January 2009

What else do the Padres need?

As some of you know, I sent one of my entries (Why Trevor?) about Trevor Hoffman to the Padres’ front office last week. Well, I got a reply on Saturday. I was actually pretty impressed because it got there on Thursday, and a reply was written that day. I got it by Saturday. Basically, the reply said that we are all going to miss Trevor, but with him only signing a one-year deal with the Brewers, maybe a deal could be reached next year so Trevor could finish his career here. The letter also said that they hope to see me at PETCO several times this year (you want me out there? How ’bout you send me some tickets!). I don’t know if my letter got into the hands of a guy working in the front office, but I did the best I could. I expressed my opinion to my team.

OK, moving on to the other business I would like to discuss: what else do the Padres need for the team next year? We have at least five starting pitchers, with a few open spots and enough guys to compete for it. Do we need another starting pitcher? I think not. Not unless he’s a minor league guy who would be in the minors for a while. 

How ’bout catching? This is one of our biggest needs right now, I think. We have Nick Hundley, who will be doing the majority of the time behind the plate, but I still think we need a veteran who’s been around the majors a bit. Say, a Brad Ausmus. We did pick up a catcher a few weeks back, but I think we should keep him in the minors as a backup.

Infield? Well, we have a lot of guys in the middle infield right now. I think some guys that really proved themselves last season aren’t going to get much of a chance this year. Yeah, I’m thinking about Edgar Gonzalez. With David Eckstein moving into second, Edgar is out of a job. Luis Rodriguez and Chris Burke are supposed to take over shortstop. That leaves quite a few guys without a job. I hope Edgar doesn’t have to go back down, but it looks likely. On our corners though, we’re covered. Adrian Gonzalez and Kevin Kouzmanoff. Wow, I haven’t heard much about Kouz lately. But I did hear that his shoulder isn’t doing the best. He’s been struggling with back problems for a long time, but hopefully he will be ready for Spring Training with that shoulder. Get better, Kooooooz!!! But if Kouz is injured, we could move Chase Headley to third and make more room in the outfield.

Which brings us to…the outfield! We have the guys who are pretty much guaranteed a job-Jody Gerut, Brian Giles, and Chase Headley. We also have a guy who is going to get $1 million this year-Scott Hairston. We have a few rookies who want to be on the team and deserve to be-Will Venable and Drew Macias. We have enough guys, but the question is where they will go. I don’t think we need any more outfielders.

And now, the bullpen. We have a lot of pitchers. We have a LOT. We have a closer (Heath Bell), and set-up guy (Chris Britton), a 7th-inning guy (Cla Meredith), and 15 other pitchers who have a chance for the bullpen. But the Padres’ front office lives on pitching, so I wouldn’t be too suprised if we got a few MORE pitchers this offseason.

Bench, maybe. We have guys who could play from the bench. But the Padres might want to get a few guys who are proved to hit well late in the game. Say, a Tony Clark. I don’t know if the Padres would be able to find one, but that would be a great asset for manager Bud Black.

So, in review, I think the Padres need another catcher, and some bench players. We really do have a lot of players who can do well for us, and hopefully they can help over the course of the season. Let’s see how this goes…    

Photo Opportunity for Happy!

I just found out from the Brewers website that Trevor Hoffman is going to be at the “Brewers On Deck” thingy in Milwaukee on January 24th. This is basically a fanfest, with autograph sessions and all sorts of fun stuff. But the thing is, Trevor is going to get officially announced onto the team there, IN FRONT OF ALL THE FANS!!! I am so jealous. Bad enough that Trevor actually signed with the Brewers, but having a live press conference right in front of the fans…sigh. Happy, this is a great photo opportunity!! Plus, the autograph session is only $25! But see, last year when he was in San Diego, it was only $5. So that’s a great deal! Right. Anyways, I just had to point this event out, and I really hope Trevor has a great time in Milwaukee! Check out the Happy Youngster at: http://thehappyyoungster.mlblogs.com/    

PS: For those of you who don’t know, Happy has promised to post lots of pictures of Trevor Hoffman on his blog to help ease my pain. I miss Trevor a lot, and it will be tough not to see him on the Padres. Though it will be strange to see him in the Brewers uniform, it will help to see lots of pictures. Thanks, Happy!

