Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Wolf to Astros

Today we traded Randy Wolf to the Astros for RHP Chad Reineke.

As discussed a while back, given his contractual situation - free agent at the end of the year - Randy was a likely candidate to be traded before the deadline. The fact that the Astros had interest also wasn't a great surprise considering the history Houston's GM, Ed Wade, has with Randy going back to their days together in Philadelphia.

Though we didn't want to be in this position when we signed Randy last December, we are excited to add Chad Reineke into our system. This winter Baseball America rated Chad as the Astros' 7th best prospect, marking the second consecutive season that Chad has appeared on the Astros' top ten list. A 6'6" RHP, Chad is currently on the 40-man roster and a starting pitcher at AAA Round Rock. After being drafted in the 13th round in 2004, Chad went from short-season A through AA in 2 1/2 years with a combined 3.12 ERA in 283 ip. In 2007 in his first season in AAA, Chad split time between the rotation and the pen. This year he has pitched exclusively in the rotation (except for one 6-inning relief appearance) and has amassed 112 innings so far. His overall line is: 4.41 ERA, 112.1 ip, 112 hits, 35 walks, 100 strikeouts.

According to our reports, our scouts believe Chad has the potential for both a plus fastball and plus slider that could play in either the rotation or toward the back end of a bullpen. Houston certainly recognized this as well, as Reineke started seeing some time in the pen in 2007 similar to what Chad Qualls did when he was in AAA for the 'Stros. As a rotation pitcher, Reineke normally pitches around 90 mph, but our scouts have clocked him as high as 94 mph out of the pen, so we understand the reasoning. At 6'6" his angle to the plate has given hitters trouble, which could serve him well in both roles.

In each of the past two seasons Chad has gotten off to slow starts, posting a combined 8.66 ERA in April. In the months after April, however, his ERA has dropped to 3.71. In fact, over his last seven appearances, Chad has posted a 1.84 ERA over 44 innings with 30 hits, 11 walks, and 44 strikeouts. All in all, Chad is an interesting prospect whose arm, performance, and experience puts him pretty close to Petco. Hopefully, he'll have a chance to help us relatively soon.

34 comments:

Alex said...

Seems like a guy who will definitely crack the big club's bullpen real soon. The Padres have a knack for finding extremely good relievers and this could be another case of that.

It's funny you compared to CHad Qualls because that is the only comparison I've heard from anyone. I guess being a big reliever in the Houston organization just type casts a player, especially when they have the same name.

KevinK said...

This is my first post and I just want to say how great it is to have someone from the Padres front office to interact with the fans like this.

I was one of the people who voted on your recent poll for the team to be sellers at the deadline, but I am a little bothered by the way the team is going about things. I understand that the recent struggles Randy Wolf has gone through made it so all he was worth was a 26 year old prospect who may or may not turn into a major leaguer. However, I do not understand the surrounding moves. I heard on the radio that Wilfredo Ledezma will be the pitcher called up to replace Wolf on the roster. I think we have seen enough of Ledezma to realize that he really shouldn't have any place in the future plans of the organization. Since it is clear with these moves that the team has given up any hopes of winning this year, why not call up guys that can use this time to prepare for future seasons. About a month ago you posted about the aa rotation, and how successful they have been this season. With their continued success along with the fact that aaa has turned into more of a league for minor league veterans than a prospect development league, why not promote one of these guys to the big club and give them a shot to prove themselves?

I think I can speak for a lot of Padres fans in saying that saving money for John Moores is not the reason we want the Padres to be sellers. We want to trade the guys that are not in the future plans so we can prepare for the future. I have no interest in watching guys like Wilfredo Ledezma, Brian Myrow, Luis Rodriguez, etc... just because they are cheap roster fillers after more expensive veterans were shipped off to save money. Not calling up actual prospects just tells me that the farm system is not as good as you are leading us to believe. If you really believe these guys are as good as your previous posts suggest then why not get them some experience while the team is playing so bad?

Thank you for your time Mr. Depodesta.

