Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Giles and Hoffman

I apologize for the dual subjects of this post, especially given the importance of each individual one. However, both are timely, and neither should be ignored.

There were a lot of relevant comments following the Brian Giles post, so I wanted to respond. There are a lot of reasons why we chose to pick up Brian's option for the 2009 season, three of which I'll outline below. I'm not going to get into our nitty-gritty evaluation of Brian as a player. Rather, just take a look here in Baseball Prospectus where Brian ranks as one of the best offensive players in the game and as the 2nd best RF in 2008, and let's assume that he's still very productive.

Reason #1: We're always trying to win. In fact, I can't stand the term "rebuilding". The nature of MLB today is that every team is reloading all the time. That doesn't mean we aren't trying to win concurrently. Do we have different expectations from year-to-year based on personnel? Sure. Are we going to have more inexperienced players on our roster going forward than we have had over the past four years? Yes. Do we expect to lose? No.

I hate losing. Kevin Towers hates losing. Nobody in the organization enjoys it, and we know our fans don't either. That's exactly why we've tried to win at the big league level while simultaneously restocking the farm system over the past four seasons - a tenuous balancing act. We're not going to be a bunch of pollyannas running around expecting to win 115 games in 2009, but if you go into anything with the expectation of failure, then you're well on your way to fulfilling that expectation. We're not waiving the white flag in November.

Reason #2: We've already talked about this in other posts, probably ad nauseum, but Brian is precisely the type of player we want our younger guys to emulate. He never gives away an at-bat, controls the strike zone, plays every day, and was still breaking up double plays late in September when we were way out of the race. If our inexperienced players pick up any of those traits, we'll be better off both in the short-term and the long-term.

Reason #3: This is the one that has been touched on, but not fully explored. This is the raw business end of the deal. If we had not picked up Brian's option, we would have had to pay a $3 million buyout, and it would not have made sense to offer him arbitration. Therefore, declining the option would mean: $3 million and nothing in return.

By picking up the option, however, we gave ourselves the chance at upside. The 2009 season can unfold two ways, roughly speaking. The first scenario, the one everyone wants, is that we play well in the first half of next season - we get into July and we're in the race. Brian certainly gives us a better chance of that happening, and if it does happen, we'll be happy to have him.

The second scenario is that we don't play well, and we're out of contention. In this instance, we have the chance of trading Brian (a reader already posted a link to an article that mentions Brian's willingness to be traded under those circumstances) and getting some prospects in return. Should we trade him in the middle of July, our total payment would be about $5.25 million.

So, rather than paying $3 million for nothing, we could pay $5.25 million for 3 1/2 months of Brian's productive play, his mentoring of our younger players, and either possible contention or prospects in return. There is the possibility of injury or reduced production, but that is a risk with every player, and given Brian's track record that is a very acceptable risk given the upside potential.

On to Trevor...

This is an intensely personal situation for Trevor, the Padres, and the fans. I haven't been here that long, but even I have a connection - my oldest son's favorite player is Trevor Hoffman. Trevor is the all-time saves leader, an organizational icon, and a first ballot Hall-of-Famer. This isn't easy.

The emotion in all of this overwhelms the facts, but I'll present the facts anyway just as background.

Due to Trevor's standing in the organization, Kevin had an extended private conversation with him prior to the end of the season regarding the organization's intentions. We followed up with a contract offer in early October, at which time Kevin requested that the negotiations remain private, feeling that it was the best way for all of us to get a deal done and to do so quickly.

After a couple of weeks passed without contact, Trevor's representatives did request a meeting with Kevin, Sandy, and John Moores. Kevin responded to this request directly to Trevor saying that he and Sandy would be happy to meet with Trevor. We did not hear back regarding a possible meeting. After one month had passed, it was clear that our offer was not sufficient, so we officially withdrew it.

Again I'll say that I don't think the above facts are all that important. The reason is that there is simply no graceful way to handle this situation. Trevor has meant too much to this franchise for any kind of separation to be seamless. No matter how the situation is handled, if Trevor pitches elsewhere in 2009, it will be deemed to have been handled poorly. We know that.

These dealings blur the line between business and personal, which makes everything more delicate. In fact, when a player has been around as long as Trevor has, it is like dealing with family. It's not easy for us, it's not easy for Trevor, and we know it's not easy for the fans.
I'm not going to try to defend what we've done, how we've done or write about why this might make sense for us organizationally.

Instead, I'll share something a little more genuine - these types of decisions are pure agony.

51 comments:

matt3bj said...

That was very well written and I feel a little bit better about you guys picking up Giles now. About Hoffman, this is really too bad. Anyway, congratulations on your promotion. I hope you are the GM one day, maybe when Towers hangs it up. You are really a standup guy for having this blog and Im' sure it's not easy.

WebSoulSurfer said...

Paul,

Thanks for the update on Giles.

Seems like you and I are on the same page on Giles as I posted in comments here most of what you just put in your post. It sure sounds better coming from you.

Renewing Giles option just made sense and is a win-win for the team, the fans and Giles.

On the Hoffman front, let me say this. The timing by the Front Office could not be worse and with Alderson claiming the team is in tune with fans, it almost seems like a deliberately sabotaging move.

The Padres may be better in 2009, in fact I believe they will be, but less fans will be in the stands because of the way Towers and Alderson have handled the Peavy and Hoffman issues publicly.

None of us know what goes on behind the scenes, we have to take your word on it, but when your words, Alderson's words and Tower's words conflict, then who do we believe?

