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Padres Throw Away One Year of Gyorko Later, For One Month Now 

Jedd Gyorko

Jedd Gyorko

In 2010 the Padres selected Jedd Gyorko in the 2nd round of the first-year player draft.  Today he was given the number nine and a spot on the opening day roster.  Congratulations to Jedd, he’s a hard worker, good guy, and will be a solid baseball player.

With that said, I couldn’t disagree more with this move.  I don’t want to hear, “the front office is showing they want to win now” talk, because if that was the case, then maybe they should have spent a little coin during free agency to bolster one of the weakest starting staffs in baseball.

With the understanding that the Padres do have some money, yet cannot spend like the top 10 markets in baseball, and they need to make wise “business” decisions for the short-term and the long-term.  Moving forward…

I like Jedd personally, and I think he’s going to be a good everyday player in baseball, which is exactly why having him break camp with the Padres is a terrible idea.  If the Padres waited until May 1 they would control Gyorko’s rights through 2019.  By having him break camp with the team, the Padres only control him through 2018.

So the Padres front office is basically telling fans:

1 month of 24 year-old Gyorko > 1 year of 30 year-old Gyorko

Additionally by promoting Gyorko before mid-June he will achieve Super 2 status.  Not only are the Padres losing a year of control, they are also going to have to pay a lot more money for his services starting in 2015 (I know what you are thinking).  Which could result in him being trade bait shortly after because of payroll concerns.  Kind of sounds like another Padres infielder that achieved Super 2 status not so long ago.

Padres finish April with a winning record and Gyorko is one of the top hitters, the FO looks great, otherwise they have thrown away a year of team control for the best young hitting prospect in the organization for the hope of igniting the fan base.  If this Padres team has a losing record by the end of April, Mr. Byrnes’ seat should start getting a little warm

Lastly, I’ve been critical of Bud Black’s inability to put young players in the best position to succeed during his tenure as the Padres skipper.  Gyorko is going to be expected (by the fans) to be an impact player on offense from the start, an offense that will be void of Chase Headley and will not see Carlos Quentin on an everyday basis.  Combine that with the unfriendly confides of Petco National Park and you could easily see Jedd Gyorko hitting .240 (.257 this spring) at the end of April, which leads me back to the short-term thinking of the Padres front office; 1 month of 24 year-old Gyorko > 1 year of 30 year-old Gyorko.

I respectfully disagree.



About the author: Steve Adler

Steve is the founder of A native San Diegan, he grew up watching Dan Fouts and Tony Gwynn. A former sports talk show host, but always a fan of the Padres and Chargers.

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  • Gloccamorra

    Aw, Steve, is money all you think about? Ron Fowler is loaded, and he approves! Goodwill to the fans and the player involved has to count for something too. If they want to sign him to a sweetheart contract that buys out future arb at lower dollars, it’ll be a wash financially, and he’s likely going to be a super two anyway. The team is signaling the fan base that it thinks last year’s second half run was no fluke, and saying it while doing the opposite doesn’t sell many tickets. That’s the real issue here – if attendance doesn’t rise above the 2.1 million of the last three years, the team’s options will be even more limited. It’s a sport, it’s a business, it’s a public trust, and it’s entertainment. Sometimes the last two combine with the first to gang up on the second, especially in a case like this when the initial outlay is small. As Hannibal once said, “We’ll cross those Alps when we get to them.”

    • Agree, Steve is acting as the father affraid his elder child may soon start driving and like girls, its bound to happen anyway. Think about the now, let him mature, still dont put too much pressure on the kids shoulders, let him come along nicely , here with the big club.

      • i believe rational is the word. Not afraid.

    • I’m thinking about the short-term and long-term. This team isn’t going anywhere, especially with this staff. Why waste a year of Gyorko to have him for a month on a 4th place team. Should I remind you, the Padres played under .500 the last month of the season as well?

  • Jeff Dooley

    Short term thinking leads to long term problems. I’m with Steve on this.

