Tag Archives: San Diego Padres

Wizards Where R They? – David Pauley

In 2001, the San Diego Padres drafted David Pauley out of high school in the eighth round. In 2003 with the Wizards, he posted a 7-7 record with a 3.29 earned run average to go along with 117 strikeouts and 38 bases on balls over 117.2 innings pitched. He started in 21 of his 22 games and did earn one save as a Wizard.

By 2004, Pauley had received recognition by Baseball America as the seventh best prospect in the San Diego Padres organization. However, after the 2004 season, San Diego shipped Pauley to the Boston Red Sox along with Jay Payton and Ramon Vazquez plus cash in exchange for speedy Dave Roberts.

In May of 2006, Pauley made his Major League debut, starting against the Toronto Blue Jays. He was called up from Boston’s Double-A affiliate at the time (Portland) to spot start for the injured David Wells. He allowed six runs on 11 hits over just 4 and two-thirds innings. However, despite the poor first outing, the Red Sox did win 8-6.

“I was definitely nervous,” Pauley said. “I knew it was going to be tough. I thought I dealt with it pretty well. It’s just a stepping stone to my next one” [source: YahooSports]

He appeared in two more games with Boston during the remainder of the 2006 season, pitching in a total of 16 innings, while also pitching with the Red Sox’s Triple-A squad. Pauley pitched all of 2007 in Triple-A Pawtucket.

In 2008, Pauley began the year with Triple-A Pawtucket where he went 14-4 with a 3.55 ERA and 103 strikeouts over 147 innings pitched. In August, he returned to the Fenway mound – but it was against the Charlotte Knights in a “Futures at Fenway” game. He went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out four en route to his thirteenth victory of that season in front of 36,000 spectators.

Pauley did get the chance to pitch a couple innings in relief with the Red Sox in September. The moves that Boston makes over the course of this offseason will likely play big into Pauley’s future. He is on Boston’s 40-man roster and therefore not in jeopardy of being snagged in the upcoming Rule-5 Draft. His solid season in Pawtucket seems to indicate that he has figured out Triple-A and is looking for his place at the next level. Whether he can crack the rotation in Boston or land a place in the bullpen remains to be seen.

Pauley mixes a very good sinker with a low 90s fastball with good movement,  a good changeup, and a nice curveball.   Has 5th starter potential at the MLB level. Pauley has demonstrated solid success against AAA competition for extended periods of time, but has yet to impress much at the big league level, although he hasn’t been given much of an opportunity. Needs to improve his control somewhat.   Gives up a lot of home runs.  Good fielder with a strong pick-off move [soxprospects.com].

Boston also has to fill the catcher and fourth outfielder spot; which could be filled by former Wizards George Kottaras and Paul McAnulty (though it is unlikely). Boston has been known to pull of some solid trades in recent years, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Pauley get shipped or slotted in at the number five role, which is currently available to my knowledge.

Regardless, it seems that Pauley should and will be entering Spring Training in 2009 with his eyes set on winning a job on the Major League roster.

Update – January 19th, 2009: OMG! I was right! David Pauley got traded . . . to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for pitcher, Randor Bierd. Hopefully Pauley will get a good shot at cracking the Major League roster.

Update – July 4, 2010: David Pauley was granted ffree agency from the Orioles in November of 2009 and he signed with the Seattle Mariners about a month later. Through 2010, Pauley had been 1-6 with a 3.68 earned run average in 15 games for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers. Last week, he was called up to the Bigs when Mike Sweeney went on the DL. Pauley hasn’t allowed a run in three innings since being recalled.

Will 2009 Bring Barfield Resurgence?

After my recent post on George Kottaras and the potential for him breaking camp with the Red Sox in 2009, I got to thinking about Josh Barfield.

His rise and fall is well documented. With the Padres in 2006, he was a legitimate candidate for NL Rookie of the Year. His numbers were pretty solid. Over 150 games, Barfield hit .280 with 151 hits, 13 home runs and 58 runs batted in. He also swiped 21 bases.

The offseason saw the Padres trade Barfield to the Indians for Kevin Kouzmanoff and Andrew Brown (who is now with Oakland) to fill a void at third base when the Sean Burroughs experience didn’t pan out the way they had planned. That’s when things went south for Barfield.

His 2007 production was lackluster at best. Over 130 games, Barfield hit.243 with three home runs and 50 RBIs. Rookie, Asdrubal Cabrera came out of nowhere to take advantage of the situation and wrestle away the starting gig at second base. His performance is one that often receives credit as a big reason the Tribe was able to launch into the playoffs and narrowly miss going to the World Series.

