Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More Acquisitions

In the past few days, we've added three more players to our Major League Spring Training, and we're now up to 58 players in camp. These days teams generally will have anywhere from the low 50's all the way to the 70's in their camps. There are stories of spring trainings that reached over 100 players, jersey number 101 and everything, but it's been a while since that has happened. It can be difficult to strike the right balance between getting a look at as many players as possible while also creating enough opportunity for each player, but we feel we're well within the sweet spot at our current levels.

Our additions:

Mark Prior, RHP: A San Diego native, we signed Mark last year to a Major League contract after the Cubs declined to tender him a contract. After progressing well early in the spring, Mark had a setback that required another surgery and cost him the rest of the season. Mark has now lost the entirety of the last two seasons to injury, but when he pitches he can be dominant. In his first four seasons in Chicago (2002-2005) Mark used he power fastball/curveball combo to pitch 613 innings with a 3.24 ERA. Mark has been working out all winter here in Petco, and we're encouraged by his progress. If we can get him back and healthy for us in 2009 we believe he could make a significant difference.

Chris Burke, INF: A first round pick out of the University of Tennessee in 2001, Chris spent the first seven years of his career with the Astros before being traded to Arizona last winter. A SS in college and during his minor league days, Chris starting splitting time at 2B in AA as he prepared to be the 2B of the future for the Astros. After a big year in AAA in 2004 (.315/.396/.507 with 37 sb's) Chris has spent most of the next four seasons in the big leagues, though he never amassed 400 ab's in any one season. Due to the lack of consistent playing time and splitting duties at seven different positions, we're not sure we've seen the best of Chris Burke yet.

Virgil Vasquez, RHP: Unlike Prior and Burke, Vasquez is on the 40-man roster since we claimed him on waivers from the Red Sox. A right-hander from Santa Barbara, Virgil has spent the bulk of the past two seasons in AAA, though he did make five appearances for the Tigers in 2007 (the Red Sox claimed off waivers from the Tigers). Known for his excellent command, Virgil has walked just 70 hitters in 314 innings in AAA. We believe he could compete in a number of different roles.

And now for the really important stuff...

Today is my daughter's third birthday (she's the best!), so please allow a proud father to indulge:


30 comments:

The Cheat said...

Vazquez (Virgil) was never a member of the White Sox. He did make a few appearances for the Tigers, however.

Paul DePodesta said...

You're absolutely right. My mistake. I'll make the correction.

field39 said...

Will Prior show up in spring looking to win a slot, or is this more of an All Star break thing?

Vannzee said...

Vazquez has excellent control, but he seemed to take a step back in his 2007 season.

The fact that the Tigers called up Chris Lambert and Eddie Boinine (who were not on the 40 man) over Vazquez tells you alot about his season.

I hope he does well with the Padres. I think he would do well in Petco Park.

mweldon said...

Add me to the list of people curious about when Mark Prior is expected to start pitching again, assuming no further setbacks.

meat.net said...

Man, the stuff on Mark Prior seems like it could have been written about any of his previous three seasons. As a Cubs fan, I'm still hoping he does well and turns it around for you guys [except against us, of course].

élan said...

Odd question, but I'm going to ask anyway. Do you know why Headley switched from jersey #16 to #7, and Antonelli, from #9 to #10? I know it's weird, but I'm still wondering why Scott Hairston was switched from #14 to #12...

Itay said...

Paul,

Happy birthday to your daughter. Hope you had a great celebration. And for my question - how do you combine work and family? How often do you travel? When do you get home? Do you have time to spend with your kids and wife?

fred45 said...

Paul, your little girl is adorable. What a sweetheart.

You're a lucky guy.

JapanBaseball said...

I hope Prior's great come back.

BTW, your daughter is very cute. Happy birthday.

Loren said...

Ok I'm very confused with the signing of Burke

How many 2Bs do you really need? We got that kid from the rule V draft, Denker, Antonelli, Gonzalez, Rodriguez and now Burke. Who's playing SS in all this? And do we really need THIS many mediocre middle infielders?

Paul DePodesta said...

Ok, anyone who wrote a comment without telling me how cute my daughter is... you're not getting a response!

Kidding. Thanks for those, though!

Lots of questions about Prior's health, so I'll touch on that. Mark has been throwing long toss and did throw off a mound last week for the first time. Given the fact that he missed all of 2008, all of 2007, and a good chunk of 2006, we'll be taking it slow with him. There's a chance he'll be able to keep up with the normal routine of spring training, but realistically I don't think we can expect him to be part of our rotation in the first week of the season.

This is something that we'll just have to take week by week.

Paul DePodesta said...

elan,

No idea on those particular uniform number changes. Often times rookies get assigned a number - the life of a rookie - and then when some other numbers become available during the winter they'll have the opportunity to ask for a particular one before the next spring.

