Padres Making Moves Despite No General Manager

The Padres have been busy the last few days. Saturday the Angels acquired Huston Street, and Trevor Gott from the Padres for Taylor Lindsay, Jose Rondon, R.J. Alvarez, and Elliot Morris. 

According to Minor League Ball (link) Taylor Lindsay, 2B, was the Angels’ top rated prospect. R.J. Alvarez, RHP, was rated 7th in the Angels’ farm system; and Jose Rodon, SS, was rated 8th.

The Padres then traded Chase Headley to the Yankees this afternoon for prospects Yangervis Solarte, and Rafael De Paula. You can argue that the Padres waited too long to trade Headley, but the Padres were a few picks to be a sleeper team the past few seasons.

Nothing the Yankees gave up was really anything that great. Solarte was a minor league free agent, and De Paula wasn’t a highly ranked prospect by the Yankees.

The Angels really, really, overpaid for Street and Gott; but the Yankees pretty much got a rental in Headley for nothing, and the Padres had to fork over $1MM to New York. 

Heading into the season the Padres’ farm system was ranked 11th in baseball, per Baseball Prospectus. Given the little time that has passed since the trade its hard to find an updated ranking with the new prospects, but Jose Rondon is now ranked 8th, and Taylor Lindsay is ranked 9th in the Padres’ farm system.

What is interesting about all of this is that one June 23rd, the Padres fired their general manager Josh Byrnes. In the meantime Senior Vice President for Baseball Operations Omar Minaya, and assistant General Managers AJ Hunch, and Fred Uhlman are collaborating and making the day-to-day baseball operations for now.

For a team with no general manager, the Padres’ front office is making some moves. IT shouldn’t be surprising if the Padres make more moves form here. Ian Kennedy, Joaquin Benoit, and maybe Carlos Quentin could be dealt.

San Diego doesn’t have to go overboard, however. San Diego only has six contracts on the books next season, and payroll is only at about $70MM. I would bet that Kennedy, and Benoit are flipped but I don’t think, personally, any moves will happen after that.

Whichever way the Padres decide to go, It should also be noted that the Padres have had a ton of injuries this season: Yonder Alonso, Everth Cabrera, Andrew Cashner, and Jedd Gyorko, just to name a few.

Remembering the Lost Ballparks: Sportsman Park. St. Louis, MO

When I first look at Sportsman’s park I always imminently think two things: that upper deck does not look safe, and I see a lot of AT&T Park in there.

Sportsman’s Park opened in 1902, the first year the St. Louis Browns arrived in St. Louis after spending their first season in Milwaukee under the name of the Brewers. It would only host the Browns until 1919, as in 1920 the St. Louis Cardinal’s moved in.

The two teams would share this ballpark until 1953, the following season the Browns would be moved to Baltimore, and renamed the Orioles. When the Cardinals bought the stadium from Bill Veeck and the Browns they renamed it Busch Stadium.

The Cardinals would leave after 1966 and start playing at the cookie cutter Busch Stadium II

Baseball was not the only sport to play there. The NFL’s St. Louis Cardinals also played here from 1960-1965.As well as the NFL’s St. Louis Starts (1923), and Gunners (1934)

Although for a lot of its life it hosted two teams, two very different traditions existed in this ballpark. Simply put: you had one team which was a constant winner, and one team that was a constant loser.

St. Louis Browns: 1944 AL Champions

St. Louis Cardinals: 10 Pennants, 7 World Series

Unknown fact is that Browns’ owner Bill Veeck had nearly ran the Cardinals out of town, but the Cardinal’s sold to Angus Busch and his brewery. Knowing that Veeck couldn’t compete with those finances, he sold.

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Sale, Quintana; Quietly Dominating the American League

When you think of the best 1-2 starting pitcher combo in baseball, some would think Matt Cain, and Tim Lincecum; or Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer? All of those are good guesses, no doubt, but they’e also both incorrect.

The best top of the rotation in the American League goes to Chris Sale, and Jose Quintana of the Chicago White Sox. Chris Sale is 9th in fWAR in the American League, but that is with about 5-6 less starts than the rest of the leaders. Jose Quintana is 7th in fWAR in the American League

        fWAR Leaders in the AL

  1. Felix Hernandez: 5.2 fWAR
  2. Jon Lester: 4.2 fWAR
  3. Phil Hughes: 3.7 fWAR
  4. Yu Darvish: 3.5 fWAR
  5. Corey Kluber: 3.4 fWAR
  6. Garrett Richards: 3.2 fWAR
  7. Jose Quintana: 3.2 fWAR
  8. Masahiro Tanaka: 3.2 fWAR
  9. Chris Sale: 3.2 fWAR
  10. Max Scherzer: 3.1 fWAR

And again, other than Yu Darvish, the rest of the top 10 other than Chris Sale have started at least 17 games. Sale has only started 14. No other team in the AL has two starting pitchers in the top 10.