As one might expect, Cabrera entered Spring Training as the incumbent second baseman and began the 2008 season in that role. Barfield began the 2008 season at Triple-A Buffalo. His numbers were nothing to write home about, hitting .253 with 75 hits and 23 runs batted in over 299 at-bats. He struck out 58 teams.

But fortunately for Barfield, Cabrera offered a dismal performance that was reminiscent of Barfield’s 2007. It gave Barfield another shot. Though he went 0-6 during that stint, he might have had a good shot had he not gotten injured. He underwent surgery to repair an injured ligament on the left middle finger and missed several weeks.

By the time Barfield had recovered, Eric Wedge and the Indians had moved on and the season was more or less lost. Jamey Carroll held down most of the second base duties during that time, but didn’t really show any indication that he had locked up the role. That may have provided Barfield with yet another opportunity to regain his promise.

On the season, Barfield had little opportunity to impress at the MLB level and continues to show a high strikeout propensity (10 in 33 at bats). He hit just .182 during the combined stints. But reportedly, Barfield did make an impression and should get a legitimate shot at reclaiming his position unless there happens to be an acquisition of an established veteran. In all likelihood, the battle will come down to Barfield, Cabrera, Carroll and rookie Luis Valbuena, who hit .245 in 18 games last season.

Methinks there’s an very outside shot that Barfield could regain the role he lost nearly two years ago. Though, I might be a bit more on the hopeful side than most. As I often do with former Wizards players, as I researched this post, I did an environmental scan of news stories and blog posts. Many have already written Barfield out of the future plans not only for the Indians, but every team in Major League Baseball.

The DiaTribe suggests:

As 2009 looms, the decline of Barfield from being an up-and-coming steady MLB contributor at the age of 23 to a player that isn’t likely to factor into the Indians’ 2009 plans as a 26-year-old is nearly complete.

Sheldon Ocker of Ohio.com predicts that…

Jhonny Peralta probably will move from short to third – a move I don’t like – Asdrubal Cabrera will be shifted from second to short, and manager Eric Wedge will re-introduce himself to Josh Barfield, the forgotten man. It’s also not out of the question that Shapiro will find a free-agent second baseman.

And finally, Michael Taylor provides a thorough (yet bleak) analysis for MVN:

While Kouzmanoff has lived up to his end of the trade, the son of a former home run champion has arguably become the worst position player in the American League when he has been in the lineup. Barfield’s OPS, which is on-base percentage plus slugging percentage, is under .600! That’s right, under .600!

In that segment, Taylor reviews Barfield in comparison to baseball-reference.com’s similar batters through age 25.  Those batters are Russ Adams, Carlos Febles, Carlos Guillen, Pat Kelly and Michael Young. It’s an interesting mix, but I don’t recall any of those players ever emerging as the type of player who was irreplaceable for a team.

So, while the outlook is dim, it does appear that Barfield still has an opportunity to restore an unfulfilled promise. He’s still relatively young, nobody has a lock on his position at the MLB level, and he’s playing for a club that saw Cliff Lee make one of the most phenomenal “out-of-nowhere” resurgences in Major League Baseball History. So I guess anything’s possible!

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Photograph courtesy of the Fort Wayne Wizards/TinCaps

Is Trading Peavy a Part of Padres’ Offseason Plans?

Jake Peavy with the Fort Wayne WizardsWith us being on the verge of closing the book on the 2008 MLB year, I thought now would be a good time to introduce what is sure to be one of the biggest Wizards Alumni topics.

If you don’t maintain a blog about Fort Wayne Baseball or are not an avid fan of the San Diego Padres, you may not be aware that the Padres are considering dealing their ace, former Wizard Jake Peavy.

It’s certainly a notion the organization must consider. After a miserable season, rumors of a sale in the wake of an ownership divorce and what appears to be a conscious decision to rebuild with youth, Peavy would pretty much be a wasted talent for a large portion of his remaining contract; which runs through 2013. They might as well see what they can land on the market in terms of prospects who will be Major League ready when the team is ready to truly compete again.

The Friars initially courted five teams; Atlanta, St. Louis, the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros.

Reportedly, Peavy said at the regular season’s end that he would not consider waiving his no-trade clause for a trade to an AL team. He’d also require a full no-trade clause wherever he ultimately ends up.

