Sports Illustrated's Jay Jaffe offers some advice for the new Padres owners. My responses to his advice are below.
1. Trade Chase Headley this winter
The Padres are open to trading Chase Headley. A deal is dependent on the package they would receive in return. Setting a deadline of trading Headley in the off-season shouldn't be the goal. The goal should be to end the winter with maximum value whether it's with Headley on the roster or without.
2. Finish the television deal
This is the most unhelpful kind of advice. If Jaffe offered a possible solution to the impasse between Fox Sports and Time Warner that would be one thing, but instead he's just restating the problem and suggesting they fix it without suggesting how they fix it. You can't force Time Warner to purchase and carry a channel.
3. Don’t spend that television windfall all at once.
I guess I agree with this one, but only because it seems obvious. The Padres should continue to grow from within and lock up successful players as necessary not try to build a roster on high priced free agents. I doubt anyone was thinking about spending all their TV deal money in one place, except for the possibility of John Moores, who walked away with the $200 million advance of the billion dollar deal.
4. Resist the temptation to move the Petco Park fences.
So Jaffe admits that the ballpark has not created a home field advantage for the Padres "for one reason or another" but advises the team to leave the fences in place. Why? It's proven to be a disadvantage to the home team.
Hitters don't like the ballpark because they aren't rewarded even when they hit a ball on the screws. Their stats also suffer which will eventually hurt their paycheck. Pitchers like it only for its short term affect on their stats, but are frustrated by their lack of run support. Really the only players that benefits are the closer who presumably already has a lead and a pitcher who's on a one year deal, hoping to sign elsewhere next season.
Front Office employees have the added stress of not only finding players that are talented and cheap but also have undefined skills that will make them successful at Petco Park. Why make the game any harder than it is? They should definitely consider moving in the fences in the off-season or at least have a good reason not to.
5. Use the park’s dimensions to the team’s benefit
The team has been trying to use the ballpark dimensions to their benefit since 2004. Again this is very vague advice. Finding the home field advantage sounds like a mythical quest at this point. We've heard the same thing from 3 GM's and their assistants. Not one of them has been able to crack the code. Even Jed Hoyer who was against moving the fences didn't want to stick around to deal with its repercussions. He said the ballpark wasn't the problem even after admitting that it became the players "obsession".
"You can just sit here and watch the same result over and over. We're spooked in this ballpark right now and that's got to change."
Sure sounds like a problem to me.