  • Tanned Tom

    Hold back a good player for an extra year of control? You are buying the argument that there’s not enough money. BS. $60 mil in TV money before a single ticket is sold. This club can afford a $100 mil payroll. And you assuming Gyorko is so good this even becomes an issue.
    In any case, the intent of every organization should be to put the best team on the field. Clearly the team is stronger with Gyorko on it. You are thinking like an enabler, finding reasons to put up with extended mediocrity.

    • A few things, Tom.

      1. The Padres are not getting $60M this year from the TV deal.

      2. My assumption is the Padres assumption, which is that Gyorko is going to be an everyday player.

      Why spend money prematurely on a player when you don’t need to? That just means resources will be limited in other areas. It’s not about spending or not spending, it’s about making good baseball decisions. Based on the way Selig has ruined baseball, I’m forming my opinion given the parameters set.

      • Ron_Burgundy

        If assumption 2 is correct, then the Padres will have to pay Gyorko regardless. If you keep Gyorko in the minors for the sole reason of not having to pay him earlier, methinks you run the risk of breeding contempt from Gyorko and his agent. If you look at this as a “good faith” move by the FO, one could argue that it might actually yield better long term results when it comes time to negotiate that bigger payday.

        • I’m not sure if I’m distinguished enough to address Rob Burgundy, but here goes. I think you bring up a valid point. I will say that players and agents do understand the “business” side of baseball. It’s not ideal, but it’s part of the game.

          In theory the “good faith” gesture sounds great, but is often overlooked in dealing within the parameters of FO’s. Been a while since anyone has taken the “San Diego discount”

        • Amish_willy

          He was already bummed by not getting the call last September, I can only imagine how he would have perceived the organization if they pulled this suggested stunt.

          They already have all of his 20’s under control, It’s not like it’s 2014 and Austin Hedges (Boras agent) is the opening day catcher.

  • 1 month of 24 year-old Gyorko > 1 year of 30 year-old Gyorko

    You made my point for me. This is not Bryce Harper or Mike Trout. He’s 24, not 19 or 20.

    Yes, it will cost more money in the future, but there is money to be made now the longer the Padres stay viable this season – getting out of the gate with less than your best lineup sells fewer tickets and garners lower ratings, along with dampening interest in the team for the short and long term.

    With Headley and Forsythe both hurt, there was little choice but to promote Gyorko, who is major-league ready.

    In fact, I think Gyorko will beat out Forsythe and stick for the whole season at 2B.

    At that point, it’s 1 year of a 24 year old Gyorko vs 1 year of a 30 year old Gyorko. I know which side of that equation I pick.

    And if he can’t handle the big leagues and gets sent down and stays down all the way to September, he will have accrued such little service time that his clock will really not start ticking til 2014 anyway.

    • Ron, thanks for chiming in. I agree that ideally you want to break camp with your best lineup, but this isn’t like other sports, the CBA forces teams to be strategic with service time.

      You repeated my point, the Padres are trying to stay viable. If they have a losing month, then it’s just another bad move by the front office.

      I’m not sure why you think Gyorko is so major-league ready. Keep in mind the FO didn’t even call him up in September for a cup of coffee. He also hit under .260 this spring, not exactly what you call earning a roster spot.

      At this point it is 24 gyorko v 30 gyorko, but if the Padres promoted him after May 1st you would have had both. Bad business decision.

      I’m in the same boat with the Padres, I do think he will stick, but that’s all the more reason why you would like to have him under team control for another year.

      • At first, I didn’t think it’s an obvious choice either way – and I chimed in because you weighed in that it was an obvious choice and that Byrnes got it wrong. Then, as part of the support for your position, you trotyed out Gyorko’s .257 spring batting average…conveniently ignoring his 4 HR and 12 RBI and .772 OPS. While I know that spring stats are relatively meaningless (especially when comparing the Cactus League ballparks with PETCO), the 24 games and 77 plate appearances would translate to 24 HR and 72 RBI, to go with the .772 OPS. I would take those stats at second base any day of the week. In fact, the only 2B in all of MLB who outperformed those stats were Robinson Cano and Aaron Hill. That’s it. Just 2 guys (Pedroia had a higher OPS, but fewer HR and RBI). Considering that the alternative is Gyorko in AAA and Amarista and Ransom playing every day for the critical first month of the season, the more I’m convinced you are dead wrong.

