Who better to begin previewing the National League with then the San Diego Padres? The answer is probably just about anyone excluding the Marlins.
Do they still have a giant Taylor Made golf club as their foul pole? Does anyone know? If so, this moves them up a peg in my book. If not, the roster isn’t much to look at. In fact, if I was honestly a Padres fan I would probably be more excited about golf season soon picking up steam or where the San Diego State Aztecs finish in the NIT tournament if they’re lucky enough to make it.
Here’s a closer look at the beauty within the San Diego Padres.
Major offseason moves:
Signed SP Jason Marquis
Signed Carlos Quention to a 3-year, $27 million dollar extension
The Padres changed ownership groups last August when the sons of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O’ Malley bought the team. You probably didn’t know this because the Padres former ownership group has done little to make them relevant in recent years and they’re probably one of the least most interesting teams in baseball as it stands.
The cupboard isn’t completely bare–and they’ve moved in the fences at Petco! I didn’t know how many more of those 2-1 yawners in the San Diego sunshine that I can take. The truth is, there are two main pieces I really love on the Padres roster, and we’ll get to them after the jump.
There are two ways to look at this trade. One is that basically in return for Josh Hamilton, we have now just Latos to show for it. We also threw in Yonder Alonso and two promising first round prospects just to sweeten the deal for the Padres.
The other way to look at it is the Reds traded a surplus to fill a need–and acquired the only proven Major Leaguer in the deal. I choose not to look at it that way because I felt Alonso shows more at the plate than Jay Bruce or Drew Stubbs or any other young Reds player. Now what will they do when Joey Votto skips town?
While I like Latos’ stuff, his numbers aren’t that impressive when you factor in that he’s been pitching in a pitcher-friendly ballpark his entire career. He’ll only be 24, but I would expect his numbers to and productivity to decline in Great American Ball Park.
UPDATE:FanGraphs likes the trade. I will still resume crybabying.
Another night in which it looked like all hope was lost, another comeback win. This time the Reds have won five in a row, and in thinking about it there just aren’t that many times during the course of a season in which a big league team can string wins together of five or more games. If you think about it, it might occur once, twice, maybe three or four times if you follow a really special team that can be particularly streaky.
I am growing a victory beard. I haven’t shaved since the Reds last lost. I had to trim it a little bit last night, but I’ve got a significant amount of peach fuzz going now. The Reds have two games left on this homestand in starting a two game tilt with the Pirates and Charlie Morton today, so hopefully they can make me head into the weekend with my fiance still complaining to “shave that thing”.
Last night was an ugly, ugly win. But to be honest, you’ll take it. All wins count the same. That’s something that’s tough for me to remember. I want to win and I want to win with big hits, home runs, and pounding out 14 hits with several extra base shots to the gap and into the seats. I guess that’s not baseball, it’s certainly not the way it was when I was a kid growing up. Offense is down, and sometimes you have to let a team come to you and manufacture runs.
Last night with the Reds trailing 5-3, they got a couple of guys on and Ryan Hanigan laid down a poor bunt in the 8th inning right back to Kerry Wood. Wood tried to cut down the lead runner heading to third base, and the ball was thrown up the third base line and the game was tied with Hanigan at third base and no one out. A batter later, Chris Heisey hit a hard sac fly to right field that allowed the Reds to take the lead 6-5, and Joey Votto would double home another run that put the Reds up 7-5.
Nick Masset entered in the 9th to give Coco Cordero the night off and collected his first save. The Reds had done it again. This is good because with the Cardinals sweeping the Phillies (who saw that coming?) they weren’t able to gain any games on the newly crowned NL Central leaders.
The Reds are heading to Cleveland this weekend and then to Philly to begin next week, so they’re going to have to earn their place at the top of the division in the week to come. But first, two home games against the Pirates that should serve as a couple of games to get everyone right.
Yes, Edinson Volquez started off the night by once again putting the Reds in a three run hole. But he ended up striking out 9 Chicago Cubs on the night and kept the Reds in the ballgame. When you think about it, if the Reds have luxury to treat him like a #5 starter instead of an ace, they’re probably in business.
In the worst way I wanted the Reds to come away with this game and I wanted to be able to say that these are the same old Pirates that we’re talking about. But once again as they so often seem to do, the Reds will send me to work on a Monday following a Sunday loss thinking about what might have been.
These are not the same old Pirates. It’s a long series and we’ve all had a good look at the likes of Jose Tabata, Neil Walker, Ronny Cedeno, Garrett Jones, Joel Hanrahan, Pedro Alvarez and the new and improved tandem of Jeff Karstens and Charlie Morton.
Today, the guy that went off was Mccutchen. It’s pretty much his team now even though he’s only 23. It’s funny because today was a microcosm of Mccutchen vs. Bruce. Both guys firing back and forth with blows in a heavyweight title fight. Both guys who figure to face off for the next decade or so and be tops at their craft in the NL Central.
It doesn’t help that Edinson Volquez put the Reds in yet another hole this afternoon. They trailed 4-0 after the first inning, and Volquez’s first inning ERA is now 29.25.
For all the qualities of imperfection the Reds will have to deal with to be one of the best teams in the National League this year, one that they have that so many don’t is that they grind, and they fight and they claw back into ballgames time and again.
