MadFriars' Chat: Randy Smith

With the all-star breaks nearly over at the minor league levels it's time for some player movement and in the past few days the Padres' have made some significant changes.

We caught up with Randy Smith, the Padres' Director of Development to get the reasons behind the moves.

Explain the promotion of Donavan Tate because he wasn't having a great year in Fort Wayne.

Randy Smith: We are hoping that he will swing the bat better in Lake Elsinore. It's a better hitting environment, new scenery and maybe the same things that happened to [Casey] McElroy and [Justin] Miller – both of whom hit much better in the Cal League than in Fort Wayne – will happen with Tate.

It's also a way for us to create some room in Fort Wayne for Travis Jankowski.

So it's true that Jankowski is going to Fort Wayne. Why did you decide to start him there?

Randy Smith: That is true, Jankowski is going to Fort Wayne. We put him there because we see him as an advanced college player who is capable of handling that level. Also we kind of have a bit of a crowed outfield in Eugene with [Jeremy] Baltz, [Ronnie] Richardson and [Alberth] Martiniez – so it was a move that fit.

Rymer Liriano was just promoted to San Antonio. How do you determine when a player is ready to be promoted?

Randy Smith: It really depends on the individual. With Rymer we are really going off of two good months where he hit about .338 with power, so I think he's ready. Also there is nothing wrong with challenging guys where they are going to struggle a little bit. I would rather they learn how to get out of slumps at this level than in the major leagues.

Is Jaff Decker coming back to San Antonio soon and also for someone that has been so successful for so long what are the reasons behind his struggles?

Randy Smith: Jaff's getting closer. He ran yesterday and has been swinging. Right now he just has to get back to using the whole field.

He's been swinging uphill some and needs to get back to being a good hitter first with power instead of the other way around. That is really what we preach to all of our guys, you have to be able to hit first. There are tons of guys who never really showed any power until they got to the majors.

I've always seen Jaff as a .300 hitter with power and I think he's going to get back to proving that is what type of hitter he is.

Any idea when Casey Kelly or Robbie Erlin may be back on the mound?

Randy Smith: Robbie is progressing well and I think mid-July is somewhat realistic. We have gone very slowly with both of these guys and Casey is probably going to be around August 1.

Last question, how close is the team with the last two big signings from the draft, Weickel and Locket?

Randy Smith: Chad [MacDonald] and Jaron [Madison] are probably better guys than me to talk about that but I'm pretty optimistic. They have done a great job so far and there isn't any reason to think that they won't be able to get them done.

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