It seems to me that this whole Hoffman issue is a mess that could have been avoided.

If I ran my business the way the Padres approach players that put fannies in the seats like Hoffman, I would quickly be out of business.

Jayyyyyyyy said...

"We followed up with a contract offer in early October, at which time Kevin requested that the negotiations remain private, feeling that it was the best way for all of us to get a deal done and to do so quickly."

Or maybe KT requested that the offer not be released to the public so the team could put the onus on Hoffman's shoulders when he leaves. "We made him a fair offer but he decided..." while never saying what that offer is.

David Benitez said...

How does your personal life (ex. oldest sons's favorite player is Hoffman) affect negotiations with a player? At the end of the day do you really think about your son and realize that you should offer that player more than what's on the table?

Jayyyyyyyy said...

"The reason is that there is simply no graceful way to handle this situation."

I'm sure the same thing was said after Todd Walker was cut, after Khalil Greene stopped getting paid, after the hold-up in the negotiations with Allan Dykstra, after it came out that the team was shopping Jake Peavy, after the team called out Brian Giles for using his no-trade clause, and so on and so forth. Do you realize that this is one of the biggest concerns of many of your business-savvy fans? That there is a graceful way to handle many of these situations and the Padres seem to not care how many fans they alienate, especially Sandy "I'm not selling anything" Alderson.

Don said...

As a fan of the Padres since the minor league days at Westgate park I have lived through some of the worst baseball played in the Major Leagues. I have survived fire sales before and this smells as bad as any I have lived through. Werners group did it to add dollars to their pockets prior to the sale to John Moores. This I believe is to decrease value so Divorce lawyers will have less to fight about. The fans are going to be given another dismal year and are expected to pay for it. No more money from my pockets to an organization that could care less about the fans and only cares about the dollars.. byeee

Alex said...

david,

While I obviously can't speak for anyone, in examples like this I'm sure there are no people in a Major League Front Office that allow their personal lives to affect negotiations. Along those lines, what can be truly interesting is when a member of the front office has to evaluate their son as a player (Ken Williams and John Schuerholtz both had sons in the amateur draft in the past 5 years). Clearly, that would be the one situation where it could be very hard to be objective I'd imagine.

Re: Hoffman,

Ultimately as fans we have one major concern and that is winning ball games. It is the job of the front office to provide that experience on a consistent basis. As fans, if we have faith in the front office we have to believe that every decision they make is with consistent winning in mind. Sometimes that means making decisions that are initially unpopular but ultimately good for the goal of winning.

It's still November and everyone needs to keep an open mind.

hector said...

Congrats on the promotion Paul first of all.

I approve the way the Padres handled the Hoffman situation. He should fire that no name agent if he wants to return.

From what I have read, the offer is more than fair, and all of us know what direction the team is going, and I think the Padres front office would get more respect if they admitted this was a "re-tooling year". We love baseball in this city, but we don't like it when we are told we are going to win, when we recognize the team does not have the talent to win a championship.

wrveres said...

After one month had passed, it was clear that our offer was not sufficient,
_____

you think?

There was only one closer in the NL better than Trevor at converting his save opportunities last season, and that other guy was perfect.

Trevor had a 5/1 k/bb, a K/9 over nine, a WHIP of 1.037. And the friars are going to lowball him because the ball club they built, didn't give him enough opportunities? $4 mil is the going rate for situational lefties, not the all-time saves leader, an organizational icon, and a first ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Heck, why am i telling you this. Nobody knows the value of relievers more than KT. Its his main priority to fix this winter for crying loud, and he is chasing the best ever, right out the door.

$4 mil doesn't even qualify as a joke. It was a slap in the face so bad, not replying to it, was the smart thing to do.

debbie said...

This was well written, Paul, but the key fact here, as others have written, is the extremely poor handling of Hoffman's as well as many other player's situations by ownership. Perhaps your hands are tied, as the owner does make the final calls, but it is obvious that there is little care given to the interests (and feelings) of the fans and players.

It goes much deeper than your statement that if Hoffman goes to another team, it will be deemed poorly handled. At this point, even if he stayed, it will be deemed such.

kevin said...

Paul,

Why is it so terrible if a player accepts arbitration? You mentioned a few times that it can be a risk if the player accepts. How so?

Cpt Top Off said...

Paul, first of all - I appreciate you facing the music on this one. It can't be easy for anyone.

This decision makes perfect sense on paper, and I think the fans/community understand that. The bone I have to pick (and I'm sure other feel the same) is that we have an owner who for the past year has been COMPLETELY UNACCOUNTABLE to his fanbase. I understand he hired Sandy, etc to handle all the Padres' affairs. However, at the end of the day even Sandy reports to someone. After such a miserable season, and the beginning of a tumultuous offseason, I feel strongly that the paying public needs to hear SOMETHING, ANYTHING from the owner. We need some sort of "state of the union"-type address! I realize he is going through tough personal times and that usually wouldn't concern the fans. However, in the process of the divorce, our team and our hopes are being dragged through the mud. Or maybe that's just the perception, but as we all know perception = reality. Moores has to stand up and be a leader and level with us - he is ruining his legacy!

Ace2110 said...

I think Hector must work for the Padres. Sorry a 4M a year offer for Hoffman is not going to get the job done. We'll see what he gets on the open market.

