Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Non-Roster Signings

The blog has been quiet the last few weeks - I hope everyone had a great holiday season - but we've continued to pursue players who may help us in 2009 in a variety of roles. In past years the acquisition of guys like Heath Bell, Jody Gerut, and Luis Rodriguez didn't send shockwaves through the industry, but sometimes those are the deals that can have the biggest impact on the team.

Because our minor league system continues to mature, we have less of a need for the veteran AAA player who provides insurance at the Major League level - we are quite comfortable with the idea of many of our young kids filling those roles. Therefore, we have been able to focus on players we believe have a chance to compete for a job on the Major League team. So far this winter we have signed five players to non-roster contracts with invitations to Major League spring training. In alphabetical order:

Eliezer Alfonzo, C: Having played the last four seasons in the Giants' organization, and parts of the last three in the big leagues, Eliezer provides some Major League experience as well as a little power. In addition to slugging .435 in nearly 400 Major League plate appearances, Eliezer has also thrown out 38% of baserunners over the past four seasons combined.

Chris Britton, RHP: A 26-year old right-hander, Chris was drafted by the Orioles in the 8th round of 2001. After two seasons in rookie ball and a missed season in 2003, Chris moved to the pen in low A ball in 2004. Nevertheless, by the end of 2006 he had pitched more than 50 innings out of the pen for the Major League team, posting a 3.35 ERA. At the end of the '06 season, the Orioles traded Chris to the Yankees for Jaret Wright and over the next two seasons Chris pitched 85 innings in AAA (2.44 ERA) and 35 2/3 innings in the big leagues (4.54 ERA). Always a solid strike thrower, we believe Chris can compete for a bullpen job this spring.

Pete Ciofrone, 3B: Pete has played the last four and a half seasons in the Padres organization, but was due to become a minor league free agent after the 2008 season. After a .314/.389/.519 season in Portland, we wanted to keep the versatile left-handed hitter. Pete has always done a good job of putting the ball in play, and his power has emerged over the past two seasons. His ability to play all four corner positions also provides options for any manager.

Kevin Correia, RHP: A 28-year old from San Diego, Kevin has spent his entire career with the San Francisco Giants, including over four years in the big leagues as both a starter and a reliever. All told, he has pitched nearly 400 innings at the ML level with a 4.59 ERA. Kevin pitched primarily in the rotation in 2008, but in 2007 and 2006 while pitching mostly out of the bullpen Kevin posted a 3.47 ERA in more than 170 innings. He is a versatile pitcher who could fill a number of roles on the staff.

Oneli Perez, RHP: An original Padre signed in 2001 as a 1B in the Dominican Republic, Oneli made the transition to the mound in 2003. In 2004 Oneli signed with the White Sox and became a solid pitching prospect, eventually reaching their 40-man roster for two years despite not logging any big league time. Showing an above average fastball, the 25-year old has had excellent seasons in A, High A, and AA posting a combined 2.38 ERA with 284 strikeouts in 265 innings. 2008 was a bit of a lost season for Oneli as he bounced between three organizations (waivers can be tough), but we still view him as a prospect and believe he has a chance to help.

I know these aren't the names you read about on the front page of ESPN.com, but I wouldn't be surprised if we get some valuable contributions from this group, and others with whom we're still having conversations, in 2009 and beyond.


Unknown said...

I think the Padres have made their fair share of low risk moves that have proved beneficial in recent years. I, as a Braves fan, have seen the Braves make a few as well and agree that these moves can often have big impacts on a team's success.

My question isn't necessarily about the players you have listed here but was wondering if you can comment on the possible sale of the Padres and what that might mean for your organization? You don't have to get into specifics and I understand if you can't comment at all but just sort of how much say does the normal owner have? I've always thought a good owner/manager is one that can higher the right people, place them in the right situation, train them for success and then have the faith in those people to do their job's successfully. Would new ownership necessarily change your FO's direction? Philosophy? Do you think it might add payroll flexibility? If so, how would that affect decisions? Just stuff like that.

