Friday, May 9, 2008

It's Time

I began thinking about hosting a blog about a year ago, and back in January I took the first big step by starting an internal blog for employees of the Padres. The idea all along was to someday create an external blog to engage in a direct dialogue with our fans. Well, given the events of the past few weeks, that "someday" is now.

There are already some thoughtful and intelligent conversations taking place at other sites, like http://www.ducksnorts.com/, http://www.gaslampball.com/, and of course, http://www.padres.com/ (in addition to many others). Nevertheless, hopefully you'll find it useful to have some unfiltered access to our internal conversations and feelings. We'll have to figure out the rules as we go since I won't be able to share everything, but I think it's important to open this avenue right now.

So, I'm here, and I'd like to be a part of the conversation. I'll do my best to reply to comments/questions, though I can't promise punctual responses or regular posts. After all, just like everyone else out there, I already have a job. :-)

Hit me with whatever you have and let's get out of this slump together.

-Paul

44 comments:

Dex said...

Welcome to the blogosphere, Paul!

Ryan said...

Before I ask a question or anything, I just want to comment that this is a positive step, for the organization to be more transparent to the fanbase.

Dex said...

Also... What exactly do you do?

LynchMob said...

Whose decision is it to have a 12-man pitching staff ... and what's the key reason for going that route? Another bat/defender would seem more useful than our 12th pitcher has been.

Paul DePodesta said...

"What exactly do you do?"

I get this question a lot. In short, I do a little bit of everything. I help out wherever I'm needed whether it be when KT wants input on a Major League move or when Grady and Chief Gayton want another opinion on an amateur player. I guess I'm the front office rover.

Paul DePodesta said...

Lynchmob,

Over the past decade there has been a signficant shift to 12 man pitching staffs across the game, and that is now the default roster composition. In our particular case, we play so many close games (as well as extra inning games) and our starters aren't complete game types, so that extra pitcher plays a valuable role. Sometimes it also comes down to whether or not you have roster flexibility with certain players - whether or not they have minor league options remaining.

Richard B. Wade said...

This is excellent news. Welcome to the blogosphere, indeed.

field39 said...

I am going to leave questions concerning the current disaster to others, there will be plenty.

Since moving to Petco the Padres have had dramatic home / away hitting splits, with the non hitting version of the Padres playing in front of the hometown fans. Is there any concern that the oppressive nature of Petco leads to negative fan perception, and will eventually lead to apathy?

bullpeners said...

Thanks, Paul, for doing this. Great to be able to communicate with FO. Great win tonight. So happy for Maddog!

Wonko said...

Paul, the draft is less than a month away. There's been a lot of talk about how the Padres need better athletes. Will there be any additional effort to go after those types of players this year? I know the first round has a lot of slugging first basemen types, will the Padres shy away from those guys early on or is it more about best player available?

Jeff said...

Hey Paul, glad to see a blog from someone in your position. How large of a factor is Petco Park in day-to-day baseball decisions? It's well-known around the league for being a pitcher's park which is an advantage for the rotation, but not so much with the lineup. I know the Yankees tend to have a lineup of lefty's because of their park, just wondering what people in the organization do to try and maximize the benefits of the home field.

grafe said...

Would you like to be a GM again?

Chad said...

Paul,
Obviously when making personnel decisions one has to take into account your home ballpark. When it comes to sabermetrics, there are ways to figure out which players should succeed both offensively and defensively at Petco -- in theory. But there seems to be a mental block that overwhelms some players when they step into this park. My question is, how does one go about scouting or recruiting players via free agency who are mentally tough (or naive) enough to not let this effect their play?

Chris said...

First let me just say that it's quite cool you're doing this for the fans.

Secondly, I'm curious about your thoughts when it comes to breaking in young pitchers in middle-long relief vs. the rotation. Obviously when you're dealing with a Dwight Gooden or Francisco Liriano the best bang for your buck is to get them out there as soon as possible, but what about the guys who project as #3-5 starters? To me it seems like the natural way to get guys used to the jump in some low leverage innings- to learn to trust their stuff if you will. Do the numbers back this up in your opinion?

william said...