Paul, I hope the front office knows what it is doing. The rumored returns for Peavy are less then what the Rockies got for Holliday and the handling of the Giles and Hoffman contracts are curious at best.

The national media is now talking about a 35M payroll which is ridiculous! According to Forbes the Padres took in about 70M at the gate last year, how much will you receive in revenue sharing this season? What is alienating the fan base worth to Moores? Are we suppose to now be the Florida Marlins, without the success every couple years? Are we simply supplying Moores with a never ending ATM machine?

What we need from this blog, isn't another part of padres.com but some real discussion about the important decisions with this team, unfortunately the organization has made it clear it is more about the money then the on field performance at this point.

Daniel Gettinger said...

Paul,

You state that because "it was clear that [the Padres] offer was not sufficient, [the Padres] officially withdrew it." Personally, I fail to follow the logic.

It has been reported the Padres offered Hoffman $4 million. Assuming this is true, then at some point, the Padres were willing to pay Hoffman $4 million to pitch for the team in 2009 season. It seems the main reason to withdraw the offer is the team was no longer willing to pay Hoffman $4 million. Otherwise, it would make sense to leave the offer on the table and allow Trevor to accept it or decline it. If Trevor had officially declined the offer, then the team would be in the same position as it is now after "pulling the offer." However, if Trevor had accepted the offer, the team would be forced to pay him $4 million, which is an entirely different situation than the team now finds itself.

Of course, the act of "pulling the offer" could very well have been a negotiating strategy of some sort. While I understand you will not (nor should you) elaborate on contract strategy, perhaps you can clarify why it is so bad to have an "insufficient offer" on the table.

Claytoris said...

Like you said, the emotional attachment to a player like Hoffman is hard to deal with. As fans, all we have is our emotional attachment. When the team comes off a 99 loss season, we can't expect to start winning again right away. What we can hope for is interesting players to watch even if we are losing. Guys like Peavy and Hoffman get us to go to the games even if the team isn't competing. I am a younger fan, but have still been through many losing seasons, which is fine, but a losing season without the few bright spots we have may be too much.

Regarding Giles, didn't he reject a trade last year in the exact situation you just described? Why would things be different this year? Is it because of the option he had this year?

Andrew said...

Paul,

Didn't Giles just veto a trade to a playoff team? What's to say he's not gonna veto it again? I mean come on! I really respect you, I have followed your work since your early Oakland days, but you gotta stop fooling youself. And now for my rant on Moores... I mean we (the city of san diego) built Moores a new stadium... WE PAID FOR IT. The Chargers want to pay for their own stadium and the city wont do anything for them... the padres made a crappy run at the playoffs and wham... new stadium. Now Moores throws the TEAM, PLAYERS and FANS under the bus just to save a few bucks in his divorce by lowering the value of the team... what a joke... please encourage Moores to sell the team to MARK CUBAN... i dont care if he moves the team as long as he brings some respect back to this organization, players and fans.

sanstodo said...

Good update, Kevin. While I don't buy the idea that Brian Giles' plate discipline has any tangible positive impact on the plate discipline of, say, Khalil Greene, the pure business end makes perfect sense. Good move.

As for the Hoffman debacle, I really think that it could have been handled better. My opinion means absolutely nothing since I have no inside knowledge of how things actually happened, but it looks pretty ugly from the outside. I know you probably can't answer these questions publicly, but it's worth a shot to ask:

Does the team think that Hoffman is in the severe decline phase of his career? How much does Moores' costly divorce factor into payroll slashing? Is Hoffman a casualty of that situation? And do you realistically think that the Padres can compete for the playoffs next year?

Thanks again for the great update and congratulations on your promotion!

John said...

Hey Paul,

I just wanted to show you some appreciation for doing this blog. I've been a Padres fan for a while and whenever the team does a questionable move there's really no explanations other than what the media throws out there and we never really know how valid that information is.

On this blog you not only try to keep us updated, you go into detail trying to explain the organization's choices as intricately as possible and even respond to our comments. Other MLB management would likely not face the music, so to speak, after a team makes controversial calls but you're always here showing us you care.

Thank you.

joemak said...

I am not a Padres fan but I can't help but post here. You guys basically signed Brian Giles to a 1 year 6 million dollar deal but you won't keep Jake Peavy for 11 million? You say Brian Giles has upside. He is 37 and we are now in an a time where steroids can't help older players anymore. I bet if you run your statistical analysis that a guy like Brian Giles that has no power left has 0 upside and a ton of downside. You say you could get prospects but who is going to a trade for a right fielder that is an average to below average defender and has no power. If you guys were trying to win, you would not resign giles and take that 6 million and allocate it to Peavy. Peavy would makeup for any replacement value that you lost from Giles. If there is any lost.

richie894 said...

Paul,

The Padres recent management is a disgrace. You should be embarrased with the way everything is playing out in the media.

If Moores can't pay for a Major League franchise due to an impending divorce, shouldn't he sell to someone who cares about building a winning team??

Edgar said...

As with the above posts, I'm with you on the Giles thing. 'Nuff said.

As for Trevor, is it any coincidence that the offer was pulled the day AFTER season ticket holders had to commit to seats?

You want to show San Diego that Mr. Moores doesn't just want to dump this team, then bring Trevor back in and get this DONE. We all know he isn't the player he used to be, but let him retire in San Diego!

Terry said...

Barring injury, it's pretty unlikely that the decision to keep Giles another year could turn out poorly for the Padres. Frankly, you guys have yet to pay him what he's actually been worth during his current contract! For shame. :-)

I bet GMs wish all decision could be this easy.

