Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Could the Rays and Padres be on the verge of a trade ?

The Padres have been desperate to say the least for pitching. The Rays seem on the verge of having to expose a couple of their young arms that are out of options. It seems a perfect match, so is something going down ?

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel aren't letting their head-to-head competition get in the way of their friendship.

One of the two former Biscuits will be Tampa Bay's No. 5 starter when the season starts next week. The other could be in the bullpen or, possibly, in a different uniform and with another organization.

The St. Petersburg Times reported Monday that the Rays are talking with the San Diego Padres about a potential trade involving either Niemann or Hammel.

Both are making their final statements this week -- a decision could come any day -- but it won't spark a rift between them.

"We will always love each other," Hammel said. "We've played together for a long time and at a lot of levels."


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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Strasburg Update

103mph at age 20--- How hard will he throw ?

Taking a minute here to update you all on Steven Strasburg who is going to be the #1 ranked prospect in the nation come draft time. The Uber Phenom has been abusing the collegiate ranks this year racking up the K's and regularly hitting triple digits on the radar gun,. He's even been clocked as high as 103mph. At the bottom is a video of a strikeout he recorded last Friday night vs. BYU. On the season he has more than 70 k's in less than 35 innings.......yeah think about that for a second...

SAN DIEGO – The radar gun blinks wildly. It’s not used to this. No one makes it strain to read out a third digit. It looks like binary code, not the speed of a pitch from a 20-year-old kid: 101.

It keeps showing up, 101 again and again, and as scouts peek at the number, they ask aloud what everyone else in the baseball world wonders: Will Stephen Strasburg someday throw a baseball harder than anyone has before?

Two men holding radar guns as well as his pitching coach said he has touched 103 mph this season. Only three others have done that, and all were major league relief pitchers, not juniors in college. Strasburg is a starter for San Diego State, and his velocity levels off in triple digits, something never seen, not from Nolan Ryan or Randy Johnson or any of the modern fireballers since the advent of the radar gun.

So it’s no surprise that Strasburg is dominating college like no pitcher ever has. He has 74 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings, meaning only 29 outs have come via batted ball. He fanned 23 batters in one game last year, and in seven outings with Team USA last summer, culminating with the Beijing Olympics, he struck out 62 in 41 innings.

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Moorad takes over CEO role as of today.....

Sandy Alderson did many things for the Padres, but it appears will be remembered by many as the man at the helm during the 99 loss season. With the first part of the sale of the Padres Jeff Moorad takes over the duties and role of CEO as of today.

"I am excited about joining the Padres and am honored to be part of the transition of ownership of this great franchise," said Moorad. "The Padres have a rich tradition, both on the field and in the community. I am anxious to do all that I can to extend the legacy and join San Diegans as a proud member of the Friar Faithful."

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Some batting cage video shorts

I also took a load of short batting cage videos in the hopes of showing you the mechanincs of some of the guys swings..... Hope the come across well enough in a blogs shrunk down version.....Enjoy

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pictures from Training Camp

Planet Padres was at Spring Training again this year. While I'm no photographer, I did take some shot I thought you all might enjoy.... There will be more to come, along with video of players in the cages so you can see their swings and mechanics. Hope you enjoy.

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Duaner Sanchez snatched up by Padres

As if to answer the bullpen issues, KT makes what could be a key find and nice addition to Petco's arsenal.

PEORIA, Ariz. -- When asked Tuesday how surprised he was that the Mets gave him his outright release last week, new Padres relief pitcher Duaner Sanchez didn't hesitate for a second in formulating a response.

"One hundred percent," Sanchez said.

It's been a whirlwind week for Sanchez, who signed a Minor League deal to pitch for the Padres just five days after being dumped by the Mets, who expressed concerns about the velocity the 29-year-old right-hander had shown thus far.

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Padres bullpen takes another hit

Mark Worrell came over from St. Louis in the Khalil Greene trade and it was hopeful that Towers had found another diamond bullpen arm in the rough. Time will tell, but for now he's on the rack. Lets hope it's not too serious

PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres' bullpen took another hit Wednesday, and that was before their game against the Rangers.

Manager Bud Black said that right-handed reliever Mark Worrell, expected to make the team as a late-inning specialist, will be sidelined indefinitely with soreness in his elbow.

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'Time Out' with Todd Kaufmann

Time Out with Todd Kaufmann

Todd Kaufmann
Beat Writer for Planet Padres

For the San Diego Padres, it’s time to start making some final decisions on their roster. Believe me, they have a lot of work to do in that area, especially with the back two spots in their starting rotation. What we know, at this point, is Jake Peavy, Chris Young and Cha Seung Baek have the first three spots in the rotation shored up, but the fourth and fifth spot have yet to be decided. Those two spots could come down to right-handers Kevin Correia and Josh Geer, but the Padres need to see more from both before they are handed to them.

Speaking of Jake Peavy, he was in the news this past weekend but for a reason that makes Padre fans cringe. Peavy allowed six runs, all earned, in just two innings of work in an embarassing 11-1 loss to Puerto Rico on Saturday, a game that was stopped early for the Mercy Rule…ouch. Heath Bell also saw action in the game and didn’t fare much better, giving up one run in his one inning of work, the two Padre pitchers combined for three innings of work and seven earned runs. You can make an argument for both of these guys, saying they’re still in Spring Training mode and they’re not at 100% levels, but that won’t help Team USA if they are eliminated early….again.

