Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Padres Extend Backstop and Face Rockies...

For the second time during this spring training, the Padres locked up one of their core players.  Early in camp it was Cameron Maybin's five year deal and today the team announced Nick Hundley agreed to terms on a three year extension with an option for a fourth year.  He'll make $2 M this year, $3 M next season, $4 M in 2014 and the option is worth $5 M with no buyout.

GM Josh Byrnes told us that the two sides began talking in January during Hundley's arbitration, tabled the negotiations for a couple of months and got it done today.  Byrnes likes the fact that Hundley is home grown and has gone from a young player to a leader in the clubhouse.   Offensively Byrnes thinks that Hundley is getting a lot better and that he hits at Petco Park is certainly a plus.

The Padres, on paper, would seem to have catching depth, with John Baker, and the addition of Yasmani Grandal, but Byrnes doesn't see it as overcrowded.  He called it "a premium position" and depth while it may seem to make things crowded doesn't always turn out that way.

Nick Hundley just joined us in the media room in Peoria, and looked like a happy man.  Hundley was hoping the deal would get done.  He told us preliminary talks began under Jed Hoyer last year but got serious quickly under Josh Byrnes.   Hundley said the talks were both "exciting and stressful" and he's happy to be a Padre for the foreseeable future.

Hundley is happy the Padres are making commitments to locking up young players, thus keeping them around.  The team has seen some talent leave due to financial situations and now at least two of the younger players are going to be around for a few years.

Leadership was addressed, and Hundley talked about the trait starting with everyday preparation.  Hundley specifically mentioned watching Chris Young, David Eckstein and Greg Maddux go about their business  and learned from it.  He also mentioned the even keel of manager Bud Black, and learned to be consistent every day.  "Whether it's bad or good (result of the game) leave everything out there (on the field)", he said.   As a young catcher he soaked up all the information that he could.  He credited by name, Ted Simmons, Josh Bard, Henry Blanco, Rob Johnson and Brad Ausmus and several that he's really learned from.  He added "you could write a novel to tell you everybody that's helped" and agreed it's now his turn to help the younger players in the clubhouse these days learn the ways of a big leaguer, both on and off the field.

Petco Park and hitting there came up as well.  Hundley was quite candid about things.  He said, "you have to be honest with yourself.  I've never really hit a ball 100 percent and have it not go out".  On teammates complaining about balls not going out, "Hit the ball better.  Don't come back to the dugout and complain about a ball that you didn't hit all the way.  Square it up."  Interesting stuff.

On his goals, that have yet to be reached..."I want to win, and be one of the best catchers in the game."

On a personal note, I'm glad he's going to be around for a while.  Nick is one of the best guys consistently in that clubhouse and is turning into a very good player.

We'll talk to Bud Black a little later today and I'll update the blog as needed later.

Here's the lineup for tonight's game v. Colorado...(Ted Leitner and Bob Scanlan on the call on XX1090)

CF - Cameron Maybin
RF - Will Venable
3B - Chase Headley
1B - Yonder Alonso
LF - Mark Kotsay
SS - Jason Bartlett
 C - John Baker
2B - Andy Parrino
SP - Joe Wieland

This will be Wieland's second spring start and third overall appearance.  His first start was in Scottsdale 6 days ago against the Diamondbacks.  He was impressive in four innings of work, giving up only 2 hits and striking out 4 batters.   Overall this spring, he's 0-1, with a 6.00 but that was after a rough outing in his first game in big league camp.

Such a life saver!

In the Padres office, the receptionist always has a dish of life savers candy out for us to grab, which I tend to do way too often.  Today, I got a bonus in the individually wrapped package!  Check it out!
What a life saver!
Thinking it may be time to buy a lottery ticket tonight!

Ok, more later in an update once we chat with Bud Black.


***Updated 4:22 pm***

Bud Black was very happy for Nick Hundley and his contract extension.  Black said it was great to see the organization make a commitment to a young player like Hundley.   He said Nick has made a lot of progress from his early days in the big leagues in 2008, "he's checked off a lot of boxes.  Nick has come a long way at a demanding position."

On Hundley's leadership abilities, Black said, "Nick is one of those players that when he walks through the clubhouse doors other players feel better."  High praise.   Black also noted that experience is the greatest teacher for a catcher.

Other news/notes:

Orlando Hudson wanted to play tonight, but Black will give him another day and put him in there tomorrow.

Kyle Blanks may miss a couple of games with a sore left shoulder.

Dustin Moseley pitched in a minor league game today and went 5 good innings.

Casey Kelly will start the Padres split squad game in Tucson on Thursday.

Dale Thayer has impressed Bud Black this spring.  He'll likely go 2 innings in his next outing.  Thayer's velocity was better than Black thought.  "He's put himself on the radar."

Alright...talk to you all tomorrow!


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