Posted on: March 3, 2012 12:20 pm
Edited on: March 3, 2012 3:58 pm
PEORIA, Ariz. -- Because he seized the opportunity they gave him last year at this time with grace, flair and production, the Padres have hitched their long-term plans to center fielder Cameron Maybin with a five-year, $25 million deal that takes him through 2016, according to sources with knowledge of the talks.
The deal also includes a club option for 2017 that could push its total value to $33 million.
"It's a great thing," Padres manager Bud Black said Saturday. "It gives Cameron some security and stability, and it gives us a player under contract that we're excited to have."
Maybin flourished with the Padres last summer in the opportunity of a lifetime following two rough seasons with the Marlins in which he shuttled up and down between the majors and minors. The Padres made it clear to him last spring that they would give him every chance to win the center field job. But, carrying scars from the way the Marlins pulled the plug on him multiple times, it took awhile for him to relax and push away the paranoia.
"Even until the halfway point last year, I had days where I was looking over my shoulder," Maybin said following Saturday's workout. "You hear it, but you don't believe it.
"There came a point around the All-Star break where I knew I was the guy. Going into this year and having this [contract] done, I think it helps me even more. ... I think there's a lot more in there. There's a lot more to come."
In 137 games in San Diego, Maybin batted .264, nine homers and 40 RBI. He stole 40 bases, compiled a .323 on-base percentage and played an excellent center field. His .901 zone rating ranked second among qualifying NL center fielders.
He ranked fourth in the majors in thefts. His 82 runs scored and eight triples led the Padres. He also legged out 37 infield hits, sixth in the majors and second all-time in club history behind Eric Young's 40 in 2000.
At 25, as you would expect following a year in which he established himself, it's an even more mature Maybin preparing for the 2012 season this spring.
"A couple of things I see, I don't want to say he's more at ease, but he's more confident," Black said. "As much as we told him last spring that he was going to be our everyday center fielder, I think there was some doubt in his mind that that would be the case.
"He knows there's a responsibility that comes with being an everyday player. The organization reached out to him with a long-term commitment, and he realizes what that means."
Wearing a dress shirt with a patch above the right breast reading, "Courage is knowing what not to fear", Maybin said he senses that at this point, with this deal, the Padres are making him the face of the franchise, "which I'm more than ready and willing to be."
"Cameron has certainly emerged as a core player,” general manager Josh Byrnes said in a statement. “During his time with the Padres, he has impressed us with his play and with his character. He has shown us that he is committed to the Padres, and we are happy to secure his rights through 2017."
Though Maybin did not get a no-trade clause -- "That's something I wish we could have gotten in there" -- the Asheville, N.C., native said he feels at home enough that he'll look to move to San Diego for good.
Sunblock Day? Barely. High 60s here in the desert. But it's supposed to be 80 Sunday.
Likes: Padres manager Bud Black while discussing Matt Palmer and other pitchers on his staff: "God, I wish I had an Emerson and a Lake. Oh, what a lucky man I'd be." ... Exhibition games. Real, live baseball to watch. ... Looking forward to watching Duke-North Carolina tonight. ... The cheese enchiladas at Garcia's Mexican Restaurant (I really need to branch out, think I've eaten Mexican in three of the past six evenings). ... The jokes that were told over the dinner that I can't repeat.
Dislikes: Haven't been able to run for the past couple of days because, somehow, I wound up with a strained oblique while working out Wednesday. Didn't feel it until waking up Thursday. Ouch. Apparently, spring training is for writers to get the kinks out, too.
Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:
As games begin in the Grapefruit and Cactus League, a respectful pause today in tribute to how the late, great, Ernie Harwell always opened his first broadcast of the spring:
"For, lo, the winter is past
The rain is over and gone
The flowers appear on the earth
The time of the singing of birds is come
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land"
-- Song of Solomon 2:11-12
Posted on: March 14, 2011 7:00 pm
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Baseball's most stirring comeback this spring continued to build drama. White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy made it through his third Cactus League start unscathed and is talking about opening the season in the Sox rotation.
Peavy, coming back from major shoulder surgery last July, threw 67 pitches over four innings, "found some flaws out there, worked on some things, fixed 'em" and pronounced Monday just about as good a spring training day as a guy could have.
He got into some trouble in the fourth, serving up consecutive singles and then a two-run homer to Mike Baxter, but found value in that because he had a chance to work out of the stretch and noted "I think that was the most exciting part of my day." He surrendered six hits and three earned runs over his four innings, walking one and fanning two.
