Wednesday, March 18, 2009

'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

Play Ball !!!

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