Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Padres Acquire Nick Green

My God.  Has it really been two weeks?

Yes, it's the final Fiscal Year budget push.  I've been a little distracted by, you know, doing the things I'm SUPPOSED to be doing vice doing the things I want to do.  Sorry about that.

Since last seen, there's been two podcasts, and two Padres Recaps done.  So there's been some activity, just not much.  Since the last post, San Diego swept the Diamondbacks, lost 2 of three to Atlanta, and swept Pittsburgh.  Now they prepare for a six-game homestand with LA and Florida.  Let's hope the trend doesn't continue (which would mean they lose 2 of 3 to LA).  Although sweeping Florida would be OK.

Other than the normal comings and goings of the DL (Latos on, then off; Adams on; Eckstein on; Venable off), the Padres signed two interesting players.  On 19 July they signed Willy Mo Pena.  Saturday they signed Nick Green.

Willy Mo Pena.  Sounds like a country music star.  When he played for the Red Sox in 2006, it was said he hit the ball harder than anyone else on the roster - and that team boasted Manny Ramirez, and David Ortiz, two guys who can really hit.  It's an interesting signing.  Pena hasn't appeared in a game at the Major League level since 2008 with the Nationals, so it's completely risk-free.  Pena has power, but doesn't hit for average.  His career OPS+ is only 94, and he's struck out in 1/3 of his total at-bats at the major league level.  Not only that, but he's a liability with the glove, at least based on Fangraphs data.

On it's a face, this is an all upside move for a guy with a ton of power.  Realistically, he may surrender as many runs as he produces if he plays the outfield with regularity.  I do like the move - it's creative, it's low risk - but I don't think we'll see Willy Mo Pena on the club before September if he's able to play himself into a roster spot.

Saturday the Padres signed Nick Green to a minor-league contract.  San Diego has had a lot of injury trouble in the middle infield, and the aforementioned Eckstein is once again on the DL.  Jerry Hairston Jr has been servicable - 89 OPS+, plus defender around the infield wherever he has played (3 runs saved at second, 5 at short, according to Dewan), but the guy manning the other position has not brought much offense to the team.  Everth Cabrera - 59 OPS+.  Lance Zawadzki - 61 and Oscar Salazar - 78.  So there's a need for help in the middle infield.

Green is a decent defender - he saved 2 runs in limited action this year, and although his defense allowed 3 runs in 2009, that was the only season where he was not evaluated as a plus defender.  Green's bat, however, is nothing special, and is no better than Cabrera or Zawadzki (.236/.305/.348 career in 1131 plate appearances).

The Padres are being creative in trying to improve, and that's a good thing.  Each player offers something, be it a little better defense at second, or a little more dangerous bat in the outfield, with some risk (bad bat, below average glove). 

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