Well, the Padres made a move to shake up their roster and shed some payroll. However the move did not involve Jake Peavy, the subject of many trade rumors the past several days. Instead the Padres traded shortstop Khalil Greene to the St. Louis Cardinals in exchange for two pitchers. One of the pitchers apparently is sidewinding reliever Mark Worrell.
I still remember his rookie season in 2004. That was the year I started getting back into collecting, and I worked feverishly on eBay trying to secure as many Khalil Greene cards as I could. Being on the East Coast, I remember staying up to watch Baseball Tonight highlights to witness his defensive prowess at shortstop. In his baggy, oversized uniform he would make playing shortstop seem more artistic than athletic. I remember thinking that the Padres have finally drafted and groomed a homegrown position player worth getting excited about. I remember watching his home runs off the Western Metal Supply building and thinking that we have a hitter that can’t be contained by Petco. I remember the anger I felt when he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting (darn East Coast bias!). I also remember feeling let down when his season was shut down in September because of a finger injury.
Ah, his finger injury, a painful harbinger of things to come. After that he seemed destined to spend time on the DL. It wasn’t until 2007 that he had a injury-free season. In my mind, despite a solid 2007 season, he never fulfilled the promise of his rookie year. His approach at the plate simply regressed as the years went by. His rookie season batting average is 25 points higher than his career average. His on base average in his first year is 45 points greater than his career average. Greene seemed more patient at the plate in his first year also – he walked 53 times in 2004. During his next four season he averaged 30 walks a year. I think his lack of development – especially in his inability to grasp the Sandy Alderson mantra of being “patiently aggressive” at the plate – was the ultimate demise of Padres hitting coaches. He was the poster boy for the Padres offense the past few seasons – impatient, with zero plate discipline.
So what do the Padres do now? Well, they shed some payroll, but will it be enough to keep Jake Peavy around for at least one more season? And who plays shortstop in 2009? Will anyone on the Padres 2009 roster be familiar to anyone?
Hmmm, an outstanding defensive shortstop who continuously frustrates management and the fans for his offensive liabilities gets traded to St. Louis. Why does this story sound familiar?