Best GM in MLB

The biggest winner at this year’s trade deadline has been the San Diego Padres, as they were involved in virtually every significant deal from mid-June through 7/31. This went all the way back to when GM A. J. Preller sent All-Star closer Fernando Rodney to the Marlins. Since then it was: RHP James Shields (White Sox), LHP Drew Pomeranz (Red Sox), LF BJ Upton (Blue Jays), and RHP’s Cashner & Rea (Marlins), and the final atom bomb– the RF Matt Kemp salary dump to ATL.

Outside of NYY/CHC closer Aroldis Chapman, up until the day of the trade deadline, Preller had the market under his control.  This year the trade deadline was extended to  8/1, due to the calendar, and there were 18 deals on that day alone [1], a veritable avalanche of trade activity, finally releasing itself after A.J. Preller dominated the market for 6 weeks.

Nationals land closer Melancon from Pirates 7-30-16
Padres fan here: Great deal for the Nationals. An ace closer is just what they needed. Hopefully the Pirates got value in return. Nats management did its job, now it’s up to Dusty and his players.

Mike Dee & AJ Preller

Sometime soon, all the baseball ‘experts’ are going to attempt to understand this trade deadline in terms of winners & losers, and will soon come to realize that Padres GM A.J. Preller owned most of this trading season, as he had first skim (Pomeranz), and second skim (Cashner/Rea) at the top prospect cream available, receiving ace-level prospect packages for each.

Rea leaves Marlins debut early with elbow soreness

Velocity dips in 3 1/3-inning start; righty will be evaluated over next couple of days 7-31-16

Really poor scouting & executive decision-making by the Marlins.  This was a red-flag injury risk. Colin Rea (a rookie) was at 99.1 IP– his career high, and was struggling to get batters out. Padres were preparing to shut him down, when suddenly he’s sought after by Marlins GM Mike Hill at the deadline. What’s Preller to do? Unfortunately for Rea, Hill was expecting him to be a reliable back-end starter on a contender. That plan lasted 3.1 IP, and now Rea’s on the 15-day DL, with the Marlins back in the market for a starting pitcher. Jared Cosart, perhaps?

Mike Hill_GM

It was silly for MIA to rush Rea onto the mound, after he was just dealt the day before. Medical staff- FAIL. Scouting- FAIL. GM- FAIL. This can kill a competitive window for a team on the edge like Miami. By contrast, manager Andy Green & pitching coach Darren Balsley got to look at newly acquired RHP Jared Cosart the same day in a bullpen session, just to get familiar with their latest asset.  Their pitching situation is much more desperate than the Marlins, yet the Padres are more patient & thorough.  The report was everything checked out, so Cosart starts on 8/2.  Meanwhile, he’ll get to know his new teammates for a few days before being asked to go into battle with them, which is nice.  He’s pitched only 19 innings this year, and has a live arm w/ sink. Just what the Marlins need.

Final Update 8-3-17: Marlins GM Mike Hill felt compelled to claim ‘damaged goods’ and demanded A.J. Preller to take RHP Colin Rea back, after just one start.  The Marlins ordered no MRI on his elbow before insisting, and had no idea to the extent of his injury.  Preller defended his position with the arguments given above, at the time of the deal, but felt obliged as ‘good business’ to revisit the deal. 

Marlins owner Jeff Loria & GM Mike Hill may have threatened to damage his and the Padres’ reputation, if they didn’t take Rea back.  Preller acquiesced on this, and returned A-ball prospect RHP Luis Castillo, who was part of the 7-player deal.  Padres immediately welcomed Colin Rea back, despite the abuse his elbow received in his 3-day stint with Marlins. Preller immediately sent for an MRI. If his elbow had no structural damage, then Preller would have immediately won this deal twice. They probably still have regardless, as recovery from Tommy John surgery is now very predictable.

It turns out to be (likely) TJ surgery for Colin Rea, who’s still under team control until 2022.  Eighteen months for recovery will put him ready for Spring Training 2018.  Young starting pitching proved a valuable commodity on the trade market this year (in case you didn’t notice), so it’s always a good idea to hold onto it.

Final, final updates:  After return to SD, Rea to undergo TJ surgery   8-5-16

Padres drawing scrutiny after trades with Marlins, Red Sox by Buster Olney @  8-6-16  “According to sources [?], the Red Sox have become aware of medical information with Pomeranz that they believe was not properly disclosed during trade talks.”

If the Red Sox & MLB have any evidence, then please reveal it, otherwise this reeks of a smear campaign against the Padres. Would ESPN be part of any East coast bias? A.J. Preller made some great deals for his club this trade season, and MLB is now finally figuring it out. The Marlins GM Mike Hill & owner Jeffrey Loria are children who fail to practice due diligence, and it has cost their organization dearly. This is neither A.J. Preller’s, nor the San Diego Padres’ fault; as they were given complete access to all medical records on Colin Rea. Always consider the source, which is likely Loria here.