Awesome, just awesome.
Already bookmarked, and I'll be checking in daily.

go padres!

Robert said...

This is very cool I appreciate this kinda stuff. Here's hoping for better days ahead for the Padres.

obviousman03 said...

Paul,

I know you probably want to keep it mostly a secret, but how has the "Moneyball" philosophy changed since the book?

Also, does team chemistry or "excitement" factor into the equation? There's a lot to be said for making the players pay attention or care. The Cardinals teams from several years ago were very talented but always seemed bored and/or detached. What eventually got them their championship was an injection of young, exciting players (most notably Molina and Wainwright).

There are certain players that get their teammates excited and therefore more involved in the game (usually ones with a lot of power or speed), and the Padres seem to be lacking in these players (with the exception of Peavy).

Marc Normandin said...

Great to see you in the blogosphere Paul, and hopefully we get to see a lot more of you around.

Geoff Young said...

Welcome aboard, Paul! As Ryan notes, this is a fantastic step.

Paul DePodesta said...

Wonko,

I promise a number of draft posts in the coming weeks.

Paul DePodesta said...

It appears as though a post about Petco is necessary. I'll get on that this week.

Dave Rouleau said...

Just wanted to say a big thanks for starting this blog and letting us in on some of the machinations of a baseball front office.

If people can keep it civil, it could be a great blog for a long time...

osbug said...

With as many problems as teams have finding a consistent fifth starter, and having had success putting together good bullpens, have you guys ever considered trying a four man rotation?

Drew said...

Paul,

The "educated" public realizes why the Padres have the product on the field that they do today.

It did not happen overnight.

The old adage..."What you put into something, is what you get out of it.."
Fits the bill.

What fundamental changes are the Padres currently looking to do differently?

And if no fundamental changes are instore, then expect the same results.

Thanks,

The Hoch

Left Field said...

Paul-
Regarding the draft. We have heard both you and Grady discuss this on XX. For this draft will the emphasis be more on position players than arms? It seems that is more the need this year. There have been problems in the past with drafting away from Boras clients. Will that continue?

steveadler76 said...

Paul,

It would seem to me that the most important position defensivly for our team is CF. I know when roberts went down a couple years ago, it was enough of an issue that KT stepped up and brought in Gold glove winner Cameron.

So...moving forward. What is the strategy for the position? Do we have anyone in the minors that grades highly? Free Agency? Or is it something that we would be looking forward to the trade dead line for, assuming things dont change and we are moving some of our guys in with expiring contracts that still have trade value?

I think more fans would be very happy with someone that can patrol the outfield, leadoff with an .350 OBP and RUN RUN RUN! Let's stir it up on the base pads!!

Thanks!

Jay said...

From an ardent supporter of your Dodger days via both Futility Infielder and Baseball Prospectus, I wish you the best of luck with your blog.

Rob said...

Paul -- there are not a few of us in Los Angeles who think you got the shaft. Best of luck in your new endeavors, except where it comes to the Dodgers, of course. :-)

Repoz said...

Best of luck, Paul.

Will you be including any recipes?...:)

Ariel said...

I must say I'm not a Padres fan but I must say this is a great thing for the Padres to be doing.
Very progressive and very innovative line of thinking.

Jacob said...

This is awesome, welcome to blogdom Paul.

Quick Question: What are your thoughts on a team like the Rays? After long years of suffering, was this "winning" thing bound to happen and is it sustainable?

I've always wanted to know an opposing front offices' opinion on another?

-Jake Larsen, DRays Bay.

Mike said...

Paul,

This is a fantastic idea. I look forward to reading what you have to say; I really enjoyed listening to your remarks at the SABR meeting this past January.

And don't let my moniker intimidate you; it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Lord Benne said...

Welcome, Paul. As a Mariners fan I see many similarities with the Padres in terms of both teams' struggles this year--good pitching, poor offense, poor bench depth, and an unforgiving ballpark.

