Alright, so this was weird but also cool. I got a phone call at around 6:40pm yesterday and it was an automated message that there was a conference call hosted by Jesse Agler either going on, or about to happen; it wasn't clear. The guest was manager Bud Black and it was for season ticket holders. I was out "running" so I just stayed on the line and listened. Then I got dumped into the conference call itself and I think it was already in progress, but fans could ask questions by dialing *3, or get ahold of a season ticket representative by dialing *0. Neat? I'll say so. Ready? Here it goes: "Neat."
I tried to tap down notes while I was moving while also not running into anything, so they're incomplete and being recalled from one of the worst memories humanity can muster. Bear with me.
- The first question I heard was someone asking about the team this year, and Bud went over all the off-season acquisitions and what roles they'll be playing come the start of the season. The answer was mainly the same stuff Josh Byrnes has already said as each trade or deal went through.
- The next was a lady asking about injuries and what the Padres do to prevent them. Bud wasn't sure if she was asking about the Padres specifically or all of baseball, but he did his best to answer it anyway because I guess she hung up. The answer was something like "take precautions" and do regular "caution"s and words to that effect. He also mentioned something along the lines of there being way fewer injuries prior to last season; better than league average if I recall correctly.
- My notes skip a line here and I don't remember if this was part of the last answer or a separate question, but Bud talked about what they'll do now that Cameron Maybin is out for awhile. Will Venable will probably be getting most of the starts in center. He also mentioned that he talked to Byrnes about the possibility of acquiring a right-handed bat for the outfield to help out, but that would be difficult as they are hard to come by.
- For sure this next question was about what the attitude of the team is like in Spring Training this year. Bud mentioned that there's been turnover, cited some of the veterans by name (Venable, Hundley, Cabrera), and that, "there's a quiet confidence."
- The next question was who the opening day starter would be and if Joaquin Benoit could close in addition to Huston Street. He said if Street were unavailable, Benoit could close. He mentioned Street's high save percentage last year and that he wished he could have given him more save opportunities. He also felt it wouldn't be appropriate to announce who the opening day starter is going to be both on this conference call and before he told the pitcher himself. He hinted heavily toward Andrew Cashner but that it could also be Ian Kennedy.
- Next was a question about who is going to be in the starting rotation, and specifically who the 5th starter is going to be. It's probably going to be Eric Stults since he logged over 200 innings last season. The rest of the rotation is probably going to be Andrew Cashner, Josh Johnson, Ian Kennedy, and Tyson Ross. He also mentioned the guys right behind those five: Burch Smith, Robbie Erlin, and Joe Wieland.
- I didn't get all of the next question, but it was something to the effect of who among the young guys is impressing him. Bud really likes Jace Peterson, he also likes Tommy Medica, and he's taking a long look at Nico Noel because he's one of the fastest guys in the minors and he's a switch hitter, but his bat isn't quite there yet.
- The next question was all about Medica, and if he could be a catcher. In his junior year of college, he was injured in a home plate collision that tore up his arm and sidelined him for the rest of the season. His senior year was spent DHing. He injured his arm again that year diving into first base, so Bud is pretty sure he's not going to be catching behind the plate. They have been "toying with" him playing left field, though.
- The last question was from an eight year old boy named Matthew who asked what Bud says to the pitcher when he goes out on the mound. Bud said it's a variety of things that depend on the situation and the words of the answer were many, but we all know it just amounts to, "make some f-----g pitches."
The conference call ended there. I was on the line for 25 minutes, but I think the call was actually a half hour total, so I have a feeling I missed the very beginning. If I remember more details I'll add them in the comments. Welp, cya.
Just had a blast hosting my first fan conference call. Buddy Black was awesome with the fans. Hope everyone enjoyed!— Jesse Agler (@jesseagler) March 4, 2014