Colin Rea_Marlins

In other Padres news…

Matt Kemp

A.J. Preller handles Braves dirty laundry 7-30-16

RF Matt Kemp dumped to ATL w/ $10.5M, for Cuban OF Hector Olivera, whose $28M/4 years they eat by DFA-ing him, due to a pending misdemeanour assault charge.  Padres are eating $40M to move Matt Kemp to ATL, so they can start winning in 2017.  This proves a first-rate organization, and Padres fans should be ecstatic, as they now have brains & ownership working together.


Most teams approach the trade deadline, Preller attacked it; as he held his best trade option (RHP Andrew Cashner) hostage, until he was ready to deal him on the best terms possible, at the best time possible.  He came at his opposition (all other 29 GM’s) from every angle using: salary dumps (BJ Upton & Matt Kemp) to clog the market for OF sluggers (ex: Jay Bruce blocked, and the Reds got very little for him), while unloading his biggest contract (Kemp $40M), just after trading the top available starting pitcher (Cashner) at ace value.

He tried his best to block C Jonathan Lucroy to Texas with Derek Norris, or at least soften the market. A deal in place with him to CLE was vetoed by Lucroy at the 11th hour, a savior move for the MIL franchise.  Their foolish GM David Stearns was about to give away the best position player of the trade season for scraps, because he couldn’t handle the pressure.  His emotions must have rose early, in the excitement of finally consummating a deal; then the deflation from the overwhelmingly negative feedback– now realizing he’s made a huge mistake–> only to be rescued by Lucroy vetoing the deal at the finish line. Joy was temporarily restored to Mudville.  It just seemed like a lot of work & stress, for NOT trading a player.

Update 8-3-16: Brewers GM David Stearns was rescued again, when Texas approached MIL again on late 7/31, serious about making a deal.  MIL ended up getting a much better prospect package with TEX, as compared to the CLE deal for Lucroy.  He saved his GM twice.

The best news for Friars fans: outside of LHP Drew Pomeranz to BOS, Preller dealt junk.  GM’s and analysts kept trying to wrap their heads around his latest trade & determine what it meant in the market, meanwhile A. J. Preller completely rebuilt his team on-the-fly, gathering top prospects & keeping his best players.

There are two seasons going on in MLB; the one they play on the field from March – October, and the one that goes on year round– which really determines who wins & loses. Padres under A.J Preller & manager Andy Green have revolutionized the game, with their innovative approach to the International draft and now their trade deadline dominance.  MLB GM’s are now turning their heads, and the industry will notice.

Padres owner Ron Fowler is the benevolent owner who burns to win, and now fully trusts his GM, and hopefully, there will be no more meddling. This is the best type of MLB-owner that can be hoped for under capitalism.
COO Mike Dee is #2.
GM A.J. Preller is the deadliest of vipers.
First-year manager Andy Green is the Padres squeaky-clean front-man to the media, and already one of the games top skippers.

Padres’ HR streak comes to a halt in loss 7-30-16
The 2016 Padres are an incredible & most unlikely team to share the NL consecutive-game HR mark. They did it while trading away half their team for prospects, which is quite remarkable if you consider it.  Real Padres supporters thank them for giving fans something to cheer about on the field.

Final Analysis & Thoughts 7-31-16

Padres sunk costs (2016-17): Jedd Gyorko ($7M), BJ Upton ($17M), Matt Kemp (~$40M), Andrew Cashner ($2M), James Shields ($20M)– if he doesn’t opt out after this season.

Kemp Contract

Food for thought: there is a strong possibility that Matt Kemp was forced upon newly-minted GM A.J. Preller in 2014 by ownership as he arrived.  Call it an organizational rumor. It makes sense, if you consider that Preller is probably much too smart to get sucked into a deal like Matt Kemp’s contract.  For that, fans misjudged him as incompetent at first, simply because they didn’t (and couldn’t) know the circumstances.

Whoever was truly responsible for the albatross, it was surely the worst deal in Preller’s name, and he’s over it in less than 2 years, which shows what a brilliant magician he is.  Padres fans are excited that ownership can handle it.  It’s his creativity & decisiveness in action that currently make him the best GM in MLB.  Since last season ended, he has lapped the field, and written a new playbook on baseball front office management. Padres had a top-5 Amateur draft in June, and top-2 International draft in July, and dominated this trade season. Pretty impressive for a first-time GM in his second year.

Preller in Miami

I project the Padres to finish 2016 at 70-92, which coincides with their current winning percentage. They will likely finish 4th, in front of ARZ who are a complete disaster– sunk by bad trades & the Zack Grienke contract.  In 2017 the Padres will easily overtake COL who are perennially in a holding pattern, and challenge the troubled LA Dodgers for second in the division. Giants still project to be superior in the NL West.


