A’s Feel Devine; Enberg Back in Booth

Maybe because I didn’t grow up in California, where he was the voice of the California Angels for the better part of a decade, but when I think of Dick Enberg, I think of AFC football games and Merlin Olson.  Still, the 75-year-young master of the microphone will be calling out an occasional “Oh My!” when Adrian Gonzalez (assuming he stays put) hits a late inning homer for a win.  The Padres inked Enberg to voice the television broadcasts for 2010.  (I’d LOVE to have that job.)  [SI]

News and Notes…

The Oakland As signed reliever Joey Devine to a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration.  Acquired for Mark Kotsay (brilliant!) from the Braves a couple of years ago, Devine had an amazing 2008 but his elbow went awry in 2009 and he had Tommy John surgery in April.  Devine will earn about $560K.  [MLB]

Two guys playing ball in the Dominican Republic are heading home…  Jarrod Saltalamacchia, he of the long name and sore shoulder, reinjured his throwing wing swinging a bat.  “Salty” has thoracic outlet syndrome – which is when a rib contracts a nerve or artery heading into the arm.  Some players have had the rib removed (Jeremy Bonderman) to deal with the problem…  [MLB]

Meanwhile, Indians catching prospect Carlos Santana (not THAT Santana) came home with a pretty nasty case of the flu…  [MLB

The Cleveland Indians added four players to their roster…  Brian Buscher, a mobile third baseman who looks to be able to get on base but isn’t adding a lot of power, joins the infield.  Luis Rodriguez, a shortstop, was added likely as a utility infielder – but isn’t much of a hitter.  To the bullpen, the Tribe added Mike Gosling – who at best projects as a long reliever with control issues – and Jason Grilli, who had a really good year in 2008 but not many others like it.  Obviously, the Indians are hoping he can find his good form and fortune and help in the later innings but he looks to be about a seventh inning guy at best these days.

Tampa released reliever Ramon Ramirez, whom they had acquired from the Reds.  Must be a roster limitation move because this Ramon Ramirez had shown little reason to think he might not be an okay pitcher.  Somebody will sign him.

Happy Birthday! I noticed that the last couple of days were not loaded with birthdays – and it makes sense.  There are a lot of people born at the end of September or early October (like, say, my dad) because the parents hook up for the holidays and share a little holiday cheer.  Is anyone not surprised at the number of people born in February, March, and April?  I mean, there are a lot of weddings and anniversaries between May 15 and late July.  But to be born in December – what was the occasion?  I mean, other than Valentine’s Day (meaning a lot of mid November babies), what reason is there to get a couple in the sack around March first?

I digress.

Those celebrating with cards, cake, or remembrances include:  Patrick (Cozy) Dolan (1872), Harry “Suitcase” Simpson (1925), who played for 17 different Negro Leagues and Major League teams in his long career, Clay Dalrymple (1936), Chico Salmon (1940), Wayne Garrett (1947) – and for some reason I can still see his Topps baseball card in my head when he was with the Mets, Larry Anderson (1952), Gene Nelson (1960), Damon Berryhill (1963), Darryl Hamilton (1964), Paul Byrd (1970), and Chad Durbin (1977).

2009 Season Forecast: San Diego Padres

Done while eating a Turkey Melt at my desk:

San Diego Padres
2008: 63 – 99 Last in NL West
Runs Scored: 637 Lowest in NL
Runs Allowed: 759 7th in NL and most in the division.

This, of course, despite the fact that the park is a cavern, making everyone’s ERA about a half a run better than it would be anywhere else, and making hitters look worse. Padres and their opponents scored nearly 170 runs in road games more than in home games, the biggest discrepancy in the NL.

OFFENSE:

The good ones are better than you think – Adrian Gonzales is awesome, Jody Gerut and Brian Giles were very good. Chase Headley wasn’t bad, Kevin Kouzmanoff is tolerable. Nick Hundley, Tadihito Iguchi, and Khalil Green were atrocious – even after you cut them slack for the park. Few part timers were any good.

DEFENSE:

Average at best. The middle infield was below average (Greene, Iguchi, Gonzales), and except for Giles (who is old and immobile), the outfield was pretty good. Okay team efficiency, didn’t make too many errors. The catching was the second worst in the NL – Josh Bard and Hundley were bad and couldn’t stop the running game.

PITCHING:

Jake Peavy and Heath Bell are great. Chris Young and Trevor Hoffman were average at best, as was Cla Meredith. The rest were below average, including Greg Maddux, Randy Wolf, Cha Seung Baek, and Josh Banks. The bullpen had holes. They need a serious upgrade.

CHANGES:

Greene to St. Louis, David Eckstein in to play 2B. Jody Gerut moved full-time (since moved), more Chase Headley is good. Kevin Correia added from SF, Josh Geer added from AAA to rotation. Hoffman allowed to go to Brew-Crew, Bell now closer. Rookies all over the bullpen (Luke Gregerson, Edward Mujica, others).

OUTLOOK:

I don’t see how this is better. I guess a full season (never happened) of Chris Young is good. Headley and Gerut full time is better. Luis Rodriguez or Everth Cabrera, the new SS, has GOT to be better than Greene played last year. Okay – maybe 30 runs better for the pitching staff, but the defense isn’t getting better and the offense isn’t really BETTER as much as it’s not going to be too much worse unless Giles loses it and Hundley can’t improve. Correia wasn’t that good in SF, and he doesn’t have the other numbers to help out. I’ll predict 650 scored and 740 allowed. That’s still just 71 wins.

The two nice win streaks look good, but they had a 4 – 19 stretch in between. Figure that things balance out, and the they’ll start hurting when they leave the NL West to play other teams. But, as it stands, the 24 – 23 record they have right now is a mirage.