But Eckstein signs with Padres

Well, it looked like shortstop Omar Vizquel would be signing with the Padres. All the reports appeared that way. But guess what, the Padres pulled one on us. This afternoon, they signed shortstop David Eckstein instead. He was one of the names that had been floating around, but boy did it look like Vizquel was going to get it! Oh well. I actually like this addition better, because Eckstein is much younger (David is 34; Omar is 42). Now, you know that the Padres are going low-budget this year, right? It is supposed to be around $40 million, maybe less. And Eckstein is not a spring chicken, and he’s had some time in the majors. But his salary for this one-year contract just makes me laugh. How much is he getting? $850,000. Yeah. That’s them cheap Padres. I mean, that is a lot of money. But considering what the players get these days…I just think it’s pretty funny.

Thing is, the guy wants to play second base. We do not need another second baseman. Apparently, David signed with the Padres because they offered him the chance to play second. I just don’t understand this front office. Now they are saying that Luis Rodriguez and Chris Burke will get most of the time at short. OK, whatever. But what about the guys like Edgar Gonzalez? He’s worked hard to get up here. He had been in the minors for 8 years before making his major league debut last year. I guess we’ll see more clearly what the team is going to look like in Spring Training.

We also picked up a former Rays pitcher, Jae Kuk Ryu, off of waivers. Can anybody tell me how to pronounce that? There’s not much info on him, but he will definitely get a look in Spring Training for the bullpen most likely. What’s up with my Padres? They’ve signed four players this week. I guess they’re getting ready to play some San Diego baseball!    

Vizquel interested in Padres

So, it looks like shortstop Omar Vizquel will soon be a Padre. He’s pretty old, but he has a lot of experience and he seems like a good defensive player. If he can stay solid at short and give us 15 or so homers, I think he will be OK. It looks like a deal will get done as soon as the end of the week.

Otherwise, a thing is going around the blogosphere that Jimmy over at Baseball, The Yankees and Life started. And that is the dedication of their numbers in the Latest Leaders to a player. My number this time was #23, and I am dedicating that to Adrian Gonzalez, who is also #23.
year in review adrian.jpgAdrian is the Padres’ first baseman right now. He had a great, great year in 2008, not to mention earning a Gold Glove. He was also in the All-Star game, and did pretty well. He’s been pretty amazing in the last few years. He will definitely win the Padres’ MVP. I look forward to seeing him continue his success in the next few years.

Meanwhile, I’m just waiting for Spring Training. We need baseball! 

Padres sign two players, etc

trevor brewer.jpgYesterday, Trevor Hoffman officially signed a one-year, $6 million deal with incentives with the Milwaukee Brewers. Wow, that picture looks so weird! Anyways, I wonder if there will be a press conference. Trevor probably doesn’t want all the attention, but the Brewers might want it. “Hell’s Bells” will be playing in Miller Park this year. We are going to miss him.

For those who recommened that I send my entry Why Trevor? to the Padres’ front office, it’s in the mail right now. I have no idea if they will ever get to it, but it was certainly worth a try. Last night I remembered that General Manager Kevin Towers never watched Trevor when he went out to get a save. KT was too superstitous. New theory: since KT has never seen it, he doesn’t know how much it means to Padres fans! Right…

In other Padres news, we signed two players! Last year, we signed pitcher Mark Prior to a one-year deal. He got hurt, had surgery, and didn’t throw a pich for us even in a Spring Training game. Now the Padres have given him a second chance. It will be very interesting to see if he can come back after all his rehab and do well for the Padres. He has not piched since 2006, but I hope he can do well. Depending on his spring, he might be in the rotation. Let’s see: Jake Peavy, Chris Young, Cha Sueng Baek, Mark Prior, and Kevin Correia. I like it! But I think there will be a bit of a competition for those last two spots. Josh Geer and Wade LeBlanc might be in there, too.

We also signed second baseman Chris Burke. This is a bit strange, since we have Edgar Gonzalez, Travis Denker, Matt Antonelli and possibly Luis Rodriguez in the mix for second. But Burke is very versatile. He’s played first, second, shortstop, third, and even outfield. He will probably get a look at shortstop. Maybe he will be platooning with Rodriguez?? We’ll have to see.