Marlins GM’s Mike Hill wasn’t ready for this kind of assault from Preller. He got fleeced and cost his promising team their season, and possibly its future.  He deserves to be fired, along with a few other GM’s.

Toronto Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins deserves special mention, for driving the hardest consummated bargain on Preller. BJ Upton was probably the most difficult deal AJP had to swallow, because he was being short-changed on actual value, and the Jays had a huge need in CF. Preller ate $17M out of $23M owed, to dump him & gauge the market which was part of his greater purpose.
White Sox got middled on RHP James Shields, and now have a huge headache with his performance and possible opt-out situation. Preller doesn’t have any time for this, he’s busy building a Padres championship roster.
The Padres turnover is complete, and it’s now time for the ‘baby Pads’ which will feature more plate selectivity, higher OBP, and more SLG– up & down the lineup. Padres will play solid defense, while being aggressively smart on the bases. Preller’s Padres will feature hard throwers from both sides, in the rotation and bullpen. Have you noticed how many pitchers Preller has acquired recently? That’s what carries the most trade value, as we have seen. Systems are surely being put in place for improved injury prevention & rehabilitation.

Preller dumped Upton & Kemp on the market, just as opposing GM’s were hoping to move their own contracts, and start rebuilding with a nice prospect packages. Outfielders Jay Bruce (CIN), Carlos Beltran (NYY), Josh Reddick (OAK) all moved, but didn’t net as much in return as they should have. For example: Reddick had to be packaged with starting pitcher Rich Hill to maximize the return from the LAD.

Notes on Social Media & MLB

Up to half the 30 MLB teams may have been heavily relying on social media monitoring, as a form of ‘advanced scouting’ during this trade season. All teams use this to some degree. Raw fan data is valuable to an organization that listens, and all have access to it. Note that much of this ‘data’ can be manipulated and/or comprised in some essential way, if safeguards aren’t in place. This renders the ‘data’ useless, or possibly worse– vulnerable to a well-laid trap. The thesis here is: far too many unsuspecting organizations relied on social media monitoring far too much this trade deadline, and a few possibly got fleeced for it. Some were rendered impotent and bewildered by a rogue GM, who broke many long-standing rules of the trade deadline.

Bottom-tier front offices can easily be misled by online opinion leaders, whom influence what the majority believe & think. I played my part, by becoming becoming a most-respected commentator in the forum in less than a year of activity. This MLB forum is shared by thousands daily, and influences organizational & media opinions by the minute.  That’s serious clout.

I began this task by energizing a demoralized Padres faithful, online only, at the end of their miserable 2015 campaign. I engaged ~20-or-so active posters in the forum, and won their confidence & trust, by telling them the truth. I demanded accountability in return. The message unconsciously became: we’re now all in this together, it’s a team mission which includes everybody, and failure is not an option.

Now to stay focused & consistent, improving our understanding of what AJP was doing, because no one had ever seen a GM like this before.  Example: Four Rule 5 draft picks last December; one was RHP Luis Perdomo, who now projects as a top-of-the-rotation starter. Preller managed to retain another Rule 5 selection, OF Jabari Blash, by making a deal with the Mariners after the Padres could no longer afford to keep him on their 25-man roster. He was then optioned to AAA-El Paso, where he raked, and he’s now replaced Matt Kemp in RF. Jabari Blash is 27 and a long-shot at best, but the point is the process, which is a winning one of rewarding hard work with a deserved opportunity.

I patiently explained setbacks so understanding was quicker, and lessons were deeply absorbed, so everybody could now begin to find their own voice. After awhile, I mostly let the discussions run themselves, because I always knew another forum leader was watching & correcting as needed. I still check daily or so, and if there was something grossly off-track, I still patiently point out mistakes and reveal unseen facets, which empower others. Mostly, I speak with the ‘Like’ button for top comments. Do it that way, and everything flows towards success & love.

I discovered the tremendous power I wield, becoming a dominant commenter in fan forum discussions. Everyone respected me instantly, and I was virtually impossible to dismiss, as long as I was polite & respectful. Yankees, Red Sox & Dodgers forums can be intimidating to comment in (as an opponent). I now can consistently drop in on them, make whatever point I need to make (however I need to make it), and then leave with grace & dignity. Sometimes I go back to check, sometimes not.  Note: mistakes must always be corrected, as someone always notices and remembers.

At this trade deadline, Padres faithful were a mobilized & alert fighting unit. Not everyone exactly on the same page, but more than enough understood the mission– dump contracts & get top prospects.  I live in Florida, and most of the Padres games are late with 10:40 PM EDT starts. I rely on Padres comrades to update me on any latest breaking Padres news. Breaking West coast news sometimes takes an hour or two to travel back east. That keeps me playing from behind at times, and that’s not where you want to be with AJP– in anything.

