The tweetup took place at Bub's at the Ballpark. That's on 7th and J, for those that haven't seen it before. It's a 21 and up bar, which I thought kind of made it a weird choice for this sort of thing. In my mind I expected the place to be mostly empty on a Wednesday and there to be a specific area for the tweetup. Not the case. Most seats were full and it wasn't until I started wandering that I practically ran into Josh Byrnes getting chatted up by Jim Laslovic.
I was kind of milling around, saying "Hi" to a fellow Padres fan, Scott, who I've met a few times. Then, Josh Ishoo whose listed title is "Coordinator, Media Relations" approaches us and wants us to meet Trader Josh. We kind of hovered as Laz and Byrnes built up their relationship, but eventually got in and shook the man's hand.
My expectations for this thing was not to end up having an up-close-and-personal conversation with the Padres GM. I guess that was naive of me. At one point I had thought about having some questions prepared just in case, but I really didn't. I also didn't know what kind of answers to expect.I started off slow. I asked him how he's settling in. He said that he's getting ready to move the wife and kids to San Diego and that he'd been living out of a hotel. Interesting answer since he's been with the team for a while, but I guess when you're an ex-GM you kind of figure you'll be moving on to another GM job at some point. It's what happened to Ed Wade and we joked that Omar Minaya will do the same. Maybe bring the family out in the summer time since San Diego is way more awesome than wherever Omar's family is at and that's what Josh did.
I went softball with my next question and asked how long after he became GM did he start getting calls. He said it was pretty immediate. This was actually just a setup for what I really wanted to talk about, which was the Latos trade. I think my actual question was about how long that takes and what goes into it. He talked about how there were a lot of teams very interested, so they narrowed it down to ones that had the depth of young players that they could reasonably seeing dealing the young hurler for. It came down to 4 teams. Two backed off upon hearing what the Padres wanted in return. Despite attempts to bring down the price, the Padres eventually got what was originally asked for.
When he talked about the Reds trying to haggle, I mentioned that it's a like Moneyball. I said this with a wry smile, it was a joke with a smattering of truth. He mentioned that he finally just saw the movie the other day and that (and I don't remember the exact words he used) those dealings had a little bit of Hollywood in them. I thought that went without say, but I guess when it's your job you don't want people getting the wrong idea.
After that little convo, Steve Adler showed up. I let him into the conversation and he introduced himself and his wife to the Padres GM. Steve had lots of questions and, since I had no idea what to say next, I let him ask away as I listened in. I can't recall every question or every answer, but I'll try to give you some highlights.
- There weren't a lot of teams in love with Rizzo. The Rays feel like they can find 1B. Others didn't like his swing. But, of course, the Cubs liked him.
- He tried to compare the prospects of Andrew Cashner vs. Yonder Alonso vs. Anthony Rizzo by talking about where they were at the time of the Adrian Gonzalez deal. I'm not sure I followed the reasoning, but suffice it to say they like Cashner, but know that he's an injury risk. Rizzo has his own risks. Alonso seems on the way up for sure.
- He's impressed by Rymer Liriano and Jace Peterson. He went and saw Liriano and measured the ball speed off his bat and it is phenomenal. Similar to what you would get if you measured Mike Stanton. They kid Peterson that he's like Derek Jeter.
- I asked him if anyone will pitch in AAA this year. Laughter. Weiland and Kelly seem likely and we went on to make fun of the PCL and how it's hard to find a place that can get players to the big leagues fast in case of an injury, but also isn't Arena League baseball. He mentioned different cities and how much he loved the Ft. Wayne ballpark (not that you could put a AAA team there) and how Lake Elsinore doesn't want to house a AAA team.
- Speaking of Weiland, later some Padres fans and I were talking with Corey Brock later and he said he gets the impression Weiland will be in San Diego sooner than most. This seemed to jive with how Byrnes talked about him.
- Will Venable's name came up at one point. Seems like an important year for him. They really want to see him be more consistent. Those stretches of games where he is so bad and an automatic out are frustrating.
Some more Padres fans were showing up and Josh Ishoo was eager to introduce Byrnes to some other fans. Poor timing too because the Aztecs game had just gone to halftime. Nevertheless, there was some more mingling and we eventually saw the Aztecs win while Corey Brock talked about beer.