Nathan said...

it makes me wonder what other systems are thinking. A guy has 2 pitches and needs at least 3 to be a starter, yet he's been starting his entire career. Reineke seems like the perfect type to convert into a back-end of the bullpen reliever. A fastball he can crank into the mid-90's in short term situations combined with a high quality out pitch in his slider, that sounds like a winning combo to me if he can keep his walks down.

I'm just happy we were able to get something that may have near-immediate value for Wolf, who let's face it, just didn't have a lot of trade value at this point.

And thanks again for not only the blog but for being quick to inform about the details of the trade and the plans going forward for the player received. Once I found out Wolf had been traded, I headed straight for this blog. Rock on.

Melvin Nieves said...

How about that strikeout ratio! I'm sensing a pattern here.

hector said...

I really like the way the kid gets described. After all, the Padres have a track record of finding diamonds in the rough.

Randy Wolf was tracking as type B free agent, possibly A. What is the thinking?

Now that he is gone, out of curiosity, can you name the clubs he would have rejected a trade?

Loren said...

I think you guys sold way too low. And the fact is this individual has not done much, is rather old for a prospect, and the only real hope that you all have is that he turns into a back end reliever. That's wishful thinking. This trade makes what we got for Tony Clark look marvelous.

Is this seriously all we could get for Wolf even considering he'll be an astro for 1/2 a year?

D W said...

Two questions-
How much can you tell us about other offers for Wolf? There are plenty of clubs that could use a guy like Wolf, so I am sure there were discussions with other teams- even though Wolf has a limited no-trade clause.
I am asking because you have more or less set the price for comparable starting pitching going forward through the trade deadline.

Also, are you especially cautious about making one of the first trades as the deadline approaches, or do you feel that your strengths put you in a position to gain more value prior to factors you cannot control affecting the marketplace?

jamie said...

why does the astros want a starting pitcher? why 'waste' a prospect for a guy who isn't going to help you to a title this year?

::boggle::

Paul DePodesta said...

kevink,

Your post offers a very fair question. The answer has many dimensions.

First, I once wrote that we have to be careful about promoting players before they're really ready for the promotion. That is a concern in this particular situation. We don't want to rush kids before they're really ready to succeed, or else we risk stunting their development. Believe me, in a season like this there is nothing more fun than watching our young players at the ML level, but we have to be prudent about it.

The second reason is a practical one. None of those AA pitchers, for instance (since you mentioned them), need to be protected on the 40-man roster this winter. By adding anyone like that to the roster now, we would lose a potential spot this winter and next spring that could otherwise be used to acquire another player.

The third is that some of these players being promoted, like Luis Rodriguez and Brian Myrow, DO potentially have futures on our club in certain roles. Myrow, in particular, has done more than could possibly be asked at the AAA level and has earned this opportunity to prove himself at the big league level. As an older and more experienced player, we're more comfortable with him as a bench player than one of our young kids going forward.

Our system has come a long way, and it's just now on the edge of steadily producing Major League-ready players (Headley and Hundley are the first). In another year we expect there to be many more.

Paul DePodesta said...

hector,

Randy currently is on the edge of being a Type B free agent (versus no rank at all). The chances are remote for him to become an "A".

The money involved with Randy's salary and performance bonuses as well as the money to sign a draft pick IF Randy is a Type B free agent could amount to close to $5 million. That being the case, we felt we were much better off trading for Chad Reineke and using that $5 million in some other way.

Paul DePodesta said...

loren and dw,

I won't go into all the specifics, but the Astros were clearly the most aggressive suitors for Randy.

KevinK said...

Thank you for the response. The 40 man roster issue is one that I had not considered. By my count the current roster is at 36 players. I may be out of my element here as you have much more knowledge on this subject than I do, but it seems like there is some room to work with there. Would it be fair to say that you are waiting to see how the rest of the trade deadline period goes before adding someone, or is it strictly based on next season? For example, if a guy like Maddux were traded away, would calling up another legitimate prospect be warranted?

tommygunz said...

