Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Padres Annual Meeting Miscellany

Building the major league team.

The San Diego Padres annual season ticket holder always provides an interesting insight into the team management's thoughts. Some of it has to be taken with a grain of salt. Two years ago Sandy Alderson talked about how confident the team was with Miguel Olivo at catcher. As it turns out, not confident enough to keep him. Last year Termel Sledge was touted as the next big thing in left field. Things didn't turn out quite as hoped with Sledge either.

Alderson asked the fans to "stick with us and be with us. We can't control the outcome but we can control the resources." He had some resources to crow about, too. Last year Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young were not tied down in multiyear deals. This year they are. Jake Peavy is close to being tied down as well. Greg Maddux is returning for another year. The infield is strong with Kevin Kouzmanoff and Khalil Greene returning with Gonzalez. Heath Bell showed himself to be a future closer should Trevor Hoffman falter.

Paul DePodesta described the Padres plans for "putting themselves into position to win each year." At the major league level the team is signing its core players to long-term deals: Young, Peavy, and Gonzalez, for example. The second strategy is to find undervalued players and trade for them: Bell, Scott Hairston, and Kouzmanoff, for example. DePodesta said nothing about going out and spending big bucks on major free agents as being part of the team's strategy for putting together a winner. That apparently remains something the Padres are not interested in pursuing.

At the minor league level, DePodesta described the team's strategy "building a culure of winning." He said the goals for the farm system are to bring prospects up from the minors and put them on the major league roster. He didn't say how that would be done.

He said the other strategies for the team were aggressively pursuing amateur draft picks and signing players with character as well as talent. On the international front, DePodesta said the team has "dramatically increased its signing bonus budget" and is opening a state of the art complex in the Dominican Republic.

World Baseball Classic and video replay.

Alderson announced that the World Baseball Classic wwould return to San Diego in 2009. He could not say whether the games at Petco Park would be finals or semifinals. He announced that limited video replay would probably be tested in the WBC as a prelude to using it in Major League Baseball. Alderson, who heads baseball's rules committee, said there is support for limited video replay even among umpires, who, as he put it, "are always one bad call away from infamy." Limited video replay is being considered for foul balls and homerun calls.


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