So far, Adrian Gonzalez fans, the Gold Glove winning first baseman is still a member of the San Diego Padres. December 7-10 of this year, Indianapolis will be a buzz with baseball front office folks, agents, and maybe even a few players invading the Midwestern town.
It will be interesting to watch along with you to see what the Padres decide to do. New GM Jed Hoyer will undoubtedly receive many offers for his talented 40 home run guy, but he may hear some inquiries about a few other players as well. Here's my thoughts on who Mr. Hoyer may be asked about in Indianapolis:
1. Heath Bell, closer. Heath saved 42 games last year (in 48 opportunities) and stepped into a tough role in San Diego, replacing the great and future hall of famer, Trevor Hoffman. Bell is due a larger pay day in arbitration, which may not fit alongside what the Padres want to do this upcoming season. What also makes Bell attractive is he's under team control through 2011, so no free agency for a couple of seasons. The Padres have some internal candidates that could step into the 9th inning role, like Mike Adams, Ryan Webb, Luke Gregerson and maybe even Edward Mujica, though he projects more as a starter this upcoming season. Personally, I'd like to see the Padres hang on to Heath, but I understand if a move is made.
2. Chris Young, starter. CY had an injury plagued year, and had to be shut down with a shoulder injury. Young is emerging as a top of the rotation type of pitcher and is relatively inexpensive at around 6.2 million dollars. Young will more likely be a more popular player to other teams later in the summer, perhaps around the July 31 trade deadline, due to the uncertainty of his arm, and how he'll bounce back. But trust me, there will be opposing GM's asking about Young. My guess, is that Young stays a Padre through the season and that will be a good thing.
3. Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B. Kouz had one of his best overall seasons, since coming to the Padres from the Indians three seasons ago. Not only did he produce at the plate, he was a legitimate contender for the NL Gold Glove at third base this year. Kouz is still a young player, and again is a guy under team control and is only arbitration eligible, not a free agent. He has tremendous upside, and perhaps the Padres think that Chase Headley, is better suited to play third, to make him expendable. Realizing that with Kyle Blanks waiting to get an opportunity, if Adrian isn't dealt, one of the two, of Kouz or Chase could be dealt to open up left field for the rookie.
Ok as those seem pretty obvious choices, I realize that, just wanted to get my thoughts down on "paper" to let you know where I'm coming from. What about Hoyer's shopping list? What will he go to Indianapolis looking for? Here are my early thoughts...
1. Starting Pitcher. With the emergence of some of the young arms, (Clayton Richard, Wade LeBlanc, Tim Stauffer and Mujica) Hoyer may look for a veteran to help Young and Kevin Correia at the front of the rotation. There are some options via free agency, but a big money guy is unlikely. To be honest the free agent list in this category is not that impressive. Here's the list I looked at, courtesy of MLBTraderumors.com.
2. Catcher. Nick Hundley really improved both defensively and offensively this season. Unfortunately for him, the fastball by Chad Billingsley he took off his wrist cost Hundley about 2 months of the season. Henry Blanco proved to be a low cost, good option, as a back up, but he has filed for free agency. He could be re-signed. Not saying it's a top priority, but getting a good backup in the fold, could be something on Hoyer's list.
3. Outfielder. This one may not seem as obvious. No slight intended to Tony Gwynn Jr, but with a flood of young outfielders, Hoyer may choose to bring in a veteran outfielder to provide a little stability out there. Mike Cameron?
I'll certainly have more about this as the Winter Meetings approach. It's always fun to guess along at home!
Ok, that's it for today, I'm off to Stockton, CA with the USD Toreros (1-0), for tomorrow night's game at the University of the Pacific. The Toreros looked good in their season opener, a 77-64 win over Stanford at the JCP. Brandon Johnson and De'Jon Jackson each scored 18 points. A couple of other players were key contributors, Chris Lewis got the team off to a quick start, he scored 15 on 7 of 8 from the floor, and Roberto Mafra, went to work late in the game, with 2 key blocked shots and a big basket down the stretch to finish with 9 points and 5 rebounds.
I'll have the call on San Diego 1700 (XX1090's sister station), starting with the pre-game at 6:45, then the game at 7pm. You can also listen on the web, at www.usdtoreros.com.
Talk to you later...