July 31st. If your a GM then the day is circled on your calendar. Its the trading deadline for Major League Baseball and for the second year in a row, the Padres have made improvements to there bench in the 11th hour. A lot went on today so here is a quick recap:
- Padres trade minor leaguer Jon Link for INF/OF Rob Mackowiak from the White Sox. Mackowiak is batting .276 with 6 homeruns in limited work this year with the White Sox.
- Padres traded a player to be named or cash considerations for Morgan Ensberg. Morgan Ensberg was a popular name at the deadline a year ago but reportedly the Astros at the time wanted Scott Linebrink, a price the Padres were not willing to pay. Ensberg is two years removed from an All-Star season and a World Series but is recovering from a torn shoulder tendon at the end of last year. While healthy, he's numbers have dropped considerably. He appears to be a nice option to platoon Kouzmanoff and to have a bat off the bench.
- The Padres traded away left handed reliever Royce Ring today to the Braves for Wil Ledezma and minor leaguer Will Startup. Kevin Towers is hinting that the Padres will possible utilize Ledezma as a starter, indicating that one of the 3 roster moves the Padres will be required to make tomorrow will be to send Tim Stauffer down to Portland.
- The other two roster moves? Anyone's guess. Clay Hensley is probably not safe and will probably be sent down. The third spot is a bit tougher to figure. Wait and see for now I suppose.
- The Padres didn't stop there, firing hitting coach Merv Rettenmund. This is the second year in a row the Padres have fired their hitting coach. To replace him, former Friar Wally Joyner. I remember in '98 fans wearing Wally Joyner "hats" (caps that made everyone look bald, nice!) and he was immensely popular. Here's hoping he can get the team to hit, because without some offense, this team has little hope of making the playoffs in the ultra-competitive West.
- Not everyone on the team is happy with the bevy of moves the Padres have made (Linebrink = gone, Branyon = Gone, Hairston = in etc.) Trevor Hoffman is concerned about team chemistry: "It doesn't really serve a purpose, other than there's chaos in the clubhouse, and that's not a good thing, either." said Hoffman.
"Today's kind of caught a lot of people off guard,'' Hoffman said. "There's a bit of scrambling around, not really knowing what happened or why. I think it forces you to just kind of keep your head down and focus on what you can do to improve the club personally.''
- Huge series opener tonight against Arizona as the Padres sit 1/2 game back of Arizona and L.A.