Peavy's pitches were clocked between 89 and 93 m.p.h. via the radar guns in the scouts' area behind the plate. Most of his fastballs checked in at 91. The 93 was his highest velocity of the spring.
Some folks who know Peavy as well as anyone were impressed, too.
"I thought Jake threw the ball well," said Padres manager Bud Black, who had Peavy in San Diego. "His fastball looked good, he had a good slider.
"He didn't look to me as though he's lost anything. He looked really good."
Among other things, Peavy was encouraged in that he bounced back well in his third start of the spring after not feeling quite as good last Wednesday against San Francisco.
"I was a little bit nervous after the last start because I didn't bounce back the way we thought," he said. "I tell you, we put in some hours in the trainers' room, and in the weight room. ... I felt quite a bit better today than I did the other day. I think you saw the fatigue starts to set in around the 50-pitch, 60-pitch mark."
The key, Peavy said, was learning how to moderate his workload between starts.
"My volume was so high," he said. "We came in in this rehab mode, and I'm doing this shoulder program that the White Sox have implemented, and I still want to do all of that as well as the exercises that I've been doing all winter.
"I just think my volume was so high there's no rest time. Rehab and pitching at same time, you've just got to maintain your strength. Holding back volume, I think that made a little bit of a difference."
Peavy said he continues to feel as though he's on a normal spring progression, and "hopefully I'll jump into that No. 5 spot [in the opening day rotation]. If we do have a setback, as far as we've come and as far down the road as it's been, I can't see it being much of a setback."
Asked how he would feel if the Sox occasionally skipped him in the rotation to preserve his health, Peavy said flatly, "I want to pitch. I'm going to fight that battle. ...
"If I'm deemed healthy, I want the ball every time it comes around. I'll certainly battle my authorities. I'll put up a pretty good fight."
Posted on: October 3, 2010 10:26 pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- In the end, a $40 million payroll was good for 29th in the majors, 90 victories and one big heartbreak on the final Sunday of the season.
The Padres pushed the Giants to the brink of a one-game playoff back in San Diego on Monday, but couldn't push them over the edge. San Francisco's 3-0 win here Sunday earned the Giants the NL West title, and Atlanta's win over Philadelphia gave the Braves the NL wild-card berth.
The Padres head home for the winter after a summer of vastly exceeding expectations.
Even in losing, this was one special team.
"It shows that if you have a bunch of guys committed to the team concept, you can compete in this league," second baseman David Eckstein said, "We had a good mix of guys. That's the tough thing about it.
"Because no one is going to care because we didn't make it."
Sad truth is, Eckstein probably is right -- but he should be wrong.
What the Padres did should have been headline news. They were the game's best story throughout the season.
They were the perfect team for these roiling economic times. They stretched their budget. They made more with less. They were responsible and paid attention to small details.
"A lot of clubs out there, small-market clubs, I'd love for them to take a page out of what we did," Eckstein said. "It proves anything is possible."
The Padres held first place from June 18 through September 16.
They and the Yankees were the only clubs to not lose more than three consecutive games until the Padres were ambushed by a 10-game losing streak beginning on Aug. 26 that ultimately became a mortal wound.
"It's a team game made up of individual battles," manager Bud Black said. "This truly was a team in the sense that guys cared about each other. The unselfishness. Guys understood what I was doing and what the coaches were doing.
"It was fabulous how strong, as a group, the team concept was. It was awesome."
The whole was far greater than the sum of the parts. And as these Padres quietly prepared for their final charter flight home of 2010, though it was a somber clubhouse, there was pride in what they had accomplished.
"I'm never one to be disappointed at the end of the year," said slugger Adrian Gonzalez, who now, along with closer Heath Bell, probably will re-enter the trade rumors market this winter. "You give it your all. When you play your heart out every day, you have nothing to hang your head about.
"Whether we came up one game short or 10 games short, I gave it all I had.
Likes: The Giants are deserving champions. Totally revamped lineup, and together with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey, Pat Burrell and Co. will be tough in the playoffs. ... Every time I come to San Francisco, the beauty of AT & T Park hits me all over again. ... On to the playoffs. ... Michaelangelo's Café in North Beach. ... Congratulations to Coach Jack Giarmo, my old classmate, for notching his 100th win as Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central rolled over Grosse Ile 49-13 on the high school football fields Friday night. Coach Jack has the Falcons rolling again, I love it.