GonzoSteve said...

My question to other commenters: if you say these situations were handled poorly, how would you have preferred they be handled? These are all business decisions that have to be made. Hoffman is an icon, but with scarce resources, you have to adjust your priorities, and paying $7.5 million for a guy who plays 45 innings a year isn't the best use of resources when you have pressing problems in more important areas. So he needs to either take a pay cut or get his money from another team. If you disagree with those realities, then there's no way to 'handle' the situation that you are going to agree with. Besides, they've never played Hell's Bells loud enough in Petco, anyway.

Anti-Mayonite said...

Paul,

Thank you for your forthright post here. The Giles decision seems like a no-brainer (to me), and you explain it very well. The Trevor decision shouldn't be as easy -- your family comments are all true, here.

I've been a Padre fan since 1992 -- so my fandom almost entirely lines up with Trevor's time here. I've met him dozens of times, and discussed everything from politics to how he throws his changeup. I see him as a part of the club, as much or more than others.

But the fact remains that the Padres simply cannot dedicate a large percentage (>10%) of payroll to a player who is 1) in decline, 2) plays a role that is (relatively) easy to fill, and 3) not going to be a critical member of the next Padre championship team.

Please take this as a note of support for not only the decisions you've made, but also the process you use to make them. Good work!

Respectfully,
Travis

JamieMHoyle said...

The catch here, which Paul will not mention, is that the team never intended to pay Hoffman that $4M. They knew going in that he would scoff at that contract, which means it was made as a PR move. They only made the offer to save face so they could tell the fans it was time to move on when he rejected it.

Also, Trevor asked to meet with Sandy, KT AND Moores. They had to know that when they responded by telling him Moores does not get involved in negotiations, Trevor would blow them off.

They should be ashamed. Treating a team icon this way is disgraceful. I don't have a problem with them recognizing that it was time to move on and look to the future; but making a spectacle of this issue and publically pulling their offer is embarassing.

Now, word is they are passing on any of the Braves' centerfield prospects in a Peavy deal in favor of a 21-year old catcher who has never played above high-a ball. This team needs to get a return of 3 or 4 players who help them now in a Peavy deal. If they don't, they may not recover.

rizdak said...

I don't know whose fault it is (the Padres, Hoffman, God) but losing Hoffman this way is an embarrassment for the organization. Incidentally, if Giles is precisely the type of player that you want young hitters to emulate, isn't Hoffman precisely the type of pitcher that young pitchers could learn from? He's not an SP, but still.

I understand the logic for trading Peavy, but the Favre-esque manner in which Hoffman has been handled, well, I'm just embarrassed for the Padres.

Schlom said...

Kevin,

The Padres wouldn't have offered Giles arbitration after they bought him out since if he accepted it, the buyout would just turn into a bonus (they'd pay him the buyout plus whatever he got in arbitration).

bg said...

As a 25-year fan, I'll be sad to see Hoffman, Peavy, Khalil, and Giles go. But I'm not angry.

The fans have been losing patience with Trevor for a few years now (heavier since the 07 collapse). I'm not sure why everyone is freaking out now. Except that we won't be able to get something in return for him.

Peavy is homegrown talent, which means we're playing with house money. Cash in (for top prospects) while you can. Plus, Peavy's violent delivery added to his need to strikeout every batter has translated to higher pitch counts and less innings pitched per game.

Relations with Khalil have broken down. Time to cut ties.

And finally Giles. His last solid year was before we got him. OBP is great. But without an occasional stolen base and someone behind him to knock him in, it does us no good. We can find new clubhouse guys at a far cheaper rate.

You can dump them all, Paul. With one caveat.

Bring us real prospects in return: speed, true power, and real frontline starters. We can be Tampa Bay in four years.

hector said...

First of all, I would like to make one thing clear, I do not work for the Padres. I am a fan only and always.

Secondly, WE did not pay for Petco park, Petco park was partially funded by Center City Development Corporation (CCDC), San Diego Redevelopment Agency (SDRA), and I believe that John Moores also put money. As it stands, the Padres own 30% of Petco park and the city of San Diego 70%. Our taxes do not pay for CCDC and SDRA, they acquire Bonds and pay them with the profits of redevelopment, and I invite you to read the link (http://www.sandiego.gov/redevelopment-agency/pdf/faq_redevelopment.pdf) before you say that the Padres and John Moores lied to us, and that he is a cheater and liar. The people that live downtown and benefited from the redevelopment are the ones that are paying. In a way it acts like a Mello-Roos.

Thirdly, I did not approve the signing of Giles, but I understand why he did not approve the trade to Boston, and I believe he will be moved, the Padres basically had to pay 3 million for him, so might as well play for them during the time.

Lastly, 4 million is a fair and respectable offer, it is not an insult, even for a player like Hoffman. Hoffman, if he wants to save face and remain a Padre, should fire his agent, and accept the deal. I heard Sandy Alderson's interview yesterday, and he may be many things, but he is not a liar, he is very careful with his words, but he is not a liar. The Padres handled it in a classy in respectful manner.

Mimi said...

On Trevor Hoffman:
You know Paul, that many fans are furious right? Not about the "why" of the Trevor deal/no deal (which you did your best to explain), we are furious about the "how."

How the front office treated a loyal player, the public face of the organization, a player who brought you national recognition and legitimacy is beyond low.

