GILES WAIVER DEAL IS OFF

The San Diego Padres website is now reporting that the deadline for making a deal with the Boston Red Sox has passed and that Brian Giles is expected to be in the starting lineup tonight when the club opens their series in Colorado.

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PADRES IN COLORADO

When the Padres open up their 3-game series in Colorado tonight, they may be without right fielder Brian Giles. Word is that the club is still trying to work out a deal with the Boston Red Sox and that the 37-year-old outfielder may agree to go–even though Boston was on his “no trade” list. Either way, we should know something later this morning.

 

If a deal cannot be agreed upon or if the Padres decide that want to keep Giles, the club can simply take him off waivers, as the waiver placement is revocable. If that were to happen, the Padres would still have the option of putting him back on trade waivers, except then it would become irrevocable; any team putting in a claim would get him.

 

PADRES LOSE RUBBER GAME TO METS

 

Despite two more Padre home runs yesterday (Headley and Gerut), the club fell to the Mets, 6-5, on David Wright’s walk-off dinger in the bottom of the ninth off of Heath Bell.

 

For a man who believes he’s the next great Padre closer, Bell has certainly been giving it up lately. At the rate he’s going, he may even find it difficult to hold on to his set-up role. Mike Adams has been better than Bell.

 

Once again, a Padre starter couldn’t make it through six innings. Kinda explains why the club is carrying 13 pitchers, doesn’t it?

 

The Padre send Jake Peavy (8-7, 2.59) to the mound tonight in Colorado, who will counter with former Padre Glendon Rusch (4-3, 5.47).

GILES CLAIMED OFF WAIVERS

Giles.jpgKen Rosenthal of Fox Sports is reporting that Brian Giles has been claimed off waivers by an unknown club. That doesn’t mean that the Padre right fielder is headed out the door, however. What it does mean is that another MLB club has indicated their willingness to take Giles off the Padres’ hands and assume full financial responsibility for his contract. Speculation is that the Padres are open to trading Giles to the unknown club providing they receive a good player in return. If a trade cannot be worked out, they can simply pull him back within 48 hours, which will assure his place on the Padres’ roster for the rest of this season. If that should occur, I suspect the Padres will buyout his contract for $3 million instead of picking up his option for 2009.

 

PADRES DEFEAT THE METS

 

Along with the aforementioned Brian Giles, Jody Gerut and Chase Headley hit solo home runs and Cha Seung Baek (4-5) gave the Padres 6 1/3 strong innings in their 4-2 victory over the Mets last night. The Padres collected only six hits in the entire game.

 

Baek is a real enigma. While his record on the road is 4-0 with a 2.81 ERA, he’s 0-5 with a 6.96 ERA at Petco, which is supposed to be a pitcher’s ballpark. It just doesn’t make sense. What are the Padres to do? Only let him start on the road? There has to be an answer.

 

Jody Gerut (.290, 9 HRs) is looking more and more like a keeper. It very well could be that the club is looking at him as Giles’ replacement in right field. Although he’s certainly getting the job done in center, the Padres may be hoping to fill that position next year with someone capable of leading off and stealing a few bases.

 

It was good to see Headley hit one out at Shea. He’s been struggling of late and hadn’t hit a dinger since July 13.

 

It seemed like only yesterday that Edgar Gonzalez was the club’s hottest hitter and was playing errorless ball. Last night he was replaced at second by Iguchi in the seventh inning after committing his 4th and 5th errors. While struggling at the plate, his batting average has slipped to .283. I initially disagreed with 1090’s John “The Coach” Kentera when he said that Edgar was best suited for utility work. I now have to admit that I’m beginning to see his point.

 

Collectively allowing only one hit, the bullpen tandem of Mike Adams, Heath Bell, and Trevor Hoffman, who notched his 24th save, did a terrific job in support of Baek.

 

The non-televised rubber game of the series begins at 9:10 this morning.

PADRES DROP TWO IN A ROW TO S.F.

It’s becoming difficult to write anything interesting about the Padres because, well, they’re just not an interesting team this season. After two frustrating losses to the Giants on Friday and Saturday, all you can do is look for positives and hope the club will make the necessary adjustments that will provide their loyal fans with a better brand of baseball next season.

 

In Friday’s game, the positives were the starting pitching effort by Josh Banks, who lowered his ERA to 3.65, and the late inning homer by Adrian Gonzalez that tied the game. I have no clue how Banks fits in to the Padres’ vision of the future, but I do believe that there’s hope for him. If only he could show some consistency.

 

Mike Adams continues to impress out of the bullpen. Pitching a scoreless eighth inning on Friday, Adams lowered his ERA to 1.88. In 38 1/3 innings he’s given up only 29 hits, struck out 45, and walked only 11. The Padres may have found another set-up guy for next year.

