Monday, April 14, 2014

Padres Extend Jedd Gyorko

The Padres made a splash in the baseball world this afternoon, by announcing they signed Jedd Gyorko to a five-year, $35 million dollar contract. The deal was first reported by Buster Olney, via Twitter.

According to multiple outlets, Gyorko will make $2 million in 2015, $4 million in 2016, $6 million in 2017, $9 million in 2018 and $13 million in 2019. The Padres have a $13 million option for 2020, with a $1 million buyout.

Gyorko emerged as an important player for the Padres last year, hitting 23 homers as a rookie. Gyorko wasn't even eligible for arbitration until 2015, so the deal gives the Padres control over his arbitration years and one year of free agency. 

The Padres have extended many players in recent years, including Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, Huston Street and Cameron Maybin among others. 

Kevin Says: The move comes with a bit of risk for the Padres. It is imperative for the budget conscious Padres to target young players who will form the core of future teams. However, the team has been burned badly by extensions to Maybin, Quentin, Cory Luebke and Nick Hundley.

Gyorko is an above-average second baseman with power. With Chase Headley due to hit free agency after this year, Gyroko could move across the diamond to the hot corner. The contract is extremely reasonable if Gyorko has the kind of year he did last season. Overall, it is a solid move for the organization. 

Padres Minor League Chronicles: April 13, 2014

It was Sunday Funday, and there was a lot of fun going on in the minors, especially in Lake Elsinore, where the Storm won in extra innings. Here is what is happening on the farm.

The Fort Wayne Tincaps game was rained out, in Clinton, Iowa. The team returns home tomorrow to start a series with Burlington.

Lake Elsinore 3, Lancaster 2: The Storm won on a walk-off homer by second baseman Diego Goris, his only hit of the game. Corey Adamson had a pair of hits, raising his average to .297. Joe Ross started for the Storm and was magnificent, pitching five shutout innings, striking out six. He has a 2.25 ERA in three starts this year. The win helped the Storm (4-7 record) avoid the sweep.

Tulsa 4, San Antonio 3: The Missions scored all of their runs in the first inning, but could not hold on for the victory. Santana High alum James Needy took the loss for San Antonio, allowing four runs in 4.1 innings. He has a 6.23 ERA on the year. Austin Hedges (.250 avg) and Cory Spangenberg (.317 avg) each had multi-hit games. Hedges had a pair of RBI's. San Antonio is 5-5 on the year.

Reno 6, El Paso 4: Reno scored two runs in the late innings to pull away from the Chihuahua's. Cody Decker (.240) had a monster game, with three hits, including a homer and three RBI's. Tony Sipp took the loss in relief, allowing a run in two innings.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekend Series Gives Padres Reason For Optimism

The first couple of weeks of 2014 were rough for the Padres. The team started out 3-6, and showed no signs of life. Starting pitchers weren't getting deep into games, the team could not buy a knock with runners in scoring position. While nine games is far too small of a sample size to make a fair assessment of any team, for a frustrated fan base the losses seemed like business as usual. Then the Tigers rolled into town, and things changed.

I attended the Friday night game, and I witnessed Andrew Cashner dominate. It might have been the greatest pitching performance I have ever witnessed a Padre have. Cashner worked ahead, throwing strikes all night. He changed speeds effectively -- throwing his fastball in a range from 91-96 MPH. His slider baffled the Tigers all night. The one time that the Tigers threatened, Cashner was able to induce a double play. He threw a complete game, one-hit shutout, with 11 strikeouts.

It wasn't just the pitching, the Padres came up with several clutch hits. Jedd Gyorko had an RBI triple in the first inning and Chase Headley knocked in a run. Later on, Headley slammed his first homer of 2014 into the right field stands. The Padres won 6-0, pounding out 13 hits.

Saturday night's game was about missed opportunities as the Padres went 1-10 with runners in scoring position. On a positive note, the team put together several good at-bats against Justin Verlander -- they just couldn't get the key hit they needed.

Sunday's game displayed another great pitching performance, this time by Tyson Ross. Ross had a rough outing in last turn, as he was knocked around in Cleveland. On Sunday, Ross displayed much better command of his fastball, and allowed one run in seven innings of work. The Padres did not have a ton of baserunners, but went 2-5 with runners in scoring position, including a two-run double by the slumping Will Venable. Xavier Nady also homered in a 5-1 win.

The Padres stand at 5-7, but a series win against a quality team is a huge reason to be optimistic. The Padres bats woke up a bit, and the pitching was excellent. While the team has a long season ahead, getting some momentum in April for the Padres is huge. Here are some other Padres notes:

  • Scott Miller reported on that Carlos Quentin will take batting practice this week. There is still no timetable on his return, but hopefully it gets him closer to a rehab assignment. 
  • Cameron Maybin became the first El Paso Chihuahua to be ejected, as he was tossed Saturday night for arguing balls and strikes. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Padres Minor League Chronicles: April 10, 2014

Tonight was the home opener for the Lake Elsinore, as they battled former #1 overall draft pick Mark Appel. All of the Padres' farm teams were in action today. Here is what happened on the farm:

Kane County 7, Fort Wayne 5: Another brutal outing for Walker, as he allowed six runs (four earned) in only two innings. He has a 14.40 ERA in two starts this season. CF Mallex Smith stole another bag, his ninth of the season. OF Franmil Reyes hit his first bomb of the year.

Lancaster 6, Lake Elsinore 5: As I mentioned earlier, the Storm played their first home game of the year and lost in 11 innings. OF Corey Adamson socked his first homer of the year, off of the aforementioned Appel. SS Stephen Carmon had a pair of RBI's. He is hitting .467 on the young season.

