Interveiw with Bob Scanlan
Bob Scanlan was kind enough to take time and answer a few questions for Friarhood. The questions are listed in bold with his answers below them. Be sure to check out his site at http://www.bobscanlan.com/ and follow him on twitter, @heyscan
(FH) Given that most of the Padres veterans are only signed through the 2010 season, what do you feel the mindset of the front office is and should the fans expect a major roster turnover going into 2011?
(Scan) There’s already been a major turnover, and an overt commitment to younger players that took place the second half of last season. The only starting veteran that is able to walk away at the end of the season because of being at the end of a contract is David Eckstein. Utility man, Jerry Hairson, Jr., will also have that option. That being said, there is always the chance for turnover within organizations that are rebuilding or have brought in new leadership – both of which apply to the Padres. The hope is that some of these young players will stick, and be a part of the organization for several years, thus reducing the turnover form year to year. Ideally the Padres through stronger drafting will create a nucleus of young, controllable players to create more stability throughout the organization and connectivity with the fan base. Most of the roster turnover going into 2011 will have to do with performance of these younger players. Other roster changes will have to do with possible trades of higher salaried players such as Adrian Gonzalez, Heath Bell, and any others who are arbitration eligible and looking at significant raises. Hopefully these young players show that a turnover for 2011 is not necessary.
(FH) What were your initial thoughts on the Kouzmanoff trade? How do you view it now that you have had time to analyze it?
(Scan) I was not at all surprised that he was traded. in fact, I would have been more shocked had he not been moved. My initial reaction and view of it have not changed since it happened. Kooz was due a deserved pay raise through arbitration, and the Padres probably felt that the salary increase did not warrant the difference in production they still believe they could get from moving Chase Headley back to his “natural” position at third. I also think Kooz’s age, recurring back issues, shortening timeline of being under control before free agency, and his coming off a banner defensive season which increased his perceived value, all contributed to the decision to move him. While I doubt many people expect Headley to play Kooz like, dependable third base, having him out of out of left field almost certainly improves your defense out there. The Padres still feel he can be a difference maker at the plate, and now there is no defensive, distraction to impede his progress. The more potentially impacting result of trading Kouzmanoff is the opening up of a spot for Kyle Blanks to get into the lineup. This is a guy who could be a true right handed power threat the the Pads have been sorely lacking since moving into Petco.
(FH) Do you expect Adrian Gonzalez to finish the season as a Padre?
(Scan) My guess is no. I discuss this topic in detail in an article on HeyScan.com (Adrian, but the short version is this). Adrian deserves to be paid with the other elite players in baseball, but I don’t see how the Padres can justify putting close to 25% of their team payroll into one player. It does neither the Padres nor Adrian any good to have too many resources invested in to one player, thus inhibiting the team from being able to supply a competent supporting cast around him to win games…which is what it’s all about. He should be able to bring several impact pieces back to the organization if they move him, and his greatest value is now not later. I would love watching Adrian play in San Diego, and think he is a great person and influence for any team and community that he is a part of, but it is hard for me to be pragmatically optimistic about his long term future as a member of the Padres.
(FH) The Padres pitching staff is by no means set in stone. With Gallagher and Stauffer out of options, how do you see this #5 spot playing out?
(Scan) Another topic that I go into detail about on HeyScan (Padres 2010 “IF” list: Part I) , but basically I think it’s a good old fashioned shoot out. He who throws best, wins. Long term the guy you want to have step up and grab the job is Matt Latos, since he has the highest ceiling of any of the candidates fighting for the job. Short term, if Gallagher or Stauffer step up then you can justify keeping them on the roster, thus avoiding losing them through the waiver wire, which they would be exposed to because of the option situation you wisely pointed out. Teams, in general, will try to keep as many players under control as possible to maintain depth should someone get hurt or fail to perform. Teams will do this even at the cost of having the best players on the opening day roster. So, if either Gallagher or Stauffer pitch good enough to warrant them making the team, it may supersede Latos’ performance no matter how good he throws, simply because Latos is movable, and they avoid losing one of the others through waivers – organization is deeper in talent under their control. One or both of the out-of-option guys we’re discussing could also find themselves as a long man in the bullpen, especially since the team doesn’t even need a 5th starter for the first two weeks of the season due to off days in the schedule. Between Gallagher and Stauffer I think Gallgher has a bit more to prove to this staff simply becaue Stauffer is a more known entity, and Gallagher is somewhat of an uncertainty because of his loss of velocity that made him a valued prospect just two years ago. I think it’s mostly a shoot out between the three names mentioned above, and performance (especially by Gallagher and Stauffer) will dictate how the the decision goes.
(FH) With no proven batter to protect Adrian Gonzalez in the line up, how do you see the 3, 4, and 5 spots shaping up?
(Scan) Good question. What I personally would hope to see happen is Adrian batting 3rd, with Kyle Blanks hitting behind him because he will have proved to be the consistent and legitimate power threat we’ve seen glimpses of. Then the left hand hitting Venable to build a left-right-left threat in the middle of the lineup, or the switch hitting Headley, who will have hopefully proved his progress in closing the holes in his swing are for real. I Like Adrian 3rd so that he may get the extra at bat late in the game, and is not leading off the second inning if there is a 1,2,3, first.
(FH) We all know that Kyle Blanks can crush a fastball, in hopes that Blanks will see more fast balls and gain confidence early in the year. Thinking outside the box, what are your thoughts about hitting Kyle Blanks ahead of Adrian Gonzalez?
(Scan) I think he will see more sliders to start with until he shows he can lay off it consistently. Having Adrian hit behind him wouldn’t cause me to throw him more fastballs. I would still throw him sliders (assuming I could control it) and fastball placed to his weakest spot (not going to discuss that spot here). Also as I alluded to above I prefer having Blanks speed leading off an inning instead of Adrian. But I see your thought of wanting to get the kid more pitches to hit, and that theory will work if he shows the discipline to lay off the breaking ball out of the zone.
(FH) A large amount of the Friarhood community will be heading out to spring training, as a fan of the game what suggestions would you give them to maximize their experience?
(Scan) Just go! Spring is such a great time to get closer to the players in a relaxed atmosphere. It’s hard not have a great time. If you are a baseball fan you will have fun. Be prepared with a baseball and pen for autographs, and a camera so that you can go home with lots of great reminders of your fun experience.
(FH) Scan thanks for your time, we look forward to seeing you during the season.
(Scan) Thank you, and all the best to you, and Friarhood.com! GO PADS!