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  • Who says the Cards can't develop position players?

    Here's a shiny new OF prospect, just called up the bigs. Unfortunately, we traded him for Carlos Hernandez and two herniated disks.

    San Diego Union-Tribune

    August 30, 2005

    Say the Padres succeed in staggering down the stretch to a division title. Say they summon the strength to muddle their way back to mediocrity and finish first in baseball's Damning With Faint Praise Division.

    Say, for the sake of appearances, the Padres even manage to reach the wire with a winning record.

    Should you rejoice? Or should they rebuild?

    The vote here is for massive overhaul, regardless of the outcome of October. However lucky the Padres get this fall, they will still be a long way from good. If they have been a bit less lousy than their division rivals, this is more of an anomaly than an achievement.

    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is advised to call for backup.

    Last night's 7-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks narrowed the Padres' lead in the National League West to 4½ games – still a formidable margin in the Futility Division. Yet the evening underscored the chronic problems that have beset this ballclub since its fluky 22-6 May.

    The starting pitching, represented on this night by Woody Williams, is too shallow. The defense, undermined on this evening by Xavier Nady, is consistently substandard. The lineup blends inadequate power with insufficient speed. Except for Jake Peavy and a virtually bottomless bullpen, the Padres have more in common with the Royals than the Red Sox.

    These flaws must be fixed if this club is to prosper over the long haul, and given the Padres' payroll philosophy, they may have to be fixed on the cheap. Happily, those in search of a silver lining in the Inept Division could take comfort that the Padres' metamorphosis may have begun last night.

    Outfielder Ben Johnson reported to the Padres from the Portland Beavers yesterday and was immediately the most athletic player in the lineup. He made Petco Park's oversized right field seem manageable. He showed a strong arm and quick feet. One day removed from a two-homer Triple-A game, Johnson lashed an authoritative double and drew a walk in four plate appearances.

    Granted, this was a small sample. Yet Johnson looked more like the Petco Park prototype than anyone the Home Team has previously produced. Including Sean Burroughs.

    If the Padres are to exploit their spacious stomping grounds, they need to put better tools behind their core pitching. They need to concern themselves less about hitting the ball into the seats and more about hitting the cutoff man and taking the extra base.

    Johnson's acquisition from the St. Louis Cardinals predated Petco's opening, but his progress through the system reflects the organization's recent emphasis on finding players who better fit the ballpark's dimensions.

    "One of our goals is to have more athleticism in the outfield," said Bill "Chief" Gayton, the Padres' scouting director. "(Johnson) gives us a lot of options."

    Johnson started in right last night in place of Brian Giles, who was reduced to a pinch-hitting role while recovering from Sunday's outfield collision with center fielder Dave Roberts. Yet the rookie's lasting place could be in any of the three outfield positions.

    Giles and Roberts could both be free agents at season's end. Left fielder Ryan Klesko might be destined for a refresher course at first base. Where there are multiple moving pieces, opportunity abounds.

    Padres manager Bruce Bochy declined to project next season's starting outfield yesterday afternoon, but he expressed confidence that Johnson could rate regular duty.

    "I think he's done a great job of opening eyes, raising his stock," Bochy said. "I saw Ben a couple of years ago, and I don't think he was the confident player that he is today.

    "I think the area that he's improved on the most is the mental side of the game and realizing how good he is. I don't think he realized that maybe last year, (but) I think he's matured – on the mental side, more so than the physical side."

    How come?

    "Results," Bochy said, "will always give you confidence."

    Johnson readily admits that his previous tour with the Padres was marked by self-doubt and a defensive plate presence as well as a .143 batting average.

    "I was taking too many pitches early on, trying to be too perfect," he said. "I had to get back to just letting it fly. If there's a borderline pitch I think I can handle pretty good, I should be swinging at it."

    Johnson regained both his stroke and his swagger during the Pacific Coast League season. He hit .312 for the Beavers, with 25 home runs and 27 doubles in 107 games.

    Triple-A numbers can be misleading, but Johnson has given the Padres a point of pride and more than a hint of promise.

    "Based on what (Johnson) did in Triple-A this year, it gives me a little more flexibility on what I do this winter," said Kevin Towers, the Padres general manager. "We'd like to find a place for him to play."

    Standings notwithstanding, the status quo is unacceptable.

    Tim Sullivan: (619) 293-1033; [email protected]

  • #2
    Originally posted by backstop@Aug 30 2005, 03:58 PM
    Here's a shiny new OF prospect, just called up the bigs. Unfortunately, we traded him for Carlos Hernandez and two herniated disks.

    San Diego Union-Tribune

    August 30, 2005

    Say the Padres succeed in staggering down the stretch to a division title. Say they summon the strength to muddle their way back to mediocrity and finish first in baseball's Damning With Faint Praise Division.