 

The lone positive in Saturday’s 2-0 loss was Jake Peavy (8-7), who later expressed his frustration at losing another tough-luck decision. With an ERA of 2.59, Jake should be sitting on at least 12 wins right now.

 

A huge positive last night had nothing to do with the game. It was the Madres’ silent auction. With over 41K fans in attendance (mostly for the T-shirt giveaway), their efforts were rewarded by the generous fans who shelled out some major coin for the merchandise displayed at four separate locations around the ballpark. Kudos to the women and men of the Madres for their successful endeavor!

 

On the minor league front, there were a couple of performances last night worth mentioning. LHP Matt LeBlanc (10-7) pitched 8 innings of shutout ball for Portland. While striking out 11 and walking none, he allowed only 2 hits. After getting off to a shaking start on the AAA level, LeBlanc appears to have found his groove and may have earned a September call-up.

 

Portland outfielder Pete Ciofrone banged out another 2 hits, including his 12th home run. His average is at .328. To put that in perspective, however, Paul McAnulty has batted .384 with 6 homers since being optioned to Portland.

 

A young player who’s attracting a lot of attention lately is Lake Elsinore’s Kellen Kulbacki. A corner outfielder, Kulbacki had 4 hits last night and raised his batting average to .344. He’s got 19 home runs and a .611 slugging percentage. Although he’s reported to be a lower-than-average defensive player, the 22-year-old will be put on the fast track if he continues to put up those kind of numbers.

FRUSTRATING SEASON GETS WORSE

Any chance of Khalil Greene bouncing back and improving upon
Khalil.jpghis anemic batting average through the remaining two months of the season went out the window when he took out his frustration on a clubhouse storage locker during Wednesday’s embarrassing loss to Arizona. Greenie is going on the DL today and will more than likely miss the rest of the season. According to Buddy Black, Luis Rodriquez will replace him at shortstop. Too bad the Padres didn’t retain the services of Geoff Blum. We could have used a guy like him this season. Then again, we could have also used guys like Mike Cameron and Milton Bradley, but that’s another story.

 

Someday we’ll all look back at the 2008 season as being the “Murphy’s Law” season. Almost anything that could’ve gone wrong has gone wrong. All you have to do is compare the opening day roster to today’s and review the club’s injuries to see that this has been one of the worst seasons the Padres have ever experienced. Or, you can ask the season ticket holders who are desperately trying to sell their tickets for remaining games. And many are selling them for far less than face value. The Padres would be wise to extend their $1 hot dog and drink specials through the rest of the season.

 

For true baseball fans, however, a night at the ballpark is still enjoyable–even if your team is one of the worst in the majors. Making upcoming appearances at Petco Park are teams that, at least for now, are in the hunt. For example, on the home stand beginning August 12, the Padres will host Milwaukee (wild card contender) and Philadelphia (leads the NL East). Both teams have excellent players that are worthy of watching. It might be kinda fun to sit in the stands and say, “Let’s see, I wish we had that guy…and that guy…and, of course, that guy.”

 

One team the fans will look forward to seeing in September is the Dodgers…especially now that they have future Hall-of-Famer Manny Ramirez patrolling left field. (Our friend Harry will have a field day with him). I predict, however, that Dodger fans will outnumber the Friar faithful by a 2-1 margin. I know of fans who flatly refuse to sell their tickets to Dodger fans. What does it matter at this point? Let them have their fun.

 

By trading for Ramirez, the Dodgers sent a clear message that they’re going for it this year. They certainly have the pitching. All they needed was a power bat in the middle of their lineup. Had the Padres made a similar move last season, they would have been in the playoffs. And, with a pitching staff that had the lowest ERA in the majors, who knows how far they could have gone.

 

Arizona, who made a run at Mark Teixeira before he got traded to the Angels, did not make any significant moves other than recently adding big John Rauch to their bullpen. Sorry, D’Backs…I give the edge to L.A.

 

One final note: Although I don’t fully understand why the White Sox traded for Ken Griffey Jr., I’m glad that Junior will have an opportunity to get a ring. It certainly wasn’t going to happen in Cincinnati.

THE TILTED KILT AND PETCO BLUES

The Padres took it on the chin again last night as the Arizona D’Backs totally outclassed the Friars in the rubber game of a three-game series. I won’t go into details of the game–you can find that in the UT or on the Padres’ website. I will, however, make a few observations regarding the Padres’ sloppy defense and pitching.

 

But first, I want to talk about my night at the ballpark with my nephew Brandon, who turned 15 on July 10. Brandon doesn’t get the opportunity to attend many games at Petco Park, so I make it a point to take him to a game every year around his birthday. So, last night was “boys’ night out” for Brandon and Uncle Dean. (It should be noted that Brandon was the inspiration for the character Michael Robbins in my book, Pinch Hitter, and just happens to be a very handsome young man.)

