBump Hall of Fame Balloting: 2011 Edition

In what has become an annual tradition, we here at UmpBump cast our ballots for the Hall of Fame on the eve of the announcements of the voting for the real Hall of Fame. Voters can vote for anyone ever who has been retired from baseball for at least five years and is not already […]

According to the internet, "The Little Napoleon" John McGraw was the greatest manager of all time.

October 19, 2010

Crowdsourcing the Greats: The Top 10 Managers of All Time

Now that we’ve looked at every position on the diamond, as well as relief pitchers, we are nearing the end of our “Crowdsourcing the Greats” series. But before we finish, let’s turn one more time to the internet hoi polloi for answers on who the greatest baseball manager of all time was. As usual, we […]