Hello everyone. With plenty of new faces here in the SCMLB this season, let's take some time to learn a bit more about the GM's who are joining us, as well as take an in-depth look at their initial offseason and future plans for the team. Without further ado...
San Diego's Kevin Parlett
After winning it all in 2015 under rookie GM Johnny Dickshot, the Padres have been the definition of mediocrity. They have posted win totals of 80, 79, 79, and 78 over the past four seasons, and face at least one tough divisional foe in the San Francisco Giants, who are coming off a surprising 95-win season. Parlett looks to change his new team's fortunes for the better, starting with an offseason in which he acquired veteran infielders Dustin Pedroia and Paul Janish, in addition to drafting promising power hitter Jerry Whelan. Thanks to Kevin for taking the time to answer these questions.
What excited you the most about taking over the Padres?
Honestly, I looked for a team that had a solid core with a decent farm system. With a superstar in Jin-hyun Yi accompanied by great young talent in Michael Smith, Juan Durran, and Jack Wynkoop, I knew I could field a team with just a few adjustments and fine tuning, could make a run at the the playoffs.
What was your plan for the offseason? Are you satisfied with the results?
I was hoping to go out and get a top of the rotation starter, unfortunately, due to personal circumstances I missed most of the first half of the season which not only allowed me not to get a starter but to lose Travis Wood as well. I am still cautiously optimistic though as I went out and signed a few infielders and bull pen arms.
Which free agent or trade acquisition(s) do you think will help your team the most?
Paul Janish. He will be huge for this team, a great eye at the plate but an even better glove. If this club is lacking anything, outside of Starting Pitching, is defense in the infield. It seems every other player I am throwing out there is a corner infielder who has all bat/no glove. Janish is going to be able to fill a roll of an every day starting shortstop, but if he fails will able to be a replacement defender anyway on the the infield.
Which rookies/prospects do you see potentially making an impact in 2020?
Jeremy Niem or Michael Smith... With the catching position left vacant to Robin Rose departure this offseason, it will be platooned by Jeremy Niem and Vince Murray. I feel Niem can have a huge impact this year and will really show why he is the catcher of the future for the team. There is only room for one, so it will be interesting to see who beats out who for the job.
Michael Smith however looks to be great. Still raw but with this team being young we are going to need a spark on the club. He quickly moved up the ranks of the orginization last year played 66 games in A Ball, only 4 in AA and finishing the season with 24 games in triple A. He is a speedster on the basepath and I see that trend to continue in the big leagues.
Of your 2020 draft pick(s), who are you most excited about? When do you expect to see them in the majors, and in what role?
Jeremy Whelan. Being only 17 I see him hopefully making his way to the big league in 2-3 years. Depending on his patience and role in the minors. Most likely he will be invited to spring training next season. If all goes well, I see him taking over Jin-hyun Yi spot of the big bat in the middle of the lineup, he definitely has the tools to do it.
Who is your team's best player?
Jin-hyun Yi, easily. The guy can straight out play. I'll let .349/.430/.618 last year speak for itself.
On your team, which player do you think will make the biggest step forward this year?
I am hoping Juan Durran. I took a leap in faith in offering him arbitration. His strikeouts are starting to get to high for my taste and he doesn't seem to have a good eye for the ball, but when he does connect he can really get ahold of it. I'm hoping he can have a more down to earth season and raise his OBP a little bit. 181 K's to 31 BBs is unacceptable and will not be tolereated.
Which team is your biggest rival?
Right now, the Giants. They are the dominant force in our division. There is no point in having a rivalry with a team below you when you are not at the top so until that changes. That's the team I have my eye on.
In your opinion, what is the most important aspect of building a successful big league team?
Paying attention to the little things. A little bit of attention can take a club a far way. If you let your star prospect who you feel can play in Triple A ball sit there and suffer going 0-4 for two weeks straight, that could set your club back a year on its own. It's all about detail and making sure you make the preventive move, until your club, in a whole is ready to make an explosive make it or break it push.