Paul: Bravo on the Wolf trade. I think fans often don't understand how important the economics of the game are, especially for mid-market teams like San Diego. While I enjoyed watching Randy pitch, and thought both his record and peripherals were not indicative of how effective he performed, I couldn't have stomached his starts in September knowing it was costing us 175k every night he had the ball. As you mentioned, the opportunity costs in both real dollars and IP that could go to evaluating potential 2008 rotation spots was simply too much. I think this trade is a win even had the Padres simply unloaded his salary for "future considerations". Getting a live arm with potential in return is a bonus.

Kudos to all involved in this move. Here's hoping Clay Hensley shines in Wolf's spot and shows that he'll be a factor for us next year.

Paul DePodesta said...

kevink,

We certainly have room right now on the 40-man, but those spots disappear in a hurry in November and December. Also, the flexibility that being under 40 affords allows us to take advantage of opportunities that may arise.

Geoff said...

Can you comment on how the Front Office communicates with the player(s) that are in the process of being traded?

Jason said...

Paul,

Thank you again for your honest, straight-forward answers. You seem to be providing a little more inside information as the months go along, which is refreshing. I particularly thought your answer to Hector (regarding the financial incentives to trade Wolf) was a bit of honesty that teams rarely provide to the outside world. Bravo.

When you are negotiating with other teams, I would love to hear any information you can give us regarding how the process itself works. Not necessarily specific to this trade (though I will use this trade to illustrate what I am asking). Do most trades start with GM-to-GM contact (Ed Wade giving KT a call or shooting him an email), or do they tend to start among assistant GM's (or someone else) within the organizations. How about the process of deciding which prospect you will target (or give up) in return. Do teams usually come into negotiations offering a set package (or asking for a set package), or is there more of a general dialogue as to the worth of the player being given up? Or does it really just a little of everything, depending on the market and the individual actors?

Thanks.

Christopher said...

Paul:
I heard yesterday the team signed its 6th round pick Cole Figueroa, a short stop. He was hitting .232 in the Cape Cod league with 17 RBIs.

How would you compare Weems versus Figueroa, and do you see one changing positions, both playing SS, etc.

Josh Knipp said...

This blog is one of the best ideas on the internet. It is great to get some insight from someone who is a part of the decision making.

As for Reineke, I have not seen anywhere what San Diego's plan is for the rest of 2008. Other readers or Paul, please respond if you find a link that states if he is going to the pen, AAA, or to the Padres. Thanks.

cubbuster said...

Depodesta....... Awesome that you're writing back to the fans..... it's beyond commendable..... but horrible that you're in the front office. Aren't you the guy that ruined the Dodgers in a matter of a couple years?

Christopher said...

Paul,

Any updates on Dykstra?

I assume you'll have a full post on the matter when the time comes, but there is a lot of chatter out there that the Padres dropped the ball once again with their first round pick.

Dan said...

First, I have to comment that the Randy Wolf trade was an excellent move for the Padres organziation in my view. To me - this trade reminds me of the Matt Morris deal that Brian Sabean executed last summer and may have similar effect on the Houston franchise and Ed Wade's legacy there. I have been trying to figure out what the Astros were hoping to accomplish with this trade and would love some insight to that if you have some.

Also, what is next for the Padres? I know that I have heard Greg Maddux talked about with some trade discussions. That is a pitcher that could make sense for clubs like the Rangers, Braves, Tigers, Marlins or Rays. After Clark and Wolf, Maddux would be the next logical player to deal.

One final comment, I really appreciate that you are making the Padres front office accessible to the baseball world. I am incredibly impressed by your commitment to communicate via the blog, thank you so much for blogging!

Kevin said...

Mr. Depodesta,
Please keep Hundley on the major league team. Bard has had a couple of years and his power stats have been very disappointing. I understand that Bard has been injured but Hundley is one of your prospects and he should have every opportunity to get better at the majors league level.

Jonathan said...

Mr. Podesta

I have lived my whole life in San Diego, and am a huge fan of the team, and always have been.

I have also loved this blog, thank you for doing it. I have loved hearing about the insights and mindset of the team's front office. At this point in the teams current status, it is also extremely brave of you to put yourself out there in front, as I could imagine, of many disheartened fans.