Also news worthy was the Padres’ signing of former Mets’ right-hander Duaner Sanchez to a minor league deal on Sunday. You might remember Sanchez being a lights out pitcher before he was involved in a car accident that put his career in jeopardy a few years ago, but the 29-year-old is trying to make a comeback and will try to earn a bullpen spot for San Diego. There’s no question this kid can pitch, as he’s shown in the past, but can he get back to the form he once had or be effective at all? Sanchez will get some work in the last few weeks of Spring Training to show Padres’ brass if he’s worth keeping around for the start of the 2009 season.

A few final notes before we close things out. Young first baseman, and one of the Padres’ top prospects, Kyle Blanks has been tearing up Spring Training. The soon to be 23-year-old is batting .325 with 3 HR’s and 9 RBI’s in 40 total at bats. He is slated to start the year in AAA-Portland, but could be called on quickly if there’s an injury to current first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. The question, though, becomes this. Who do the Padres want to keep long term? Will they sign Adrian to a long term deal and hope they can turn Blanks into an outfielder a la Chase Headley, or will they let Adrian walk in free agency and allow Blanks to become their new franchise first baseman? That’s a question that will be asked by a lot of Padre fans as Adrian Gonzalez gets closer to free agency.

Thanks as always Todd

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First wave of cuts and reassignments

Padres make their first wave to moves this spring as follows...... Not too many shockers here.

UT's Link

March 17, 2009, 4:37 p.m.

The Padres' clubhouse was a busy place today. Eleven players were sent out, leaving the club with 45 players in major league camp. Among the players reassigned to minor league camp are right-handed pitchers Chris Britton and Matt Buschmann, infielder Peter Ciofrone, catcher Mitch Canham and outfielder Cedric Hunter. Managre Bud Black said the club has told Britton that he is free to pursue a job elsewhere.

Right-handed pitchers Cesar Carrillo and Mike Ekstrom, left-handed pitcher Wade LeBlanc and infielder Travis Denker have been optioned to Triple-A Portland. Outfielder Luis Durango and left-handed pitcher Jackson Quezada have been optioned to Single-A Lake Elsinore. Quezada, a closer, hasn't faced any hitters since getting to camp; he is nursing a sore shoulder.

The Padres now have 45 players in major league camp. Expect a lot more movement. Not only will several players be shipped out before Opening Day, the Padres are shopping the bottom end of several pitching staffs in anticipation of making a cheap acquisition.

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Kyle Blanks to take fly balls FINALLY !!!

Kyle Blanks, the Padres top prospect, is blocked by Adrian Gonzales at first base. For a couple years now many have tossed the idea around of moving Blanks to LF to see if he could play the out field with the idea of getting both he and AGon in the same lineup. Blanks is a very large man, and possesses a unique set of skills. He's 6'6" 270lbs, yet he can run remarkably well and is considered to have league avg. speed, which is very good. Bill Bryk of the Padres called him Big Hondo once, and that is exactly what they might have in Blanks. Well it looks like they will finally find out if the big man can catch a fly ball or two, lets all hope there is a chance of keeping this guy around. It will only make this team better if we can have both he and AGon in the same lineup.


March 17, 2009, 5:00 p.m.

General Manager Kevin Towers said Padres prospect Kyle Blanks, who is blocked by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, will take fly balls in left field before his games in Triple-A this season.

Blanks will stay at first base, Towers said, but the club wants to see how he responds to flyballs. The idea is to explore another way to get Blanks' bat into the lineup down the road, and Towers said he broached the subject today with Grady Fuson, the director of scouting and player development.

"We're not going to stick him in the outfield," he said. "We may hit him some flyballs in pregame, see how he does."

Blanks, a 6-foot-6 285-pounder, said last month that he would like to develop his outfield skills if it would help his career. He has appeared in left twice as a professional, in 2005 with an entry-level club.

Towers also said Blanks "truly has been the one bright spot of spring training." The Padres' No. 1 prospect in The San Diego Union-Tribune's organizational rankings, Blanks has batted .341 with four doubles, three home runs, six walks and 14 strikeouts in 44 at-bats.

"This guy's legit," Towers said.

mlb.com link
PEORIA, Ariz. -- There hasn't been a whole lot of positives for the Padres during the first 17 games of the Cactus League season, though general manager Kevin Towers isn't hard-pressed to come up with his personal favorite -- first baseman Kyle Blanks.

"For me, he's been the highlight of the spring," Towers said on Tuesday after Blanks had two hits, raising his average to .341.

The Padres fell to the Angels, 12-7, on Tuesday, dropping their Cactus League record to 4-10-3.

The 22-year-old Blanks is making the most of his extended playing time this spring with Gold Glove and All-Star Adrian Gonzalez off playing for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.

Team Mexico was eliminated by Cuba on Monday, which means Gonzalez could be back in Peoria as soon as Wednesday. But that won't mean the 6-foot-6, 285-pound Blanks will be headed to Minor League camp.