Peavy, 27, has full no-trade rights through 2010 per the three-year, $52 million extension he signed in December. But in 2011 he can be traded without his consent to 14 clubs, and in 2012-13 can block a trade to only eight clubs.

“The Astros inquired about Peavy in July and appeal to the pitcher, whose close friends include Astros ace Roy Oswalt” [SignOnSanDiego]. However, before Astros fans even had a chance to get excited about the news, reports soon surfaced that it is unlikely Houston would have the pitching prospects that San Diego seeks in return.

The Atlanta Branves quickly emerged as a likley candidate to land the former Cy Young Winner’s services. However, Braves GM, Frank Wren, issued a statement to the Associated Press that insists the “Braves won’t trade their most valued prospects.” 

With the Cardinals choosing to decline their option on Mark Mulder and the uncertainty sorrounding the comeback of Chris Carpetner, one might speculate that St. Louis would at least have interest. A trade to St. Louis would probably take top prospect Colby Rasmus and two pitching prospects. That said, they are still not considered a serious contender:

…the Cardinals and Padres have had only one conversation concerning Peavy, and the discussion didn’t lead to any follow-up negotiations.  And so the chances of the Cardinals getting Peavy appear to be pretty cold right now. 

As for the Cubs, a deal involving Peavy does not appear likely, but Phil Rogers hints that GM Jim Hendry might try to pull off an Adrian Gonzalez for Derek Lee trade. I’ll file that in the “I’ll beleive it when I see it,” category. But now I am thinking of a rotation that starts with Peavy, Zambrano, and Harden!

I personally think they should make the trade if the Cubs would throw in Rich Hill or Sean Marshall. Then, they can flip Lee at the mid-season trade deadline for more prospects while bringing up Kyle Blanks for the rest of the season and have him ready to go as the incumbant first baseman in 2010.

As the Padres continue to explore other teams not on the initial list that Peavy indicated he’d accept a trade to, the Yankees have emerged as a slight possibility. But they would have to give up Phil Hughes; which the probably would not consider. The other New York team, the Mets have shown no interest in a deal.

And naturally, if the Yanks are intersted, so are the Boston Red Sox:

If the Sox were to include highly regarded first baseman Lars Anderson in a package with two of their best pitching prospects, talks between the clubs would certainly become interesting. But officials with other clubs believe the Sox consider Anderson to be virtually untouchable.”

Other AL teams that Peavy might consider include the Angels and Rangers – but they’d have to pay a steep price given his preference to remain in the NL. Yet and it is assumed that Peavy has already vetoed a deal to the Rangers. While the Padres insist they are in no hurry to deal the ace, others speculate it could happen as early as the Winter meetings.

Finally, while Peavy is not officially on the trading block, Padres’ GM Kevin Towers makes it no secret that he’s been talking to clubs in preliminary discussions. He plans to “slow things down” a bit and share his preliminary talks with Peavy and Peavy’s agent (Barry Axelrod) before getting into serious discussions.

But alas, many wonder why the Padres would consider trading Peavy when they have him under contract for so long and he’s been so good. The easy answer is money.  Peavy is to be $22 million in 2013, with a buyout worth $4 million.  

As the Padres move forward, they’re planning to put together a winning team. They beleive they have the position players in their farm, so they’re seeking some high-level pitching talent in return. Paul DePodesta explained it succinctly

As far as Jake’s particular situation, we have him under contract for the next four years with an option for a fifth year. Our task, then, is to determine whether what we would receive in exchange for him would outweigh the benefits of having him for those five years (presumably some player(s) we would get in return could be of service for more than five years, so that needs to be factored in as well). Make no mistake, however – we place tremendous value on Jake’s presence here. That is why any offers for him in past years and every day up until this writing have been rejected.  

One-Time “Non-Prospect” Dirk Hayhurst Now a Blue Jay

What a year it has been for former Wizards pitcher, Dirk Hayhurst. Before the 2008 season, h was probably best known as the scribe of Baseball America’s “Non-Prospect Diary” before he earned his shot at the Major League roster with the San Diego Padres (even spot starting for Jake Peavy). The 27-year-old Hayhurst appeared in 10 games wiht the Friars. He went 0-2 with a 9.72 ERA.

Yesterday, the Canton Republic published Hayhurst’s first-hand account of getting the call.