As the white flag has been thrown in for this year, and we gear up for '09, are there any plans to sign or trade for a big right handed bat? If not, iother than the obvious, who do we have to look forward to in the future as big contributions to the team?

Shawn said...

This isn't related to the Randy Wolf post, and I don't want to seem like a malcontent...but...I would love to hear someone justify Joe Thatcher being anywhere near the San Diego bullpen! He may have all the potential in the world, but he has no results. He may be cheap, but I'll sign for the league minimum and will pitch as well as him. After the farce of an appearance today:

25.2 IP, 42 H, 13 BB, 2.2 WHIP, 24 ER (almost a 9 ERA), 16 SO (essentially a 1:1 SO:BB ratio)

26 appearances doesn't allow for the "small sample size" argument.

I'm a die hard Padres fan and stay as optimistic as possible with the sometimes questionable personnel moves, but this is unfathomable for me.

Paul DePodesta said...

shawn,

Malcontent! :)

I completely understand your frustration. Everyone is frustrated about Joe's ML performance so far in 2008... Joe being chief among that group.

His situation is a strange one, quite frankly. Last year we brought Joe to the big leagues after the trade because we thought he could help us, and we had a need. However, we also thought that we might be rushing him. After all, at the time of his recall, he had fewer than 50 career innings pitched above A ball. A pitcher usually might just be on the cusp of being ready for AAA at that point.

Nevertheless, Joe came up and pitched remarkably well - 21 ip, 13 h, 6 bb, and 16 k's with a 1.29 ERA. His performance this year has been quite the opposite. I would say that he was probably a bit lucky last year (very low hit percentage for balls in play) and he's definitely been unlucky this year (outrageously high hit percentage).

What makes this more puzzling is that Joe's performance in AAA this year has been outstanding and in line with his history - 22.1 ip, 13 h, 8 bb's, and 25 k's. His AAA totals between last year and this year are: 1.54 ERA, 53 ip, 42 h, 16 bb, and 69 k's. In short, he's been spectacular there, especially when you consider that the environment is not favorable for pitchers.

The fact is that he is still relatively inexperienced (22 ip in AA, 53 in AAA, and 47 in the ML), and lady luck has had him on a yo-yo. Nevertheless, his continued excellence in AAA speaks well for the future. I'm not saying this is how he's going to turn out, but just look at Heath Bell's track record in the minors and early days in the Majors - a lot of similarities.

Shawn said...

Thank you for the prompt and detailed response. I can't say I won't sit on the edge of my seat in Baltimore every time I see him come in from the bullpen, but I can understand the justification now. Thank you.

Fingers crossed for inexperience, I just hope he's not a AAAA pitcher.

Charlie said...

Paul, how do you feel about the great Moneryball move today by walking Phillips to get to the reds best hitter, Adam Dunn

Russell said...

Mr DePodesta,
I read in the North County Times today that teams have been inquiring as to the availability of Trevor Hoffman. I've been a Padres fan all of my life and have always had an appreciation of Trevor's work ethic, impact on the community and overall commitment to success. But I think it's time for the club to move on. This team does not need a closer. A closer is only valuable if the team can hold a lead to get to the closer. This team can not score runs and so far this year its bullpen has not been able to keep the other team from scoring runs. Trevor seems like an expensive luxury for the Padres but would be a valuable addition to a contender somewhere for the stretch run. It would save the Padres money that they could spend in free agency this offseason, sink into the draft next year (since we'll obviously be picking at or near the top of the draft and guys like Stephen Strasburg aren't going to come cheap) or spend it in the International market, plus it's another chance to add more talent to a minor league system that seems on the verge of blossoming.

Also, in the article Kevin Towers said he wanted to see Trevor retire as a Padre; emotionally, I do too. It would be difficult seeing Trevor in another uniform, almost as hard to believe as seeing Tony Gwynn in another team's uniform, but for the good of the team, maybe it's time, especially with his looming retirement. This could be Trevor's last chance to help an organization that he has already helped so much.