Springfield 8, San Antonio 5: San Antonio lost this game in 14 innings. Springfield got the win, despite committing six errors. Josh Geer pitched well, allowing only one run in five innings of work. Cory Spangenberg and Travis Jankowski had multi-hit games.

El Paso 5, Tacoma 2: Keyvius Sampson started for El Paso, and pitched four shutout innings. Tony Sipp got the win in relief, when he took over for Sampson. Jeff Francoeur had a pair of hits and an RBI in the win.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Gone Far Too Soon, Nick Adenhart

I remember the night of April 9, 2009 extremely well. That night, I sat on my couch and watched young Angels right-hander Nick Adenhart hold the Oakland A's scoreless for six innings. Adenhart was a guy I knew about -- battled arm injuries, but had the talent to become a star. Instead, Adenhart's path took a tragic and gut-wrenching turn.

Adenhart was out with friends after his excellent start when a drunk driver collided with the vehicle he was in. Adenhart and two other friends were killed. The lone survivor, Jon Wilhite,  is still not fully recovered from his injuries. The driver, Andrew Thomas Gallo was drunk at the time of the accident. Naturally, he was not hurt in the accident.

When I woke up the next morning and hopped online, I thought I saw some kind of sick joke. Just last night, no more than 12 hours ago, I watched the arrival of a 22-year old pitcher who looked liked he belonged. Now he was dead. There was just no way. Unfortunately, it was true.

I looked around the room, as I tried to make sense of the information I just absorbed. Here was a young kid, just a few years younger than me. I thought of the suffering his family and teammates must be experiencing. His father was in attendance for that start. Imagine the emotional roller coaster -- In 12 hours you experienced the euphoria of watching your son pitch an amazing game at Angel Stadium, then you experience the utter despair of his promising young life ending. The son you raised to the man he became was gone forever. The feeling is unfathomable.

Adenhart may not have been a star if he were still alive day. Or, perhaps he could have formed a formidable 1-2 punch with Jared Weaver. He could have won many ballgames, inspired children, married the girl of his dreams and had children of his own. We will never know. More importantly, his family lost a son, his teammates lost a friend. The only reason he is not here, is because of the criminal act of a loser.

Gallo is in prison. He won't be eligible until he is 72. I hope his actions eat away at him for the rest of his existence. Gallo fled the scene of the accident, clearly not willing to face the horror he caused on that drunken night. I hope the images of testimonies in court are forever ingrained in his memory.

The purpose of this post is not to rehash to call out a convicted murderer -- it is to remember Nick Adenhart. His life and career were entirely too short. If Nick were alive today, he would only be 27, and he would be entering the prime of his career. We will never know how Nick's career. I will always remember that night where he was on top of the baseball world. Rest in peace, Nick.

Padres Minor League Chronicles: April 8th, 2014

The first week of the minor league season is coming to a conclusion. Here is the action on the first Tuesday night of the year. 

Kane County 4, Fort Wayne 3: Tough loss for the Tincaps (1-4), as they lose this one in 13 innings. First baseman Luis Tejada went 3-for-5 and catcher Ryan Miller had two hits. Shortstop Franchy Cordero continues to struggle, as he went 0-for-5. For the season, Cordero is 1-for-21, with 13 strikeouts. Yikes. 

Lake Elsinore 11, High Desert 9: The Storm (3-3) scored nine runs in the fifth inning and held on for the win. Joe Ross turned in a magnificent start, pitching six shutout innings with 0 walks. Alberth Martinez went 2-for-5 with his second homer of the year. Martinez is second in the California League with 11 RBI's, despite hitting leadoff. Hunter Renfroe also had 3 hits, to raise his average to .240. 

San Antonio 5, Tulsa 3: The Missions (4-2) scored three runs to pull this one out. First baseman Lee Orr hit his second homer of the season. Travis Jankowski and Cory Spangenberg each had three hits for San Antonio. Prized prospect Matt Wisler started, allowing a run in five innings, with seven strikeouts. Jesse Hahn also contributed with 2.2 innings of shutout ball. 

The El Paso game was rained out in Tacoma. It will be made up as a doubleheader on May 24th. 

Padres Release Several Minor Leaguers, Including Everett Williams

As Spring Training comes to end, an organization not only sets its roster at the big league level, but also pieces together each minor league team within the organization. The Padres thinned their farm system, releasing several players, including 2009 2nd rounder OF Everett Williams. The other players that were released were: 1B A.J. Kirby-Jones, 3B Chris Burke, 3B Clint Moore and OF Malquiel Brito. The transactions were reported by Matt Eddy of Baseball America.

Williams was drafted after another Padre bust in Donavan Tate. Williams was given a $750,000 bonus, when he was drafted out of high school in Austin, Texas. Williams never hit much in the Padres system, posted a triple-slash line of .249/.314/.356, with 13 homers and 150 RBI's in 317 games. Williams, who is still just 23, reached AA last season.

A.J. Kirby-Jones, a first baseman, came over to the Padres organization with pitcher Tyson Ross, in exchange for Andy Parrino and Andrew Werner. Jones hit .250 last year with Lake Elsinore and San Antonio.

Chris Burke, a third baseman out of Iona, was the Padres 18th round pick in 2012. Last year, Burke spent the majority of the year with Low-A Fort Wayne, but also played for High-A Lake Elsinore, AA San Antonio and AAA Tucson. He combined for a pretty decent slash-line of .295/.360/.406, in 76 games.

Clint Moore, is a former Army Lieutenant who hasn't played a game in the Padres system since 2011, when he suited up for the Eugene Emeralds. Corey Brock had this really cool story about Moore a few weeks ago.

Brito, is a 20-year old from the Dominican Republic. He saw time in Eugene last year.