The man wanted a meeting with Mr. Alderson and Mr. Moores. After 15 years of service doesn't he deserve that? I don't care if John was out of town. Do you mean he doesn't have a phone to make a conference call? With all the hi-tech video conferencing that goes on these days, there was no way that the three of them couldn't get together in some way before this happened? Was there a time restriction on this offer? No!

You can try to pretty this up anyway you like, but as far as I can see you (the organization, not you personally) have shown not only the San Diego fans, but baseball fans all around the league what a classless organization this truly is.

I'm about to show the Padres the same respect that they showed to Trevor and to me (the fan and the ticket holder.) The San Diego Padres will not be getting any ANY more of my money until Sandy Alderson is gone and John Moores no longer owns the team. And I hope that is VERY soon! Good luck finding a new owner for my over-priced season tickets!

bullpeners said...

Paul-
First, let me applaud you for having the guts to come out here.
Secondly, the Giles situation is exactly how I wish the organization handled most players. He has been good value.
Lastly, the blatant shopping of Jake and treatment of Trevor is shocking and enraging to me. I have cancelled my season tickets and will not reconsider unless this organization changes its tune. The contract offer to Trevor was an insult and I don't blame his agent for taking it public. Is this the same owner who treated Tony Gwynn with such respect in the declining years of his career?
Sure doesn't seem so.
It appears the only way to make an impression on the decision makers of this group is to speak in dollars, so I am.
They are cutting off their nose to spite their face. There will be less fans in the seats than they think next season with the moves they are making. I have tolerated many bad teams in the almost 40 years of loving this team but bad treatment of the beloved face of the organization and the blatant fire sale approach to next season is a fatal one, two punch!

Harry said...

OK, I can understand that to the Team Management, this is a business. However, to the fans, this is entertainment. It is enjoyable to spend a evening at Petco and watch the team win. It may even be entertaining if they lose.

I grew up with the 1962/63 Mets. VERY entertaining and they lost constantly. A colorful manager - Casey Stengel, who would give daily interviews that were a lot less coherent than Palin/Couric. He couldn't speak a complete sentence or present a coherent idea, but listening to him was magic. Players that were either rejects or great players WAY past their prime. I loved listening to how Marvelous Marv Throneberry lost a ground ball in the lights (during a day game no less). Each day they would lose in a different way. Roger Craig losing over 20 games - 2 years in a row, and still starting opening day as the ace of the staff.

What I don't want to spend my money on is going to see minor league baseball, disguised as the Padres. I don't want to hear a monotone Bud Black on the radio in the morning saying for the n-teenth time "Well, We just have to play better". I don't want to listen to Alderson put a political spin on these fiascos. I don't want to read about DePodesta trying to cover his ass and the asses of those around him.

What I want is to be entertained - win or lose. I don't give a damn about what they play ballplayers any more than I care about how much an actor makes when I go to see a movie. I want to see home runs, stolen bases, shutouts - things I can scream about as I eat hot dogs and drink beer.

And I don't think it's good business for team management to be badmouthing their players in order to look good (or at least not look as bad) or to increase their profit margin.

I don't think it's a good idea the way they handled Hoffman! If they didn't want him on the team, just let him walk - no bulls**t offer, just a private meeting saying that they're reducing salary and wish him well in free agency would have sufficed.

I don't like the idea of how they're treating Greene! The recovered salary is a pittance to Moores (or should be). How much more interesting it would have been if we had a picture of a dented locker on the Padres website with the caption "Greene finally hits something!" That's what I mean about entertainment.

So instead, after losing 99 games, the Padres management are going to get rid of all the "high paid" players. (I believe that Adrian is a year or less away from the trading block, as they prepare Kyle Blanks to be their 1st baseman of the future) They'll get "prospects" ("A" ball players a couple of years away who may or may not pan out) or Major league ready players, not nearly as good as what they're giving up (Think Felix Pie here if Peavy's traded to the Cubs).

And they think they can do better than 99 losses next year. I don't see how! My predictions are that they will will make a run at the record books next year - 120 losses by the 1962 Mets. They just won't be nearly as colorful doing it!

I'll bet that, while they're raping the team of players, the 3 managers who just got promoted got raises. It would only be fair. Look at the money they're saving Moores.

BTW - definition of "Money Ball": minimizing $'s per hit, run, win, or save. In other words, they would rather pay $2M for 20 saves (and 10 blown saves) than $6 for 30 saves. The first is $100k/save, the second is $200k/save.

Additional comment on Money Ball - working the count, also known as taking the first pitch. I know what the statistics say, but they lose track of cause and effect. Batting averages are higher when the count favors the hitter. Plus you get into the pen if the opposing pitcher throws more pitches. However, if the oppsing pitcher "knows" that you'll be taking the first pitch, he has no fear of putting a fast ball down the middle. The easiest pitch to hit now has the batter behind in the count. A frustrated Dave Magadan, forced by management to ram this down the trroats of his players, was fired because it doesn't work. It's amazing how effective he can be in Boston, surrounded by good players, working for a management with sound baseball fundamentals.

hector said...

Paul,

Please confirm that I do not earn a paycheck from the Padres, on the U-T people say that I am Sandy Alderson. hahaha

But on a serious note, I have been reading about this kid Junichi Tawaza and I wonder if the Padres have interest in him. After all, if the team is going in the direction of building with the farm system and international signings, shouldn't this guy be the ideal candidate, specially to increase the diversity in the team to improve the merchandising and Padres getting market share in Japan? I was reading that the kid throws up to 97 mph

CptJack said...

