Well, it's time to start thinking about this Padres team. A lot of new faces. That's not necessarily a bad thing. At the WBC game last night, I overheard a Padres "fan" talking to some out of towners. He was saying something to the effect of, "I don't get how Towers replaces half the team and thinks we're better. We're gonna struggle this season. You're not supposed to win a division and then replace everybody."
Normally, I'm blind with fan loyalty and believe that the Padres can do no wrong, but I have no idea how that fan's statement makes any sense. I loved last year's team, but they were sloppy and sometimes even lazy and if a team goes 82-80, you have to realize that's not solid production and won't win you the division in most years. The "crapshoot" that the playoffs were supposed to be - just give us a chance in the offseason and we'll make the most of it - well, that really didn't turn out the way any fans hoped.
Luckily, I look at this team, and even though it's definitely older, it's filled with what should be truly productive players. There are also a lot of new faces. You and I are going to get to know all of them. This won't hurt a bit.
I'm going to try to do this for everybody before the season starts. I'll start you off with some articles written by people who apparently know more than I do. Then I'll give you an Obligatory Latently Homosexual Brian Giles Quote, just so you know how everybody's favorite nudist feels about his teammates. After that, I'll take a look at sites like Baseball Prospectus and Beyond the Boxscore and Baseball Think Factory and I'll attempt to translate what the baseball geniuses think about our guys. Finally, I'll summarize with haiku.
I make no promises for the quality of this stuff. That being said... Here's a good way to get to know Mike Cameron:
Couple of articles:
- Crasnick ESPN article. Much on broken faces and how to overcome them.
- Padres.com article on Cameron. Everybody's psyched... psyched, I say... about Cammy.
On whether or not he's excited to be playing with Cameron: "Why don't you ask him if it'll be special to play next to me?"
My translation of what the baseball geniuses say:
Mike Cameron effectively needs to be compared to two players in trying to decide how much he's going to help our team. First off, he was acquired in a straight up swap for Xavier Nady. I miss Nady too, so don't be whining to me. Beyond the Boxscore assessed the trade when it happened. Nady and Cameron would have to be compared on their offensive production as they don't play the same positions. From what I can deduce, all we can really say here is that Mike Cameron should do better than Nady offensively, but Nady has more upside, obviously.
That being said, it's painfully obvious that the Padres wouldn't have capitalized on any potential Nady upside anyway. So really, adding Cameron and losing Nady is effectively just adding Cameron and losing a sometimes pinch hitter. So on that count, I think we can say that Cameron wins.
Now we can compare him to Dave Roberts since he'll be taking over the Roberts spot in center field. Baseball Prospectus doesn't really tell us how we're supposed to compare these guys, but thank goodness that Baseball Musings does. Here are Cameron's defensive charts and here are Roberts's charts. They're very pretty. And what you might notice is that Roberts and Cameron are actually pretty comparable. Cameron gets to the line shots quicker as you can tell by his line drive chart, but Roberts actually holds his own.
What helps our Padres is the fact that Roberts will be taking over for Klesko in the outfield. Klesko's charts are right here. As you can see by that red line there, it appears that Klesko regularly didn't get to balls that he should have gotten to, especially hard hit ones right to him.
So a slight improvement in centerfield defense and another improvement in left field defense, coupled with the fact that we didn't really give anything up for him (Nady seemed nonexistant in the Padres plans) means that Cameron is an awesome acquisition for us.
badly broken face
but not a broken spirit
still, that had to hurt
(Man my haiku is rusty from the offseason. It'll be better next time.)