Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Mark Prior Halloweeen Update

October 15th San Diego, CA

Planet Padres ran into Mark Prior (and family) at a local pumpkin patch in Mission Valley, and had a chance to have a very informal, unofficial, quick conversation with him. He was simply there doing the Halloween family thing and disturbing his family outing wasn't our goal, but of course we had to say hello. Below are some pictures and a paraphrased version of our conversation to give a little update on how he's doing.

We asked Mark a couple of questions-
PP: Mark you look fit, how does your arm feel.........?
Prior: It feels very good right now......
PP: Are you looking to comeback to the Padres next year ?
Prior: I really hope I'm back next year, this is where I want to be.......
PP: Can we look forward to seeing you in Peoria next Spring, or is it too soon to say ?
Prior: I hope that's where I am come spring time, San Diego is where me and my family want to be.....

Again this is paraphrasing our brief conversation, as no recorder was used. We then went on to take a few shots of Mark to illustrate that, while he's not throwing, he is lifting a wheel barrow and placing direct pressure and weight on his surgically repaired shoulder.

Aside from everything else, this guy has a mean eye for the squash......Some fine choices were made this day.

As you can plainly see, he's having no issues with about 150lbs of downward pull on his shoulder. Again while this of course isn't throwing a baseball, it would sure seem that this 28 year old, former CY caliber arm very well might finally be on the road to recovery.

So the question becomes do the Padres take another shot with Mark and throw him a bone like they did last year ? The way we see it is that the $$$ still is worth the low risk involved. This Friar fan sure hopes they bring back Prior once again in the hopes that his troubles are behind him finally.

Play Ball !!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

2008 Grades

2008 Grades

Well as much as it pains me to do this, and beleive me it does, here are the following grades as this friar fan sees it.

1b - A+ Well we might as well start off with one of our only shining spots of the season in Adrian Gonzalez. This guy continues to be an amazing player and put up outstanding #'s in his 3rd full season. He hit for a career high in HR's in one of the toughest hitter parks in MLB, and career highs in RBI on a team that sported one of if not the worst OBP in baseball. That means he was driving in runs almost every time he could. I'm not sure the team could have expected anything more from this position this year.

2b- C- This 2nd base started out the year as a complete disaster as Tad Iguchi, brought in specifically to shore up this hole, got off to a horrible start eventually landing on the DL. The only reason this grade is up at all is due to the emergence and pleasant surprise of Edgar Gonzalez. He was called on to start when Iguchi went down, and was able to hit over .300 for a sustained period of time, before finally tailing off toward the end of the year.

3b- B- Kevin Kouzmanoff played a full season, and posted career highs in HR's and RBI, but also saw his OBP drop below the .300 mark by the end of the season. It was his 2nd full season at the big league level, and many were hoping for much more from the hitting side, but what they got instead was excellent defense. What was his biggest knock, became his biggest strength in 2008, and might just have put Kouz on the ML map for 3bags. If he is a Padre next year, I fully expect to see big #'s from this guy as his 3rd year could very well be his break out season.

SS- F What a huge disappointment Khalil Greene was this year. Posting career lows in just about every category, he seemed to only regress from every angle ultimately landing on the DL after having a meltdown, punching a wall, and breaking his hand. Luis Rodriguez filled in regularly after that, and while LRod can play defense fairly well, the lineup suffered greatly.

LF- C Once again the mess that is the LF corner reared its ugly head this year. The Padres couldn't decide whether to give the spot to Scott Hairston who plays solid defense, has some speed, showed tremendous power, but was very inconsistant at the plate.....or to go with Paul McAnulty who could very well be a good ML hitter, yet can't run or play Defense like Hairston. Finally they settled on bringing up Chase Headley, and giving the rookie his shot to play everyday. The one thing to take away from this position this season is that at least Chase got to play full time at this level and now knows what it takes to play at the ML level. Hopefully that will translate into a great 2009 from this kid whether it's in LF or at 3rd.

CF- C+ Jim Edmonds was a complete disaster and turned out to be a total flop trade for the Padres. He was a shot in the dark and our 4th option for a CFer going into last year, and just didn't pan out. However once the Padres finally severed ties with the veteran they handed the reigns over to a guy on the comeback trail, Jody Gerut. In Gerut the Padres found gold ! Coming off multiple knee injuries the jury was still out on if he could still play, but those questions have all been answered ......and it's a resounding YES ....... He will likely be the starting CFer going into 2009 and hopefully for a few years to come.

RF- A The model of consitency, and prototype ballplayer that this organization needs. The only shame is that we can't clone him and run him out to all the OF positions. Brian Giles had another fantastic season hitting over .300 with an OBP right at .400. True his HR power has been lost to age, but this guy can still play an outstanding RF. He's got an option for 2009, and I for one sure hope that the Padres don't screw around and hurry to pick that option up.

C- D+ The combonation of Bard and Barrett was very disapppointing, and once again Barrett left much to be desired and didn't live up to his career norms. This position had it's major challenges this year also however as it was ravaged by injuries ultimately counting on a AAA and AA catcher to platoon and get the job done, and the positon remained another huge hole in the lineup. Hundley and Carlin were able to do one thing however and that was stop the opposing running game, something Bard and Barrett were unable to accomplish.

