November tenth is upon us (ok, so it was a few days ago) and it is time to do some Christmas shopping for free agents…
On my wish list, I would hope for an Ivan Rodriguez and a couple of starting pitchers. Rodriguez would make an excellent addition to the Padres and he could come right in and not have to worry about being “the guy”. We could slip him in the lineup in the three, four or five slot.
We have some great hitters here already and imagine a middle of the lineup like this… 3. Giles 4. Nevin 5. Rodriguez 6. Klesko….. (I’ll pause while you grab a Kleenex and wipe the drool from your lip, Padre fans) … I didn’t even mention that Loretta would be batting second! (Grab the Kleenex again).
Getting a guy like Rodriguez would be a positive for the Padres. He is a Gold Glove defender and has the postseason experience that we could desperately use. He is also savvy enough to be able to handle young pitchers and help our guys turn potential into front line starters. He is a career .304 hitter with an average of 23 homeruns and 91 RBI’s. Having this many good hitters in the lineup also allows us to develop Khalil Greene and not put pressure on him to immediately be a star.
I would also pick Rodriguez over a Javy Lopez for two reasons. One, Rodriguez has been considerably more consistent than Lopez. Consider Lopez hit only .233 before this year (no coincidence that this was his contract year…) and in 2001 he batted .267. Also, he only hit 17 homeruns in 2002 and an abysmal 11 the year before that. The second reason I would not want Lopez is…
Greg Maddux won’t pitch to Lopez. I would love to bring Maddux in here to pitch at Petco. Sure, he had his worst year ever but, his worst year was still better than all of our pitchers last year. He walked only 33 batters all year and his ERA was a very respectable 3.96. Maddux still won 16 games last year and is also a Gold Glove defender. The guy knows how to pitch and I know many of us Padre fans are a little leery of Maddux’s age and the Padres not so hot luck with veteran pitchers but believe me, this guy is no Bob Tewksbury or Bobby Jones. He is a lot better than those guys and he still has something left in the tank. Plus, he can help teach the young kids (Peavy, Lawrence, and Eaton) how to pitch and especially, how to prepare for teams and hitters. It has been said that no one prepares better than Maddux. That in itself is invaluable.
I would like to get one more pitcher this off-season. Considering that these two guys would probably cost more than a pretty penny, they might have to be someone of the middle of the ladder type starting pitcher. I think the Padres should either work a trade and get Jeff Weaver (Yankees) cheap or maybe go after Kelvim Escobar.
I know the first reaction to getting Jeff Weaver would be that he is terrible and your right…sort of. As a Yankee, he is terrible. But before he was a Yankee, he was a good pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. In the year that he was traded to the Yankees, Weaver compiled a very respectable 3.18 ERA with the Tigers. I compare him to Eddie Whitson, an old Padre favorite. Now, Whitson played with the Padres before leaving to the Yankees and he had a good ERA of 3.24 in 1984. The next 2 seasons with the Yankees, he has an ERA of 4.88 in 1985 and 7.54 in 1986. He comes back to the Padres and tadaaaa… his ERA drops down from 4.73 in ‘87, to 3.77 in ’88, 2.66 in ’89 and 2.60 in 1990. ( WOW!!!) While I am not sure if Weaver can have the same type of success, I don’t think it is completely out of the realm of possibility.
As for Kelvim Escobar, while his overall numbers last year weren’t screaming Cy Young, he did put together some respectable numbers. From May until the end of the year, his numbers were 12-8 with a 3.92 ERA. That’s not too shabby and I think he can improve upon those numbers.
If the Padres were somehow able to make these maneuvers, I really think they could put together a winning season and quite possibly, a playoff run. Playoffs at Petco…. I like it!!!
Lauren P. Arfman II