Also, this a bit late, but Jim Rice and Rickey Henderson got elected to the Hall of Fame on Monday. I wasn’t around during their careers, but from what I’ve heard, they both deserve it. Henderson did play with the Padres for a few years, and he seems like quite the character. Congratulations to both of these guys!

Just wanted to thank you all for your great response to my tribute to Trevor. I actually wrote that when I first heard that he became a free agent in early November. I am going to find the Brewers’ fan mail address and send Trevor a printout of that page. It’s the least I can do for the all-time saves leader.    

A Tribute to Trevor

trevor dugout.jpg

The first time I ever saw you live was June 23, 2005, at my first Padres game. I wasn’t a Padres fan, in fact, I thought baseball was kind of boring. I had heard of you before, who in San Diego hadn’t? You were the only person I associated with the Padres. I don’t remember much about that game. But you did pitch that day, in the 10th with the game tied. You’ve always been horrible in tie games. (Note to Milwaukee: whatever you do, do NOT put Trevor in to pitch in tie games!!) This game was no different. You gave up the winning homer. I don’t remember seeing you pitch, but I can say that I was there.

In 2006, I attended another game, and after that, I was hooked. One of my best experiences involving you was your record-breaking 479th save. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon near the end of the season. I was in my room with the radio cranked. My parents had their radio way loud, too. It was so amazing to hear the call of the save, and to hear the interview and analysis afterwards. I was so happy for you that I almost started crying. I remember wishing so much that I could be there. I still have the newspapers from that wonderful weekend. You were my favorite player.

I went into the 2007 season as a Padres fan. You had a great year. There are so many stories I could share, but let’s just say that I was super excited when you got a save, and pretty disappointed when you blew one. The day you got #500 was very exctiting for me. I didn’t get to hear it live, but I’ve watched it a lot since. In September 2007, I headed down to PETCO with my sister and two friends to celebrate my birthday. We got BP balls from the groundskeeper, and when we got into the stadium, we went towards the right field line. There you were, streching near the visitor’s bullpen. I was so excited to see you. I was pretty much awe-struck. When you were done streching, you stopped by to sign autographs. And I got it, on my BP ball. I think I squeezed in between a bunch of people, and just stuck my hand in there. It was so cool, and that ball is very special to me.

Game 163 hurt, badly. I was really confident in you, but you blew it. That was truly devastating, hearing you fall apart on that field. But the way you handled the situation, taking the blame, and giving no excuses was just incredible.

On August 14, 2008, I finally got to see Trevor Time. In the bottom of the 8th, the score was 3-1 Pads. My Padres got Kouzmanoff on, but I desperately didn’t want Chase Headley to get a hit! He didn’t, and so the game headed into the top of the 9th. One of my goals in 2008 was to see Trevor Time. I wanted to see it before you retired. And there I was. I had been watching you warm up in the bullpen. I could tell it was you by the leg kick, and the way you pitch. It was incredible to watch the Trevor Time, to hear “Hell’s Bells”. I was screaming like crazy and taking countless pictures. You did give up a home run to Mike Cameron, but you did it. You closed your 550th save. I am so thankful that I was able to be there, to see it before you left.

Trevor, you are a Padre. No matter where you go, you are and always will be a Padre. You’ve been here for 16 years. In 1998, “Hell’s Bells” debuted and you became San Diego’s hero. Over the 16 years with us, you collected 552 saves. You broke the all-time saves record right here in San Diego. You got 500 and 550 here. You represented the Padres 6 times in the All-Star game. You’ve been here for so long, done so much for this team, and how are we supposed to say goodbye to you?

We love you. We love Trevor Time. We love your humbleness, your humor, and the way you play the game. The front office is eager to let you go, but we aren’t. We aren’t ready to watch you walk away. We want you to stay, to end your Hall of Fame career here. It’s not going to happen, but we wish so much that you could have stayed. We will miss you so much.

It will be so different without you here at PETCO. I will miss you so much, but I hope you have a great year with the Brewers. I will be following all you saves. I miss you, Trevor.  

Why Trevor?