"He's forcing our hand with the way he's playing," said Towers, who likes that Blanks has done a majority of his damage against frontline starters, not Minor Leaguers. "If he keeps it up, we're going to have to find a spot for him."

Blanks, who has played the outfield in the Minor Leagues on just two occasions, won't turn 23 until September.

Finding a spot for Blanks, the Padres' Minor League Player of the Year in 2008, will not be easy, not with Gonzalez entrenched at first base for the foreseeable future.

There may be a move afoot for Blanks to get some time in the outfield, though it will not likely happen anytime soon, said Towers, who spoke with Grady Fuson, vice president of scouting and player development, about that issue earlier Tuesday.

Towers said he doesn't want to mess with Blanks' confidence right now by asking him to start taking fly balls in Arizona. If the Padres do decide to see how Blanks looks in the outfield, then it would likely be once the Triple-A season begins at Portland.

And, as Towers cautioned, it would start by "taking fly balls before games" before it ever got to the point where Blanks would appear in a game in the outfield.

For now, Blanks, who leads the team in at-bats (44), runs (11), total bases (15), doubles (four), home runs (three) and is tied for first in RBIs (nine), will stick to playing first base, though it might not be at the frequency he had been.

Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

All I can say is that IT'S ABOUT FRIGG'N TIME !!!

Play Ball !!!

Monday, March 9, 2009

'Time Out' with Todd Kaufmann

Taking another TO

Todd Kaufmann
Beat Writer for Planet Padres

Ok, so this is supposed to be my weekly article where I tell you what’s going through my baseball driven mind. Last week, I took a shot at the Dodgers and it turns out they ended up signing Manny Ramirez after all. Following that, I gave advice to A-Rod and in a cruel twist of irony, he could be on the shelf until May with a torn labrum in his hip. Not to rub salt in the wound there A-Rod, but when you decided to go from playing for Team USA in 2006 to the Dominican Republic in 2009 because you thought it gave you a better chance at winning, karma bit you in the ass. Let’s not get this twisted, though, noone on Team USA is going to miss you, you performed as well for them as you do for the Yankees in crunch time.

Ok, now that my usual, ‘un-Padre’ rant is out of the way, let’s get to them Padres shall we? I’m going to start with something I’ve tried to do in the past and I realized just how ridiculous it was to even attempt it. What is that thing you ask? Making pre-season predictions based on last season’s numbers. Don’t tell it’s based on more than that, because it’s really not. Yes, teams make trades, free agent signings, but then you look at those players on new teams, you look at their numbers last season, then guess at how they’ll do on their new teams, add a few wins here and there or perhaps a few losses, tally all that up and put a number out there. One problem, pre-season predictions are just like pre-season college football polls, they’re not worth their grain in salt. The reason I bring that up is, everything I read from fans and “experts” say the Padres will lose more than 100 games this season. Well, no offense to the bandwagon jumpers and guesstimators, but how many times have the Yankees been predicted to win the World Series the past nine years and not even made it out of the first round of the playoffs or even sniffed the World Series?

Call me a homer if you will and maybe that might be true, but here’s a fact that I haven’t heard many bandwagon jumpers bring up. The Padres’ big two in the rotation, Chris Young and Jake Peavy, combined for just 45 starts in 2008, down from 64 combined starts in 2007, that’s 19 fewer starts last season. If the Padres win, let’s say, 10 of those 19 starts, they lose only 89 games in 2008. I know it’s still quite aways under .500, but then you can pick apart the one and two runs games they couldn’t put away and you can gain wins there as well. There are things that a lot of people aren’t taking into account for this 2009 team that will be important to their success. Chase Headley has one more year of experience, they have a veteran 2nd baseman in David Eckstein who should give them speed on the base paths, another full season of Adrian Gonzalez who you know can give the Padres 30 HR’s and 100+ RBI’s and another year of experience from 3rd baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff. The two unknowns for this team are going to be the back end of their rotation, since the last two spots are still up for grabs, and their bullpen. There ushering in a new era with Heath Bell taking over the closing role, Cla Meredith will slide into the setup role and from there it’s all up in the air. Guys like Mike Adams, Justin Hampson, Mike Ekstrom, Joe Thatcher plus a few others make this a relatively unknown bullpen around Major League Baseball.

The success of the 2009 San Diego Padres hinges on those unknown names as well as possibly putting a lot of pressure on young right-hander Josh Geer and left-hander Wade LeBlanc, two guys who could round out the back end of the rotation. If they can come out and give the Padres 5-6 good innings per start and keep the Padres in the game, it could very well give them a chance to stay in the thick of the NL West.

So, while a lot of people will continue to say the Padres will finish dead last and lose over 100 games, I hope those same people are big enough to admit they were wrong and take the criticism for those of us who still “KEEP THE FAITH.”

And lets not forget that 2008 saw a franchise record # of days spent on the DL......and yes while every team goes through injuries, not every team breaks a record for them. So I think it can be said that it's not an excuse, but was legitimately part of the problem.

Nice job again Todd ! Thanks for stopping by.

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