Dislikes: It's always a severe and harsh split when a baseball season ends. People you see practically every day of the summer, suddenly, you're done seeing some of them until next February, March or April. Reaching the end of a season is kind of like reaching the end of the school year. It's been a long grind and you're happy to be done, but you'll miss seeing a lot of friends. Looking forward to seeing some of those friends over these next several weeks in the playoffs.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Educated in a small town
-- John Mellencamp, Small Town
Posted on: September 15, 2010 9:00 pm
DENVER – "Believe", read the T-shirts the San Diego Padres are wearing around the clubhouse and underneath their jerseys these days. And this is how much faith All-Star Adrian Gonzalez has in the Padre pitching staff:
"If we score four or five runs a game the rest of the way," Gonzalez said after the Padres won two of three in Coors Field, "we're going to win the West."
Runs always have been at a premium for the Padres, but never so much so as over the past couple of weeks, when they fell into a 10-game losing streak and struggled to pull themselves out of it.
Until they scored six runs in Monday's opener here, they had gone 16 consecutive games scoring four or fewer runs.
But they continue to lead the majors in pitching (3.22 ERA). The Padres top the majors in bullpen ERA (2.78), and they're third in starters' ERA (3.64), just behind Oakland (3.52) and St. Louis (3.54).
"We're going to win this division with our pitching," Gonzalez said, emphasizing that the onus is on the hitters.
Taking two of three games in Colorado from a team that was riding a 10-game winning streak and owns the second-best home record in the majors (51-24), Gonzalez said, allowed the Padres to regain their breath.
"We're in good shape," he said. "I like the fact that we've got C.Y. [Chris Young] back, the pitching staff still doing what they're doing ... offensively, Luddy [Ryan Ludwick] is coming around, Miggy [Miguel Tejada] swung the bat well this series.
"We're going to score runs. We're going to be good."
Likes: Coors Field is hell on pitchers, but it's a pretty park. ... This NL West three-way with the Padres, Giants and Rockies is great stuff. ... The division might have tightened significantly over the past week, but you'd never know it from talking to Padres manager Bud Black. Calm and cool, he's living up to his old nickname, Mr. Freeze. ... Great run along the Cherry Creek on a hot day in Denver. It's been in the 80s all week. Beautiful. ... The AL Cy Young debate. You take CC Sabathia's workload and success? Or Felix Hernandez's singular dominance? It's going to be a good one. ... Southwest Airlines. One of the few airlines that treat you like an actual human being. ... Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson.
Dislikes: Legendary scout Al LaMacchia passes away at the age of 89. Among many, many others, he signed Cito Gaston and Dale Murphy.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"The rain kept drivin' but the Caddy kept on burnin' rubber
-- Bob Seger, Get Out of Denver
Posted on: September 14, 2010 1:28 am
DENVER – Losers of 13 of their past 17 games and having watched a large first-place lead melt to nothing, the Padres to a man were on the top step of their dugout, hanging on the railing, when Miguel Tejada stepped up in the first inning with one out and one on.
The white-hot Rockies had won 10 in a row in what has evolved into a riveting NL West race.
With Tejada at the plate, the Padres' case of suspended animation was about to continue.
He battled Colorado starter Jeff Francis for nine pitches before ripping a two-run homer well over the left-field wall to kick-start San Diego's 6-4 win and break Colorado's 10-game winning streak.
For a badly slumping team that had scored only 38 runs over its past 17 games, Tejada produced exactly what was needed.
"He fought," manager Bud Black said. "Francis threw him everything. Miggy had some reactionary swings to some pitches, and he fought some balls off."
Tejada was behind in the count 0-1 and 1-2 before fouling off one pitch, taking a ball, fouling off another pitch, taking ball three and then fouling off two more. Then, bam. He crushed a full-count, 89 m.p.h. fastball.
"That was a great at-bat," Black said. "Those at-bats in a game, over the course of the game and after, you look back and say, 'That was a hell of an at-bat.'"
The Padres led 5-0 but, as is typical in Coors Field, the Rockies charged back to within 5-4 -- Troy Tulowitzski's three-run homer in the fifth aided that -- before San Diego's six-man relief effort over 4 1/3 innings halted them.
"You talk about this park, a four- or five-run lead is really a one- or two-run lead," Black said. "You never really know how a game is going to play out here. You really don't."