About 8-10 hardcore Padres fans have been nothing short of invaluable during my self-imposed assignment, as my ‘eyes & ears’ of the San Diego Padres social media world.  These fans actually go to the games, or at least watch most of them on TV, supplying first-hand accounts of the games, with their impressions.  Many live in San Diego, and share all the local buzz.  Minor league reports are now shared & discussed in depth, regularly.

Conversely, I’ve only seen ~ a dozen games this season. I’ve followed more games on MLB Gameday, and it’s a unique view with scouting value, but it’s limited.  Padres fans now share everything they know openly, in a dedicated & monitored forum.  This forum is not nearly as vulnerable to outside attacks (other team’s fans), as the Padres fan core is now more knowledgeable & resolute.

For example: I fell asleep bewildered on the mentioned BJ Upton to TOR deal (7-26-16). Next morning I entered the fan forum, and joined a lively discussion with everyone (50+ at least) focusing on their reasons as to why AJP made that crazy deal? It didn’t make any sense, with what everyone knew. There’s something we don’t know?  Sometimes it’s such a simple answer, you don’t consider it.  Leadership, serious purpose, and everyone invested, is what got me what I needed to know in less than an hour.

Upton to TOR was Preller finding out how much the Padres were going to have to eat in order to move Matt Kemp.  After the Upton deal, I had estimated $40-45M in the forum, and published an analysis write-up, linked at the bottom.  Preller got the best deal he could on the Matt Kemp dump, as he learned the absolute market limits from the Upton deal a few days earlier.

When I figured this out, I immediately dispatched my distillation back into the forum. Now most understand & accept the official Padres line, which is hidden to most. That does make a GM’s job easier. How much? I can’t say, but it is significant, and deserves more study.

The point is, the Padres instantly have 50+ loyalists spreading the word, strengthening the Padres ‘social media trending’ line. Trust me: it’s monitored & manipulated, because it matters; and Preller got all the help he needed (and more), from an energized online fanbase this time around. Opposition fans and data harvesters invade all team’s forums. No longer are they allowed to piss all over the Padres forum, without censure and repercussions. Yankees & Red Sox fans NEVER allow it, why should the Padres?

Final Update 8-4-17: One last serious organization improvement that deserves mention is the addition of Padres beat writer A.J. Cassavell, who replaced Corey Brock during Spring Training.  Cassavell’s reporting is more frequent, and has much more thought & depth than his predecessor. That has really helped improve fan dialogue in their forum.

Padres are officially no longer chumps. AJP just revolutionized MLB, much like in Michael Lewis’ sketch of Oakland A’s GM Billie Beane– Moneyball (2003).  I have no material proof concerning any of what I have just claimed, other than the content of this piece, which was updated in real-time during the weekend carnage, then finally updated on 8-4-16.  It’s accuracy, as related to what actually happened, speaks for itself.

By Monday 8/1 Preller was reclaiming his 26-YO starting pitcher, for a 23-YO A-ball pitching prospect, which satisfied the opposing GM in the deal. This was complete dominance for Preller over many weaker GM’s, who didn’t understand this market and how AJP controlled it up until the next-to-last day.  It takes planning & guts to eat $60M in salary, but what truly upped their value was the timing.  When played at precisely the correct moment, dumps will also block other teams from getting what they need for similar-type players.

Matt Kemp to ATL was brilliantly timed in the evening of 7/30, as it depressed the OF market just as selling teams had to make a deal.  For example: Reds GM Walt Jocketty didn’t have a clue on the market for Jay Bruce, and probably should have kept him, instead of getting reamed by the Mets GM Sandy Alderson.  Jocketty also desperately & unsuccessfully tried to trade SS Zack Cozart to the Mariners, but the return was too little even for him.

When it was all over, too many GM’s had enough of Preller’s antics, and no one made a deal for the two most valuable commodities remaining on the market: lefty relievers Ryan Buchter & Brad Hand, both effective and team-controllable for years to come.  Preller’s price was too high, so he held on to them, which is what smart GM’s do.  When the trade season was all over, about 6-8 buying teams (BOS, TEX, CLE, SFG, WAS, NYM, CHC) got what they needed; a few others didn’t (MIA, CWS, BAL); and too many sellers got short-changed,  One GM was ready for more, but it was all over– just as planned.  [2]


The bizarreness of this trade deadline is wrapped up in it’s final deal, Rays sent LHP Matt Moore to SFG for 3B Matt Duffy and 2 iffy prospects. Rays GM Matt Silverman was interviewed before the Rays/Royals game that evening (8/1/16), saying they finished the deal with <10 seconds to go. He should have hung up on the Giants with 20 to go.

