Sunday, October 30, 2011

Q&A, Jason McLeod

As a boy, Jason McLeod liked baseball uniforms of brown and yellow. Others could have springtime in Paris. Twelve-year-old Jason preferred springtime in Yuma, the desert town where the Padres trained and where McLeod's father, a Marine, was stationed.

Padres games on television prompted Jason to grab a pencil and notepad. For reasons still not clear to him, he charted the work of Padres pitchers.

The Padres had wandered baseball's deserts since joining the big leagues in 1969. Here, in 1984, they returned the boy's affection by rising to the World Series.

Friday, October 28, 2011


The sight of David Freese bashing his way into World Series lore on Thursday wasn't a wholly pleasing one for Jason McLeod, the former draft overseer for the Red Sox and Padres. "Freese," McLeod told this blog, "is one of my bad moves."

The story of how Freese entered professional baseball is a familiar one. Padres director of scouting Bill Gayton, heeding area scout Bobby Filotei , chose the slugger from South Alabama in the ninth round of the 2006 draft. The Padres then signed Freese for less than $10,000.

What isn't commonly known, though, is that McLeod and the wealthy Red Sox, attempting to exploit a loophole in Freese's draft status, set up a $90,000 deal to get the third baseman, only to have it nixed by the commissioner's office.

Chris Gwynn

The Padres have lost one of their top-level scouts, Chris Gwynn, who will become farm director of the Mariners. Dan Hayes of the North County Times first reported the story today. This blog spoke with Gwynn, who has a good reputation not only in San Diego but throughout the major leagues.

As San Diego's director of player personnel, Gwynn scouted players at all levels: some 90 players for the 2011 amateur draft, Padres minor leaguers, minor leaguers with other clubs, amateurs in the Dominican Republic and big leaguers here and in winter ball. For trade purposes, the Padres sometimes dispatched Gwynn to scout players.

Gwynn has wanted to run a department, and Mariners general manager Jack Zduriencik is putting him in charge of Seattle's farm system.

Friday, October 21, 2011


What caliber of GM is Jed Hoyer? Will he turn the Cubs into World Series champions? What grade does his performance in San Diego rate? Why are Padres fans angry at his departure, which should be made official by early next week when Josh Byrnes is announced as his replacement?

 As a guest of a radio station in Chicago today, I answered those questions and others. Better put, I tried to answer them. Hoyer's time here was brief -- too brief to fully reveal his capabilities and limitations. Here, following, are several thoughts on the Doogster Era and what's next for the 37-year-old GM.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Regarding reports that the Padres will receive no compensation for losing Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod to the Cubs. I have NOT confirmed that to be true. For what it's worth, I think it more likely than not that the Padres will get player talent, money or both. I have confirmed an ESPN Chicago report that Hoyer asked for and did not get a five-year extension from the Padres. At the time, Hoyer had a five-year offer from the Cubs. The conversation was amicable, according to the Padres.

Arizona West

With Josh Byrnes set to take over as general manager, the Padres' front office makeover is best understood by residents of Pacific Beach, La Jolla and Del Mar.

The Zonies are taking over.

Just as Arizonans flood San Diego's coastal neighborhoods every summer, former Diamondbacks executives have over-run Padres HQ.

At this rate, we might see cactus in the bullpens.

Don't sweat it, Padres fans -- it's a dry heat.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fun fiction

Imagine this chat on the speaker phones at 19 Tony Gwynn Drive:

Theo:  Jeff, what are my chances of hiring Jed or Josh, maybe both of 'em?

Moorad: Tell you what, Theo. Not gonna happen. These guys are staying, unless you can guarantee it's not a lateral move. Even then, we'd need compensation.

But, Theo, we'd be open to moving Orlando Hudson. He's due $7.5 million next year. Compared to what you paid Lackey and Crawford and what you owe Soriano and Zambrano, the O-Dog's a bargain. Besides, we didn't get a big leaguer to go with prospects in the Gonzalez deal. We're not rolling over on this one, Theo. Even if we may look like a Pacific Coast League franchise, we're not one.

Dial tone.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Moving on?

Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated reports Jed Hoyer might leave the Padres to become general manager of the Cubs, allowing him to reunite with his former mentor and boss, Theo Epstein. Succeeding Hoyer as GM would be Josh Byrnes, Heyman writes.

Padres execs didn't respond to queries from this blog. At any rate, Heyman's report makes sense.

Monday, October 17, 2011


David Freese, meet Jason Bartlett.

Three years after Bartlett started at shortstop in the World Series, Freese will start at third base in this World Series.
What else do the left-side infielders have in common? Both were drafted for the Padres by Bill "Chief" Gayton, and both were traded by the Padres as minor leaguers.

Friday, October 7, 2011


John Lackey, bless his soul, is a pariah in New England.

For the Padres, this shouts opportunity.

Play nice and offer to help the Red Sox rid themselves of the 33-year-old stinkbomb of a pitcher.

Lest you think this blog ingested silly pills, a Padres official tells me the idea of exploring a Lackey deal "is not farfetched at all."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Black, Angels

Tracy Ringolsby of suggests that Bud Black might appeal to the Angels as a general manager.

Here's what a major league executive told this blog: "Makes some sense. The owner likes him -- plus he has the relationship with Mike Scioscia."

Responding to an e-mail query from this blog, Black said: "Just speculation. Not commenting on it."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Talent will out

When an athlete trumps the experts, take notice.

The Padres' Mat Latos, for example. In the summer of 2010, Latos trucked along as the best pitcher in all of the majors or close to it, despite being only 22 years old. Only two years earlier, Latos was known as an immature hothead who couldn't say healthy.

Cam Newton is on a similar joyride for the Carolina Panthers, months after several pundits labeled him a likely bust.