Friday, May 13, 2011

Opinions...

* Petco Park being what it is, big plays the Padres make for talent should be for position players and only the super-exciting pitchers. No use paying much for most pitchers, either amateur or pro. Let other teams plow greater resources into future and present No. 4 or No. 5 starters. A Petco embrace awaits draftees and foreign signees who rise through San Diego's farm system. Big league vets will sign discounted deals to call Petco home.


* Lefty pitchers Clayton Richard and Wade LeBlanc should volunteer to mow the grass at Petco, just to thank the ballpark. Your new Petco ERA leader among Padres with 10-plus starts? Richard, whose 2.71 ERA beats LeBlanc's 2.72 ERA.

Now cover your eyes before I type their career ERAs away from Petco....Richard 5.19, LeBlanc 6.26.

* No offense to either Richard or LeBlanc, each of them a dedicated athlete, but if a lefty wants to resemble Warren Spahn or Whitey Ford, San Diego USA is the place to call home.

* Petco's run-supressing talents still on my mind, I'm thinking Jake Peavy should commission an oil painting of Petco and display it in one of his posh homes. True, Peavy in his prime didn't need a ballpark's help, but fatter margins should reduce strain and increase confidence. Why did the White Sox give Richard away in the  Peavy trade? Peavy lust, mostly, yet also the Sox didn't like Richard for their hitter friendly ballpark and the American League. Impressive as Peavy's 2.74 Petco ERA was for 90 starts, it's a tick off Richard's 2.71 mark in 27 outings. A stat like that might turn Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf a whiter shade of pale. His club took on all of Jake's $56 million. The Padres are paying Richard $469,000 one year after paying him $424,000.

* I enjoyed watching Peavy in his season debut Thursday night against the Angels. He appeared healthy and very much in his element again. Naturally, his velocity was down, but he mixed his pitches well. It amazes me that he's back this soon from the gruesome muscle-off-bone lat injury suffered last July.

* I sort of disagree with Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, one of the most plugged-in baseball writers out there, when he calls Aaron Harang "a bargain" at $4 million. Harang has helped the Padres by going 5-2 with a 4.07 ERA in 42 innings. His intangibles are another plus, and as Heyman noted, $4 million is a whole lot less than what the Reds were paying Harang. Counterpoints: scoring is down throughout baseball, and Harang's ballpark-adjusted ERA is actually worse than average (Baseball-Reference.com).

* The uneven, fast groundballs at Milwaukee this week weren't surprising. I can still see the grounder that kicked by Geoff Blum in the Game 162 loss there in 2007.

* When the Padres are on the road, I usually expect their defense to be more challenged than at home.

* I'm curious to see the swing of Logan Fosythe, the rookie second baseman who likely will be sent back to Triple-A this month. Two years ago, the right-hander slugged .504 and had a surreal .472 OBP in advanced Single-A. Then again, he was in the Cal League, which is to hitters what Petco is to pitchers. Last year, a scout said the Padres were tweaking the "waggle" in his swing because he was tardy on pretty good fastballs.

* It's a bit surprising that early spate of  games against NL Central teams wasn't more of a boon to Ryan Ludwick. He made a lot of hay within the NL Central in his days with the Cardinals, and four of his six home runs with the Padres last year came against NL Central pitchers. He'll see the Brewers (and Cardinals) again this month..He exploited the Cubs (6-for-12) and Pirates (4-for-11). Against the other four clubs, he was 8-for-48 (.167).

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