Four Thoughts: Giants Workload Hangover, Sandy Alderson Past and Future
"No, I don't have any worry, because our guys are some of the best in the business at handling pitchers," Giants general manager Brian Sabean told FanHouse. "We've gotten them all the extra day (of rest), we never fiddled with rotations, we never had guys go on short rest, we never tinkered."
He added: "They were born to pitch. Pitchers are born to pitch. That may be oversimplifying it, but, no, I'm not worried at all."
• Here are five plums from Sandy Alderson's four-year tenure as Padres CEO that may bode well for Alderson's prospects as GM of the Mets:
1.) He created a coherent philosophy that was understood and applied by both the player development and amateur scouting staffs.
2.) San Diego's weak farm system showed much-improved depth and graduated Alderson Era draftees such as Mat Latos, Chase Headley, Nick Hundley, Will Venable and Wade LeBlanc to the Padres. All contributed to the team's surprising 90-72 season this year.
3.) He retained and lengthened the contract of the general manager he inherited, Kevin Towers, who would make several astute trades, notably the acquisition of Adrian Gonzalez and pitcher Chris Young from the Rangers; and reliever Heath Bell from the Mets.
4.) He oversaw the construction of a facility in the Dominican Republic that Padres rivals acknowledge is second to none.
5.) He and Towers hired a manager, Bud Black, who has evolved into a strong candidate to win the Manager of the Year award this month.
• Here are five prune pits from the Alderson Era that may bode ill for his new employer on the Evil Coast:
1.) Alderson undervalued footspeed and athleticism, if one sees value in the post-Alderson moves made by Padres rookie GM Jed Hoyer to upgrade those areas, notably in the outfield, plus the bolder running game put into place by Black this year
2.) Padres scouts told other scouts that the Alderson culture, which empowered analytics that the Padres believed gave them an edge in assessing college players, overly discouraged using a high-end draft pick on a high-school player. (The four first-round picks of the Alderson Era were collegians Cesar Carrillo, Matt Antonelli, Nick Schmidt and Allan Dykstra; so far, none has panned out).
3.) Season-ticket sales fell unchecked and at an increasing rate.
4.) A public relations hit suffered when Padres icon Trevor Hoffman left the club, not because the Padres didn't sign him but how they handled his departure. Hoffman, who didn't come off so great himself, saw fit to describe the front office as dysfunctional and unprofessional for how it handled his negotiations and other player matters, and directly blamed Alderson along with owner John Moores.
5.) When Alderson agreed to splurge on a player, he and Towers overpaid pitcher Jake Peavy to the tune of a $52-million guarantee and full no-trade powers at a time when Peavy was still two years from free agency.
• Here are five question marks from the Alderson Era that may or may not give clues about his M.O. to come with the Mets:
1.) What other CEO would've fared as well while working for an owner who underwent a chaotic and complicated divorce that scrambled both short- and long-term budget projections?
2.) If Alderson and Towers had retained manager Bruce Bochy after the 2006 season, instead of denying him an extension and thus encouraging him to sign with the rival Giants, who had no qualms about Bochy's tactics or his seven-figure salary, would the Padres have won the wild-card berth in 2007 instead of falling a game short of the World Series-bound Rockies?
Black had never managed at any level before Alderson and Towers hired him.
3.) Was there a flaw in the club's checks and balances in terms of player evaluation?
Alderson said the biggest personnel mistake on his watch -- one bigger than the trade for Jim Edmonds -- was the club's decision to expose pitcher Joakim Soria to the Rule 5 draft. The Soria decision came despite an abundance of 40-man roster spots and recommendations to retain Soria from two Padres coaches, a club scout and international supervisor Randy Smith.
4.) Will Alderson's prevailing experience with pitcher-friendly ballparks aid him with the Mets?
New York's ballpark is fairly similar to San Diego's ballpark and Oakland's ballpark. The Padres consistently have won 82-90 games since moving to downtown San Diego in 2004, but none of those teams won a playoff series.
5.) Are there flaws to the pitching and hitting philosophy that Alderson insisted upon?
Skeptics say the Padres over-emphasized the changeup in the minors, potentially at the expense of fastball development. Former Padres hitting coach Wally Joyner, who was hired during the Alderson Era, considered the emphasis on plate discipline well-intended but extreme. He said it undersold the ability of today's frontline pitchers to throw strikes, particularly in a ballpark as forgiving as San Diego's.
Describing hitting as a "violent act," Bochy, whose team recently beat a raft of aces in the postseason, implied that it's a lot harder to "work the count" than Alderson and his proteges prescribed, and said that, foremost, hitters need to be "ready to hit." Three months into the job, Hoyer said the club increased its emphasis throughout the farm system on bolder baserunning. He called it a logical approach for a club that plays half its games in "an extreme pitcher's park."
Former GM Steve Phillips analyzes the Mets and remaining managerial openings: