Friday, February 10, 2012

Nick Canepa is not unlike a 12 year-old

Last evening, Nick Canepa of the UT opined:
Where’s the hook? Why should the people who spend money for tickets want to watch these Padres? And, if a star develops, will he spend more than a few years here before he becomes too expensive, a la Adrian Gonzalez and Bell? The ship carrying a Tony Gwynn sailing forever on the USS San Diego Discount has sailed.
I find Nick Canepa's reasoning intellectually dishonest. He acts like the San Diego Padres are the only team who fail to keep their players as they become free-agents when in reality it's pretty difficult for any team to do it.

Adrian Gonzalez, acquired for nearly nothing in the winter of 2005, entered the same zip code* as Albert Pujols in terms of his production and proceeded to price himself out of the plans of nearly every major league team. So the Padres did what they had to do and moved him for controllable players. But the Padres did what approximately 25 of the other  MLB franchises would be forced to do. Worth mentioning?

*Maybe not zip code. State?

And since I mentioned Pujols let me also remind Nick Canepa that the slugger's former employer failed to keep him in St. Louis for the duration of his career. The Cardinals are a team with a massive following, sell-out crowds, and money in the coffers yet Pujols was only allowed to stay as long as his contract remained team friendly. Now Albert Pujols is an Angel.

Nick Canepa cites the departure of Heath Bell as another example of a player becoming too expensive. But that's not the truth. Heath bell became too expensive to offer a contract for a third year*. The Padres only wanted to be committed for two years. But why such a short commitment, Nick? Let us count the ways -- he's fat, with declining strikeout numbers, and a large crooked number for his age. Isn't it being responsible for the Padres to find another resource to fill a position that is only utilized for 70 innings per year? In Nick Canepa's mind the answer is clearly no or he would have referenced Huston Street and the flexibility of his contract in terms of both years and dollars.

*At which time he would be 37.

I'm not beyond criticizing my favorite baseball team but let's be honest about it. If Nick Canepa had asked when the Padres were going to start locking-up its younger players (see Cameron Maybin) similar to the way the Tampa Bay Rays have done I'd probably be applauding him right here. Maybe mention Jonah Keri's The Extra 2% and how the Rays have found success with such strategies as did the Indians in the 1990s. And then mention that JOSH BYRNES WAS WITH THE INDIANS DURING THAT PERIOD OF TIME! YES! THE GUY IN THE PICTURE OF YOUR COLUMN!!!!

Canepa can't do this though. Perhaps the requisite research is above his pay-grade. Instead he gives us the same old arguments about the Padres when the reality is that the vast majority of teams can't keep players once they pass the threshold of super-stardom. These arguments, read by casual Padres fans, are then taken as gospel and repeated ad nauseum. The angry parishioners want answers and Canepa is their prophet. But they're receiving answers from someone who argues like a 12 year old*.

*From time to time I have the opportunity to work with 12 year-olds. These kids are fun but intellectually they aren't quite ready to put forth the effort to support their opinions -- because it requires work. Eventually they grow out of this condition. Well, most do.

As for Nick Canepa's question regarding why should Padres fans show up this season, I guess my answer would sound something like this: Because I love baseball?*

Absent gross malfeasance by the organization, isn't that reason enough?

*I could have also answered Canepa with more detail. More support of my opinions, if you will.

After the 2011 season he Padres added a bunch of pieces to a team in dire need of pieces and I'm curious to see the new formula in action. 

Under the tutelage of Darren Balsley, will Edinson Volquez return to the form that netted Josh Hamilton in a trade back in 2007? 

Will Yonder Alonso show the left-handed swing tauted as perfect for PETCO park? 

Will Cameron Maybin continue to show the abilities that have fans clamoring for a long term extension? 

Will Chase Headley and Tim Stuaffer continue to make strides forward?

Will Corey Leubke become a name known outside of San Diego? 

Does Carlos Quentin have a swing that plays in PETCO? Is he the anti-Ludwick?

Has the gutted bullpen been rebuilt because it's looking like there's some promise with Street, Cashner, and Boxberger? 

How many of the players from the number one system in Major League baseball (according to Keith Law), will make it to San Diego this summer? 

And I want to see the Padres beat up on the Dodgers, Giants, and Diamondbacks because Idisdain their existence.

I could come up with a few more intriguing questions/reasons but I'm at my threshold for words. Enjoy Fanfest if you're going tomorrow.

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