New arms have Padres excited for 2010 …
Here’s a snippet from a story I wrote Monday on Padres.com about the pitchers the Padres have added in the last month and, at the very least, they should not have to put out an all-call for arms in Spring Training like they did this past spring.
When players pushed open the doors of the home clubhouse at PETCO
Park on Saturday, the only vacant locker, a final reminder of the
passing of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline, belonged to the one
player no one thought would be leaving yet.
Sure, pitcher Jake Peavy has essentially been on the trading
block since the end of last season, though because he was on the
disabled list and had a no-trade clause to throw around, the offseason
figured to be the time when the Padres could find a willing trade
But when the White Sox called Padres general manager Kevin Towers out
of the blue on Friday, just before the Trade Deadline passed, Towers
jumped on a deal that brings the Padres four pitchers under the age of
26, including a top prospect in lefty Aaron Poreda.
“For us, we think it was a good baseball deal,” Towers said.
The Padres have now added seven pitchers to their organization
in the past month, four for Peavy and three in the deal that sent
outfielder Scott Hairston to the A’s, a deal that landed Sean
Gallagher, who figures to contend for a rotation spot next spring.
Trading Peavy and the remaining $56 million on his contract
could allow the Padres to address their biggest shortcoming of 2009 —
and, really 2008 — in the offseason: Their offense, which ranks last
in the Major Leagues in runs and batting average.
The Padres, who have never made a splash in free agency because
of the rich contracts players often command (and get), might be more
apt to bid on offensive players in the offseason because of the money
saved by trading Peavy and the fact that Padres CEO Jeff Moorad has
said previously that he’s not scared off by free agency.
While the Padres will certainly be looking for offensive
upgrades in the offseason, they appear somewhat content with their
pitching, especially after landing Poreda, Clayton Richard, who allowed
one run in 5 2/3 innings in his Padres debut Saturday, and two Minor
The team could have Chris Young, Mat Latos, Poreda, Richard,
Kevin Correia, Chad Gaudin, Tim Stauffer and Gallagher among others,
competing for spots in the starting rotation.
“I think there’s no question about that, because of the
Hairston trade, this trade, we have seven pitchers,” manager Bud Black
said. “But conceivably all seven guys … they all throw about 90 mph.
Just their overall size and strength and stuff is going to look a
little different than what we saw this year.”
The two trades certainly have put the Padres in a much better
position, pitching-wise, for when they head to Spring Training. If you
remember, Towers had to rebuild his bullpen this spring, looking for
arms in March when several in-house candidates flopped.
And the rotation appears in better shape than it did on Opening
Day when Walter Silva and Shawn Hill — two pitchers no longer on the
Padres’ radar — filled out the back end of the rotation.
The hope now, of course, is that won’t happen again. These two
trades have given the general manager reason to believe it won’t.
Remember, in 2007, when the Padres came within an out of making the
playoffs, they led the Major Leagues in ERA (3.70) and shutouts (20).