Paul DePodesta said...

fred45,

I am ridiculously lucky.

Paul DePodesta said...

Loren,

We think Luis Rodriguez, Chris Burke, and Everth Cabrera can all play SS, and all of the guys you mentioned will be battling it out for limited spots in spring training.

JapanBaseball said...

Is this true? sounds good!
http://postgameonchannel4.blogspot.com/2009/01/whos-on-first.html

How about Akinori Ohtsuka? He got Tommy John surgery last January. But i think he is ready to pitch again.

neifichicken said...

First off, I'd like to say you have a beautiful daughter and I hope your family threw her a great party.

Secondly, I really like what the Padres have done this off-season given their financial constrictions. Teams in their position need to take these low cost risks and hopefully get some quality players. Prior is obviously an elite payout if he can stay healthy and while the other players do not have the same upside, they are probably more likely to contribute.


Finally, what I want to know is how important is Spring training when deciding which players to add on the 25 man roster. I mean, there are only so many at-bats to hand around amongst 5-6 middle infielders and only a months worth of games to play them in. That leaves maybe 50-75 PA's per hitter at best, is that really enough to make conclusions, or are is there a more defined idea about who is going to make the 25 man anyway?

AztecAlum said...

Cool, your daughter and I share the same birthday (of course I'm over 35 years older).

Thanks again for all the insights!

Steve Adler said...

Paul,

Can you explain the release of Clay Hensley?

Thanks,
Steve

comic said...

Hey Paul I wanted to ask, Where is all the listing info for what players have signed and where? I mean there has to be someplace where all the teams report their minor league and major league free agent signings, no matter how big or small.

Padman42 said...

Congrats to your daughter. When does she start Bobby Sox (or tee-ball).

I read a rumor on mlbtraderumors a couple weeks ago that Aki was going to work out for mlb teams in January, and that KT seemed interested in signing him. Is their any chance that we see a resurrection of a certain Pest Control commercial?

Clint said...

I'm sorry this is off topic but could you comment please. I've heard all week that players who go to the arbitration hearings come away disliking their teams. Is this true? How does those hearings effect longterm deals in your experience? I ask this because I'm a Greinke/KC fan.

David Harris said...

Paul,
first off, it's refreshing to see someone who hasn't lost focus on what's truly important in life (i.e. family).

Secondly, any idea on when the Player To Be Named Later from the Khalil Greene trade will be named? I would imagine you would want that player to come into camp as a Padres. I assume you may have been waiting for winter ball to finish up before selecting. Or is it just a matter of waiting until the deadline to get the healthiest, best fit and see how they perform in spring before making a decision?

You Know Me! said...

apparently we have agreed to terms with Eckstein. Reportedly the padres see him at second. where does that leave the rest of the plethora of infielders and who plays short. Any interest in Vizquel still?

Paul DePodesta said...

neifi,

During my time with the Indians I remember then Assistant GM Dan O'Dowd telling me, "Make as few decisions in spring training as possible." He was absolutely right.

Ideally, we would be able to make all of our decisions before we ever arrive so that we're not swayed by spring training performance (which, by the way, is completely unreliable - small sample sizes, drastically different competition levels during the same game, hitter friendly parks, etc). Nevertheless, there are always a few that need to be made. I always have tried to make as few irrevocable decisions in spring training as possible.

Paul DePodesta said...

Steve Adler,

Clay was arbitration eligible and would have been in line for a significant raise (and no split contract meaning he would get paid his Major League rate even if he was playing in the minors). Given that he wasn't a lock to make the Major League team, it wasn't prudent to go through that process with him. When we were unable to trade him, we decided not to tender him a contract.

Paul DePodesta said...

comic,

Not sure, actually. Some teams wait on their minor league signings and then announce them all at once. I believe Baseball America does a week-by-week transaction diary for the minor leagues, though.

Paul DePodesta said...

Padman42,

Does anyone here really want to see that Corky's commercial again?

Paul DePodesta said...

David Harris,

My guess is that it will be sometime toward the end of spring training, though it could happen at anytime. The reason for waiting would be so that our scouts can get a fresh look at the various players before making a decision.

David said...

Paul,
With the team cutting such significant payroll why would a "proven veteran" like David Eckstein be signed? If you're going to run a guy out there who will put up .265/.340/.350 why wouldn't you just let one of the kids play? Even if Cabrera has an OBP of .310 he'll turn a few of those into doubles with his speed. Does it accomplish much to put a 34 year old out there on a team that's going to lose 90+ games? Is this the part where we hear about "hustle" and "dirty uniform" and "plays the game the right way?" Sorry, I don't mean to be so cynical. I've been a fan for all of my 33 years and this is hard to watch.