I noticed in the Google News this morning that Bleacher Report had come up with four ways that the Grandal suspension impacts the Padres, which is good, but f_ck that sh_t. I'm taking this b_tch to six.
I started reading the article, but I found that it was one of those insane BR slideshows and I recently broke a bone in my hand and hate clicking around so much, so I figured I'd come up with my own, because really, I should probably know just as much about what's going on as BR, if not 50% more.
Effect 1: Offensive Nick Hundley is back in play
As we all remember, Nick Hundley built himself a nice little standout season in 2011 as the Padres backstop, good for a .288/.347/.477 line and 3.5 wins above replacement. He then was rewarded with everybody all crazy for him and then followed up by starting the season 0-21 and finishing his season with a healthy 5 for 47 stretch. All the while, kinda making that face. He then went to the minors for 13 games and batted .190, thereby earning himself no September baseball.
Remember when we were all psyched that Yasmani Grandal and his .297/.394/.469 would be starting the season instead of finishing it? Put those thoughts out of your head. We get Nick Hundley...
Effect 2: Defensive Nick Hundley is back in play
Hundley is arguably better at catching would-be base stealers than Yasmani Grandal. Grandal is arguably better at protecting the plate from passed balls. Yasmani Grandal is more spectacular because he's younger and better looking. And, while I don't have the numbers on it for the most recent (terrible) year, even in his best year, Nick Hundley wasn't great at the little things catchers need to do, like frame pitches and get his guys to throw strikes. His extension was based mostly on offense and getting what we all were hoping would be a decent backup for relatively cheap.
Effect 3: San Diego Sports Fan is juuuuuuuuuust about sick of this sh_t
What's the sound of a really upset sports fan finally giving up on his or her team?
That's it. Nothing. When a person finally gives up on his or her team, there's no huge hubbub. There's no rioting in the street. That person doesn't go on and on and on at dinner parties about how this is the year that they're giving up. They just give up. They just very quietly don't renew their season tickets or don't bother checking the box score or turning on the TV. They just kinda disappear.
And notice I said San Diego Sports Fan as opposed to just Padres Fan. If you get your winning fix from some other city's NFL team or your favorite NBA team, then you might be willing to put up with the bullsh_t that seems to show up regularly for Padres/Charger fans.Thank goodness for the Aztecs. Their basketball and football programs have managed to negate at least one divorce, 1.2 ownership changes, .75 cheating scandals, 7 years of begging for stadiums and maaaaaybe 4 threats of relocating a franchise.
But for Grandal do this... this... in the city that lost Ken Caminiti and is still reeling from a Junior Seau. I'm pretty sure sports fans aren't in it for the constant heartbreak and this doesn't help things for those sports fans taking up different hobbies.
Effect 4: Jersey Sales
Do people buy baseball jerseys with player names on them? Who would've been on your short list for a jersey on this team? MVP candidate, Chase Headley? Not without an extension. Killa Cam Maybin? Possibly, if it weren't for his hitting a bit of a sophomore slump in his 4th real year in the bigs. One of the 117 pitchers? Ummm...
Yep, Yasmani Grandal looked just about as good a jersey buy as any, but not anymore.
Effect 5: Protection in the lineup
Effect #1 was more of a thing like we now have a potential hole in the middle of the lineup. Effect #5 is more of a thing like there are players that have to hang out on either side of that hole. By the time the second half Padres got into their groove, our best lineups had a pretty big heart of the order that looked something like Headley/Quentin/Grandal/Alonso in the 3-6 spots. Cabrera/Venable/Denorfia eventually fought their ways into those top two spots, but we got pretty comfortable with that middle bit looking almost intimidating and big league in comparison to the past. Meanwhile, unless Nick Hundley starts things off amazingly, I can't see him batting higher than the 7 spot. That's a struggle when you have an injury risk in Quentin potentially chipping into the dangerous middle part of the lineup.
Effect 6: Austin Hedges?
The knock on Grandal was that he has a bat, but no defense. Well, it appears he has some defense. The knock on Hedges is that he's amazing at defense, but has no bat. Well... Maybe lightning can strike twice. The Padres have enough catching right now that it's really unlikely that Hedges' timeline gets bumped (dude was only 19 years old last season), but he is arguably one of our most exciting prospects. Who knows? Maybe a good showing at AA earns him an early graduation to AAA and at that point, we're just one oh for 40 showing from Nick Hundley away from maybe seeing a Hedges big league premier in 2013.