        • Okay, I’ll play along. What were his numbers the last four weeks? Since he did most of that damage the first week on ST. Also, I hate to point out the obvious. It’s Spring Training in Arizona. Not spring time at Petco.

          • Steve – you started in with the spring stats to try to knock Gyorko, so I think it’s fair game to point out that the stats are actually pretty good. The bottom line is he’s the best player in the organization to take over for the 2 injured players and if he’s as good as the spring stats, he’ll stick because that means he’d be among the best-hitting 2Bs in MLB – and that would not be a bad outcome. If he doesn’t play at that level, they can always send him down and then the service time issue is moot…and they will have gotten a much better gauge as to what type of player he is in the process. I continue to disagree that under these circumstances – with injured starters at both of his field positions – he should be in the minors right now.

          • I guess that .772 would sure carry a lot more weight if Amarista (.807) and Cabrera (.832) didn’t out-hit him. That shows two things.
            1. Hitting in spring training is a bit of a joke
            2. Numbers are severely inflated in AZ than they will be in Petco.

            Your argument basically says that Amarista should be the starting second baseman, which I would guess you don’t believe.

            In terms of the injuries to other players, I would have rather they kept Gyorko down for a month to get his swing back on track and just promoted Galvez to fill in a second for a month behind Amarista. This year is a throw away (again), why waste a year of control of your best hitter in the system to have him for a month?

          • Is he your best hitter or a guy you want to keep knocking? You can’t have it both ways. This is the perfect time to find out what you have in Gyorko, and you have a built-in excuse to send him down when one or both of the injured guys returns. I’ll make one final point and move on from this…the Marlins – whom no one will accuse of being big spenders – just came through a similar situation with an even younger and better prospect in Jose Fernandez. There’s no way Fernandez makes the rotation if Henderson Alvarez and/or Nate Eovaldi are healthy. So he gets about 3-4 MLB starts and assuming he’s inconsistent, he gets sent down and it’s no big deal. If he’s lights out, then the Marlins have to keep him in the majors. Which stinks for them a little, but they will sell a lot more tickets on the days he pitches and begin to build a bridge back to the fans they just got done alienating – and they’ll worry about Fernandez’s bigger paydays in a few years. You sound so defeatist that you seem worried Gyorko will actually play WELL. Which may work for a fan or a sportswriter…but a GM can’t operate that way and expect to still have a job.

          • I said he’s the best hitting prospect in the system, which if you follow the Padres system, didn’t take much last year. I didn’t say he’s your best hitter.

            I like your comparison, but I do believe that Gyorko will stick and he will be a solid regular, which is why sacrificing a month now (considering he wasn’t hitting well after the first week of ST and could get more reps at 2B at AAA) to have 2019 makes sense. So stopping his clock is not something I see happening.

            I do agree that GM’s can’t think that way. In most cases they should want to win now, because it’s likely that Byrnes will be somewhere else in 2019, why should he care of the status of Gyorko at that point… So play him now and let the next guy figure that out. God willing you and I will be here in 2019 and still rooting for the Padres, but at that point it’s likely we will be discussing… well if Byrnes just would have waiting a month we would still have Gyorko. And if he was concerned about winning now, then maybe he should have addressed the starting staff. smh

            By the way, I’m a sports talk show host. Every Saturday on XTRA Sports 1360 AM in San Diego 10a-noon, check it out sometime.

  • Kevro2139

    Remember last year, how far back did the Padres fall in the beginning of the year? Even with an amazing 2nd half where they were 10+ games over .500 they couldn’t get to a .500 season. So basically you are arguing that a team that was better than the Dodgers in the 2nd half but didn’t compete in the division because of their first half, should give up the first half again, and possible a chance to compete, to gain a year of control 6 years from now. Is that about right? I would have to disagree

    • Kevro, thanks for your comment.

      That’s not what I’m saying at all. You just started an entirely new discussion. A few things to keep in mind with your argument.