Carlos said...

Paul, do you think 26 (or older) year old pitchers in AAA are as valuable as young 21-year-old projects in A ball?

What's the value in comparison between a more experienced (but older and probably already peaking) pitcher in the high minors and a young project who has age on his side but a lot less experience and years to "figure it out" and, hopefully, start to peak while in the majors?

As an example of my point, look at what the Cubs got a few years back in the Matt Lawton trade to the Yankees, 21 year old Justin Berg who was in A ball at the time of the trade. Two years after the move, Berg is struggling to the tune of a 1:1 SO/BB ratio in the past two years; the Cubs, though, thought that Berg was more of a minor league trooper and thus picked him over a mid-20's reliever who was in AA at the moment. I don't remember who that was, but it probably was one of the Yankees' relief projects that have been in and out of the majors in the past two seasons.

So, what do you usually value more?

mweldon said...

This is my first post. While I am not the least bit excited about this Randy Wolf trade (although I hope Chad Rieneke can prove me wrong), I wanted to say that I am very excited about the guy we got from the Tony Clark trade. I saw Evan Scribner last Saturday at L.E. He faced 3 batters from the middle of the batting order and made them all look really bad. I wish we could have gotten similar quality for Randy Wolf, however, I think his trade value was probably not very high, and getting worse over time.

Great job on the Tony Clark deal. No comment on the Randy Wolf deal. :)

deathlydemise666 said...

A while back you delved into the bats of our Dominican team. But what's the story on some of our arms?

Steve24 said...

Paul,

I'll word this as best I can so that I could get a response since I know you can't talk about players on other teams.

1. Have you heard that the Yankees are looking for a catcher?

2. Are the Padres open to moving either Josh Bard or M.Barrett so that Hundley could get more ab's down the stretch?

3. Is it possible to deal a player that is on the DL?

4. Any thoughts on the Yankees farm system?

Obviously Texas (Laird) and Colorado (Torrealba) are also shopping catchers. Free up a little more salary might be nice.

field39 said...

I am sitting here watching the Padres get dominated by a rookie pitcher who started the game with an ERA of 19.5. Please do not fool yourself; this is not “Good process bad result.” This is possibly the worst team in Padre history, and any process used to put it together is fatally flawed. I hope you understand that.

Steve24 said...

Field39,

I'm guessing you're a "glass is half empty" kinda guy?

I agree, this years team stinks. But these things have kind of a snowball like effect. Once the losing starts, players start getting traded and teams keep on their losing ways.

Overall while I'm unhappy with the this years team I honestly didn't expect too much from them this year. After all they did miss the playoffs last season and both Mike Cameron and Milton Bradley did not come back.

While he has struggled at times, I think Scott Hairston has finally shown he belongs at this level (how happy are you that he and Quentin are no longer in Arizona? Imagine how different the standings might be today). We've also gotten a glimpse of the future with C.Headley and N.Hundley and Kouz is starting to heat up.

With Adrian in the mix I think this team could be one big bat away from turning the offense around. I'm talking about a middle of the order type bat (Adam Dunn) and with salaries coming off the books next year, it might be possible to do just that.

If that happens, the pitching staff isn't too far off with Peavy and a healthy Chris Young as the 1 & 2. Maybe Inmann can be your number 5, Heansley either moves to the pen full time or becomes a decent 4 and that just leaves them needed an upgrade at number 3.

KT has proven he can build a solid bullpen and I have no doubt that Bell we bounce back from his current struggles. I think Meredith is serviceable and perhaps some of the trades we've seen this year will pay dividends next. Or maybe some of our prospects start out in the bullpen ala J.Santana, J.Chamberlain, etc.

Overall, yes, the games are hard to watch this year but they're not that far away from being back in this next season. Be thankful you're in San Diego and you can go to the beach, drive up the road and see an Angels or Storm game and the Baseball Classic next spring (lets hope Jake takes it a little easier there this time around - Depo, I hope you're reading this!).

So sit back, relax, polish off that half empty glass of yours and lets top if off with a cheers saying "just wait till next year".