Anyhow, as always, I enjoy reading the blog. For a short time I was afraid perhaps it wasn't going to make it but I suppose I just need to get used to the idea that you are probably a little busier than the normal blogger and that updates probably wont come as often here or as regularly. Thanks again for the insight and good luck moving forward.

Unknown said...

Also, I wouldn't mind hearing your take on the following post from the last article you wrote.

" Jimmy said...
Mr Depodesta,

I wonder if you can/would comment on the possibility of a salary cap in baseball. I'm a huge dodger fan and would prefer you get rid of peavy(so we dont' face him), however I'm tired of watching home grown talent leave teams b/c of salary while teams like the yanks and rsox can continually give away money each year and take everyone's talent.

I want to see teams that grow talent have the ability to compete with the yanks and sox rather than be AAAA squads. I am fortunately a dodger fan so we have a bit more ability to keep our home grown talent, however I still don't think that's fair to teams like the royals, minnesota, pads, etc.

Is there any chance on the horizon for a salary cap, especially considering today's economy or will the players union completely block the idea forever?

December 23, 2008 1:28 PM"

Being an exec who has mostly been involved in small market teams, I imagine your take is interesting. I've often thought the problem is teams unwillingness to spend just as much as it is the larger market teams' "reckless spending" but what the Yankees have done in recent years does seem extreme. Baseball has a lot of problems but I'm not arrogant enough to think I know how to fix them. I think altering the draft so that it truly favored small market teams would be the best way to go. Those players are not yet represented by the player's union so feel it may be easier to get done. Even if it means taking away draft compensation, adding slot signing bonuses would go a long ways towards helping the small market teams get the talent they unfortunately often have to pass on with the system as it is today.

Thanks in advance as always.

thrylos98 said...

Oneli Perez could be a steal. His arm is non-abused and he is still learning to pitch. He is a strikeout machine and if he can improve his secondary pitches (or learn a trick pitch like a screwball - having 6 fingers will help that grip) he can be a very good addition to your pen.

I hope all is well in Padreland with the upcoming sale of the team.

jay mack said...

Do you anticipate any other non-roster signings? Thanks

Fausto said...

Mr DePodesta Seeing the changes and knowing that the fan thinks with it's heart not ith it's head when it comes to his team and signing and also knowing that it is verry easy to dream with money that is not yours do you see more signings and Bigger Free agents when Mr. Moorad and his small and significant groop of investores take over the Friars and Operations ? and do you See Sandy Alderson in the Future of the Pads ? We know that Moorad is a fan of Towers because of how he wanted him to go to Pheoenix but do you see Morres pat the 09 season?

Wazzel Sport's Humor said...

As a Giants fan, I've always been a fan of Correia. When he first come up I really loved his stuff. He had great movement on his fastball and could hit the mid nineties, although most of the time he would miss the strike zone completely. Then he learned the value of throwing strikes and took a bit off his fastball but became a more effective pitcher.

I think he is a similar player to Aaron Heilmann and will bounce back in 2009 and give the Pads some quality innings from both the pen and rotation if need be.

On Eliezer, as you stated he does have very real power. A streaky hitter certainly, but when he was on he could really put some life into the ball. A bit of a loopy swing, but he isn't a bad option for some pop off the bench or in a backup catcher's role.

On his arm, I believe Eliezer also had some pitching experience in the minor leagues. The Giants (I think in San Jose) would occasionally use him as a reliever because his arm was so strong. Fans would even joke that Eliezer threw the ball harder to certain pitchers than they'd pitch it to him.

No sexy names here as you said, but I really think Correia could be a valuable pitcher for you guys. He brings a lot of versatility and must have been thrilled to return to SD. This is really an ideal situation for him

The Oriole Way said...

Great pick-up of Chris Britton. I'm not sure why he never stuck with the Yankees; solid k/bb rates and he pitched well when he was in Baltimore. Given the history of the Padres in turning reliever castoffs into valuable contributors, he's definitely one to watch next year.

Ari Berkowitz said...

I think they're all valuable pieces that teams like the Mets overpay for. The Oriole Way is right about the fact that Britton is going to have a good season, Perez has tons of talent(six fingers helps) and Pete Ciofrone is exactly what a lot of teams need, a versatile talented hitter off the bench.