    Say, for the sake of appearances, the Padres even manage to reach the wire with a winning record.

    Should you rejoice? Or should they rebuild?

    The vote here is for massive overhaul, regardless of the outcome of October. However lucky the Padres get this fall, they will still be a long way from good. If they have been a bit less lousy than their division rivals, this is more of an anomaly than an achievement.

    In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is advised to call for backup.

    Last night's 7-5 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks narrowed the Padres' lead in the National League West to 4½ games – still a formidable margin in the Futility Division. Yet the evening underscored the chronic problems that have beset this ballclub since its fluky 22-6 May.

    The starting pitching, represented on this night by Woody Williams, is too shallow. The defense, undermined on this evening by Xavier Nady, is consistently substandard. The lineup blends inadequate power with insufficient speed. Except for Jake Peavy and a virtually bottomless bullpen, the Padres have more in common with the Royals than the Red Sox.

    These flaws must be fixed if this club is to prosper over the long haul, and given the Padres' payroll philosophy, they may have to be fixed on the cheap. Happily, those in search of a silver lining in the Inept Division could take comfort that the Padres' metamorphosis may have begun last night.

    Outfielder Ben Johnson reported to the Padres from the Portland Beavers yesterday and was immediately the most athletic player in the lineup. He made Petco Park's oversized right field seem manageable. He showed a strong arm and quick feet. One day removed from a two-homer Triple-A game, Johnson lashed an authoritative double and drew a walk in four plate appearances.

    Granted, this was a small sample. Yet Johnson looked more like the Petco Park prototype than anyone the Home Team has previously produced. Including Sean Burroughs.

    If the Padres are to exploit their spacious stomping grounds, they need to put better tools behind their core pitching. They need to concern themselves less about hitting the ball into the seats and more about hitting the cutoff man and taking the extra base.

    Johnson's acquisition from the St. Louis Cardinals predated Petco's opening, but his progress through the system reflects the organization's recent emphasis on finding players who better fit the ballpark's dimensions.

    "One of our goals is to have more athleticism in the outfield," said Bill "Chief" Gayton, the Padres' scouting director. "(Johnson) gives us a lot of options."

    Johnson started in right last night in place of Brian Giles, who was reduced to a pinch-hitting role while recovering from Sunday's outfield collision with center fielder Dave Roberts. Yet the rookie's lasting place could be in any of the three outfield positions.

    Giles and Roberts could both be free agents at season's end. Left fielder Ryan Klesko might be destined for a refresher course at first base. Where there are multiple moving pieces, opportunity abounds.

    Padres manager Bruce Bochy declined to project next season's starting outfield yesterday afternoon, but he expressed confidence that Johnson could rate regular duty.

    "I think he's done a great job of opening eyes, raising his stock," Bochy said. "I saw Ben a couple of years ago, and I don't think he was the confident player that he is today.

    "I think the area that he's improved on the most is the mental side of the game and realizing how good he is. I don't think he realized that maybe last year, (but) I think he's matured – on the mental side, more so than the physical side."

    How come?

    "Results," Bochy said, "will always give you confidence."

    Johnson readily admits that his previous tour with the Padres was marked by self-doubt and a defensive plate presence as well as a .143 batting average.

    "I was taking too many pitches early on, trying to be too perfect," he said. "I had to get back to just letting it fly. If there's a borderline pitch I think I can handle pretty good, I should be swinging at it."

    Johnson regained both his stroke and his swagger during the Pacific Coast League season. He hit .312 for the Beavers, with 25 home runs and 27 doubles in 107 games.

    Triple-A numbers can be misleading, but Johnson has given the Padres a point of pride and more than a hint of promise.

    "Based on what (Johnson) did in Triple-A this year, it gives me a little more flexibility on what I do this winter," said Kevin Towers, the Padres general manager. "We'd like to find a place for him to play."

    Standings notwithstanding, the status quo is unacceptable.

    Tim Sullivan: (619) 293-1033; [email protected]
    Yep, told JWB aboot that last nite....if only Matheny didn't play w/ a knife...

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

    Comment


    • #3
      I totally forgot about that guy.

      I remember him being labeled as a tools player way back then, but hadn't heard anything about him in the last few years so I assumed he became a career minor leaguer.

      He and Coco Crisp. Stupid Walt.

      Comment


      • #4
        That sonofagun sure can evaluate young talent.
        Dude. Can. Fly.

        Comment


        • #5
          I think Molina is going to be outstanding. I think he will be an all-star by 2007.

          Please never mention Hernandez again....
          Go Cards ...12 in 13.


          Comment

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