Bullpen- G The G is for complete and utter failure where an F simply wouldn't suffice, which is what our bullpen was this year. They blew lead after lead, let runners score at will.......and seemed unable to slam any door shut. Kevin Towers has had remarkable success building bullpens year after year with what many consider castoffs, but this year just about everything they tried ended wrong. The long bright spot was the emergence of Mike Adams. Hopefully he can build on his 2008 season have a full season of success in 2009.

Bench- D Between guys like Crabbe, Myrow, Huber & Clark its easy to understand just how bad this bench was this year. And in a season filled with so many key injuries it stuck out like a sore thumb when it was called on to fill in regularly. This cannot repeat itself next year if the Padres have any hope of competing.

Rotation- C- Peavy, CY, Maddux, Wolf, Estes ......... The season started with expectations of a totally dominant rotation, but those hopes quickly fizzled when Peavy, CY & Estes all got injured. Luckily Peavy's injury wasn't as bad as originally thought, and we were also lucky that CY's injury to his face seems to have no lasting effects. However relying on Maddux and Wolf as our 1-2 punch with a load of castoffs filling in the blanks took it's toll and the results were disasterous for the season. By the time Peavy got back, even the staff ace couldn't make up the difference. In the end the Padres traded away both Maddux and Wolf, in favor of brining up a few young kids to give them a taste of the bigs. Wade LeBlanc , the changeup artist, appeared overmatched, during the majority of his outtings, but Josh Geer might be a guy to keep an eye on. Having no special pitches, Josh appears to have a great baseball head, and seemed to approach each batter with a plan.

Overall- D This season was entered with huge expectations, mainly that holes had been plugged, and the needed fixes were made from the season before where the Padres fell short of the playoffs by one game........Clearly this was not the case, and it's back to the drawing board for the Brain Trust. The best thing to take away from this season might be how many young players got some amazing exposure to the big leagues. Hopefully that will help show them what it takes to play at this level, and they can take that with them back to the farm and build on it.

Play Ball !!!

Ft. Wayne gets a new name

The Single A affiliate in Ft. Wayne gets a new name and logo.......They will go from the Wizards, to the Tin Caps, and it looks like it should be a pretty fun hat to own. Click on the logo above to be taken to the site. The name is in reference to the legend of Johnny Appleseed, but is causing some controversy over how accurate the depiction of Appleseed with a pot on his head really is.

How about we just enjoy the logo and not put too much thought into whether or not it represents something accurate or not.............IT'S JUST A LOGO !!! Speaking of which here is the official logo.

10/2/2008 9:35:00 AM
Fort Wayne TinCaps!

Fort Wayne, IN - When Parkview Field opens next season, Fort Wayne and the surrounding communities in Northeast Indiana, Northwest Ohio and Southern Michigan will be cheering on the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Hardball Capital CEO Jason Freier, and team general manager Mike Nutter, unveiled the team’s new identity and logo at a press conference at the Grand Wayne Center this morning.

The “TinCaps” moniker is a reference to the beloved pioneer Johnny Appleseed, who was known for wearing his tin cooking pot upon his head. The primary logo will be an apple wearing Johnny’s trademark “Tin Cap.” Two alternate logos will incorporate the City’s initials, “FW” with each a “Tin Cap” and an apple stem and leaf. The team’s primary color scheme will consist of organic colors -- green, red and brown. This color scheme is consistent with both the Johnny Appleseed theme and the project goal of creating Parkview Field as a true park and gathering place within the center of downtown Fort Wayne.

“In Minor League Baseball you have the opportunity to create a brand that with a true regional flavor,” stated General Manager, Mike Nutter. “Johnny Appleseed, while known nationally, is a regional pioneer and folk hero. His story, and the history of this area, gives us an identity that is distinctively Fort Wayne. Johnny was a pioneer of the Midwest frontier in a time with seemingly endless opportunity. We feel a part of a new frontier in Fort Wayne’s growing downtown with the continued development of the Harrison Square project.”

Although the name and identity were arrived at (and were working their way through Minor League Baseball’s processes) prior to the time that the agreement was reached with Parkview Health to be the naming rights partner at Parkview Field, the confluence of the apple theme’s classic symbol of health and well-being, and the partnership with Parkview is viewed by both the team and Parkview as fortuitous.

The creation of a new identity for the team began with a community-wide “Re-Name the Team” contest that drew over 2,500 suggestions over the course of the two week entry period. Further input was collected from the community regarding some of the more prevalent categories identified as a result of the contest entries. At the close of the process all of the suggestions and input were considered by local and national marketing experts along with the team’s staff and ownership. The team sought a new identity that had its roots in the Fort Wayne community, would appeal to a wide audience and was unique in the crowded national sports landscape.

The TinCaps will begin play at Parkview Field on Thursday, April 16th at 7:00pm when they take on the Dayton Dragons on Opening Day of the new ballpark.

Play Ball !!!