The deal wasn’t announced by MLB until ~6:00 PM EDT, nearly two hours after the deadline expired, so therefore Matt Moore (a TJ reclamation with ace stuff), and 3 years of affordable team controllability remaining, is suddenly moved for comparatively less than Pomeranz or Cashner.

Moore (whose velocity & spin-rate are now returning) was the most valuable pitcher who moved in this year’s market, where pitching was they most desperately sought-after commodity. Moore was dealt (squandered) in a last-second rush, by a GM who understands nothing about winning baseball or player value. Silverman is the same GM who dealt Wil Myers for Steven Souza, Jr.– with the Gnats being the intermediary.

Padres Cash Out

Padres, Fish swing 7-player deal featuring Cashner  7-29-16

Andrew Cashner_2

Andrew Cashner pitched for 7 seasons in SD: 3.73 ERA, 30-49 W/L, 673.2 IP. He was pretty good when healthy, which wasn’t often enough, but his teams were mostly poor. Cashner has the stuff to dominate, but too often loses focus and allows the big inning. He has to handle this better to reach ceiling as a #3 starter on a good team.

It looks like a pretty good haul for the Padres RHPs Andrew Cashner, Colin Rea and a fringy prospect.  GM A.J. Preller had plenty to sift through, and he likely got the best deal for the Padres. RHP Jarred Cosart (age 26) is a project, with some potential. Rea had #4 starter written all over him. Injured closer Carter Capps too. Wow!

RHP Jarred Cosart was drafted in the 38th round by the Phillies in 2008, coincidentally their WS championship year. He shot through their system, and became the main piece of the RF Hunter Pence deal that sent Cosart to HOU in 2011. The deal was another bust for the Astros, and old-school GM Ed Wade was finally fired by new ownership after Drayton McLane, Jr sold out that winter. Cosart’s best year was 2014, he was age 24; 13-11 W/L, 3.68 ERA, 180.1 IP with HOU the MIA. He was dealt at the 7/31 deadline to the Marlins in a low-level 7-player deal that amounted to little. His issue has always been walks, and lack of punchouts. What scouts love is his low HR/9 rate and his projectable Texan frame. He seems to start well with an organization, then gets sidetracked. Jarred Cosart has <20 IP this year, so he’s fresh if he’s not hurt, which he may be. A.J. Preller has nothing to lose, so let Darren Balsley & Andy Green go to work on him. He’s a project, for sure.

AJ Preller: Padres GM

Last deadline it was David Price, Cole Hamels & Johnny Cueto available, so Preller hung onto Cashner. Patience & vision; supply & demand. I tip my hat to this organization, this rebuild has been beautifully planned & executed.

[Update 7-30-16]  GM Mike Hill and a few others in the Marlins front office must have been enamoured with RHP Colin Rea. In his interview during the MIA/STL game last night, Hill expressed his adamants that Rea is a big piece of this deal.  That’s how Preller got Jarred Cosart & Carter Capps thrown in, on top of two of their best prospects for Cashner.  Rea can probably pitch ~30-40 more innings in 2016, before he has to be shut down, which won’t help the Marlins down the stretch.  Besides that, he’s meat: 4.98 ERA, 99.1 IP, 1.46 WHIP.

The BJ Upton deal to TOR indicates the market for OF’s.  Josh Reddick (A’s) and Jay Bruce (Reds) should be retained by their teams, for what OF’s are going for. The service time and QO compensation are more valuable. My $.02

Ryan Buchter

Age-29 LOOGY Ryan Buchter 2-0, 2.93 ERA, 46 IP is probably all A.J. Preller has left for this deadline. Possibly CF Jon Jay?  We’ll see how the Federalist responds to having his wrist cast removed in a day or two… Preller likely keeps C Derek Norris because he’s cheap & valuable, just having a tough season, and therefore undervalued. RF Matt Kemp is untradeable.

Jon Jay_Federalist

Jon Jay is a decent CF and left-handed bat: .296/.345/.407. His strange 2016 batting splits: vs RHP: .275/.312/.397; and vs LHP: .346/.418/.432; indicate his value is on the short side of the platoon.  Some teams are hovering around replacement level in CF, and the Federalist (if healthy) is an upgrade.  Otherwise he’s a 4th outfielder on a championship-level team. Much depends on his recovery, and if teams are willing to wait a few more weeks.  He may be considered as a one-month rental, on a team with solid post-season expectations.  He’s owed ~$2M remaining on his last arbitration deal, and is not a player A.J. Preller can QO, because he’ll accept it and he’s not worth $17M/year. Jay would probably have been traded already, if he hadn’t gotten drilled in the wrist by Gio Gonzalez.