On Wednesday, the day before Trevor Hoffman signed with the Milwaukee Brewers, the Padres’ front office spoke.

“We just don’t have the money.”

Those wise words came from the mouth of Padres’ General Manager Kevin Towers.

“We just don’t have the money.”

That is pretty true. We have a $40 million payroll, one that will probably be slashed again next year. We have two players taking up half of it. We barely have enough for good players, as we sign minor league free agents and veterans that are way past their prime.

“We just don’t have the money.”

OK, I understand that. A lot of us today “just don’t have the money”. This economic situation is wearing on all of us. It’s really hurting baseball, too (well, except the Yankees). But in these times especially, people sometimes just need to scrape up that money to go enjoy some baseball. To get their mind off of things. To enjoy America’s pastime.

Living in San Diego is not easy. It’s not the cheapest place on the earth. And our sport teams have a lot of problems. How many years has in been since the Chargers have been in the Superbowl? How long will it be until the Padres get into another World Series? Will even our college teams go anywhere?

When you’ve had a legend like Trevor Hoffman in San Diego for so long, people come out to see him. People come out to experience Trevor Time, to hear “Hell’s Bells” ringing through the stadium as the all-time saves leader runs out from the bullpen. He’s made a legacy here. He is San Diego.

So I ask you, Padres’ front office, why Trevor?

When you look at Trevor, don’t you see the impact he’s made in San Diego? Do you not see the crowd at Petco when the bells start ringing? Do you not hear the immence cheering when that man trots out of the bullpen? Do you not see the changeups, still fooling batters even after all these years? Do you not see that man in the clubhouse, being a leader while goofing off? Can you not hear his subdued voice, taking any blame there needs to be taken for a blown save? Do you see him in the clubhouse after a great save, looking for praise? Can’t you see that he’s hanging out in the trainer’s room or the cafeteria, waiting for the reporters to leave? Is he disrespectful to other players, to other people on the field? Are you blind?

So I ask you again: Why Trevor?

You say it was him or Brian Giles. When Trevor didn’t get back to you on that pathetic $4 million contract, you had to decide. Would you pick up Giles’ option, or would you save the closer? We didn’t need Giles. We could have let him become a free agent. Jody Gerut would have been fine in right field. Giles is taking up $9 million right now. You know that Trevor would have taken a little less than that. We could have offered him a better contract. But no. For some stupid reason, you decided to go with the aging right fielder who is being accused of abuse right now. He might be a great leader in the clubhouse! But Trevor would have been so much better. You know that.

Why? We could have made room for him. He deserves a spot here. He belongs in San Diego. He’s been here for so long. It just doesn’t make sense that you can let him walk away. But you did. And the Padres fans are not happy, Bob. NOT HAPPY.

We’ve been putting up with a lot from you guys over the years. We’ve been putting up with lot this offseason! We don’t like it, and though you say that you are thinking of us, it’s obvious that you’re not. Why should you care what the fans think? We can’t do much about it. Maybe you should start taking a collection at the games. Lock all the doors and don’t let the fans leave until they donate to your cause. We’re already sacrificing so much just to go to a game. Why not make it worse?

I can’t believe you let Trevor Hoffman walk out of here. You are going to regret it. Just watch, he is going to have an incredible season with the Brewers, with a front office who loves him and treats him with the utmost respect. He’s going to get 40+ saves, make a big impact on that Milwaukee club. He’s going into the Hall of Fame as a Padre though, no matter what.

You say you wanted him. But you didn’t even try. We could have saved him. But you “just don’t have the money”.    

Chargers lost

So, yesterday the Chargers played the Steelers…and the Chargers lost. It was a tough game. They aren’t used to playing in the snow. And I think they were just overmatched. A lot of things went wrong. It was one of those games that you want a second chance. Well, a San Diego team has failed in the playoffs once again. Oh, well. Thing is, I’m not that disappointed at all. Can you say “bandwagon fan”? Maybe it’s because I didn’t listen to the end. Or maybe because it looked very unlikely for a rally by the 4th quarter. I don’t know, but it’s kind of weird. Guess I was never close to being a real fan in the first place!

