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Teardown Artist… the Rebuttal

In response to Rany Jazayerli, San Diego Sports Insider writer Tucker Peterson breakdown the article “http://grantland.com/features/aj-preller-mlb-san-diego-padres-national-league-west/”.

This past week, Grantland.com writer Rany Jazayerli teared apart the 2015 Padres. More specifically, the aggressiveness of first-year General Manager AJ Preller and his many off-season moves to acquire talent. Rany refers to Preller as the “sucker at the table” when it comes to other GM’s in the league. Although he may have some valid points, he missed the big picture… Jazayerli is not a Padres fan.

The Padres have not made the post-season since 2006 with Bochy. They went to the playoffs the previous season as well under Bochy, yet had an underwhelming record of 82-80. The Padres have not won a post season series since their World Series run in 1998. They haven’t had a player voted into the All-Star game by the fans since 1998 (Tony Gwynn of course). They had a chance to make the post season in 2007 but melted at the end of the season when they could have clinched the division. Similarly, in 2010 they won 90 games but had a late season breakdown losing ten straight during the summer. They ended the season losing their last 3 games, including a 1-game playoff against the San Francisco Giants. See the trend…

As a San Diego native, what does it mean to be a Padres fan? Our team has little track-record of sustained success. Padres rarely have had big names on their roster, but when they have they have been successful. Look at the last 5 years; their roster has consisted of a bunch of nobodies or washed up players in the twilights’ of their careers. The last time they had a player that anyone could remember was Adrian Gonzalez.. that was 2010.

The point to be made is that their has been little buzz around the Padres in the last decade. There are the die hard fans that will always be there, but lets face it, no one wants to see a losing team. Worse yet, a losing team with the only identifiable player being Chase Headley. What AJ Preller did this offseason was bring that buzz to the city of San Diego again. Yes, the team has been inconsistent and at times down right awful. They have also brought excitement to the ball park. Padres’ management showed the city of San Diego that they are making winning-baseball a priority. Putting big names out their like Justin Upton, Matt Kemp, Derek Norris, James Shields, and Craig Kimbrel make people interested again. It makes fans want to come out to the park. It makes them want to stay until the 9th inning. It makes them prideful that they have players they can look up to and root for.

Let’s break down the trades and moves that were made this offseason. Who did we acquire? Obviously the 5 aforementioned players, all previous All-Stars with a good track record. Let’s start with Upton. 4 prospect/minor league players; IF Jace Peterson, OF Dustin Peterson, P Max Fried, and OF Mallex Smith. Some may argue that Jace Peterson is developing into a consistent major league player, but the same cannot be necessarily said for the other players. For years the only good thing to say about the Padres is their farm system. For years fans have heard this and when we see players develop they get traded away. This time we actually got something in return. Now I know Justin Upton may only be here a season (and maybe even less), but he is a premiere player in the MLB. We have not had a home run hitter like him since Adrian Gonzalez. It may come to a point where we need to trade him to get some farm system in return, but you never know how the rest of the season will play out.

That leads me to my next player, Matt Kemp. say what you want about his numbers, he is still an every day starter in the middle of your lineup and has played exceptional defense this year. I have heard many analyst rip on Matt Kemp and his defense which baffles me; the guy leads the NL in outfield assists and is consistently making plays. Again, Rany is an outsider looking in. He doesn’t watch Padres games every night, let alone probably ever. Furthermore, barely half the season is over. Matt Kemp has historically been a second-half player (see 2014), and it is the second half. Look at his stats over the last month. Look at his stats over the last 6 games – 11/24 3 HRs, 6 RBI. It is too early to judge an off season of trades half way through a season. It is actually ridiculous…

Who did the Padres give up for Kemp? Yasmani Grandal as everyone knows is having a great season. With that said, Padres cannot be blamed. It is safe to say that Grandal did not have a good rapport with the Padres pitching staff. He was also busted for PEDs after only 1 season of pro baseball. He also had injuries. In many people’s book it was a great trade, and it still may be. No one knows what will happen to Grandal moving forward. I also feel like Rany completely overlooked the Derek Norris addition. He has well surpassed any starting catcher the Padres have had since… honestly I don’t know because we have rarely and a consistent starting catcher. Although Derek Norris is in the middle of a slump, he still has 11 Home Runs, 45 RBIs, leads the league in extra base-hits by a catcher, and also leads the league in caught stealing. In my personal opinion, if Norris had not slumped his batting average towards the end of the first-half (strike outs went up dramatically), he should have been considered an All-Star snub over Grandal.