The morning I left to join the San Diego Padres, I deflated my air mattress, folded the lawn chair and ironing board I used for a desk set, and threw out the few lonely groceries in my fridge. I put on a sports coat bought at Goodwill, shined the shoes loaned to me by a teammate, and shaved twice just for good measure. I locked my apartment, turned in the keys, and waved goodbye to my life as a career minor leaguer.

Today, he was placed on waivers by San Diego and quickly snatched up by the Toronto Blue Jays.  

Hayhurst — a 6-foot-3 native of Canton, Ohio — went 2-3 with a 3.75 ERA in 46 games, including a pair of starts, while striking out 98 over 84 innings for Portland. Hayhurst, who was an eighth-round selection by the Padres in the 2003 First-Year Player Draft, has gone 32-33 with a 4.05 ERA in six Minor League seasons.

Could Max Venable Follow His Son to the Majors?

Not too long ago, I bloged (in jest) that it would seem logical for the Padres to get former Wizards hitting coach, Max Venable, with the parent club now that his son, Will Venable, has reached the Padres. Max has been wiht Will pretty much every step of Will’s professional career; having followed him from A-ball in Fort Wayne all the way to Portland this season.

So you can see the logic in that suggestion. However, even I didn’t take it seriously as a possibility . . . until I read that Wally Joyner has resigned as the Padres hitting coach.

“It bothers me a lot that I have come to the point where it is clear that I need to move on,” Joyner said. “I came to the job hoping to put my experience and ideas to good use in teaching and coaching the Padres’ hitters, but it has become obvious to me in the past few months that the organization’s approach is different from mine.”

The Padres have not yet named a successor to Joyner. However, Venable might indeed be one of the best in-house choices the Padres have. I’ll keep you updated.

Former Wizards Look to Monopolize Friars’ Backstop Duties in 2009

Padres catcher, Josh Bard will likely miss the remainder of the 2008 season. The Padres have reportedly decided that they will not offer Bard arbitration during the offseason and will likely non-tender him, effectively ending his tenure in San Diego. .

The means good news for former Wizards Nick Hundley and Luke Carlin. Hundley will  probably go into Spring Training as the candidate most likely to win the starting catching gig unless there is a trade or free agent signing – but either is not real likely. Carlin is likely slotted to be the backup catcher.

I gotta wonder if Colt Morton is in the mix in any fashion. Doesn’t seem real likely given that he barely got a chance earlier in the season.

Torii Hunter Has Hectic Week

I’ve been following several storylines regarding Torii Hunter as of late. I guess it all started when he got into a scuffle with the Yankees’ catcher, Ivan Rodriguez. The twosome got into a bench-clearing incident in the sixth inning as the Angels scored six runs en route to a 12-1 victory. Both men were tossed from the game. Both men were suspended for two games as a result.

But this was just the beginning.

I’ve followed Hunters The Torii Hunter Project for several years as he has set out to restore urban baseball for today’s youth. On Wednesday, things reached a new level.

Forming a Web site called WeMix.com, Hunter and Christopher “Ludacris” Bridges created “WeMix Diamond Cut,” a contest for the best original song made for an athlete. To the winner went the opportunity to record with Ludacris.

The contest will benefit baseball education for inner-city and rural youth. And apparently, Hunter and the Angels are a better fit than I had thought. Angel’s owner recentlly was quoted while attending the grand opening of a field that Hunter donated $50,000 to help build.

“One of the things we try to do in the Angels organization is to try to expand youth fields, the RBI program, inner-city baseball and continue to develop, that’s the future of the game.”

Not surprisingly, the field now bear’s Hunter’s name. Kind of makes you wonder if he has sat out recently with an actual injury (as reported), or if he just needs to catch his breath. 🙂

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Macias and Ekstrom to Join Padres Roster

MadFriars is rerpoting that former Wizards, outfielder Drew Macias and right-hander Mike Ekstrom have had their contracts purchased by the San Diego Padres and will join the team in Milwaukee today.

Drew Macias with the Wizards in 2004Macias, who played in Fort Wayne during the 2004 season, made his Major League debut during September callups in the 2007 season. He played in one game with no official at-bat and scored a run. Looks like he is set to get a little more action this time around. He finished the season with a .288 average at Double-A San Antonio with 145 hits, 27 doubles, four triples and 11 home runds. He also tallied 92 runsand 66 RBIs while leading the Padres minor league system with 83 walks.

