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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

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Thought of the Week – Super Bowl Locations & SB XLVIII

This week’s thought has been inspired by the peculiar location selection for Super Bowl XLVIII.

This year’s Super Bowl will be played in New Y-oh, Jersey. That’s right, not New York. It will be played at Met Life Stadium in New Jersey, where both the New York Giants and Jets play.

Many have speculated at the fact that this will be an “In-the-Elements” type Super Bowl. Kick off temperature on Sunday is set to be right around 30 degrees, just at freezing.

What kind of Super Bowl is this? Some of you football diehards would argue that “football is played best in the elements” and that it is a man’s sport and the weather is apart of the game. When playing in the snow and the cold elements, those same fans would say “this is the best conditions for football.” That makes me think. Has anyone ever said “wow these conditions are not good to play in” when the game was in San Diego, Texas, New Orleans, or Florida? Probably not. They were probably thinking how great the conditions were.

Lets take a look back at all the Super Bowls. 

There has been 48 Super Bowls, including this year’s in New Yoerzy.

In the last 48 years there has only been 5 Super Bowls that have been played in a Cold Weather city (This year, Indianapolis, Detroit, Minnesota, Michigan). Lets take a look at the rest of the Super Bowls, broken down by state:

Florida – 15

California – 11 (7 Los Angeles, 3 San Diego, 1 Palo Alto).

Louisiana (All in New Orleans) – 10

Texas – 3

Georgia (ATL) – 2

Arizona – 2. Also notable, the 2015 Superbowl (49) is already scheduled to be in Arizona.

Every single one of these states is considered to be in a warm region of the United States. Florida has hosted Super Bowls in Miami, Tampa, and Jacksonville. When looking at the Super Bowls in this fashion it is easy to see that majority of them are played in warm weather environment.

Even more notable, is the fact that every single Cold Weather city that has hosted a Super Bowl (up until this year) has been hosted in a Dome. Think about it. Indianapolis – Dome, Detroit – Dome, Metrodome in Minnesota, and the Dome in Michigan (Super Dome). Every Cold Weather city that has hosted a Super Bowl in the entire history of the game, has had a dome.

So why the all a sudden change?

To me, its just so New York can claim to have a Super Bowl and have the attention on them. It is so typical of the East Coast Bias and all the writers to endorse a New York Super Bowl. The sad part is that the state of New Jersey has taken a complete back burner to New York. If I was a citizen of New Jersey I would be a little upset. But then again, I wouldn’t be a citizen of New Jersey. It seems no one is acknowledging this.

Maybe this will be a learning lesson for the NFL. Maybe the elements will be so intense that it will completely ruin the way the game is played. Maybe Peyton Manning will have a terrible game because of the elements. Maybe people will call for the head of the commissioner. Or maybe not? This Super Bowl will tell the tail of future ones.

The last year has told us something else, regarding hosting the Big Game. If your city wants to host the Super Bowl, than an up-to-date stadium is an absolute must. Look at the San Francisco 49er franchise; after only hosting one Super Bowl in their history, they are now on the ballot in 2016 for a Super Bowl after building a new stadium. Not that Northern California has the warmest weather, but it is setting a standard. The NFL wants to be in these warmer areas, but also be in nicer, newer stadiums.

Furthermore, lets take a look at Southern California. This region of the United States has arguably the best weather in the entire country. The only region that could even come close in competition would be Florida. An argument for So Cal would be that Florida is much more humid and it rains quite often. The point is, Southern California should be an ideal spot for the Super Bowl, right?? Then how come there has not been a Super Bowl in the region since 2003 (San Diego)?

Southern California’s Super Bowl drought has got to be because there are no up-to-date stadiums. Think about it. Los Angeles has not had a franchise in nearly 20 years, and even the decade before then the Rams were playing in Orange County. Look at San Diego. Stadium is a dump, really. They’ve held the Super Bowl three times, but Jack Murphy Stadium, the “Q”, is just not up to standards anymore. The only reason they were able to host the game in ’03 was because they added 7,000 seats to the stadium leading up to that Super Bowl. So obviously the in-game experience for the fan is a huge deal. What happens when no one shows up to the game because it is too cold?

Another point I wanted to make was that this is the Championship Game for two groups of teams. These teams have worked their butts off all year long from the players, to the coaches, to the scouts. The Super Bowl is a big accomplishment and should be thought of as so, a celebration. Players should be rewarded for their long season and how much time and work they’ve put in to position their team for a Super Bowl berth. Every Pro-Bowl selection on a Super Bowl team has to deny their invitation to play in beautiful Hawaii. So why not give a little to these guys? Have Super Bowls in warm weather environments in order to show the true skill and talent levels of these professional athletes. Everyone wants to see a show here in the Super Bowl, and warm weather is the best environment to showcase the play of these athletes.

The cities that should be hosting the Super Bowl (Miami, New Orleans, San Diego, Houston) are all ideal vacation spots. Each city’s primary revenue is built around tourism. All cities are on the water. All cities are at least in the 60’s during winter time. Why not capitalize on the outstanding weather of these locations and keep Super Bowls coming for years in warm weather cities.

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.

Chargers @ Broncos Analysis

Chargers vs. Broncos TNF
Chargers vs. Broncos TNF

Chargers travel to Denver Week 15 for Thursday Night Football.

San Diego is set for a tough matchup verse the best offense in the league. The weather conditions will not be favorable and the fans will be rowdy as the Broncos battle for the number one seed in the AFC.

Many are giving San Diego no faith and some are saying the home team always wins on TNF due to the difficult turnaround. After reviewing the stats, the home team on TNF in 2013 is actually only 6-6.

Denver will be without receiver Wes Welker who left last game verse the Titans with a concussion. If the Chargers can shut down Demaryius Thomas with a double-team, I think they can sustain Decker and TE Thomas enough to give Philip and the offense a chance.

The offense has been rolling all season, but has struggled at times in the Redzone. The Denver defense is getting healthier, but is definitely still leaky in the defensive backfield. It looks as if Rivers will have to play a big role in this game for the Chargers to succeed.

They need to get the running game going to keep Manning off the field. McCoy will probably try to run Mathews a majority of the first half. The Chargers need to adjust if Peyton can overcome the time of possession by getting quick scores as he did in the last game. If so, they need to start taking chances with Rivers. In order to keep pace, McCoy might just have to let Rivers sling it all over the field. The key will be being committed to run the ball and staying balanced.

For the Chargers this is a must win if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. Still a long-shot, the Chargers are dependent on losses to Miami and Baltimore. If the Chargers and Dolphins both end the season with the same record ahead of the Ravens, than Chargers will lose to a head-to-head tiebreaker. If the Ravens have the same record, than the tiebreaker will be via AFC Conference record which may give San Diego a better shot.

If Philip and company can manage a win, they will keep their playoff chances alive. A loss means we will all be thinking about next season and the changes we will make in the offseason.

Padres Trade Luke Gregerson for Seth Smith

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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.