Espinoza (No. 21) leads three Padres prospects in Top 100
San Diego also lands Margot (No. 36), Renfroe (No. 52) on midseason list 7-28-16

The Padres owe Matt Kemp $18.25M/year for 2017-19. They’ve paid $21.5M for his first two seasons in San Diego, which is reasonable. What’s unreasonable is what A.J. Preller would have to do to deal Kemp, which is eat $40-45M (of the $54.75M owed). That’s ridiculous, but it’s what he learned in the BJ Upton deal. Therefore, Preller traded BJ Upton at a loss, because he couldn’t have both on his roster anymore, and BJ’s contract hurts less. Another year (or two) needs to expire off Kemp’s contract before he’s tradeable, so the Padres have to find a way to make the best use of him. His biggest assets are his power & durability, as he plays everyday and slugs well enough. Kemp will be age 32 in September, and lesser players start to breakdown at his age, but he’s tapered fairly well and that’s a credit to him & the Padres.

Matt Kemp RF Padres

Kemp’s biggest issue is his lack of range on defense & low OBP, which needs to be remedied by moving him down in the lineup, as fresh talent displaces him. When Matt Kemp is hitting 6th or 7th (like he should be on a championship team), then the Padres will have a formidable lineup. After the trade deadline, look for: CF (L) Jankowski, 3B (S) Solarte, 1B (R) Myers, LF (L) Dickerson, RF (R) Kemp, 2B (L) Schimpf, C (R) Hedges, SS (R) Ramirez, pitcher’s spot. Better OBP at the top, with good SLG at the bottom of the order– except for Alexei Ramirez.
Next spring the rotation lines up as: Tyson Ross, Luis Perdomo, Cal Quantrill (?), Colin Rea [about to be traded], and a large 5th-starter mix. Note that Ross will be rested, rehabilitated, and in his contract year.

Cashner & Shields

A.J. Preller has really owned this trade deadline, and he now holds the next big piece– RHP Andrew Cashner. Every contender would like to upgrade their rotation with a rental arm, and Cashner is coveted by the Giants, Rangers, Marlins, Orioles & Red Sox. Preller is holding out for the best package of what’s left of available prospects. Also, by taking his time, he’s running out the clock somewhat and putting pressure on other teams trying to make deals. Padres fans like that. Preller will also use that leverage, especially after how he was squeezed in the BJ Upton deal.

Fernando Rodney: Closer for Sale

Preller got in first with Fernando Rodney & Drew Pomeranz, and it’s a lesson in being first to market. Pomeranz was the plum starter available, and Preller got top value in return. Rodney isn’t nearly as good as Aroldis Chapman, but Padres still did very well with the Marlins because Preller dealt him early.

[Update 7-30-16]:  Fernando Rodney since being traded to the Marlins: 1-2 W/L, 4.15 ERA, 13 IP. >>>——–//————> He was legendary for the Padres for half a season. Bad deal for both teams so far as RHP Chris Paddack, the 20-year old prospect sent in return, now needs Tommy John surgery. At least Paddack and the Padres have time on their side.

C Derek Norris has had a tough season at the plate, having to work way too hard defensively, with all the injuries & trades to the Padres pitching staff. When Cashner is traded, 3/5 of the rotation (w/ Pomeranz & Shields) will have been traded, with their #1 starter Tyson Ross on the DL for the season. [With Colin Rea also to the Marlins, 4/5 of the Padres rotation was traded in 2016] .  That takes a tremendous toll on the primary catcher, and Norris often looks tired because he surely is. Backup C Christian Bethancourt has a lively bat, but poor receivership skills, and catcher is too important defensively. Keep Norris and bring up Austin Hedges to start the majority of what’s left of 2016. Send Bethancourt to winter ball, where he must dramatically improve his defensive skills, or else find another position or team.

C Derek Norris

It’s really interesting to hear the CWS are now trying to trade James Shields, who is suddenly pitching really well. Last start against the Cubs was W, 7.2 IP, 0 R, and he’s keeping the ball down in the zone much better, with livelier movement. He just needed to be on a competitive team, which the Padres weren’t. Whether the Sox can trade him or not, there’s a significant chance he will exercise his opt-out at season’s end. It’s a very weak pitcher’s free-agent market this coming off-season, and the White Sox FO are definitely concerned that Shields may only be a rental, and if that’s true, they overpaid and are try to make it up since they’re basically out of contention now. That’s a crazy organization to play for, and Shields may opt-out just to get away. It also depends on performance, so it’s definitely not decided, we’ll see…

James Shields_White Sox

Padres go for NL home run record

San Diego has homered in 25 straight games, two shy of Major League mark 7-28-16

Padres are going home for a series with the Reds who have a team ERA of 5.31. With those stats, a fan would expect the Padres to break the record, but it would be just like baseball (and this Padres season in particular), if it didn’t happen. Note that lots of bad pitching everywhere makes this kind of streak more & more possible. This one started 7-1 against the Yankees, and the Padres are 11-14 during, indicative of their own pitching woes. [Update 7-30-16: Padres shut out by CIN 6-0 last night, team HR streak ends at 25]

Left-handed power is always an asset, and new additions 2B Ryan Schimpf & LF Alex Dickerson have delivered it, giving Andy Green contributions up & down his lineup. Padres weren’t getting anything close to this early on. Nice improvement offensively, and it’s a great sign for this organization, which has had a history of being punchless.

LF_Alex Dickerson

Power pitching is in the minors, so fans remain patiently optimistic. After the trade deadline, the rotation will be Colorado Rockies-bad, with RHP Luis Perdomo (Rule 5 from STL) leading the staff. Higher injury-risk for pitchers, means an organization has to develop plenty of arms to remain competitive, due to attrition. The summer drafts and deadline trades have helped fill all levels with high-upside arms. The 2017 season will likely be the first year of relative stability under A.J. Preller, as he now has a team & system he mostly likes. Everything began with the Wil Myers deal.

Padres storm past Nats with late surge  7-24-16

Really nice win for the Padres! They win the season series 4-3, from a good team. Nice bullpen work, and great AB’s up & down the lineup. Honestly, I don’t understand Dusty Baker NOT using Bryce Harper in a game situation in the 8th, then substituting him for Papelbon in the 9th, down 10-6. Either give your star the day off, or PH him in the correct situation.


Ankle keeping recovering Ross off mound 7-23-16
No point in bringing RHP Tyson Ross back this year. Padres are long out of contention and can’t trade him for fair value now. It will be mid-August at the soonest for any 2016 return.  Many bad things can happen, with little reward for the Padres. The priority is getting Ross right for 2017, as the Padres will need him to front a very young rotation. Shoulder injuries are the career-enders (vs. elbows), so a pitcher can’t take too long in coming back. Err on the side of caution, play it smart, and see the big picture.

Schimpf’s moonshot sends SD’s HR streak to 21 games 7-24-16
Ryan Schimpf’s line in 101 PA’s is .229/.356/.614, which is amazing. It’s the walks that make him playable, with the left-handed power skyrocketing his value. He’s 28, so he won’t get too much better, but what he’s shown (in a small sample size) is extremely valuable.

2B Ryan Schimpf

This is a great example of how A.J Preller covered himself at 2B, where the projected starter was Cory Spangenberg. Spangenberg performed poorly early, then injured himself and has been unable to recover. Preller anticipated this possibility and added Jemile Weeks, Jose Pirella, Adam Rosales and Ryan Schimpf– all on minor league contracts during the off-season. Everyone received a shot at one point or another, and fifth-in-line Ryan Schimpf has made the most of it. Preller found yet another (low cost) way to add a winning player to his team; on top of trades, the Rule 5, Amateur & International drafts. An improved coaching staff (remember he cleared out the system when he fired Pat Murphy & the rest of the deadwood after 2015), with an outstanding new manager Andy Green, also makes a huge difference in player development success.

I rate the best managers in baseball in the AL: Terry Francona CLE, Ned Yost KCR; and in the NL: Bruce Bochy SFG, Joe Maddon CHC, Mike Matheny STL, and Andy Green. Managers are more important in the NL, with the pitcher’s hitting, bullpen use, double switching, etc… Note that catcher’s tend to make very good managers, as the have to know all sides of the game.

If BJ Upton is moved to the AL East, it’s Toronto. They’re trying to win it all, and their current CF situation is Kevin Pillar, age 27; hitting .261/.290/.385 in 2016.

BJ Upton_2

The Braves him use his “government name” when he signed as a FA from the Rays. BJ is a handle. He also made the best double play I ever saw a few weeks ago off J.J. Hardy’s bat: 8-3 to nail Mark Trumbo who was trying to make sure he scores on an extra base hit, on a ball hit over the fence to the left of dead center in Petco. Unbelievable

AL East clubs discussing deals for Upton, Cashner
BJ to the O’s doesn’t make sense, as he’s basically the same player as CF Adam Jones. RHP Andrew Cashner makes more sense with their needs. Padres have no need for RHP Ubaldo Jimenez. It seems there needs to be a third team involved to get the prospects A.J. Preller needs in return, as the O’s system is pretty bare. We’ll see…

The 8/1 deadline is it for the 2016 Padres season, fans. Once these veterans are dealt, it’s full rebuild mode. Padres September call-ups will be interesting for a change. It’s been a beautiful transformation to behold. This planned window of competitiveness is cause for optimism, and has rarely (if ever) existed in franchise history.

Padres sign Cuban outfielder Jorge Ona  7-20-16
This caps it for the Padres in the International Draft, and they pretty much stole the show. Padres now have a much-improved farm system, and still have young controllable talent at the MLB level (Myers, Solarte), putting them far ahead of the Braves, Brewers, etc… in rebuilding. A.J. Preller still has a few assets to deal, whenever an agreeable offer presents itself. So far it’s been an astounding transformation for this organization, with Preller now on the job almost 2 years in San Diego.

Padres could use a good start from Andrew Cashner tonight against Adam Wainwright & the Cardinals, as it would make dealing him much easier. It would also help if the lineup scored some runs to support him.

Edwin Jackson_Enigma

Jackson flirts with no-no as Padres sweep Giants 7-17-16
That 12-pitch walk by Alex Dickerson in the 6th was huge, as it really drained Johnny Cueto. It helps to have some OBP at the bottom of the lineup with him & 2B Ryan Schimpf. Christian Bethancourt’s bat helps too, but his defense (passed balls & framing) is really poor, and that’s why he doesn’t play more. Nice sweep Padres. They needed it, as their schedule gets rough for the next 6 weeks.

Padres tab Jackson to start finale vs. Giants 7-17-16
RHP Edwin Jackson is here to eat up innings at low cost. Padres just traded Drew Pomeranz for the future, and the remaining current options are him and RHP Paul Clemens. Paul is not Roger, and he needs some more work, if there is any upside (though not likely) to be tapped. Therefore it becomes the enigma/riddle: Edwin Jackson. For perspective: GM Andrew Friedman traded him as a Devil Ray, to Detroit for RF Matt Joyce, and it helped Joe Maddon a lot. Padres first series sweep of 2016 is not likely today. [Padres won]

Padres deal Pomeranz to Red Sox 7-14-17
2B Cory Spangenberg was GM Jed Hoyer’s #1 pick (10th overall) in 2011– his last draft with the Padres before he left for the Cubs GM that October. This season Spangenberg is age 25, and ‘hit’ .229/.302/.354 in 14 games, before tearing his quadriceps while sliding into first base. He’s now re-injured himself twice in rehabilitation to end his season, after an initial 6-8 week recovery diagnosis. He has shown neither the talent, nor the brains to be a winning player. If Preller can keep him on the 40-man roster, then ST 2017 is his last shot with the Padres.

2B Prospect_Cory Spangenberg

Padres win stunner in 10th on walk-off balk 7-17-17
For a team that’s out of contention and in the process of trading away most of their assets, the Padres are making a good showing of themselves. This is largely a credit to manager Andy Green, who won’t let his team give up, despite their current hopeless situation. Remember, this team has been ravished with injuries. Showing resolve and finishing strong are winning qualities that will carry through to the future, when the Padres have more talent.

Green & Preller

This could have easily been a 100-loss season, and it’s now clear it won’t be (even with the salary dumps), and that’s actually a huge step forward for SD. The Padres are rebuilding without becoming an embarrassment to their fans. This maintains precious hope & optimism among the fanbase. It’s been a tough 2016 season for the Padres, but it’s also been a success for GM A.J. Preller with his turnover & acquisition of organizational talent. A competitive window will open in their future, in about 2-3 years.

Padres break through for victory over Giants 7-16-16
Andrew Cashner’s next 2-3 starts are worth a lot of money, to a lot of people. If Cashner throws well with no injury setbacks, he’s in line to be traded to a contender, with a shot at a huge payday if he succeeds. If he blows up, then Preller has to consider QO options on him, which he’d rather not. Padres have done everything possible to get him healthy and showcase him. It now falls on him to perform, as Preller can’t trade junk.

Padres place Upton on bereavement list 7-15-16
Bereavement leave is a player’s right, earned through solidarity & the collective bargaining process. MLB players didn’t have this before Marvin Miller became their MLBPA representative.  Best to BJ & his family

Yangervais Solarte_3B

Offense falls flat following Solarte’s early blast 7-10-16
Pitchers who throw ground balls are huge, as they give up less extra-base hits and home runs than fly-ball pitchers. Also, with a solid defense they are always one pitch away from a double play. The stuff is there for power sinker-baller Luis Perdomo, he just needs more experience & polish, which he’s getting under Green & Balsley. This has been a developmental season for him and the Padres in general, and there is noticeable progress.

Pomeranz, Marte, Bruce added to NL squad 7-9-16
LHP Drew Pomeranz is fair, for the Padres trading Rodney, who makes it as a Marlin, on his merits as a Padre.

Pomeranz leads Padres’ two-hit shutout in LA 7-8-16
Nice win for the Padres to climb out of last, after the Dodgers put them there to start. Drew Pomeranz is definitely for real, and it doesn’t matter about the All-Star situation. Kershaw obviously was the choice, and keeping him healthy is primary for the Dodgers. He’s 28 and has carried too much of the load for too long. He may need to be DL’ed the remainder of the season with his herniated disc in his back, depending on the severity and his rehabilitation. If necessary, the Dodgers must do it and deal with it. They owe Kershaw $35M/season through 2020.