Friday, January 22, 2010

Headley's time

Back in November, I talked to Grady Fuson for the Baseball America story about the Doogster and the farm system. Fuson admitted that even he grew concerned as Chase Headley's struggles deepened last season.

"I had actually gotten to a point of somewhat disappointment in Headley," said Fuson, an outspoken defender of Headley's. "I thought he had been given enough time to get the jitters out, to adapt, to adjust. I was a little bit disappointed that Chase was not performing at a better level."

Headley rebounded from a .232/.308/.366/.674 first half to go .293/.377/.421/.798 in the second half -- and Fuson exhaled.

"Now, whether it was coincidence, whether it was (hitting coach) Randy Ready coming up, whether it was a change of vibe in the clubhouse, I don't know," Fuson said. "But his performance came up, more to the level that I could see Chase playing. I was seeing this picture of a Chase Headley that looked like a .280 hitter, 20 home runs, 75 RBI, high on-base percentage.

"So, is that the real Chase Headley now? I don't know."

We're about to find out.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Choke City

A friend texted me Sunday night, saying it sucks being a San Diego sports fan. My reply was that it's payback for San Diego's weather. Here's my story on the Chargers' loss to the Jets:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Trade fallout

My quick take on the Kouzmanoff trade is that the Padres had to find out what Chase Headley could do and the best way to do it was by trading Kouz. Now Headley gets to play where he belongs. As a bonus, both Will Venable and Kyle Blanks get regular at-bats, which also needed to happen.

It's not like the Padres had much trade leverage. They'd shopped Kouz for two years. He's a solid player, but his trade value never matched his fan appeal.

On a personal note, Kouz gets an "A" for what he accomplished in San Diego despite never developing the plate discipline that would've made him more productive. When the Indians traded him, they doubted Kouz's back would hold up. The condition is chronic. But despite the wear and tear of fielding grounders and the torque of swinging a bat, Kouz kept himself in fantastic shape and stayed in the lineup. His toughness was also evident in how he survived so many plunkings. Kouz's swing invites pitchers to pound him inside more than most hitters. As a result, he got hit by a lot of fastballs and constantly was jammed by pitches. No fun, but he hung in there. He also proved wrong the scouts who said he'd be a liability at third base. Working nearly year-round on his defense, Kouz turned himself into a solid defender. He had an apt mentor in Padres infield coach Glenn Hoffman, a former major league shortstop.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Better late than never?

Radio baritone Lee Hamilton asks an interesting question. Should the Padres sign Vladimir Guerrero? Seems to me, Vlad and his creaky knees belong in the American League rather than Petco Park. If I'm proved wrong, great. I do wonder how good the Padres would've been if they'd signed Guerrero six years ago, something that Bruce Bochy and others within the organizaiton wanted to happen.. The Padres, who were on the verge of moving into Petco Park, opted against making Guerrero an offer. Here's the story: