Dead Man Walkin' in SD?

=== Adrian Gonzalez ===

Larry Stone, following Tim Sullivan, has an insightful article that alertly catches big "poker tells" from the Padres' brain trust.

Padres' CEO Jeff Moorad issued the following quote.  Now, imagine if Lincoln/Zduriencik had, in December, said this about Felix Hernandez:

“I think the fairest description of our point of view is that we continue to be committed to doing what’s best for the long-term interest of the organization,” Padres CEO Jeff Moorad said yesterday. “As a result, no player is untouchable. And while we’re mindful of players’ individual popularity, we won’t put one player ahead of the long-term interests of the club.

“I’m confident that (General Manager) Jed (Hoyer) and John Boggs will have a discussion at some point about Adrian and his future. While I’d be thrilled to have him part of the organization for the long term, the early signals indicate his cost will be greater than our ability to pay.”

And imagine if Alan Nero followed that on the way that Gonzalez' agent John Boggs did:

"I don't ever want to speak for ownership because I have no knowledge of what they have and what they don't. (But) the feeling we're getting is more than likely (the Padres) are going to have to trade Adrian Gonzalez because (they) can't afford him."

Visualize the next 500 cyber-posts on Felix that would follow those quotes.


=== SSI-O-Vision Translation ===

What has happened is that Padres ownership and Gonzalez' agent got together.  They kicked numbers around and they were far apart.  They took a rest, came back at it ... and the agent said, "No, we mean it.  We're not going to give you that kind of hometown discount.  You're going to have to give Adrian $X or we're going to go free agent.  Seriously."

And then the owners went back and asked each other, and said, "Okay, what do you want to do."  And they agreed, no way Jose.  We are not getting into that kind of contract.  

We are 15 miles from the economic catastrophe that is Mexico and we don't run with the big dogs.


Then, the owners started talking to the fans.  Hey, this doesn't look good.


=== New Era in Seattle ===

Just to show you how bad I feel for the Padres fans, let me circle the carcass by drooling over AGone's road stats last year:

  • 77 games started
  • 28 homers
  • 63 RBI
  • 59 R
  • .306/.402/.643
  • 46 walks, 0.90 EYE
  • 182 OPS+

Turning from age 26 to 27, Gonzalez also showed growth in the second half, moving his OPS+ in all parks from 142 to 169.  A left-handed Albert Pujols, the last three months we saw him.


Zduriencik on his January radio spot emphasized that he'd much rather have Cy Young starters and legit #3-4 hitters than do the quiltwork he's been doing.  "The funny thing is, in Milwaukee we had Fielder, Braun, J.J. Hardy, and people said, hey, you really like the bangers, don't you?"

Zduriencik loves LH power and loves to shed Bavasi projects.  ;- )

Supposing you wanted to get Gonzalez done now, go all-in rather than bid at the deadline... would you give Triunfel, Saunders, Liddi, Pineda, and Shawn Kelley for Adrian Gonzalez before spring training?


Dr D



Five-for-one, sure.  Any prospects but Ackley.  I'd think they'll want one or two guys who can go right to the MLB roster, though.  Lopez?  RRS? One of the catchers? 
Looks like the main competition is Boston.  How do we stack up with them in terms of tradable depth?

M-Pops's picture

You wouldn't even be able to see my hand move, ala Gene Wilder's character in Blazing Sadles.
Do the Padres still have Heath Bell?  I would want him coming back in that deal, though :)

wufners's picture

I imagine you would, right?  Talk about getting a city fired up for baseball . .
So how can you not?  And it's kind of a Cliff Lee thing again.  We get this guy for two years and re-sign him, in which case he was worth the cost.  Or we get him for a year and a half and recoup half to half+ of the given talent through a trade of our own.  Or we get him for two years and replace two of those Bavasi picks with two shiny new Z picks.  Which he seems to have preferences for.  :P
Triunfel is a must for San Diego.  Saunders makes sense for Seattle to work in there, although San Diego may try and make it Lopez and cash.  I'm not on the "Lopez must and will be traded!" bandwagon, but I would think that his inclusion would be discussed.  A young guy with a talented bat, remaining upside, and appeal to the demographic that Gonzalez would be subtracted from.  He may not like it, but he could even take over first base duties for San Diego.  Which would be a nice little nugget to sell their fan base.
The other three are open for negotioan, but I think you nailed the categories, if not the names.  Guy with the buzz, under the radar guy with high potential, and a young Major Leaguer. 
Naturally, San Diego then takes that list over to Boston and says "Hey!  Look what Seattle's doing?  What do you guys think?"
I don't know other teams' farms very well.  How would this package stand up to what any of the other high rollers could counter with?

Taro's picture

I'd rather trade for someone underrated like Pena, and extend him for cheap and/or go for a 1B in the loaded FA class next year.
Gonzalez will probably cost more than hes worth considering the alternatives.


Gonzalez is a young, LH hitter who had 40 bombs and 119 (!) walks.  You got more of those?

Taro's picture

Ya, he had a great year (a lot of IBBs though). Pena's last 3 years are actually better offensively.
Gonzalez is a great add for 2 years, but the cost isn't worth it IMO. Pena isn't much of a downgrade and won't cost any premium guys.
Who knows, maybe Z can nab him for a Lee-esque haul, but I'm against doing Moore+Saunders+Triunfel+others when there are more value options avaialble.
The '10 FA 1B class is loaded as well.

NyMariner05's picture

I dont see how we would be able to outbid Boston if we don't include Ackley. At least not at this point in time. In the offseason, then the demands go down, and that package gets it done. With two years left on his bargain of a contract, I just don't see how the Mariners have enough to interest San Diego. Triunfel would have to rebuild his value into a Top 25 type prospect for a couple months and then maybe you have a legit shot at the deadline.

okdan's picture

Don't forget the relationships that exist between Seattle and SD. Aside from Kevin Towers and Dr. Z being close friends (I know he no loner works there), don't overlook the newest member of our front office, Jeff Kingston who came over diretly from the Pads.

okdan's picture

And the fact that we share a sprint training complex, although I don't think that's counts for much :P

misterjonez's picture

but in the end I come back to a few points that lower my enthusiasm.
Age: old was Sexson when we signed him?  If I'm right, he was actually 30?
Skills: Like Sexson, Pena bears exTREME old player skills and his BA has drifted down towards the Mendoza line for last season.  Now, I was a big proponent of Adam Dunn, so I'm not suggesting that these skills aren't valuable, or that we shouldn't have them on the team, but they do present a scary collapse probability, and Pena isn't exactly bucking trends.
The guy experienced a pretty classic (if utterly Beltre-esque) offensive explosion three years ago, right about when a guy is supposed to peak in baseball.  Since then, he's settled in at a level comfortably above his previous performances, but not approaching his spectacular '07 by a mile (~150 OPS lower the last two seasons).
All of that said, if he was available on a reasonable deal, meaning one which doesn't include more than an A-lister and pieces, or a Lopez-esque player (I know they don't need Lopez, just presenting value) and pieces, then I'd do it.  I know I'm not presenting his value all that well, but I just don't have a whole lot of confidence in him, and I really don't see what he provides that a handful of other options previously available on the FA market didn't.
A fine player, but I'm just a little bit nervous about the guy.


Add a bat like Gonzalez to this team and she'll have fun fun fun till her daddy takes the T-Bird awayyy...
Pena's an interesting proposal for a low-cost add.  As insane as a Gonzalez add would be, it would be tough to give up Ackley for him.
Don't even think it's within the rules to trade Ackley.  Isn't there a 12-month moratorium on dealing draft picks, 40-man or no?

Taro's picture

I can understand that, but usually its mid 30s when these guys collapse as opposed to early 30s. Or at least thats been my observation with these productive TTO types. Pena is lefty too, so that should help.
Branyan himself isn't nearly as good as Pena and is a few years older.
Pena's '10 BABIP was pretty unlucky as well, and the guy was on pace for 50 HRs for the 2nd season in the past three years (the other being '07). Hes really not much of a downgrade from Gonzalez at all, if healthy of course.
Hes solid defensively as well. His career UZR is averagish, but he has a 9.24 RF/9 compared to 8.12 league-average. Normally I don't like RF, but in this case Pena also visually looks like a pretty decent defender to me and fan's scouting reports have him an above-average defender.

M-Pops's picture

,if I am spelling his name correctly, was Epstein's asst, over in Boston.  One wonders if he values his former draftees a little more than any others.  I would tend to think so :(

misterjonez's picture

Pena > Branyan, no question at all.  And I'd like to have Pena on this team.  The problem is, with A-Gone and Fielder both potentially out there, I'd be a little more hesitant to bring in Carlos for his salary cost over the next two years coupled with his skillset since both of those other guys are far better players and long-term fits.  There were also many comparable options available at the beginning of the winter, so I'm just not sure he's a great fit unless TB wants to make him a salary-dump type move.


...we used the same argument to defend Sexson after 2007.  Sorry...for old TTO sluggers, the BABIP argument may not work the same way.


and in Pena's case, I'd be worried that it wouldn't...

M's Watcher's picture

If it cost Lopez in the package for AGone, I'd be perfectly happy with Ackley's growing pains at 2B over Hudson.

glmuskie's picture

It seems clear that Ackley is a lynchpin in the M's strategy to create a WS monstra out of the club.  If you can get plus-plus production out of your skill positions, it allows you to create an offensive juggernaut, because you can find a big-hitting 1B, LF, RF.  Makes the Jeters of the world seem even more valuable.  In light of that, I think Ackley moves for no man (or men).

Taro's picture

Pena isn't even old unless you expect him to age early. He had an expected BABIP of around .280 considering his peripherals (career BABIP of .293), meaning his OPS last year should have been in the mid 900s.
Sexson WAS unlucky in '07 (though he deserved around a .250-.260 BABIP that year) and then just bad the year following even though his BABIP rebounded to .270+ (his peripheral skills continued to decline).
Sexson's peripherals started declining in '07. He was both worse AND very unlucky.
Pena just posted the 2nd highest IsoP of his career and hit 39 HRs in 80% of a season.

Taro's picture

I think a salary dump is exactly what it would be. Thats why Pena is a such a good target IMO.
I don't think either A-Gone or Fielder are significantly better. Pena is very underrated and hes doing it in the AL.


But if you read the locals, their impression is certainly that of a player on the slide the last few years. 
Of course, that could be because 2007 set such a high bar.
In any case, the man creates 7 runs per ballgame, has a little upside beyond that, and if Tampa is a motivated seller, he'd be a big add.  Pena's a cleanup hitter.
You could compare him to a healthy, proven, firing-on-all-cylinders Russell Branyan.

misterjonez's picture

bona fide MOTO sluggers to rival anyone outside of Pujols.  They'll each win MVP's from here on out, or at least hang in the top three a few years. 
Carlos Pena is a fine MOTO piece that will almost certainly never contend for an MVP, and All-Star games aren't likely to be in the offing.
That said, he takes wonderful advantage of our park and fills a position that we have a fairly desperate need at.  As a salary dump, for a fungible piece or medium-high prospect, I'd be pumped.  Crawford fits us better, though.

Taro's picture

Pena knocked in nearly as many HRs in far less playing time just last season. Like Gonzo hes also a solid defensive 1B.
I think we're losing a little perspective. This isn't a Jack Cust or even a Russel Branyan that we're talking about. This guy LEAD the AL in HRs last season tying Tex with the lead, even though he had 137 LESS PAs than Tex. 
Pena has a .900+ OPS in the last 3 seasons and is coming off an unlucky BABIP season in which he led the AL in HRs. Hes not a lead glove either by any means and yet somehow the  consensus is that hes overpaid at $10mil. Man, talk about buy low. :-)
Gonzo is a beast too, but I don't its a stretch to say that they are barely separated by 5-10 runs, if that (assuming a healthy Pena). I think Gonzalez is a little better in the short term, not a lot better. He'll also have to deal with league switch which will eat roughly 5 runs of his production (that I think will cancel out with him moving away from that park).
Its interesting to see the consensus view is so low on Pena. I'm more convinced than ever that hes a tremendous buy low candidate. :-)

Taro's picture

Do players on the slide lead their league in HRs with less than 600 PAs? As you would say, thats a really tough crowd there in Tampa. :-)
Its more likely that 2007, the bad BABIP, and poor CT rates are giving fans this impression. Pena is pretty much another Adam Dunn. The only difference is that he can actually field a position well and he has a tad more pop (.300ish IsoP since breaking out as opposed to .270ish).
I mean, if you were interested in Dunn, why wouldn't you be interested in Pena? Hes a better player who fits a bigger need (1B), hes cheaper with less market value apparently, hes only 6 months older, and hes AL-proven.


A-Gon for his career demolishes the road and is atrocious at home (.935 vs. .795).  He also destroys righties and is castrated by lefties (.926 vs. .744).  We can correct one of those problems by giving him a home park that's more suited to him...but even in his career year of 2009 he posted a .770 OPS vs. LHP.
Just something to keep in mind - against teams stacked with left-handers or late in playoff games, don't count on Gonzalez.  He WILL be the .750 OPS guy, not the .950 one.
I'll take that problem.  Adrian is just so hamstrung by the Litter Box that it's camoflauging his level of output.  That's the main issue that we can immediate correct.  As for the LHP issue...Ortiz is 150 points worse against LHP too, but it didn't stop him from being a main cog in a multiple WS winner.  So is Prince Fielder, the other 1B I'd look to make a trade for if we can't get A-Gon.  It's a surmountable obstacle.
Fix the park problem and let A-Gon give us a serious boost to the O.
I'd trade several members of the farm for him.  We'd have to...but excepting Ackley, I'm sure we could work out something. ;)

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