I posted this in the Mariners/Rays preview thread but I feel it deserves it's own fanpost. Lots of good stuff from Larry Stone as of late. If Geoff Baker has the coverage of the Mariners daily happening cornered, Larry Stone can carve a fascinating niche covering aspects of other teams, especially if he can connect with the GMs of said teams.
Headline doesn't look like much but inside we get some insight on how Padres GM Kevin Towers cobbled together their team given their situation.
"Most of our 'pen was truly put together with 10 days to go in spring training," Towers said. "And starting — [Shawn] Hill came late; [Walter] Silva really didn't pitch until the last couple of weeks of spring training. It was kind of the lightning round putting our pitching staff together."
And that was the result of Towers' realistic assessment of his team at the outset of spring training.
"We didn't like what we saw of our pitching the first three weeks of spring training,"he said. "We needed to be proactive. If we had started the season with what we had at the beginning of spring, it didn't look too good."
Some good stuff on the Rays' current situation with quotes from Andrew Friedman and Jack Zduriencik.
Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik is a great admirer of the Rays, but he points out, accurately, that they had the benefit of 10 years of high draft picks because of their woeful first decade. That gave them a nucleus of young talent upon which to build, the likes of Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and Carl Crawford.
"But they added some very nice pieces," Zduriencik said Monday. "They traded a No. 1 — Delmon Young — to get a No. 1, Matt Garza. [Relievers] J.P. Howell and Grant Balfour were nice pieces. No club is complete until you put on the finishing touches.
"Really, it was a total team effort — the team on the field performed, [manager] Joe Maddon ran a nice ship, and Andrew Friedman and [senior VP] Gerry Hunsicker delivered the pieces."
Larry Stone includes a mess-load of stuff they couldn't get into Sunday's paper and there's enough content there to form another column or two.
Finally, I asked Zduriencik if offense was a concern after they scored just three runs in their three recent defeats.
"The funny thing about offense -- we had two really, really good outings against us by two talented guy. Edwin Jackson, on any given day, can be very, very good. And Rick Porcello was one of the highest-paid guys in the history of the draft -- $7.5 million. Is he going to do that every time out? No young kid will, but on any given day, when he does that, you have to respect that. That's why someone tapped him and recognized his ability and paid him what they paid him.
"I do think our club is a work in progress. It's a talented club. Guys have to continue to deliver. We have to continue to do the little things to help win games. We're not going to be a club that goes out there and rolls up big, big offensive numbers. We're a club that's athletic, plays defense, and has pretty good pitching. There will be days certain players step up and carry you. Other days, the defense will do the job, and other days pitching will do the job. At the end of the day, if guys are doing what they can do, we'll be competitive all year, and I look forward to watching them.''
Interesting stuff. Go, Larry Stone, Go!