Amy Cima said...


I like the signings, but I find it unfortunate that we can't be legitimate buyers in a buyers market. It looks like Orlando Cabrera is looking for a job and could be a steal in this market. When you see guys signing for what was considered below market value in past years (e.g., Pavano, Burrell), I just wish you and KT were allowed to spend a little money.

Having said that, it seems like not exercising the option on Giles and spending the 6 million dollar difference between the contract and the buyout on a couple of more needs would have been money better spent. With 6 million in this market, we could have possibly signed a quality number 3/4 pitcher and Orlando Cabrera.

Paul DePodesta said...

jay mack,

Yes, I would think so. I would also anticipate there could be some 40-man roster signings as well. It's just going to take a little time.

Jeff Landset said...

Has this economy been a benefit or detriment for the organization when it comes to signing players? It seems like most players, especially those of the corner outfielder/DH type, have had a rather dismal offseason.

jay in SF said...

Is there any official position on salary for next year? I read in third party articles that they want to cut it to $40m. Given there are/were some affordable outfield bats this year, it seems apparent the Padres are absolutely opposed to adding FA talent over some threshold (like $4m/year). Burrell, Bradley, Dunn, etc. Seems to be some talent out there at reasonable prices.

I ask this truly believing that the Padres have some of the best baseball minds at the task. Alderson, DePodesta, Towers: first rate. You guys aren't perfect, but do a heck of a lot better than I could even if trained at it for a decade or so. That said, this is painful watch: all the non-action at affordable prices.

SDPads_1 said...

A big problem with signing Orlando Cabrera is he is a type A free agent who was offered arbitration meaning we'd have to give up a draft pick. Being that we were in the bottom half of the standings we wouldn't have to surrender our nice #3 pick but since we have no extra draft picks (from our type A or B free agents like in previous years) I don't really see how we can afford to lose a pick even if it is a 2nd rounder. Especially when things are as tight as they are currently in Padre land.

Also I've read a few articles about Cabrera that make him seem like a "me first" "team last" type of guy. Not sure if it is true or not but he has had some classic run ins with his teams in the past. Plus he's going to be 35 and made 10 million last year. I know he's going to get a pay cut with the market as it is now but I don't think we could have signed him AND a 3 or 4 starter for 6 million.

Gavin said...

I saw a report that Peavy is going to pitch in the WBC. Please tell me this report is false. I can't imagine the club would possibly allow its greatest asset to risk his health in this competition. Coincidence or not, the last time he pitched in the WBC he had a subpar MLB season, at least by his standards. Any insight would be appreciated - until I hear otherwise I have to conclude that the Pads are going to protect its (and its fans) interests, and disallow Jake to compete. Thanks.

zino said...

Welcome back to your own blog... Can you comment on Moorad, do you know him?
Pete sounds like he would give Black some better option of the bench then he had last year, if he can hit ML pitching that is... Also I found this blog that you might want to have yours listed in, I just listed mine with them.
http://sportsblogs.org/...Its like a sports blog directory and is crossreferenced by teams, sports, etc...



Unknown said...

Gavin-you can't stop Peavy from pitching in the WBC just because you don't like the idea. They'd have to have a medically relevant reason to do so.....since his shoulder is no worse then it has been I can't imagine there is a medical reason to stop him.

Plus Alderson, who is still the CEO, at least until Moorad takes over, has been one of the biggest supporters of the WBC

Gavin said...

a "medically relevant reason to do so?" - how about the fact that he spent a bit of time on the DL with elbow trouble last year? Or that he also experienced arm problems in 06', the last time he pitched in the WBC?

Maybe they can't STOP him from pitching, but surely they could strongly urge him not to, similar to what clubs do with many Latin pitchers desiring to play winter ball in their home countries.

I don't see how anyone could make an argument that Peavy pitching in the WBC serves the Padres' best interests. He may not accumulate a high number of innings, but they'd be high-leverage innings at a time of season where he should be conditioning his arm to get ready for the season. The season he is getting paid millions for.

I recognize that Alderson has been highly supportive of the WBC. But IMO this wouldn't be a good reason to expose your most prized asset to potential health risks.