 

One of the reasons I was looking forward to last night had absolutely nothing to do with the Padres or Petco Park. Whenever we go to Petco, my wife and I usually hang out before the games at the Tilted Kilt Pub and Eatery on Tenth Street, just outside the ballpark. If you’ve never been to the TK, I’d highly recommend it for the terrific food, service, and the 30 flat plasma screens and three 12-foot HD projection screens that cover the walls. For those of you who have experienced the TK, you know that Tilted Kilt girls are all gorgeous young ladies that are dressed…well, let’s just say that they’re dressed. Some of the young men who regularly frequent the TK may still be unaware that they actually do serve food.

 

Anyway, while vividly remembering what it was like to be 15 (albeit a long time ago), I couldn’t wait to introduce Brandon, who will be a sophomore this year, to the bevy of beautiful young women at the TK. As soon as we entered the establishment, I could tell that Brandon had gotten over the adolescent shyness he displayed a year ago when we introduced him to some lovely young ladies at Seau’s The Restaurant. Upon being seated, we were greeted by a beautiful young lady who happens to be one of our favorite servers. (I won’t mention her name, but this girl sparkles with personality.) After inquiring about the whereabouts of my wife, she said that she was leaving soon but would introduce us to our server–a young lady with whom I was not previously acquainted.

 

During the course of our meal, we were visited often by our lovely server, who made it a point to converse with Brandon about his high school. After we finished our burgers (they’re great, by the way) and paid the check, I asked Brandon if he was ready to leave. Obviously enjoying the view and the attention, he said no. However, before I had a chance to explain that our server would be losing money if we stayed at that table, he said something that one wouldn’t expect from a 15-year-old boy who was sitting in a large room full of gorgeous young women. He said, “Uncle Dean, maybe we should go. There are a lot of people waiting for tables.” I was impressed. As much as he wanted to stay, he was being considerate of the waiting patrons and our server.

 

He commented later that the Tilted Kilt is his favorite new restaurant…and he can’t wait to go back.

 

Oh yeah…the game. The Padres looked awful last night. As much as I like Chase Headley, I hate the fact that he’s playing out of position. The club needs to make a decision as to whom their third baseman of the future is going to be. If it’s Headley, then Kouzmanoff should be dealt. If it’s Kouz, then Headley should be traded.

 

I also believe that Cha Seung Baek and Josh Banks are better suited for the bullpen. Just take a look at their numbers as starters. Outside of Peavy, Young, and Maddux, we do not have decent starters. Why not give some of the AAA or AA pitchers an opportunity to show us what they can do? We may be pleasantly surprised…kinda like Brandon was at the TK last night.

 

PADRES’ WIN STREAK SNAPPED IN CHRIS YOUNG’S RETURN


CYoung.jpgEven though the Padres were shutout by Arizona last night, fans had to be excited about the return of Chris Young after a nine-week layoff. While surrendering only two hits and racking up eight strikeouts through five innings of work, the 6-foot-10 right-hander showed no ill-effects from being hit on the face by Albert Pujols in May. It’s safe to say that CY’s return was a total success.

 

Unfortunately, his teammates managed only two hits off of LPH Doug Davis, who had a no-hitter until Brian Giles lined a single into center field in the seventh. Sure, with all of his pitches working for him, Davis was brilliant last night. However, he was aided by the Padre hitters, who, at times, appeared to be flailing at pitches out of the strike zone.

 

To make room for Young, the Padres designated Chip Ambres for assignment. Given Ambres’ performance, that move came as no surprise. However, as of this morning they’re carrying twelve pitchers. With the trading deadline rapidly approaching, there is still much speculation that a Padre pitcher will be traded. That would free-up a roster spot for another position player, which very well could be Portland outfielder Peter Ciofrone, who’s hitting .330 with eleven HRs and has a 26-game hitting streak.

 

Tonight it’s Cha Seung Baek (3-5, 5.06 ERA) vs. Dan Haren (10-5, 2.56 ERA).

 

MARK TEIXEIRA AN ANGEL

 

Kudos the Angels for pulling off the deal for Mark Teixeira. As if they weren’t already good enough to win it all, Teixeira gives them another solid bat in their lineup and is an excellent first-baseman. And, I don’t believe they acquired him as a two-month rent-a-player, either. Don’t be surprised if they sign him to a long-term deal in the off-season.

 

MANNY RAMIREZ TO THE DODGERS?

 

Although unlikely to happen, there’s been talk about the Dodgers acquiring Ramirez from Boston. Word is that the Sox want a package of players– including outfielder Matt Kemp, who’s hitting .294 with 12 HRs. Bad move, Dodgers. If you want Manny, wait until Boston makes him a free agent at the end of this season.

 

Speaking of the Dodgers, I hear that they are not interested in Greg Maddux. That’s good news to me…I want him to stay in San Diego.