Kicking off the new year

Hey all —

Sorry been away for so long, but family time over the holidays trumped blogging time. Hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season (I hope my "PC" reference to the season doesn’t offend anyone).

Things are still moving on the Minor League front, though it’s slowed down a bit. Still, some interesting moves to dissect. Right now, my nominee for the worst person to be in baseball is a top-level starting pitching prospect in San Diego.

Why? I’m glad you asked. Well, with the almost-official signing of Shawn "have left arm and innings, will travel" Estes, the Padres have about 47 veteran arms set to come to camp. The Padres rotation now will look something like this:

Jake Peavy
Woody Williams
Shawn Estes
Chan Ho Park
Chris Young

That leaves young pitchers like Clay Hensley, Tim Stauffer and the recently acquired Dewon Brazelton competing for rotation spots that might not actually be up for competition. None of the guys listed above are non-roster invitees — that’s a bunch of guaranteed money on the table. Will the Padres be willing to cut losses with Chan Ho if he still can’t get people out and let one of the young guys go? And they’re still talking with the Red Sox about David Wells? Who gets bounced then, the key to the Eaton deal? I don’t think so. Maybe Stauffer will never regain the pure stuff he had before his injury. But could he possible be any worse than Chan Ho Park? And I know he’s a heck of a lot cheaper. And did they trade away Sean Burroughs for Brazelton just to rid themselves of Burroughs? Or were they really in desperate need for a starter in Portland? First-round pick Cesar Carrillo looked like a fast-track candidate who could reach PETCO by midseason. Now? Enjoy Mobile, Alabama in 2006, Cesar.

Maybe things clear up in 2007. The younger guys — Young (signed through 2007 with a club option for 2008) and Peavy (locked up through 2008 with a club option in 2009) — are rightly staying put.  Estes’ deal appears to be a one-year job and Williams and Park are done after 2006. So there could be a few openings in ’07. Of course, who knows how many mediocre veteran arms will be out there on the market to fill them up…

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