Speaking of Jose Quintana; Quintana seems to be a very under the radar starting pitcher. Each year in the league Quintana has only gotten better:

  • 2012: 3.76 ERA / 4.23 FIP / 4.33 xFIP / 4.57 SIERA / 1.6 fWAR
  • 2013: 3.51 ERA / 3.82 FIP / 3.86 xFIP / 3.85 SIERA / 3.7 fWAR
  • 2014: 3.24 ERA / 2.85 FIP / 3.35 xFIP / 3.51 SIERA / 3.2 fWAR

Jose Quintana will likely be a 4.0+ fWAR starter this season, and will possibly continue to get better. Quintana is only 25 years old and still has room to grow, and improve. And just think, as good as Quintana has been Chris Sale has been even better. Chicago legit has a 2-ace rotation, and with Carlos Rodon likely to join the team in Chicago in the next 365 days, this rotation is only going to get better.

5 Predictions For The Second Half

1. Jose Abreu Cools Off

After starting off the first half with a slash line of 292/342/630 (972), 29 home runs, a 159 wRC+ and 3.2 fWAR Abreu seems like a lock to win the Rookie of the Year award. I think a second tour around the league will slow down Abreu a bit. Baseball is a game of adjustments, and I’m not advocating he’s going to be a bust. I think Abreu has a solid career ahead of him, but it won’t be this easy the whole time.

2. Rick Porcello Regresses

Porcello is having a fine season: 12-5 with an 3.39 ERA. Very good, but his FIP, xFIP, and SIERA indicate that he may be due for some regression. 3.94 FIP, 3.93 xFIP, 4.22 SIERA. The Tigers are going to need their rotation to stay strong in attempt to gain home field advantage in the playoffs.

3. Brewers Hold On To Win NL Central.

Yes, the Brewers are 2-8 in their last 10, but the Brewers have a lot going for them. Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza, Wily Peralta, and Yovani Gallardo all have an ERA+ of over 100. A solid bullpen, 6 of their 8 regular hitters have an OPS+ of over 100. Brewers are above average on defence, posting a 9 DRS, good for 10th in baseball. In short, the Brewers hit, they pitch, and they field, and they do all those things well.

4. Casey McGehee Regresses

After spening 2013 in Japan, McGehee is having a decent season 319/386/391 (776 OPS), 119 wRC+. However, McGehee has a BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .369, which is dramasticly higher than career BABIP of .298. Players with historically high BABIPs tend to be “lucky” more than “good”. McGehee was most likely lucky, given his age, and his past performances. 

5. Atlanta Braves Will Fall In the Standings

Braves are deadlocked with the Washington Nationals atop the NL East. Although Atlanta has a solid 52-43 record, their run differential is only +12, good for 8th in the National League. While the Nationals have a run differential of +61, best in the National League. Early on the Braves were getting lights out pitching from their rotation, which was carrying the team, and its light bats. Now that the pitching is regressing, it wouldn’t be able to carry a line up including Dan Uggla, B.J. Upton, Andrelton Simmons, and Chris Johnson.

Career Audit of Derek Jeter

Yankee captain, and short stop, Derek Jeter announced he would retire after the 2014 season. This has sparked many debates such as “Is Jeter the best short stop of all time?” and “Is Jeter one of the all time greats?” We plan on answering those questions now.

For his career Jeter has a slash line of 312/381/446 (828), a wRC+ of 121, and an fWAR of 73.7. Because of his tenure, even if Jeter completely tanks in 2014, his career line wouldn’t move that drastically. On defense, Jeter has always been highly overrated. In his 19 season career Jeter has a DRS of -147 and, UZR of -67.8. Granted that defensive metrics aren’t the be all, end all, but when there is a pattern amongst them, its safe to say that the results are probably parallel to the findings.

In regards to all time greatness amongst short stops in baseball, Jeter is ranked 6th in fWAR, 5th in wRC+, 11th in wOBA. This is all with at least 7000 career plate appearances. So, offensively, while very good Derek Jeter isn’t the greatest short stop in that regard. That is still held by Honus Wagner.

All time, Jeter has the worst DRS amongst short stops that have a minimum number of innings that make them qualified. Jeter passed the “eye test” and wins gold gloves because he’s flashy, but his defense overall is very poor. I know, I know, he dove into the stands (the same play Juan Uribe did in game 4 of the 2005 World Series, yet gets no love), and the play that threw out Jason Giambi at home in the playoffs against Oakland. But it isn’t there, and he one those because of his name.

You can make an argument that since Jeter was so offensively productive for so long that he is one of the greatest hitting short stops, and that he did it playing at a very important defensive position that maybe Jeter is the greatest short stop of all time. I however, think that to be the best, you have to be the best at both sides of the ball. Not, above average here, and poor there.