Happy with resigning Giles.

Fine with rescinding the offer to Hoffman. He gave up too many leads in tie ball games and lost too many games for him to earn much more than what in essence was one million per ten innings pitched as reported.

Unhappy with the circulations of names possibly returning for Peavy. Seriously Jo Jo Reyes, Charlie Morton, Blaine Boyer? I for one don't think the Statue of Liberty applies to baseball. We don't need your tired, your poor, your huddled masses of ineptitude.

I'd rather waste Peavy's career by benching him in his prime than take some of those guys in return for Peavy.

Hanson, Heyward, Teheran

Rohrbough, Escobar

Hernandez, Flowers, Schafer

Medien, Reyes, Morton, Boyer

If you can't get 1 player from each of the 3 tiers consider me an upset Padres Organization fan.

kevintheoman said...

Hoffman did respond to the offer. He wanted a face to face with Towers, Alderson, AND MOORES. He only got Towers and Alderson. So thats where the negotiations broke down. Stop trying to make it sould like he balked at the offer and refused to negotiate.

Londog said...

The primary reason why fans are angry and confused is that the stated motivation for the changes being made are suspect, to say the least. Rebuilding year? Sure, sounds good, to some extent. Like many others, I think we need only minor changes in the position players, but an overhaul in pitching.

But, management has also flatly stated that there is a requirement to cut payroll dramatically, which makes you wonder if "rebuild" isn't a secondary requirement, behind saving money. Need to improve pitching? Dealing one of the best hardly seems to get us toward that objective. Add to that KT's comments some time ago that the Jake trade train has already left the station--a statement made before any serious offers had been tendered--and it becomes clear that dumping Jake's salary is more important than who we get in return.

If all the moves that have been talked about come to pass (what's left would be Giles traded later and Greene made part of some package, and, of course, Jake's move) and the only player earning more than $1 mil left would be CY.

So even though management has been up-front about needing to cut payroll, they haven't discussed why. Is it because Moores needs to lower the value to help him with his divorce? Is it to lower the price to a prospective buyer? Or worse, is it that the Padres are actually losing money at their current payroll level? I find that last one a horrifying possibility. If true, the chances of ever fielding anything but a triple A team seems impossible.

Assuming the reason behind the payroll cuts is one of the above, or a combination thereof, I can see why Management wouldn't want to discuss them. However, I can also see why working under that kind of difficult constraint would lead to less than optimal handling of what would be, under any circumstances, unpopular changes.

I don't envy any of you in the front office, but I do hope for better days ahead. Somehow. I'll remain a fan, because that's what fans do. I won't go to many games, maybe none, but I'll watch on TV and I'll follow the news.

Go Pads.

Alex said...

The term "pollyanna" seems to be thrown around a lot these days:

Paul's post: "We're not going to be a bunch of pollyannas running around expecting to win 115 games in 2009"

Billy Beane talking about Holliday trade: "I'm not Pollyannaish enough to believe you acquire one player and go from 75 to 95 wins,"


My only conclusion could be that like my mother, the two of you are huge fans of the 1960 film, Pollyanna, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054195/

Joe Dodger said...

Your office all have insanely tough jobs right now. Like trying to cook Thanksgiving dinner with an EZ Bake oven.

I think a lot of people feel like Debbie. I think many would feel alot better about the pads if the organization's ownership situation were laid out there for them to realize why things are being done the way they are. Nobody likes to downgrade anywhere in their life, but they may be more understanding and less angry about it if they were given a good reason why things have to be the way they are.

Hoffman was a padre lifer. The fact his agent said what he said in the paper is the kind of thing to make fans (and media) go, "hmmm...what's going on in their office?".

I'm not sure how you approach your fan base with the decisions you're making this offseason. Do you just acknowledge the uncertain ownership situation so it's out there and fans are more sympathetic to the fact that you're dealing people away to cut payroll and unable to retain a guy like Hoffman? Do you continue to keep media silence on it and keep the media and fans wondering what is going on? I don't know. I don't know enough facts to say for sure. There could be some other circumstances within the organization that has your front office further tied. Divorce is emotional and the owner may not even want to deal with certain things. Who knows? The uncertainty that the organization is not addressing is breeding discontent among your fanbase which makes me question why it's not addressed when there seems to be no advantages to the strategy. The other organizations, if they didn't know a week ago, know the padres are over a barrel in terms of payroll. That kills Peavy's value, but that can't be undone now. Might as well open up and gain goodwill.

I just can't figure out what advantage the pads receive over other organizations or their fans by going the media silence route about how the ownership situation affects the payroll this offseason. Maybe it's not reality and it's misperception, but it's the perception nonetheless and has to be dealt with in order to gain goodwill in your community.

Just seems that the more information available to the fans is the better. Maybe you agree with that, but your hands are tied about that so your front office looks like heels even though you're not.

hector said...

Alex,

The term Pollyanna refers to someone being naive and cheerfully optimistic. I have to say that this front office is 50% Pollyanna 50% Business.

Maybe Pollyanna should be the name of the computer that predicted 90 wins for 2008.

I could not be happier that the team finally got the message that you need to build from within and with trades. I heard coach Lefebvre's philosophy on offensive baseball, and I liked it very much.

I think that if you marry the old school approach with the moneyball philosophy you should get very good results, and I hope and think that is the direction the organization takes.

Adam1ACL said...