With the Wizards in 2004, Macias appeared in 129 games. He collected 127 hits, 8 home runs and 55 RBIs while drawing 49 walks on 478 at-bats. His .266 batting average in Fort Wayne was his career high until this season, where he hit .289 with Portland. He was selected in the 35th Round (1045th overall) of the 2004 draft by San Diego (who also drafted him in the 22nd Round (660th overall) of the 2001 draft). 

Mike Ekstrom on the mound for the Wizards in 2005Ekstrom caught me by surprise. In fact, he wasn’t even on my radar until I saw the headline. On the season, he appeared in 41 games and boasted an 11-8 record with a 4.58 ERA, that included 101 strikeouts and 34 walks over 108 innings pitched. He started in 15 games and also collected one save in relief.

He was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 12th round (342nd overall) of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. He appeared with the Wizards in 2004 and 2005.

In 2004, he appeared in only two games in Fort Wayne before returning for the 2005 season where he appeared in 28 games (all of them as a starter) and compiled a 13-6 record with a 3.70 ERA, 112 strikeouts and 36 walks over 167 innings pitched. He also had one complete game shutout.

Ekstrom is set to become the 75th former Wizard to debut in Major League Baseball and the thirteenth on the season; which extends the record set when Wade LeBlanc appeared last Wednesday.

Photos by Chad Gramling.

The Last Song for Memorial Stadium

Tonight was the last game we’ll ever see the Fort Wayne Wizards take the home field in Fort Wayne. It was also likely the last professional baseball game we’ll ever see played in Memorial Stadium; which is slated to be demolished in 2009 shortly after the yet-to-be-named Fort Wayne team takes the field for the inaugural season at the ballpark at Harrison Square.

The stadium first fielded Wizards in 1993 as an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins organization. Future Twins, such as Torii Hunter, LaTroy Hawkins, Matt Lawton, Luis Rivas and Michael Cuddyer broke in their gloves while playing in the Summit City. In 1999, the Wizards became affiliates of the San Diego Padres. Since that time, future Friars like Sean Burroughs, Jake Peavy, Josh Barfield, Chase Headley and others kicked up dirt at Memorial Stadium. To date, 69 former Wizards players have made it to the Major Leagues – with many others sure to follow. And, for you trivia fans out there, here’s some:

  • The last out in Memorial Stadium history was made by Danny Payne at 10:03PM Eastern.
  • Former Norwell High School standout and Silverhawks prospect, Jarrod Parker dominated the Wizards through five innings of one hit ball. The Wizards offense came alive immediately after his departure . . . too bad they were already down 17 to 0.
  • The last game at Memorial Stadium took place the same night that Major League Baseball first instituted instant replay availability.
  • Dinger the Dragon faced off against former Wizard’ mascot, Wayne the Wizard in the Mascot Race. You would think one would finally win. Nope. They tied and therefore they both lost. Amazing.
  • Olympian Gold Medalist, Lloy Ball threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
  • My family came home with eleven softy balls, one Memorial Stadium replica and two bags of free potato chips.

And now, there is little else to do but turn our attention to the Major Leagues as the playoff races take shape. By early September, we may know the new name of the team and quite possibly have the opportunity to purchase (or receive) the new branded merchandise by the holiday season. And who knows, maybe I’ll publish another book during Spring Training! These are all some small milestones to help us endure another winter where following the Arizona Fall League just doesn’t quite cut it.

Oh, and there’s always this little vignette for Memorial Stadium that I put together. I’ll post a photo gallery tomorrow night.

It’s been a wonderful year. Thank you to the Wizards for keeping us entertained and providing me with the opportunity to take batting practice at Memorial Stadium, view an occasional game from the best seats in the house and so much more. To all those I have met and met up with at the Castle, I hope to see you downtown next season. I’m already looking forward to helping kick off a new era in Fort Wayne baseball history on Opening Day at Harrison Square.

Note: the music that accompanies the vignette is “The Last Song” by Thousand Foot Krutch. It’s a hidden track on their cd, “The Flame in All of Us” on Tooth and Nail Records.

More on Hayhurst’s Debut and His MLB Future

Following his MLB debut, Dirk Hayhurst spoke with the media and shared his experiences. It looks like he will get another start or two rather than being sent back to Portland.

San Diego general manager Kevin Towers said he wants to get a look at what Hayhurst can do. Hayhurst himself is a little curious himself, especially after getting his feet wet Saturday.

“I’m hungry for more,” he said. “I’m pleased I survived it, but I’m anxious to get another opportunity” [source: MiLB.com]

Congratulations on a great start Dirk. We’re looking forward to seeing what you can do the rest of the season too!