Anyway, looking forward to your future posts. I hope that soon other teams will embrace this new form of communication and connect with the fanbase better; it is a fantastic idea and hopefully it will catch on.

Jim said...

Welcome to the Padres' corner of the web Paul. Many of us are very interested in reading what you have to write.

Ryan Swanzey said...

I have no specific question for the time being, but just wanted to join the choruses of "this is a pretty freaking awesome idea". Looks like I have another daily baseball must-read.

DMtShooter said...

Paul,

Perhaps the first time you've been intentionally confused with a wrestling promoter:

http://fivetooltool.blogspot.com/2008/05/paul-d-dangerously.html

Welcome to the grind, sir. Shame you have to do battle with a great farm system in the division that you helped build...

Bogart in P Towne said...

Thanks for rolling this out...very excited to check it out!

uspeopleintouchweekly said...

Paul,

Welcome to the blogosphere. Nice to see someone taking the leap. Between you and Keith Law, it seems as though baseball fans are now going to be privy to much more "inside" information from the executive suite than ever before. How do you see metrics like BABIP being used by teams going forward? Is this one way of identifying unlucky/undervalued players, or do "better" players acheive higher BABIP's because they hit the ball harder?

David Harris said...

I'm excited for this inside look into the Padres front office. It's ironic that you started this on Friday, which happened to be the first day I have seen you in person (as you headed to lunch with KT and the gang).

Frank said...

I have been a Padres fan for 25 years, started as Brooklyn Dodgers fan in 1952. I realize that there will be down years and I like the front office set up and the philosophy you all have. Get on base, throw strikes!

However, and I suspect that the front office has a big say here, your TV team of Matt and Mark are terrible. When they do not work together, they are okay. Mark Grant and Tony Gwynn are a solid combination. I look forward to Matt going off to the Olympics.

The Alderson crew is literate, highly educated. How can you stand these guys who struggle with the language, think they are funny but they are not, and Matt does not know the game or even if the game is being played in the daytime or at night?

I can live with what is going on on the field. Hey, its baseball and my Padres. Life for me always begins on opening day. But the TV guys are third rate, actually insulting to those of us with knowledge of the game and the English language.

Thanks for posting my rant. Good luck with the blog. I am with you, Paul, and appreciate what someone characterized as transparency.

Frank Barning aka Ballparkfrank
Las Vegas, NV

biffomega1 said...

Paul,

Why haven't the Padres built more around speed and contact - assets that wouldn't be hurt by having to play at Petco? Guys like Jeff Keppinger, Mark Loretta, Luis Castillo and Ichiro Suzuki are types that would seem to fit well at Petco. Looking at the stats, the Padres were last in the league in SB last year and 13th so far this year.

Thanks.

Jeremy1Esq said...

Glad to see this blog. We need a blog where the fans are as smart and perceptive like Dodger Talk. I hate being a Padre fan commenting on that blog but those are some dedicated fans.

Jay said...

I have to say, this is a terrible, terrible idea. Ah, hell, not really. I was just trying to think of something to say that wouldn't be the same as everyone else.

I think you're in for an interesting time figuring out the rules for this thing, but I'm sure it's going to be a very successful and interesting venture for you and the Padres. I just hope it doesn't distract you from figuring out how to send Brian Giles to Cleveland.

Jay (from LetsGoTribe.com)

Tom said...

Have the Padres considered that the 12 man pitching staff / close game situation may be a self-fulfilling prophecy? It may be only anecdotal evidence, but it seems that we've lacked effective bench weapons the last few years, which helps keep games close. Because we've lacked bench players who can win a game with one swing, or who have speed in their toolbag, a game goes extras and this "proves" that the Padres need all those relievers.

Besides, what good does the 12 man staff do if the manager isn't going to go to a fresh arm at high-leverage points in the game? We carried 12 last year and for long stretches it wouldn't have mattered if Cameron and Hampson were locked in a closet somewhere.