This feels like '93 all over again. You seem to think fans can't deal when management runs the team like a business or when the team parts with players. We get it. But what strikes me is the lack of transparency that now permeates the entire organization. Even your post doesn't feel like you told us the entire Hoffman story. It feels like spin, which I'm sure infuriates you because you truly believe the entire purpose of this site is candor. Management has squandered its credibility. We have no idea what you are trying to do anymore or what direction this team is headed.

We were flat out lied to in '93. Let's hope we don't get there again. If we do, you won't hear from many of us for long time. You say you want to win. Show us.

GMofthepeople said...

Giles isn't worth the money. If he is such a "homer" and wants to be in SD that bad then buy him out for 3M and sign him for the money he is worth. A 2 yr 8M contract,
3M buyout and 3M for the first year(6M) and then 5M for next year.

Trevor isn't worth the money, let him go. Good teams have no feelings and let people walk when it is there time. Heath Bell is ready and costs less. Plus the Pads will not see the closer 35+ games next year.
I
f you need to trade Peavy, CY winner in his prime at a discount contrat, then get something for him. These Braves and Cubs rumors are garbage. I hope we have the smarts to keep him if we do not get anything fair in return.

Trade Headley or Kooz, they are the same player. Put one at thrid and trade the other for a young low cost OF player under team control. Elsbury, McClouth, Delvin Young for example.

Its simple to make money in baseball, win games and people will fill the seats. Once you figure that out the Pads will be a success. Until then we will always be content with being just good enough to fool the fans into thinking we are trying to put out a good team. It not always about the $$$. Be proud of SD and show it on the field.

DANIEL said...

Please do not trade Kyle Blanks! As for Hoffman ---------- he is an equal part in this public relations fiasco. I personally do not mind if he leaves town. Every time he comes into the game I reach for my heart pills. He is not a championship caliber closer any longer; everyone says its business when they hold out for more money or trade a player; therefore, for the money we as fans shell out to see a ballgame these days ---------- you do not get equal value with Trevor. Hoffman was lucky to get a $4mm offer, particularly because I think he is done. Time for Padre fans to turn the chapter on this one ---------- bye Trevor. Do not trade Peavy for what amounts to a bag of baseballs from Atlanta. Yunel Escobar = Qlveio Veras. The rest of those guys mentioned in that deal will NEVER SEE THE MAJORS. If we can not get more for the Peaver then that at this time lets hold on to him. Between now and the trade deadline his trade value should increase.

stupidgreen said...

Nice post Paul. It's always nice to see the behind the scenes stuff.

I have a question regarding "putting bottoms into seats": Does anyone ever stop going to games because their favorite player(s) leave? Fans want winning teams. The only player I can think of with enough charisma/control over a city was Barry up in SF, and he was hated everywhere else.

Do teams take into account how much losing Player A will cost in revenue from a popularity standpoint, rather than a competitive standpoint?

Ludicrous Speed said...

Man, this is why fans shouldn't run teams. The reality is, Trevor Hoffman just isn't dominant anymore. He is a good player, that I am sure works hard etc. But ask how many Red Sox fans care about how the team "handled" Nomar and Pedro. I'm sure they will be mad until you remind them that those kinds of decisions allowed them to win the WS. And its not like Hoffman hasn't been well compensated while he has been in SD. If he wants to be paid "market value" aka go to the highest bidder, that is his choice (and honestly, a totally defensible one). If it is truly important to retire a Padre, that reduces his negotiating power and would require him to take less. Emotions should be part of the process for only one side: the player. The team should attempt to make the best rational decision to put out a winning team.

Now the owner deciding to slash payroll in the first place for personal reasons, that sucks...

field39 said...

Face it Paul, the dog has been violated. You are coming off a 99 loss season, the team is in shambles, you have turned a loved San Diego icon into a bitter enemy, and you have no good will left with the fans. I do not believe you could be in worse shape, if you tried. At this point you guys might want to consider telling it all. Tell us exactly what is going on and how long it is going to last. That is all, just tell us.

Alex said...

On Hoffman's effectiveness,

To the people saying Hoffman was "over the hill" last year I'd disagree. His strikeout rate as high as its been in years and his control remained excellent. In fact, Hoffman's called strike and swinging strike percentages were as high as they have been since 2004. His Balls thrown percentage was as low as its since 2002.

The only thing Hoffman did worse this year compared to the past 5 years is surrender home runs.

That being said, Hoffman is 40 years old and there is always a lot of risk going forward with a player so old. On top of that, Hoffman is a closer and closer's tend to be the most overpriced players on the open market. Closer's usually don't tend to pitch more than 65 innings a year and a closer as old as Hoffman isn't likely to surpass 60. Pitching staff's generally throw around 1400-1500 innings so it hardly makes sense for a team cutting expenses to commit so much to a player that will likely contribute in less than 4% of those innings.

Now, Hoffman probably wasn't going to ask for 10 million dollars, but given that the Padres offer was reportedly 4 million, it seems likely Hoffman probably seeked a deal in the 6-8 range, and may have even wanted a second guaranteed year (which is even riskier for a guy over 40).

Let's say the two sides had settled and Hoffman agreed to a one year, 6 million dollar contract. Then let's assume next year the Padres staff threw 1458 (last year's inning total for Padre pitchers) innings with Hoffman pitching 50 of those innings. Essentially, the Padres would be paying Trevor Hoffman 6 million dollars (15% of a 40 mil payroll) to pitch 3.4% of the team's innings. Obviously the 50 Hoffman innings would likely be more productive than most of the other innings, but that is still an absurdly high price. On a per inning basis that is 120,000 dollars per inning pitched!

