Throughout January and February (and probably March), we're reviewing offseason MLB transactions that have fantasy implications, and we're going team-by-team. This isn't quite Hot Stove Daily. The focus here is limited. We're only looking at ownable fantasy players who've found new employers, well, unless the team in question did next to nothing and we have to bend the rules to make a column possible.
We love San Diego for the weather and we love San Diego for the gem of a stadium, but there's not a lot to be said for the direction of the major league franchise these days. We'll have to skirt the general Helper rules on the Padres because the club didn't bring in a lot of notable talent in the offseason. The biggest priority was trying to trade ace starter Jake Peavy, and ultimately that didn't happen.
Let's have a look at some of the changes made in Bordertown and break down how it affects the fantasy prospects of the 2009 club.
There was a buzz surrounding Bell after his electric 2007 season, and that buzz died down significantly when he fell back to earth a bit last season. Nonetheless he struck out just under a batter per inning and the league hit just .229 off him in 2008; there should be enough to make a successful closer here. Bell's offseason workout regimen also made the news; Bell claims he dropped 25 pounds over the winter using the Wii Fit with his kids. Whatever gets the blood pumping, I suppose.
Bell's relatively-strong job security – the Padres all along made it clear he was the successor to Hoffman – has him a touch on the pricy side in the early draft season. He's currently the No. 20 stopper on the board, checking in at pick 171 overall, though in less-sophisticated groups I bet you can get a much nicer price on Bell.
Here's one Rodriguez no one is going to make a fuss over. While the Padres admire his glove and his contact skills at the place, L-Rod has no power or speed to speak of and you need to be providing one of those things if you're going to enter our mixed-league plans. He'd have pretty much zero chance of starting for any other big league club right now.
Signed 2B/SS David Eckstein
The Friars plan to slot Eckstein at second base and let Matt Antonelli head back to Triple-A for the additional seasoning he clearly still needs. If you play in a deep NL-only group and will be happy with a respectable batting average and 4-6 steals, that's a target Eckstein can probably hit. But there's no guarantee that Eckstein holds onto a job for a full season, and at age 34 there's absolutely no upside to be had here. Oh, he'll hustle a lot, there's always that.
Padres Patter: The club will occasionally say something encouraging about Mark Prior (shoulder surgery), and as per usual, we suggest that you ignore those words. … Kevin Kouzmanoff has a chance to be a solid value player at third base in deeper leagues if he can decisively show he's over his offseason shoulder surgery. … The Friars signed Cliff Floyd to a one-year deal for $750,000, but he's not expected to challenge for a starting position. … If the Pads are going to re-visit trading Peavy at some point during the season, they'll need the pitcher's permission – he has a no-trade clause. … Adrian Gonzalez will always wind up on a handful of my teams, though what I'm really looking forward to is what he does someday when he's able to escape the pitcher's haven he calls home. … You never know who'll you meet at a Padres home game, as this homemade film attests.