Likes: Great drama in the ninth when, with the Padres ahead 6-4, closer Heath Bell walked leadoff man Seth Smith to ensure he would have to face smoking hot Carlos Gonzalez. Sure enough, CarGo, leading the NL in batting average, stepped to the plate with two out and one on. Bell induced a bouncer to shortstop. "Tonight, I broke his bat and I won," Bell said. "Hopefully, I don't have to face him tomorrow." ... Great game in Tampa, er, St. Petersburg on Monday. Tampa Bay moves into first place in the AL East with the 1-0 win. David Price and CC Sabathia lived up to the billing, one day after Tim Lincecum-Mat Latos didn't (well, Latos didn't) in the Giants-Padres battle in San Diego. ... Fontano's Chicago Subs in Denver. Had never been there before until lunch Monday, but will be back. ... Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central drilling Riverview on the high school football field Friday night. Excellent win in moving to 2-1. Next victim for the Falcons: Flat Rock.
Dislikes: Hate to see Florida shut down ace Josh Johnson with back issues, but it's the smart thing to do. So many people don't realize how good that guy is. ... The Video Music Awards the other night. Watched the first 30 minutes, and I never realized what a classless pig Chelsea Handler is. I've seen her books, but wow, her act was tiresome quick.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Born into Nixon I was raised in hell
-- Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown
Posted on: September 9, 2010 2:07 am
SAN DIEGO -- Following a victory over German troops in Egypt during World War II in 1942, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
And as they were saying in the San Diego clubhouse after sweeping the Dodgers with a 4-0 whitewashing on Wednesday night to regain traction following that vicious 10-game losing streak. ...
"The baseball season is long and there are ebbs and flows," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Our season, up until that point, was pretty steady. I think it's a tribute to our guys. We hit a bump in the road, and I thought our guys showed resolve. We pitched well, played sound defense and executed."
Their breath back, the first-place Padres now head into a colossal four-game, showdown series with San Francisco beginning on Thursday evening, a season hanging in the balance.
With the Giants losing in Arizona on Wednesday, the Padres pushed their NL West lead -- six games as recently as 12 days ago -- back up to two games.
The Padres have beaten San Francisco in nine of 11 games this season, but the Giants have undergone significant changes from what the Padres saw in April and May (Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, Jose Guillen, Cody Ross, Madison Bumgarner).
Latos, signed by Padres scout Joe Bochy, brother of Giants manager Bruce Bochy, on Tuesday set a major-league record by working his 15th consecutive start in which he worked at least five innings with two or fewer runs allowed.
With the Giants on deck and a two-game lead in their grasp, it turns out that 10-game losing streak was not the end for the Padres. Given their sweep of the Dodgers, it probably was not even the beginning of the end.
But it clearly was the end of a beginning that saw them join the Yankees as the only teams in the game not to lose more than three in a row, the end of a beginning that was almost too smooth to believe.
Now, in whipping the Dodgers, the Padres looked like themselves again.
They won Wednesday's game behind six shutout innings from rookie Cory Luebke, 25, who was making just the second big-league start of his career. Just fill in the blanks by day, the pitching has been excellent. Black said Luebke will get the ball again for another start five days hence in Colorado.
The three-run sixth against Chad Billingsley was as good an indicator as anything that the whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-th
"We're getting back to the way we play," Eckstein said.
"These are the things we've worked on because we knew we needed to do them," Black said. "When they go our way, it doesn't surprise us. We've worked on these things as far back as February."
Gonzalez, in a conversation before the game, said that the first several games of the losing streak was simply business as usual for the Padres -- they were playing sound ball but were simply losing. Toward the end of the streak, though, Gonzalez said he could see some of the players pressing. That eased immensely, he said, with the first two wins over the Dodgers.
So ... a new beginning for the Padres?
"We hope so," Eckstein said. "We're not going to answer that question until we clinch or don't clinch, because we'll hear about it the rest of our lives if we don't. We just have to focus on playing our game."
Likes: Trevor Hoffman earning career save No. 600. Congratulations to a man who has had a very difficult season but remains pure class. ... Former Cincinnati ace Gary Nolan visiting with the Reds in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. ... Intense scoreboard watching every night now. ... The portable iPod players. It's given yet another new life to my iTouch. Reds manager Dusty Baker has one that travels with him -- it's usually queued up in the manager's office -- and he jokes that it's his "roommate." ... The Arcade Fire's new disc, The Suburbs. ... Digging this season of Mad Men. ... Ah, back to school. A young lady was wearing this T-shirt in the St. Louis airport the other day: "We didn't come to college to find our husbands. We came to find our bridesmaids."