      1. They played a terrible schedule in July and August
      2. They had a losing record in Sept/Oct.

      If the team was serious about trying to compete, they probably should have focused more on the rotation than Gyorko. Too little, too late.

      • Kevro2139

        In July and August they played 8 games against the Reds, 7 against the Braves, 6 against the Giants, 3 against the Dodgers, 6 against the D-Backs, and 6 against the Pirates. The first 3 are playoff teams, which was 21 of the games, the Dodgers were a fringe playoff team, and the D-Backs and Pirates are not “terrible”. Yes, they did had some easy teams, but everyone plays those teams also. The only team they would play more often that is terrible is the Rockies, because they are in the division, but they only played them 5 times in July and August. Even though it is not the hardest schedule you can get, I would not call this two months of games a “terrible schedule”.

        .500 in Sept. and 1-2 in 3 games in Oct., So yes, 1 game under .500 for both months, but that isn’t bad. If they would have been even close one game under .500 in April, May, and June they would have competed, and Gyorko may give them the chance to do that this year.

        Also, the rotation was worse than this last year during the stretch from July on. It was, for the most part, the same 4 (Volquez, Richard, Marquis, Stults) but with Kip Wells in there, and a mix of young guys spot starting. Tyson Ross looks like an improvement, and Cashner looks good. They will get a limited Luebke back mid season. The rotation was good enough to compete at the end of the year last year, and has some in house improvements.

        They competed at the end with this team; add some more offense with Gyorko, and maybe they can compete all year, without having to waste prospects or money on some older starting pitcher who they will not have the space for (hopefully) in a year or two when the young pitchers are ready or off the DL. Next year the rotation could be Luebke (maybe still limited), Volquez, Richard, Cashner, and Ross, with Weiland spot starting while continuing recovery, and Bass, Erlin and Roach can maybe make the team and make some starts also. I am not sure who you think they should have targeted for the starting rotation that could be better than these youngsters next year, that wouldn’t have cost a lot of money or prospects to get.

  • what1233456

    You do realize that if Gyorko struggles they can demote him for a month at any point (if he still has options – which he currently has 3) and pick up the extra year (doesn’t collect major league service time when optioned).

    • Yes, of course I understand that. Given what we have seen from Byrnes, it would take a lot for that to happen. Instead of admitting mistakes he tends to extend them with multi-year deals.

      • Amish_willy

        “Additionally by promoting Gyorko before mid-June he will achieve Super 2 status. Not only are the Padres losing a year of control, they are also going to have to pay a lot more money for his services starting in 2015”

        Assuming Gyorko stays up going forward, he won’t be a super-2, he won’t even be arbitration eligible until 2016. Had they waited a month to delay his clock he would have been a super-2 that year as well.

        If the Padres were to approach Gyorko with an extension any time in the next 2 years, the loss year of control is going to be a moot point. Keeping him down long enough to avoid super-2 status would be riot worthy considering he’s already been there done that and the team NEEDS him.

        Gyorko will cost the Padres around 4m over the next 4 years, and with all the injuries I think keeping him down would have been 100% unjustifiable. Serious, with Forsythe & Headley opening the year on the DL, how could they have even pulled that off?

        It probably would have been more on point to ask why the Padres didn’t give Gyorko the last two months of 2012 with San Diego, rather than expecting a ready prospect to spend more, unneeded time the following year in the minors.

        • I’m glad you pointed that out. They have six years of control, three at the minimum, three on arb. As opposed to super 2 contracts, not both.

          If you are going to bring up the point of a contract extension, that only helps the argument of calling him up after May 1, because as a GM you have more leverage with the extra year of control. Let’s be honest for a moment, this front office isn’t exactly making great decisions when it comes down to who and whom not to extend.

          In terms of a riot, I think that’s a bit dramatic. The Padres agenda since the end of last year was that Gyorko would be the second baseman, they put themselves in this spot. Most experts don’t think he’s a top 50 guy, like I said in another comment, he’s not even Anthony Rizzo. He’s a solid 2B that should perform at an adequate level. No one is projecting him to be an all-star or a superstar.

