Conversations With the Enemy: 2012 Giants/Padres Preview


The Padres have slowed down enough in the off-season dealings to allow us all to catch our breath.  It’s been like a hundred yard dash the last couple of days for those of us who cover the Padres.  During this down time, as we are bent over, wheezing, and reaching for our water, it seemed fitting to continue the Conversations With the Enemy series.

I spoke with Bryan over at Around the Foghorn, and we talked about the upcoming season, the Padres recent moves, and Aubrey Huff‘s half naked pictures to Bruce Bochy.  So let’s get started.

What will it take for the Giants to climb back to the top of the NL West?

Bryan – Around the Foghorn:

It’s a simple thing, but something that’s oh so difficult to achieve – health. That’s the Giants weakness, up and down their roster. Last year was a bit unlucky given the freak injuries to both Freddy Sanchez and Buster Posey, not to mention Jonathan Sanchez – but it was like somebody deflated a balloon when Posey went out. And then as if that wasn’t bad enough, just a few games after, Sanchez goes out as well so that deflated balloon was just ripped to shreds. In addition to the actual injuries, you had players like Aubrey Huff who were out of shape, not un-healthy from being hurt but by their own bad habits (he’s been texting shirtless pictures to Bruce Bochy every week to show Bochy how determined he is to be in shape – I kid you not). More importantly than any of that though is the health of the pitching staff which, as much as I hate to say it, is on borrowed time. It might not be this year – heck, it might not be next, but eventually all of the deep innings the Giants staff has thrown is bound to catch up with them. How bad is yet to be determined – maybe it’s just a two or three month stretch of bad starts, maybe it’s injuries *knock on wood* but even Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti says the same thing – it’s just a matter of time. Hopefully for the Giants, they can maintain a pretty healthy roster for a couple more seasons before any signs of wear and tear begin to appear on the big arms – that’s really the only thing that could hold them back with their current pitching staff.

Justin – Chicken Friars:

I agree, the Giants need to stay healthy if they’re going to compete. With what I view as an improved Dodgers team, the Diamindbacks returning their core, a likely improvement to San Diego, and Colorado’s always scrappy ways, I see the NL West as a very difficult division in 2012.  The pitching staff was key to keeping the Giants in the race as long as they were, but their offense needs to improve dramatically going forward. Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez should provide an immediate boost, but after Beltran’s flop, they still need more.

Bryan – Around the Foghorn:

The Beltran situation is one that grinds my gears. I didn’t really mind the trade at the time, partly because I thought Wheeler was a bit overrated and because it appeared the Giants had full blown intentions of bringing him back. But the fact that they’ve essentially washed their hands of it, I just don’t understand. The Giants offense (when Beltran played) was actually pretty solid (and that’s without Sanchez or Posey) so to pass on that over 10 million dollars? Just don’t see it. I could understand more if Beltran wanted a 3-4 year deal which would interfere with their ability to bring back Cain or Lincecum, but, given the slow developing market on Beltran – at least offer him a 2 year, 20 million dollar deal. Force him to leave it on the table. Hell, even eat some money this year – they have the Rowand contract coming off the books at season end along with Huff and Wilson, three big deals they can recoup their money on next season. I just don’t see how they deem it logical to waste a pitching staff like this. Everybody knows that with a strong staff, anything can happen in October – you just have to make it. But they’d rather fight and claw and risk not making it to save a few million dollars.

How big of a thank you card are you going to send Josh Byrnes for the coup he pulled for Mat Latos? What was your favorite piece in the trade?

Justin – Chicken Friars:

Padres fans are surprisingly torn over the move.  I wrote a few days ago about Mat Latos’ values and what it would/should take to get him from San Diego.  Byrnes got more than I would have ever hoped for in the deal. This would have been a really good deal with Edinson Volquez and Yonder Alonso. With Yasmani Grandal, it’s a great deal. With Brad Boxberger, it’s an amazing deal.  I expect each of these players to contribute largely in the coming years.  It also sets up more moves for the Padres.

As for my my favorite piece, I’d have to say it’s Boxberger.  With Boxberger and Cory Burns, who the Padres got from the Indians a few days ago, San Diego should have options for their future closer.  This will free up approximately $7 million per year the Padres can spend elsewhere (Carlos Quentin, Matt Garza, etc). But the whole deal is great.  Alonso gives flexibility to move Anthony Rizzo. Grandal allows the Padres to consider moving Nick Hundley if Hundley’s trade value increases. This is the type of move small-market teams have to make to be successful.

Bryan – Around the Foghorn:

Being local in San Diego myself and following [the Padres], it was nice to see such a fantastic move for them. I honestly couldn’t believe the Reds gave up that much – not to say Latos isn’t worth it, but that was more than I would have expected anybody to pay for him. Like you said, these are the types of moves that make small market teams successful – and their front office knocked it out of the park. I was thrilled for the Padres fanbase since they haven’t had a whole lot to be happy about in the past few seasons, but I couldn’t help but groan as a Giants fan knowing how much they just improved.

 

So there you have it.  The Giants look to stay healthy, the Padres are much improved from their recent moves, and the N.L. West looks to get more and more competitive.

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Tags: Aubrey Huff Buster Posey Carlos Beltran Giants NL West Padres