Trevor Time is really over…

trev yelling.jpgMan, I just can’t wrap my mind around the fact that he’s really gone. I thought about him all day yesterday, remembering all the times he had with us. I think I’m sort of in a bit of denial right now. I don’t think it’s really going to sink in until I see him in that other uniform, not until we get to Spring Training and Heath Bell comes into the 9th the save the game. I must admit, it will be pretty exciting to see Heath is his new role. But I might just cry when I see him save a game for the first time.

I know it might seem like I’m overreacting a bit here, but I think some of you understand. I think all of us have lost a very special player at one point or another. Trevor’s been here for 15 years, and he’s a part of San Diego. It’s almost like having a close family member move away, it really is. I know I shouldn’t be this upset, but I also know that I have every right to be. And when you think of all the things he’s done for this organization, the things that are going to have to change, it’s devistating. So I’m trying not to think about it too deeply because it hurts to much, it’s too terrible to dwell on for too long. This guy has been the face of the organization for years. Suddenly, he’s gone. I’m just pretty drained. I don’t want to think about it. This is a pain that’s not going away for a long time. But the thing is, I will get better. I will eventually get over this. Life goes on. Trevor will have a wonderful year with the Brewers. And he will go into the Hall of Fame as a Padre. I do have a slight tiny hope, though. Trevor’s new contract is for only a year. Maybe he can come back to the Padres in 2010. It’s a long shot, I know. But it’s hope. I’m not giving up.

Baseball is just a game, I know. But Trevor was special. He was so much more than just a player on the field. He and his family were heavily involved in the community. They are ingrained here in San Diego. Trevor’s wife, Tracy, is running a children’s gym. Their three boys have been here their entire lives. They grew up in the Padres’ clubhouse. They have all their friends here, their entire lives are here. It’s sad. But once Trevor retires, his family will be living here. 

And now, a portion from an article on padres.com: 

That deal is currently being organized and may come to fruition by the start of Spring Training. That means next offseason, when Hoffman is a free agent again, the club’s finances might be different. 

But at this point, Hoffman said he can’t conceive of going back.

“I just can’t see that,” he said. “I think once Heath Bell gets settled into the closer’s role, they’ll be comfortable with that. They could have handled my situation a lot better. There could have been a meeting of the minds. They could’ve said they were just going younger, which is their right. Really, we all could have handled it a lot better. We could have walked away feeling a lot more respect for each other. I just don’t think a deal there was to be had. And I’m fine with it. I just think it was time to move on.

“Now there’s just the backlash that I took the money and ran. [People] are having a lot of fun with it right now. It’s not real pretty. I’m getting a lot of calls. But it was fun. It was a good run. Shoot, 16 years, I can’t squawk about it. Not many players get to stay with a club for 16 years. I was pretty lucky.”

We miss you, Trevor! 


Trevor Update

It looks like Trevor is very close to signing with the Brewers. I am pretty relieved. I would be so upset if he signed with the Dodgers. Well, Trevor wants to get 600 saves. I think he will be able to do that in TWO years. So maybe the Brewers are offering a better option for 2010. I just hope that deal gets done and over. That way I can finally come to terms with the fact that he’s gone. You know, it’s not so much that we’re losing an incredible players, but the thing that really bothers me is the way he left. It was shameful to the organization in way that they took care of this. Pathetic. Now I must share this quote and then rip my front office: “We’re not getting into a bidding war with anybody over Trevor,” Moores said. “It’ll be strange to see him in another uniform, especially for me. But it’s rare that any player spends his whole career with one organization anymore. I hope he has a great year.” Imagine that quote in an extremely sarcastic tone. They won’t even TRY to get Trevor. They won’t make their fans feel better in the fact that their team tried their hardest. No, the Padres never wanted Trevor back at all. They just lazily flopped a pathetic $4 million contract on the table, knowing that he won’t accept that disgrace. They let him walk away. They wouldn’t meet with him, wouldn’t talk to him about why they did it. They kicked him out the door with no good-byes. Look back at the quote. Let me rephrase it: “We don’t want Trevor. It might be weird to see him in another uniform, but that’s what we wanted all along. Maybe he’ll get 40 saves and win a World Series.” Wow, what a pathetic quote. What a pathetic front office! Anyways, Trevor will get signed today. Hopefully by the Brewers. I will be pretty sad…