          Given the high level of disinterest in the team right now, you really think people would be rioting in May because the team is doing what plenty of other non-contending teams do… work the system?

  • PhxPadsFan

    If Gyorko does well Byrnes should lock him up that will likely buyout his arbitration years and at least a year if not two years of free agency.

    So they should get that year of control back.

    • You don’t think that’s a little too knee-jerk?

      • PhxPadsFan

        No, I am of the opinion that he should have been in the bigs last September. He has nothing to prove in the minors.

        Either he is the hitter they think he is and Byrnes is going to lock him up or he is not and they will have to find someone else.

        You are correct about Buddy not being able to handle young players. He does not protect young hitters. An example is Headley hitting behind Gonzalez when he came up. He should have been hitting 2nd to provide him some protection. It is funny how Headley blossomed with Quentin hitting behind him.

        He needs to use Headley to provide protection for Gyorko or Alonso when he returns, but Buddy will not do that.

        • He should have been up in September, but I think the Dominican complex is starting to hold the 40-man hostage. That’s another topic on it’s own.

          I would point out that Gyorko did struggle at AA San Antonio and wasn’t lights out during the spring. Cabrera hit over .300 in Tucson last year, so it’s important to keep Gyorko’s AAA numbers in perspective. More importantly, another month of playing 2B everyday wouldn’t have been a terrible idea. This flip-flopping 2B and 3B isn’t helping matters.

          • PhxPadsFan

            You could say he struggled or you could say he was just starting to hit and then he got called up to AAA. He is not going to hit all the time. Him driving in 100 in back to back years is very impressive along with the fact that he tore up the AFL.

            I agree that he needs all the time he can get at 2b and moving back and fourth is not helpful.

  • sdhitman

    While I understand your logic, at age 24 Gyorko is getting long in the tooth for a prospect and needs to play now. The Padre ownership has swindled the fan for so long that they have very little goodwill left and to leave him off the club would only exasperate the disconnect between ownership and the fan base. But what the hell do I know I am part of the 40% who cant watch a friggin game on TV.

    • Hitman, thanks for your comment. I’m not sure how promoting a rookie is going to create much fan fare. He’s not Jay Bruce, or Jason Heyward, or Mike Trout, or Bryce Harper, he’s not even Anthony Rizzo. I like Jedd, but on a national level he’s not even a top 50 prospect.

      Not that it matters, but only 22% of the market has Time Warner. The other 78% can watch games, way more than when Cox was holding the team hostage.

  • ChrisStrovel

    I think, generally speaking, there’s too much emphasis on delaying a prospect’s debut to play these service time games. I’m an Orioles fan and they did it with Wieters a few years ago. Now, they’re talking about an extension, rendering moot the service time that was saved. In 2012, an extra month or two of Manny Machado may have gotten the O’s the couple games they needed to put game 5 of the Division Series at Camden Yards instead of Yankee Stadium (not to mention having been able to skip the wild card game).

  • Jeff

    The Padres kept Gyorko down last year when they could have easily brought him up. I was upset about that because I wanted to see him play, but I undestood the financial ramifications of leaving someone who has clearly mastered AAA in AAA. Sending him back to the minors to start this year would have accomplished nothing. We forget that last year, with what Trout and Harper did, was completely unprecedented in the history of baseball. Prospects need time to adjust to a stiffer level of competition. There is literally no way Gyorko would have benefited from more seasoning at AAA, and we’ve already played the service time song and dance last year when they avoided giving him a September call up. Bottom line is you have to start sometime, and its best that he get the growing pains out of the way now so that if there are meaningful games later in the year, he is a capable major league hitter and not still trying to learn the ropes. Coupled with the Headley and Forsythe injures, I feel giving him the call was a no brainer.

    • Jeff

      Furthermore, the Padres haven’t yet decided what to do with Headley. They need to give Gyorko as many plate appearances as possible to know if he’s capable of filling his shoes. Promoting him was about finding answers to long term questions. And like other commenters have mentioned, if he succeeds, he gets the arbitration years bought out anyway.