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GM Jed Hoyer talks about 5th Starter, Zaun's retirement and Latos' criticism of umpires

XX Sports Radio: Jed Hoyer Interview with Darren Smith  (MP3)

  • Jed Hoyer says when he asks players about one change they would make in MLB it's almost unanimous that they'd like to play fewer games.  "They feel like 162 [games] decreases the level play. I know our players feel that way."
  • Hoyer thinks R.C. Buford of the San Antonio Spurs is the best GM in sports.  Hoyer has friendly relationships with GMs in other sports, it's easier to bounce ideas off of GMs outside of baseball.
  • Hoyer hopes that his vision for the team will gel with what the fans want.  He is building a team to win as many games as he can. Eventually when the farm system starts supplying players to the Padres, fans will have a greater connection to them because they've watched them come up through the ranks.
  • Every day that Hoyer doesn't talk to one of the Padres trainers is a good day.
  • His biggest concern is "shoring up the bench a little bit".  Eric Patterson and Jorge Cantu have looked good so far this Springr.  Gregg Zaun's retirement wasn't totally unexpected, but they thought he was going to win the backup job.  Now either Kyle Phillips, Rob Johnson or Guillermo Quiroz will be the backup catcher.  
  • Hoyer talked to Bengie Molina through intermediaries but it doesn't sound like he is going to come out of retirement to be the Padres back up catcher.
  • Kevin Frandsen is scuffling as back up middle infielder so far.  Hoyer has to do his due diligence and look outside the organization to see if there is an upgrade.
  • Hoyer half jokingly offered Brad Ausmus the backup catching job, but he said "No, I'm good".
  • Cory Luebke is pretty close to gaining experience at the big league level.  He has stuff he needs to work on, but he's a great athlete. Hoyer hasn't ruled him out as the 5th starter.
  • The 5th starter job is Wade Leblanc's to lose.
  • Brad Hawpe looks comfortable at first base, but he has some fundamental technical things he has to work on.  He catches the ball deep and he doesn't stretch as much as he should.  The game is so much faster in the infield.
  • Hoyer talks to players quite a bit during Spring Training.  It's a good time to develop a rapport. 
  • Clayton Richard is fine.  He threw batting practice and he'll be ready to start the season without a problem.  He just had some early spring soreness.  It's important to be cautious.
  • Hoyer doesn't have any concerns about Mat Latos physically or his performance so far, but it is time for him to start going deep into games.  He has to start building up his pitch count.  Latos has grown up a ton and he'll get dialed in and return to form.  Hoyer isnt' worried about him.  His criticism of the umpire on Sunday was unnecessary and there's nothing to gain from that.
    "He pops off some times, he shouldn't do that.  He'll learn that stuff, but he's just frustrated, he's got a lot of pride.  For a young guy, he expects to go out and dominate every time, almost to a fault. I think sometimes last year when he didn't dominate he kind of let the game get away from him a little bit, because he was frustrated that guys were hitting him. He's a competitor and I think sometimes in the heat of the moment or in the frustration of not performing well, sometimes guys say things they shouldn't say."
  • Hoyer is glad that every comment that he made at 23 years old isn't on twitter or on the internet.  Bud Black talks to Latos all the time about things like that.  Latos cares and that's the most important thing, but complaining about the umpires doesn't serve a purpose.