In comparison, look at the Yankees recent offer to CC Sabathia where they offered to pay him 23.3 M per year. CC is probably a safe bet to pitch around 220 innings (given he's pitched nearly 500 over the past two years) so at 23.3 M he'd be pitching more than 15% of the 1458 IP benchmark. At 23.3 M for 220 IP, that is only 106,000 dollars per innings.

Essentially, on a per inning basis, CC's Yankee contract offer is cheaper than Hoffman's would be at 6 million dollars. Does that REALLY make sense for a team trying to lower payroll and get younger as a team???

Hoffman will likely be able to get 8 million per year on the open market, and he will likely be a better bargain than K Rod, but that is really something only certain teams can afford. A closer is such a specialized role, and paying a premium price for it is something that doesn't make sense for the Padres. The Padres biggest problem isn't finding quality pitching in the 9th inning, it's finding quality innings from innings 1-7 on days that Chris Young won't be pitching.

Jeremy1Esq said...

We all love Hoffman and Giles, but what really upsets fans is how we have no plan for the future. We dont sign any free agents who really matter, we talk about trading an ace pitcher for not even top grade prospects, and our farm system has very few assets. If we are going to compete, we need to upgrade in all levels and failure to do so only makes people upset at how Hoffman has been handled even if from a team performance standpoint, his return is not all that vital.

I hate people who clearly know how to make money or run a business who buy sports teams and dont want to compete. That is the Padres and as a fan since 1969, it truly is sickening to watch.

Nigel said...

Ludicrous (and Paul),

You are missing the point.

Most of us loyal fans (me, since '76) would not be angry if the Padres had simply decided to part ways with Trevor at the end of the season. Clearly, his best years are behind him. A handshake and a "thank you" likely would have been sufficient.

But this is San Diego. We are fiercely loyal to our local icons. You crap on them, it feels like you are crapping on us.

And Hoffman got crapped on.

Trevor was loyal to San Diego. He had several opportunities through his career to sign elsewhere for more money. But like Tony Gwynn, he stayed here for less.

Sandy Alderson and John Moores (and perhaps Paul) clearly do not understand loyalty. Maybe it has no place in the business world, or even in running most baseball teams.

But here in San Diego you simply cannot treat an icon like Trevor Hoffman like that. If Trevor wanted to meet with John Moores, even if it is not considered the way Alderson negotiates, then fine. Set up the meeting. Hoffman was owed at least that much.

Crash said...

Paul,

I've been following this blog for a little while and really appreciate your willingness to give an inside look at the Padres. Your willingness to engage the fans is refreshing. That being said, sorry for the apparent bitterness that is below, it really isn't meant to be personal.

I cannot for the life of me figure out what the Padres organization was thinking with Giles, Hoffman, or even Peavy. All three of which are the face of the team.

I understand how you didn't want to waste $3MM on a Giles buyout, but you're essentially wasting an additional $6MM by not letting him walk away. Brian Giles hasn't been worth $9MM since his days with the Pirates. It drives me up the wall when I hear small market, salary cap, and revenue sharing arguments and see fiscally irresponsible spending by these same small/mid market teams. Your only true value would be to trade Giles prior to the start of the season. If you could get a couple of decent pitching prospects I can't see why not to do that deal.

The Hoffman dealings are a fiasco. I think handled poorly on both sides. Someone above (maybe Travis) made the statement along the lines of a closer is an easy position to fill...ummm, ask the Mets how valuable a closer is. The difference between them making the playoffs and playing golf in October was a closer. GonzoSteve can't see paying $7.5MM for a guy that pitches 45 innings. If you're closer is only pitching 45 innings, you're right there are other pressing issues to address, like maybe the offense...but wait the front office just spent $9MM on Giles that should solve it. By the way the league average for closers with 20 or more saves was almost 59 IP, Hoffman was the lowest.

The organization, and apparently the majority of the Padres fan base, completely overestimate the value of Jake Peavy. Is it even a consideration to not trade him now that Kevin has gone so far down that road? Peavy is a good fit for the NL West or NL Central and that's about it. Anywhere else and he wouldn't be near the same pitcher as the back of his baseball card would lead you to believe.

prudence said...

As for Trevor, this was only part of the story. From Trevor's mouth we heard that he,Trevor, asked to speak with John Moores and that he was disappointed that he was still waiting on a response - this about 5 days before the Padres pulled the his offer.

We also heard directly from Sandy's mouth that he, Sandy, had not spoken to Trevor, but that Kevin had. Sandy also stated that he had not spoken to John concerning the request.

As for the fans, we don't understand to this moment why Trevor's request was not followed up on. Nor for a moment do I believe the request had to do with salary, but entirely to do with the moral, values and vision of the team and definitely the direction that the team is moving towards.

All the excuses in the world do not make up for the way all this was handled, What is left is a whole lot of season ticket holders and a city that does not trust the organization.

Subprime Loan Analysis said...

Paul:

Got a question in the abstract for you. I've got an old friend who is raving about a local high school kid named Jonathan Singleton. If you were projecting a high school talent -- position players -- what sort of things are you looking for in determining their value in the amateur draft?

I present Jonathan as a case in point, but feel free to respond without any necessary regard to him. Thanks, BWare