Dislikes: The Dodgers are playing like they've quit. Totally disinterested. ... Arizona manager Kirk Gibson being stung by a scorpion at his Arizona home this week. Among the only things more disgusting than scorpions are tarantulas. ... Human beings continue to get larger and larger with each generation. Airplane aisles continue to get smaller and smaller. The future of air travel? I don't even want to know. Let's just say that the larger people and smaller aisles are going to clash pretty badly here in a few years.
Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:
"Everyone I know
-- Jackson Browne, Running on Empty
Posted on: August 27, 2010 9:09 pm
Edited on: August 27, 2010 10:11 pm
The first-place Padres have met every challenge tossed their way this summer, and now another big one is in front of them: Jerry Hairston Jr. is expected to be out of the lineup for at least two weeks with a strained right elbow, and he said it might be three or four weeks until he's back to full strength.
Hairston underwent an MRI exam in San Diego on Friday. He is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list sometime before Saturday afternoon's game against Philadelphia and replaced on the roster by Everth Cabrera, the young infielder who was optioned out when the Padres acquired Miguel Tejada last month.
"I was worried," said Hairston Jr., hitting .249 with a .305 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 50 RBI this season. "It could have been a lot worse."
Hairston Jr. might have become the Padres' most indispensible man this side of Adrian Gonzalez during sparkplug David Eckstein's month-long stint on the disabled list. He plugged second base nicely while Eckstein was recovering, just the latest evidence of a job well done in 2010.
His 101 starts this season have been far-flung: He's started 53 games this season at shortstop, 41 at second base, four in right field, two in left field and one at third base. He's also batted leadoff a team-high 47 times.
Manager Bud Black said the Padres would be "monitoring" Hairston Jr. and called the injury a "cumulative" one. Meaning, Hairston Jr. wasn't injured on one play.
"The last six weeks it's really started bothering me," Hairston Jr. said. "And it just got worse."
It didn't help his peace of mind that he was en route to Friday's MRI exam when he heard the devastating news that similar tests showed a torn ligament in the elbow of Washington ace Stephen Strasburg. Hairston, though, eluded that sort of terrible news.
He will not throw for two weeks and then, he said, "we'll see where I'm at."
The Padres are contemplating whether to place him on the disabled list.
"I can still hit," he said.
Even at that, the Padres do not want to take any chances. As such, they had Cabrera on a plane Friday night. Cabrera, 23, is a solid fielder who was struggling offensively when they sent him to Triple-A Portland to make room for Tejada. In 63 games with the Padres this season, Cabrera was hitting .205 with one homer, 22 RBI and eight steals.
Posted on: July 29, 2010 12:58 pm
With sparkplug second baseman David Eckstein disabled and young shortstop Everth Cabrera looking lost, the first-place San Diego Padres have sharpened their focus to acquiring a middle infielder before the July 31 trade deadline.
Their chief target appears to be Baltimore's veteran Miguel Tejada, a player they think could both help their offense and relieve some of the current stress on the infield. But the Orioles are fielding inquiries from other clubs on Tejada as well -- among others, they've talked with Philadelphia and St. Louis -- and the Padres might not have the goods to complete the deal.
Eckstein went onto the disabled list with a right calf strain July 21, and Padres manager Bud Black indicated Wednesday that he may not be quite ready to return when he is eligible on Aug. 5.
"The degree of the strain shouldn't keep him out for a prolonged period of time," Black said. "We're going to make sure David goes through all of the right steps to come back."
Eckstein is hitting .279 with a .326 on-base percentage and is statistically the most difficult regular to strike out in the National League.
Jerry Hairston Jr., who had been getting starts at shortstop, has been playing second base in Eckstein's absence. But that means Cabrera, who is hitting just .201 with a .270 on-base percentage, is getting more regular time at short and is not faring well under the daily grind.
Because of that, the Padres have shifted their priorities from acquiring a starting pitcher and/or an outfielder to middle infield.
"Jed's trying like heck," one source said of general manager Jed Hoyer's efforts during his first July trade deadline as the man in charge.
The Padres, who continue to own the best record in the NL, rank only 14th in the league with a .252 batting average and 14th with a .377 slugging percentage. However, they are hitting .276 with runners in scoring position.
Tejada, 36, is hitting .269 with seven home runs and 39 RBI in 97 games for the Orioles this season. Though he's playing third base, the Padres think he could return to his shortstop roots for some games here and there -- particularly until Eckstein returns and Hairston Jr. is freed up to return to short. The Padres also think he could play some outfield.
Tejada is owed roughly $2 million for the rest of 2010 and, if the Orioles do move him, probably will cost the acquiring team a mid-level prospect.