Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Don’t Touch the Stove! …it’s hot.

*Today marks a red letter day in the history of Left Coast Bias. Today, I am happy to present the first guest article in the blogs history. David Israel is a fellow Padres fan (I suppose that was obvious), a member of the legal community and, as this article shows, a pretty damn good writer. So, without further adieu, David, take it away!

By David Israel
With the Padres moves likely winding down (pick a 1B, any 1B), and with time on my hands, it’s time to take a look at the hot stove for one of the most active teams on the market. The Padres were surprising players; while there were no big acquisitions, the Padres have made some major moves, and despite the loss of Adrian, should put up a solid mid-level performance on a low-level payroll. So, let’s take a look.

The Adrian deal: Look, it was bound to happen. Enough has been written about it, and if 2-3 of those guys pan out in the next 2-4 years, the Padres will be better off for having made this deal. Casey Kelly looks legit, and the other parts will eventually help. Eric Patterson as the PTBNL stings a little (was hoping for an unrealistic Ellsbury move), but overall, this deal looks downright decent.

GM Hoyer also shored up the rotation, which suffered the losses of Kevin Correia and Chris Young. Aaron Harang has always been one of those guys I can’t help but think has been consistently undervalued; I like him in Petco Park for the price we’re paying. The rotation could probably use one more free agent brought in for the back end, to form up with Latos, Richard, Harang, Stauffer, and perhaps Leblanc. But hopefully not Leblanc; I just don’t trust him yet full time.

The middle of the field has done a full change; Maybin is Gwynn with slightly less defense, but more than enough to cover some ground in Petco’s CF. The bat upgrade he brings over AGJ is well worth it; for Maybin and Bartlett, we gave up 4 pieces we were never going to use, plus two minor leaguers with uncertain futures. That’s a plus; Bartlett will bring some stability to a position where the Pads have been lacking for a long time. This blog has already posted stat comparisons; take a look below.

My one suggestion for the off season when I planned on writing this a week ago was that the Padres should sign Orlando Hudson for a few years. While they paid him more than I would have projected, O-dog will bring a veteran leadership to this team that would have been left to only Ryan Ludwick. Good signing for a player who will fill a need, and provide savvy leadership. He is also familiar with the NL West, from his time with the Dodgers. A little expensive, but a good signing.

What’s left for the off season? A first baseman, clearly- look for Troy Glaus to be slotted in to that role. He made $1.75M last year, and could likely be had for $2-3 M this year. The defense won’t be Adrian (who may not be as good as numbers indicated- the lateral movement wasn’t great last year), but it will be adequate. I’d rather see a cheaper option than Derek Lee, but it would be fun if Lee and C. Young ended up on the team together, if only so they could relive their brawl from 2007. We could also use some of the Gunslinger’s old leftover magic in pulling a bullpen piece or two off the scrap heap.

So can the Padres compete with this team? With the Rockies and Giants in the division, probably not. So, what would I like to see happen? Before the Magglio Ordonez signing in Detroit, Ryan Ludwick seemed like he could be a fit there. Both Ludwick and Bell could (and should) be moved before the deadline, to save on payroll and bring in some help for the future. I love Bell as a player, and as a part of the San Diego community. But he deserves a shot to compete, and should get it.

Overall, a nice hot stove season for the Padres, and it should be a nice year of baseball in 2011. And, it’s only 2 months until the three best words, ever: pitchers and catchers.

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