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Padres Observations as the Trade Deadline Nears 

I’ve got a few observations on the current state of the Friar franchise. Some are just interesting while others are flat out sad. That shouldn’t be too surprising given the Padres place in the NL West standings right now.

Power Outage

If the Friars follow through and trade OF Ryan Ludwick, will the Padres end up without a single player with a double-figure HR total? Ludwick has 11 currently. Chris Denorfia and Cameron Maybin are tied for second with five. Yes, I said five. I was listening to the first game of the Marlins series the other day and when Florida OF Mike Stanton was announced as the next hitter by longtime Padres radio voice Ted Leitner, he casually mentioned Stanton led the Marlins with 20 HR. The realization that our best power guy barely had half of that total caused me a momentary but sharp feeling of shame. How am I going to feel if we don’t even have a guy with 10 measly jacks at the conclusion of this season?

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Who the Heck Is Jesus Guzman

I’d bet a vast majority of Friars fans knew nothing of the 27 year-old Guzman until he was called up from Triple-A Tucson a little more than a month ago. After all, prior to this season Guzman could boast all of 20 plate appearances in the big leagues on his resume. Certainly no one in America’s Finest City expected much more than Guzman serving as organizational depth for the Friars.

Instead of floundering at the big league level and proving to all why he’d never been given a chance in the majors, Guzman is actually raking. He has an OPS of .860 and 14 RBI in 64 PA. Chances are his production will regress some but as long as he keeps swinging a hot stick he’ll stay in the Friars lineup and be given every opportunity to stick in San Diego.

Guzman’s success in a small sample-size does beg the question of whether he can he sustain it? He hit all over the minor leagues posting an OPS of .888 in more than 1,300 PA at the Triple-A level. Those who subscribe to production-based analysis might think that’s pretty good. The only problem is all of his Triple-A AB’s came when Guzman was already 24 and older.

While it isn’t impossible, it is unlikely Guzman will ever be anything more than a bat off the bench in the big leagues. At this point though, I couldn’t care less because Guzman is one of the few Friars who is swinging the bat well. Keep hacking away Jesus.

Mike Adams or Heath Bell, Part I

Hey, I love Heath Bell. Trevor Hoffman is my all-time favorite Friar and it would have been easy for me as a fan to dislike Bell since he essentially replaced Hoffman here in San Diego. But Bell is just too likable. He loves being a Padre. He sincerely enjoys playing baseball. He’s from Oceanside, California, just like me. Bell is awesome but he shouldn’t have been the Friars All-Star representative this year.

Mike Adams has been absolutely dominant this season. He posted a 1.32 ERA, a WHIP of 0.69 and struck out 41 in 41 innings in the season’s first half. Those are All-Star worthy numbers.

Bell meanwhile, accumulated a bunch of the one stat All-Star voters value most in relievers; saves. He converted 26 of his 27 first-half opportunities while posting an ERA roughly a full run higher than Adams did. If I had to pick only one representative, I would have to have picked Adams.

Adams or Bell, Part II

This may or may not be a question of either or; it could be both or neither. I’m talking about if either or both relievers are traded prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline. Both relievers are highly coveted by contenders who want to shore up their pens and could bring back multiple young pieces to San Diego. So, who is more likely to be moved?

Bell is heading toward unrestricted free agency after the season. If whomever Bell is pitching for offers him arbitration (the Padres would), that club would be in position to claim two draft choices as compensation; one from the team he signs with (either a first or a second depending on where the signing team finishes in the standings) and the second a sandwich pick between rounds one and two. That means the Friars have every right to expect and request at least a package of comparable value to the draft pick compensation. That’s a steep price in a market flooded with quality RH relief pitching.

Adams on the other hand still has another year of team control before he hits free agency. That fact may have extra value for some teams. In fact, the Padres seem to feel justified in asking for a package of equal or greater worth than that of Bell.

If I am Hoyer and have to choose which reliever to deal, I try harder to move Adams assuming the return is the same. Bell has added value to the Padres by virtue of him really, really wanting to stay in San Diego and possibly being open to taking a sizable discount to remain. The fans deserve something and extending Bell would be a sign that ownership and management care what the fans want. Plus it makes good business sense.



About the author: Glen Miller

Life-long baseball and Padres fan who attended his first Friar games way back in 1983. I've been a contributor on Friarhood for more than two years and enjoy talking baseball with the knowledgeable fans that frequent the site. Prior to my beginning here I owned and operated my own San Diego sports site while writing for several other sites focusing specifically on hockey. When not watching, reading or writing about sports I might be sleeping or perhaps spending time with my family since I have few other hobbies. I did recently try my hand at golf and am a pretty good pool player to boot.