A somewhat common refrain from Padre fans is that the Padres had opportunities to better their outfield this off-season, but elected not to. This strikes me as an example of merely looking at the roster now and assuming no effort was made to field a different one. The Padres attempted to re-sign Milton Bradley and Mike Cameron and also made a run at Kosuke Fukudome. That they were outbid for their services means just that. It also means that guys like Edmonds and Hairston were not their first choices. Hairston was ticketed for a role as fourth outfielder and the Padres traded for Edmonds as their fourth choice. I refuse to believe anyone honestly believes the front office’s Plan A was to start the season with Jim Edmonds and Scott Hairston as their starters in center and left field.
I’ve also heard people complaining about Kouzmanoff and some even going so far as to hope he can “bounce back next year.” Really? Through 48 games this year Kouzmanoff is hitting .274/.303/.398, which granted is not what you’d like to see, but through 48 games last year he was hitting .212/.285/.364. He finished with a line of .275/.329/.457 by hitting .303/.350/.498 over his final 97 games. Given that he had such a drastic split last season, can’t we all agree it’s a little ridiculous to write off this season when he’s actually performing better to this point than he was last season?
Another thing I keep seeing that I don’t get is crowing about wasting Headley’s bat by moving him from third base to left field. The positional adjustment from third to left is roughly five runs over a full 700 PA season. It’s not exactly moving from Catcher to Designated Hitter (which is more like a 25 run adjustment). Speaking of Headley, though, am I the only one bothered by his peripherals this year? The drop off in XBH% isn’t particularly troubling because it’s still solid, but the fact that his walk rate has basically collapsed while his strikeout rate has held steady is worrisome. I suppose it’s only 41 games, but his great AA campaign was only 121 games.
I’ve also heard calls for a new plan, one that won’t lead to 17-31 records. I think it’s worth noting that this same “plan” led to 89 wins last season and back-to-back division titles prior to that. Maybe it’s not so much the “plan” as this year’s execution of it.
I’ll post the full list tomorrow, but I wanted to mention it now. I went through a list of all the players that have played in the Majors this year (through I believe Tuesday) and found which team drafted or signed them as amateurs. The Padres were responsible for the fewest players and it wasn’t close as they accounted for only 16 while no other club fell below 20.