Yes, I know, it's been a while, but I'm back. Happy New Year everybody!
I've been traveling the country the last few weeks visiting friends and family for the Holidays, and now it's time to write again! So here goes...
No News Is Good News?
Not much has changed since my last post in San Diego Padres land. It's been quiet at Petco Park, but I think that will change shortly. GM Jed Hoyer has been keeping a watchful eye on what other teams are doing, trying to figure out who may become expendable as a result. This much is true, he knows there are still holes to fill and will start that process soon.
As it looks now, Adrian Gonzalez will start the year with the Padres, but will he be here come August? I think A-Gonz's trade value will increase as his numbers do, and as the July 31 trade deadline arrives during the season. Teams are much more likely to over pay for players if they feel that guy will put them over the top and push that team to the playoffs.
It also seems to me that Kevin Kouzmanoff will be here when the season starts as well. To me that's great news. Kouz has been more than dependable both in the field and at the plate (save the first two months!) in his time in Southern California.
The most immediate move will likely be a back up catcher. Nick Hundley is improving season to season, but I know that the organization would like to have a veteran in there, to continue to bring the young backstop along. Brad Ausmus is a name you hear a lot about. The Padres tried to get him a year ago, but decided instead, after Ausmus signed with the Dodgers, to sign Henry Blanco. Ausmus has the same reputation throughout the league as Blanco, for being a great clubhouse guy and a veteran not afraid to help a youngster along. Ausmus would also be good for the young pitching staff.
Eyes are still open for a right handed hitting center fielder to compliment Tony Gwynn Jr. This could be a little more costly a position to fill than the catcher's spot. Here are a few names to consider: Reed Johnson, ex of the Chicago Cubs. A great defender and at age 33 still has something left in the tank. Another name to consider is that of Jerry Hairston Jr. I was chatting with Corey Brock of mlb.com about Hairston Jr. We both agreed that he'd be a great influence in the clubhouse, like his brother Scott was. He's also a player that gives you a lot of versatility. He can play the outfield, shortstop and second base. Jerry Jr is a right handed hitter with a little pop and he has some speed too, which fits into what the Padres are looking for. Hairston is 34. Food for thought.
I'm sure that Hoyer would like to add another veteran arm to the rotation as well. Makes sense, with some youth in the starting five, it's always nice to have that experienced arm to count on once in a while.
Stay tuned, the hot stove should be getting a bit warmer in the next week or so for the Padres.
Big Unit hangs it up...
Randy Johnson is calling it a career. The "Big Unit" hangs em up after a 22 year career with several teams. He started with the Expos, but came to become a pitcher, with the Seattle Mariners. Johnson winds up his career with 303 wins, and finishes up second on baseball's all time strike out list, with 4,875 punch outs, only behind Nolan Ryan. Johnson was the co-mvp of the 2001 World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He also owns 2 no hitters, including a perfect game, which he threw in 2004. Might he be the final pitcher to ever reach the magic 300 win number? Could be.
Happy Holliday in St. Louis...
So Matt Holliday is going to stay in St Louis after all for 7 years and $120 million. Shocking. Not. Where else was he really going to go? My question is this...the Cardinals are considered a mid-market team, and now has two, $100 million players, how? Especially considering, Albert Pujols is entering the final year of his 7 year, $100 million dollar deal. Good luck Cardinals. Enjoy this year.
I woke today to some terrible news, that of the untimely passing of Angels play-by-play man Rory Markas. He was only 54, and died of an apparent heart attack. He was with the Angels the last 8 seasons, and was also the voice of USC Trojans basketball. I didn't know Rory very well, but he would always have a "hello" or a "how you doing?" when the Padres and Angels would play in Spring Training or during the season. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and all of those in the Angels family, who have had a rough year, with the passing of Preston Gomez, Nick Adenhart and now Markas. He will be missed.
NFL Playoffs...the Weekend of Rematch...
How strange is that? 3 of the Week 17 match ups will happen again, in the first round of the playoffs. In the AFC, the Jets who destroyed the Bengals Sunday night, will meet again, but this time with something on the line for both teams and in Cincinnati. My pick, Cincinnati. Also in the AFC, Baltimore visits New England. Even without Wes Welker, I think the Patriots will be able to get it done and advance this weekend. Of course that would mean that the Chargers would host the Patriots and make it 12 in a row after dispatching of "The Hoodie" and "Tom Terrific". In the NFC, it's an all rematch slate. The Packers face the Cardinals in Arizona. I think (and this kills me as a Bears fan) the Packers will advance and then beat the highly over rated New Orleans Saints. Dallas hosts Philadelphia again, and I see the same result happening in this one, Cowboys over Eagles in Jerryworld. I'll keep an eye on the games, and have more after the weekend.
Alright, that will do it for now. My New Year's resolution is to keep this blog a bit more updated. Hope I can stick to it!!!