The rest of the moves seem to be a wash. Although I really liked Seth Smith last year and the Padres are hurting for left-handed hitting, they still had a surplus of outfielders. Relief pitcher Brandan Mauer, who was acquired for Smith, has done an outstanding job out of the bullpen this season. Although we had to take on the contract of Melvin Upton Jr., we still obtained arguably the best closer in baseball over the past 4 seasons and also dumped an 8-million dollar year of Carlos Quentin, who is now out of baseball. They also dumped an injury prone, no-show at the plate Cameron Maybin who had $15 million due on the remaining 2 years of his contract (club option in 3rd year). Although he is playing well, he became expendable after the addition of all the outfielders.

This brings me to Wil Myers. Another big name who recently won the AL Rookie of the Year award. Someone who people can identify with and be excited about blossoming into a consistent All-Star in San Diego. Although his injury concerns have continued, he started the season on a tear and showed a lot of promise. The Myers trade did see the departure of SS Trea Turner, who the Padres could use. On the contrary, Will Middlebrooks has been recently switched to SS and seems to have alleviated some of the poor play at the position from an offensive standpoint, while holding it down defensively.

The bottom line of this articles perception is that of the San Diego fan base. Rany Jazayeri may see San Diego as an easy target, and who wouldn’t with how the season has been going. However, it is quite obvious that Rany does not feel or know the heartbeat of a San Diego Padres fan. He does not mention the increase of attendance (top 15 in MLB; Bottom 10 last year) nor the increase of merchandise, etc. Though this team has not been playing to expectations, at least their are those expectations. At least someone in the head office cares about putting a winning product on the field. At least we have excitement.

By Tucker Peterson


Super Bowl Media Week – The Marshawn Lynch Reaction

The Media.

All they want is a story, and they will do anything to get it.

Much has been made about how Marshawn Lynch has handled himself during this Super Bowl media frenzy. On Tuesday, Lynch came to the stand to speak to the media for his required hour-long stint. He only spoke (if you can call it that) for about 7 minutes before he stepped down. On Wednesday, he did pretty much the same thing. Both days, Lynch repeatedly mentioned the only reason he was there was so he would not get fined.

The only reporter to get a real one-on-one with Lynch was the Hall of Fame Cornerback Deion Sanders. You could tell by the way Mr. Primetime approached Lynch that he knew he may not get a lot out of the Pro Bowl Running Back. For all the energy and character Deion Sander has, he handled the interview very well. He spoke slow and softly and got to the point. He complimented Beast Mode and spoke to a level Lynch could handle.

It seemed like Lynch only gave the time of day to the HOF’er because of his rich history in the league and his respect by many people associated with the NFL.

Driving home from work on Tuesday I was listening to San Diego Sports radio station. One of the broadcasters reaction was one to think about. He was relating Marshawn’s attitude to that of Ricky Williams back in the day. Ricky Williams had an anxiety problem with the media. Part of this may have been attributed to his recluse way’s of smoking marijuana and wanting to keep to himself. But other’s argued it was a true mental condition. Regardless of any of this, Williams was an outstanding back who brought it on game day whether or not he spoke to the media.

There are other athletes that have anxiety problems with the media like this. One that I can think of off the top of my head is Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Zack Greinke. Apparently, the pitcher has an anxiety problem where he rarely speaks with the media. This can be understandable, some people just do not react to the cameras and media’s as others do. Those here in San Diego might remember Padres’ Short Stop Kahlil Green who was the same way. He had a great deal of talent, but just could not handle the media. Even in a small market like San Diego, Green could just not take in the media. He was a talented player who let a lot of his potential go to waste in the eyes of many fans. Green was the type of guy that just wanted to go out their and play baseball as if he was still in Little League, not answer questions to reporters.

But is this Marshawn Lynch’s condition? At the time I was listening to this broadcaster on the radio I had not actually seen or heard any of Lynch’s interviews from Media Day. To me, Lynch’s approach is similar to that of Kahlil Green’s. Not necessarily the anxiety, but just the eagerness to be on the field. Green did have some kind of anxiety problem, but he really just wanted to go out there and play ball. That is what it seems like to me for Lynch.

Like I said before, it seemed as if Deion Sanders handled his interview very well with Lynch. He was straight to the point and did not allow for any filler. He seemed to make Marshawn feel comfortable which allowed him to open up a little more. Sander’s even asked Lynch if he was ‘shy’. Maybe Lynch is a little anxious when it comes to the media, but it seems to me that he is really just a football guy. He just wants to keep focused on the game in front of him and make it happen on game day. He is very unselfish, and gives credit to all of his teammates.

On Wednesday, Day 2 of the Media Day, Lynch approached the media the same way. He spoke for about 6 or 7 minutes with really nothing to say. Lynch’s blocking fullback Michael Robinson had to cut in and answer questions for Lynch. He did it with humor, but also in a way to rescue Lynch.

This can be peculiar to some. Some players, i.e. Richard Sherman, suck up Media Day. It is a way to endorse your product and make a character and name for yourself among the media, country, and fans a like. You make people fall in love with your character and that creates more hype and buzz around your name. Furthermore, this allows for more sponsors and money to be made. But, is that what this game is about?

The only person that is really hurting this week is Lynch’s agent. Marshawn Lynch may have acted ‘immature’ by the way he handled the media, but he is an old school guy. He is here to play the game and win it. He is not here to talk nonsense with a bunch of reporters when he only has one thing on his mind — winning the Super Bowl. Some reporters mentioned to him “don’t you owe it to your fans to talk?” Sure, maybe he does. But from what I have heard, fans do not care. It is part of the character of Marshawn Lynch, of “Beast Mode.” It is a whole mindset and lifestyle. He is a no-nonsense kind of guy and wants to focus his energy on the game.

Some have said that he was not like this when he was in Buffalo. This is a good argument for why it is not so much an anxiety thing. Honestly, before this season I do not think any one even cared or thought about his presence in the media. It seems as if this year, Lynch made a conscious decision to step away from the media and focus on his career. Lets take a look a little further into that concept.

In 2013, he had his 2nd most attempts and rushing yards. Also, in previous years he had a lot of injury problems, especially with the Bills. This was only the 2nd time in his entire career he started all 16 games (19 including playoffs/SB), which is a career high. He also tied for his most rushing touchdowns of his career (12, also had 12 in 2011). Furthermore, he had the 2nd most receptions of his career, most receiving yards of his career, and most receiving touchdowns of his career.

To me, the guy is trying to focus on his career, and it looks like he has been successful. If I was a Seahawks fan, I probably would not care that much about his media day. So what? — he does not want to talk to the media. He wants to play. He wants to focus on the game and help put his team in position to win Super Bowl XLVIII.

In the end, anxiety or not, the media is blowing this up. Reporters are making a huge deal about Marshawn Lynch not talking to the media. Why does it even matter? Why is this such a big deal? Last time I remembered, the Media does not play on Sundays. More power to Marshawn Lynch and keep that Beast Mode coming.

Padres Trade Forsythe, Boxberger in 7-Player trade to Rays

Logan Forsythe was traded with Brad Boxberger and 3 minor league players. San Diego received pitchers Alex Torres and Jesse Hahn  in return.

Logan Forsythe was never a full fledged starter and contributed primarily as a infield utility player. He played 2nd base, shortstop, third base and outfield, his best position being 3rd base. Forsythe has a history of injuries which limited him in the last 2 seasons. He only played in 75 games this past season after appearing in 91 in 2012. 

Forsythe had a solid 2012 season where he batted .273/.343/.390 with 6 homers and 13 doubles. Injuries leading into the 2013 season halted him this year. When he came back he did play well at times. He had a couple clutch hits that were game winners and walkoffs this past season. Logan could not seem to stay consistent and finished the year with only a .214 batting average.

Brad Boxberger is a young player (25) who only appeared in 18 games for the Padres in 2013. He had a 2.84 ERA and 24 strikeouts in 22 innings. He is a talented player with good potential. He got rocked at times but still is promising and it will be interesting to see how the Rays organization handles his growth. 

The Padres got two bullpen guys in Alex Torres and Jesse Hahn. Alex Torres is a very talented young player as well (26), who has a great deal of potential. Last year, in 58 innings, Torres struck out 62 with 19 unintentional walks and boasted a 1.71 ERA. Torres will instantly step in as San Diego closer Huston Street’s 8th-inning set up man. He will fill the void that Luke Gregerson left this offseason. Also notable, Torres will add a left-handed pitcher to a bullpen who lacked left-handed help. 

Hahn is another bullpen guy would will be a middle reliever. He played entirely in the minor leagues last year with a 2.15 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 63 strikeouts in 68 innings for High-A Charlotte in 2013. He is another young pitcher at 24.

Padres Acquire Relief Pitcher Joaquin Benoit, Pending Physical


Only a couple days have past, and it looks as if Josh Byrnes and the Padres’ front office have found their replacement for Luke Gregerson. The Padres are reportedly paying the 12-year pro $15.5 million over 2 years.

Benoit played the majority of his career with the Texas Rangers where he began his career as a starter. After a few sub-par seasons, the Rangers moved Benoit to the bullpen where he would reside and have success.

Joaquin probably had his best season to date when he did a one time stint with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010. he helped the Rays go 96-66 and win the AL East Crown and a playoff berth. Ironically, the Rays eventually lost to Benoit’s former team the Texas Rangers in the ALDS. Joaquin’s season was outlined with his 6.82 Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio and boasted a 1.34 ERA.

After the quick stint with the Rays, Joaquin moved on to the Detroit Tigers where he played for the past three seasons. As a Tiger, Benoit helped Detroit to three back-to-back AL Central Pennants and AL Championship Series appearances, including a World Series loss in 2012. This past season, Joaquin assumed the role as a 9th inning closer for the first time in his career. He had 24 saves in 26 chances. His only real blunder happened to be in the playoffs when he gave up a game tying grand-slam in the ALCS to David Ortiz. The Red Sox went on to win the series, and thereafter became the World Series Champions.

With his years of experience and recent success as the lead closer, Joaquin Benoit should bring some veteran leadership to the bullpen. Although his $15.5 million over 2 years seems like a lot to be an 8th inning set-up man, it may be a key piece to this Padre’s bullpen.

The Padres have always been known for their strong bullpen and this should help solidify that status in 2014. Benoit may also be insurance for Huston Street as the Padres closer found himself with injuries in 2013. The Padres front office continues to make offseason moves to strengthen their team.

The Padres have now acquired OF Seth Smith, P Patrick Schuster, and IF Ryan Jackson this offseason. They have also been in other trades for ‘Players to be Named Later’ with the Astros in an Anthony Bass trade.

Padres Trade Jesus Guzman to the Astros


On Wednesday Padres send Jesus Guzman to the Astros and get infielder Ryan Jackson in return.

Jesus Guzman was never a full-fledged starter, but did have some production in Bud Black’s versatile lineups. He was primarily a utility player who played first base and in the outfield. Although Guzman’s numbers are not flashy, he brought power to the plate in a lineup that really lacked it.

In 2011, Jesus Guzman’s first season as a Padre, he had arguably his best production in a limited role. He played in only 76 games, but still managed 77 hits, 22 doubles, 5 homeruns and a .312 batting average.

In the last 2 seasons Jesus Guzman’s role has been expanded, and his batting average has been negatively correlated. He played in over 120 games each of the last two seasons, but his production decreased as he had less hits, less doubles, and a drop to a combined .237 Batting Average in the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Although this overall productivity has dropped, his number of homeruns has increased with the increased amount of plate appearances.

Guzman was a glue guy in this lineup that had a lot of little pieces. The outfield is starting to get crowded with Denorfia, Venable, Maybin, and Quentin all in the rotation. Yonder Alonso has seemed to solidify himself as the future franchise First-Baseman. It seems as if the Padres need for Jesus Guzman was just not as much of a necessity as it has been in years past.

Ryan Jackson has played most of his career primarily in the Minor Leagues. He had a chance with the Cardinals playing 20 games with St. Louis from 2012-13. He batted .083 in 24 at bats. In the Minors, Jackson played mostly shortstop and batted .278.

Looks as if the Padre’s front office is looking to the future and trying to improve their depth in the infield.

Padres Trade Luke Gregerson for Seth Smith



Looks like the Padres are farming away their players again.

Luke Gregerson has been a shut down 8th in set up man for the Padres for the past couple years. He has played well in his limited role, so the Padres will miss him.

San Diego has generally done pretty well developing bullpen pitchers, so they should be fine.

With Seth Smith we get a shifty outfielder. He reminds me a lot like a majority of our utility outfielders. He has some strengths and some weaknesses and probably should not be thought of as a guy you lean on. He has some power that makes up for his .265 career batting average. He will give the Padres a majority of starts and between 10-15 homeruns. 

He might just be a role player on a team that tries to get their first winning season since 2010.