To preview the series between the Miami Marlins and the San Diego Padres, I had an email chat with Dom DiTolla , a staff writer for the San Diego Padres Fansided Site, Chicken Friars. Chicken Friars is one of the best Padres sites on the internet and is a must read for all baseball fans.
Dom and I chatted about everything from the Padres interest in Ricky Nolasco to if the Padres will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline next month.
Here are the questions I answered for Dom on Chicken Friars.
Without any further ado, here is my chat with Dom:
Ehsan Kassim: The Padres are rumored to be interested in Marlins starting pitcher, Ricky Nolasco? How is he a fit in San Diego and what do you think the Padres can offer the Fish?
Dom DiTolla: I will admit that this team needs starting pitching depth due to the amount of injuries members of their starting rotation have sustained since March. Nevertheless, I personally think that they should stay away from Nolasco. To me, it is not worth it for the Friars to deal away some of their better young talent in the minor leagues to acquire a 30+ year old starter for a stretch-run they might not even be contenders in over the coming months.
The Friars are built more to begin competing for the postseason in 2014 and 2015, so it would be extremely risky to mortgage some of their better young players at the high minor league levels (Kevin Quackenbush, Reymond Fuentes, Cory Spangenberg, Donn Roach, etc.), on a starter of Nolasco’s caliber who might or might not be there after the season ends.
EK: What other moves do you anticipate the Padres to make at the deadline?
DD: As sellers, it might be wise for the Friars to could move one of their many corner outfielders (i.e. Will Venable) or one of their inconsistent veteran relievers (i.e Luke Gregerson or Huston Street) to give some of their other younger players chances to contribute and acquire some talent in return.
As buyers, it would be nice if San Diego’s brass could trade for a talented starter. Yet as I stated before, I hope that they don’t give away too many promising prospects to do so.
EK: How surprising has the production the Padres have received offensively been?
DD: I am extremely happy that the Padres have received production from a number of different players this season. Versatility and the ability to rely on many as opposed to few in one’s lineup is a recipe for success if a team wants to play October baseball. The emergence of Kyle Blanks after three injury-plagued seasons has been a huge plus, and Carlos Quentin has started to heat up at the plate too. I however am most surprised by Chase Headley‘s LACK of production.
After his monster second-half to the 2012 season, Headley has not been the same since he injured his wrist in spring training this past March. Overall, Chase is hitting .224 (246 at-bats) and has only tallied six home runs and 25 runs batted in since he returned from the disabled list in mid-April.
EK: Thoughts on the Mat Latos over a year after it was consummated?
DD: My thoughts on the Latos deal in the immediate aftermath were more or less, “WTF?” After spring training began and the team moved Anthony Rizzo to Chicago for Andrew Cashner though, I was completely behind the trade.
All three of the prospects San Diego picked up have the potential to be long-term contributors with the club. Yonder Alonso, graduate of “The U,” is developing into a solid first baseman. Yasmani Grandal, also a former Hurricane, (outside of his PED suspension) has the tools to be the team’s catcher for the next decade. Last but not least, Brad Boxberger has already gained experience out of the team’s bullpen, and he should challenge for more relief work once Luke Gregerson and Huston Street finally leave town.
EK: Can you give us a quick scouting report on the pitchers the Fish will face this series?
DD: The thing to watch with Edinson Volquez when he is on the mound is his control. If he can limit his walks (<3 per 6 innings), he can always give the Friars a chance to win. Things go sour in a hurry for”Easy E” when he is issuing free-passes on a consistent basis
Take his last start for example. Volquez actually had a no-hitter through 5.2 innings versus the Dodgers. Los Angeles’ hitters had trouble making contact, and Edinson looked to be cruising. Unfortunately for him, his walks got him into trouble and he gave up a run before he even allowed a hit. One night you could see him pitch eight innings and allow three hits, the next you could see him walk eight over six innings
When Volquez can get downward movement on his pitches (good sinking action) and control the bottom of the strike zone though, good things will happen. The right-hander runs into trouble though when he leaves pitches up in the zone and cannot locate..
One of San Diego’s bigger surprises this year has been the emergence of Andrew Cashner in the starting rotation. Last summer, Cashner moved from the bullpen to the rotation due to injuries and seemed to be doing well until a lat injury ruined his season. Cashner then injured his thumb in a meat-dressing accident after hunting this winter and was questionable for the start of the 2013 campaign. Thankfully, “Grizzly” has been a main-stay in the rotation and earned himself a long-term role.
Andrew has the ability to throw his fastball in triple-digits, but he usually keeps it between 91-95 mph to conserve himself as a starter. His breaking pitches have come a long way since he made his Padres debut last spring too, and he is developing into a mainstay in San Diego’s rotation
Eric Stults is almost the opposite of Cashner. The veteran left-hander does not light up the radar gun, nor does he try to overpower hitters. Stults however has pitched to contact very well, and can change speeds and mix his pitches effectively.
His changeup and curveball are slower and somewhat looping, and when he has control he can keep opposing hitters off-balance. Stults has been a reliable arm in the back-end of San Diego’s rotation over the last year and a half, and he is definitely a good change-of-pace pitcher after an opposing team faces Cashner the previous or following night.
Jason Marquis is actually the team leader in wins (nine), and has arguably been San Diego’s most consistent starter during the first three months of the 2013 season. While the veteran’s stuff has not been electric, he has nevertheless been able to avoid mistakes and big innings this year. I hope that the veteran is able to rebound from his last start against the Phillies, especially since he did not last past the fifth inning.
EK: Any bold prediction for this series?
DD: I think that the Padres will be able to take three games during the upcoming series. Four of their top five starters are on the hill, and the Friars should be fine if they aren’t subject to any meltdowns by the bullpen.
A big thank you to Dim for taking his timeout to talk to us. We at Marlin Maniac wish all Padres fans the best of luck in the upcoming series. If you get a chance, please check out Chicken Friars for more of Dom and the rest of their staff’s amazing content.