When they were in the 4-0 hole, I was sure that the Pirates would need more than that to hang a loss on them today and I was right. Miguel Cairo–a super sub for Brandon Phillips that got on base four times today–homered to get them on the board. It wasn’t a cheapie either.
With two outs a few innings later Jay Bruce singled and Paul Janish followed his single with his own that would make it 4-2. A few innings later Scott Rolen’s RBI double would tie it. Then the Reds took the lead on a Bruce single to make it 5-4.
Garrett Jones homered off Volquez who had settled down and we were tied again. A few hitters later the Pirates would have their lead back at 6-5. Again, there were too many frames left and I knew the Reds would be back.
Jay Bruce’s confidence looks like it’s surging right now. After he lined the single to right field to give the Reds a lead, we just had the feeling that he would have a day. When he came back to the plate with the Reds trailing by one and Jose Veras gave him a high fastball, he launched it into the seats in right centerfield and the Reds had tied it once again.
Logan Ondrusek got out of trouble with a nice play on a squeeze by the Pirates to keep it tied. But as I said to myself, I’ve seen this game so many times. Too often I’ve seen my team battle and get a heroic play like that only to lose it on a single with two outs. That’s exactly what happened. Mccutchen strikes again. The Reds got bested by a good player today.
It is a testament to their character that they weren’t done yet. The Redlegs loaded the bases up in the bottom of the 9th off Joel Hanrahan, and he went 2-0 to Drew Stubbs before Stubbs flied out to the man of the hour in center to end it.
We’re 15 games in and it seems like there’s been a million big moments already. The Reds play all week long instead of having tomorrow off, so that made this one just a little easier to take. Beyond that, when this lineup really goes off it’s all over. No one will be able to play with the Reds on some nights because they’re all going to hit and it’s going to be scary the type of runs they score on a good day. The starters need to start going more than six innings and they need the same good clean bill of health that they were blessed with mostly last year.
Edinson Volquez was largely awful for an inning or two to begin the game, but once he settled in; the Reds got their sea legs underneath them and they proved to be a team that is going to dictate the pace.
The rally got started with a Jay Bruce single to right field with the team already trailing 4-0. Ramon Hernandez singled him to third and a single by Paul Janish brought him in to cut the deficit to 4-1.
Volquez went out in the top of the 3rd and retired the ‘Stros 1-2-3. The Reds came to bat the next inning and went right back to work after a Drew Stubbs groundout. Phillips walked, Votto singled on a line drive to center, and Scott Rolen plated them both with a big double to the left centerfield wall. It was then 4-3. Bruce infield singled, Heisey reached on an error that tied the game at 4, and the Reds then pulled off a double steal that Dusty Baker took straight out of the Roger Craig/San Francisco Giants playbook.
The Reds wouldn’t stop grinding from there, as they piled on 12 unanswered runs in total and threw Aroldis Chapman, Billy Bray, Logan Ondrusek and Coco Cordero at the Astros hitters after Volquez left at the completion of 5 innings. It should be noted while Volquez walked the town, he also struck out 8 hitters last night. So he was effectively wild.
Phillips and Janish had three hits a piece, with Janish driving in two runners and adding a stolen base. The Reds are 5-0 for the first time since 1990; looking for a sweep of the first homestand. Times are good, life is good.
Star of the Game:
Janish. He could have had four hits. I thought that his reaching base on error should have been a hit, but Angel Sanchez was charged with an error. Janish is slashing the ball all over the park. He’s making gold glove plays every night. And we were right, thus far. The Reds knew something everyone else didn’t in terms of their starting shortstop. He can hit enough to be an everyday player with that glove. And in this lineup, he’s a nice little complimentary part. “Soft-J” is going to be just fine.
When it comes to baseball and the Reds: when we tell you it’s Easter, you best start coloring your eggs for Sunday.
We don’t need approved credentials or access into the locker room to know what’s really going on here. And the best possible thing if you want to see Volquez a Red beyond 2011 is for him to be around .500 with a 3.50 ERA. If he dominates, he’s gone. That would mean we traded Josh Hamilton for a few partial seasons of Volquez. And we would have been right again–that deal will never be a good one for the Reds. They now know it, it’s a virtual impossibility.
The only thing you can really hope for is Volquez wins 20, gets the Reds past Philadelphia this time around in the NLCS and goes Tim Lincecum in the World Series. And then he would be gone but at least we would have our title.
But no one should doubt it anymore. Volquez wants to get paid.
“We’ll see if they’re up for doing more later,” Jocketty said Sunday from a Reds Caravan stop in Lexington. “We tried to do a multiyear deal. They just wanted to concentrate on the one year now. [Volquez's agent] had a few cases and wanted to get the arbitration thing out of the way.”
John Fay adds the following:
The Reds tried to get a multiyear deal done, but Volquez wanted a one-year deal.
Now why do you think this is? Let us translate the situation for you. Volquez took the one year deal raise, but didn’t want a longer deal so that if he does jump off the page and pitch like an ace in 2011 he can command huge dollars.
Basically what this means is if Volquez becomes the pitcher the Reds expect him to be–he’s only under their control for this year and unless they pay him like an ace (less money for Joey Votto and other young players who will be due for a raise) they’re going to lose the guy they traded Josh Hamilton to acquire.
Volquez didn’t want to pidgeon-hole himself on the Reds longer than just this year so he can break the bank. At least, that’s what it appears.