Padres bring in Boston's Hoyer as new GM

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35-year-old Jed Hoyer, an assistant GM for the Red Sox, will be named the replacement for Kevin Towers in San Diego, according to the Boston Globe and several other sources.
The former Wesleyan University closer earned the gig on his third try, having previously interviewed for openings in Pittsburgh and D.C. He had been with the Red Sox since 2002, and he was briefly one of the people in charge of personnel decisions when Theo Epstein left the team after the 2005 season.
This may well be a better situation for him than the previous potential gigs, though he’ll have to deal with modest payrolls. The Padres do have an advantage in assembling their roster in that their ballpark is so unique. Sure, it will be difficult to lure top hitters to Petco Park, but the Padres aren’t going to be bidding for them very often anyway. San Diego will remain a terrific destination for starters and relievers looking to revive their careers, so the Padres should be focusing more on offense in the draft.
Some will wonder why the Padres didn’t go for someone with more of a scouting background, given that the acquisition of young talent through the draft and Latin America was far and away former GM Kevin Towers’ biggest weakness. However, new CEO Jeff Moorad made it clear he was looking for more of an analyst than a scout in the GM role. Hoyer dealt mostly with major league player acquisitions in Boston, so he’ll be looking elsewhere for help in the scouting department.
Oddly enough, the Padres and Red Sox may end up trading front office personnel here. The Red Sox are known to have offered Towers a position in the organization, and if he accepts, it seems likely that he’d take on some of Hoyer’s responsibilities.

The Nats are going to sign Francisco Rodriguez for some reason

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The Nationals bullpen is a tire fire. They’re about to add another tire. Per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Washington is about to sign free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez.

K-Rod was released by the Tigers last week after posting an ERA of 7.82 over 28 appearances this season. He has a 1.658 WHIP, is allowing 11.9 hits per nine innings and is posting his highest walk rate in five years. Also worth noting: the Detroit Friggin’ Tigers decided that he was not good enough to be in their bullpen.

So, yeah, good luck with that Washington.

The Giants chemistry is suffering because a guy they all hated is gone

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I’ve spent years arguing with people about team chemistry. You know the battle lines on all of that now: people who talk a lot about team chemistry tend to attribute winning or losing to good or bad chemistry, respectively. I tend to think that characterizing chemistry is a retroactive exercise in which teams that win are happy and then cite their happiness as the reason and vice versa. Jim Leyland agrees with me, for what it’s worth, so I’m pretty happy with my take.

Not that I’ll claim a monopoly on wisdom here. I’ve never played on a professional baseball team. I don’t know what it’s like to try to prepare to play baseball while surrounded by jackwagons who don’t get along with anyone. I can’t imagine that makes life easier. Indeed, based on the testimony of players I have spoken to, I will grant that there is at least some intangible yet real benefit if everyone is happy an gelling. I dismiss team chemistry arguments for the most part, but if I ran a team I’d at least try to get rid of bad seeds if their bad seeding was not outweighed by seriously outstanding on-the-field play. You want your workers happy, folks.

All of which makes me wonder what the heck to do about this passage from Ken Rosenthal’s latest column. It’s about the reeling San Francisco Giants. They have all kinds of issues — their offense is putrid, their pitching isn’t much better and they’ve been without their ace most of the year — but today Rosenthal looks at their team chemistry. It’s a quiet and subdued clubhouse, he notes, and it has a lot of people wondering if something is wrong there. What could it be?

Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.

Read that last sentence again. And then go on with your talk about how team chemistry is a legitimate explanatory concept regarding what makes teams win or lose as opposed to a post-hoc rationalization of it.

Not that it’s not a good article overall. There’s some interesting stuff about the Giants’ bullpen culture. And, of course, we now know why no one signed Pagan last winter.