Padres Trade Winds

Is Henri Stanley better than we all think? Is this just the beginning of a series of events in San Diego that will leave us breathless? Even the most skeptical San Diego Padres fan has to wonder just what is up Kevin Towers' sleeve. The roster won't be filled with every Joey Hamilton on the market. The lash out would be catastrophic in terms of cancelled season tickets to a new park.

Where is this all leading then. And who is this Henri Stanley?

Maybe the Clemson product is a little old for Triple A, but Stanley has been solid everywhere he has gone. In a down year, he hit .292 with eleven home runs and his on base percentage was .368. The two previous seasons Stanley batted over .300 and had an OBP of over .400. He also has some speed and is adequate in the outfield as a defender.

The best stat from all of this is his away batting average and stats. Stanley hit .328-9-33 in 68 games away from a spot widely considered the most pitching-friendly stadium in the PCL, Zephyr Field.

This is a guy who hit .375 in spring training last year in a small sample with four doubles coming out of six hits. Where he did struggle last season was with men on base. On 148 hits, Stanley only drove in 48.

Where does he fit? There is really no telling if he does right now.

"I am not sure why the Astros let him go to be quite honest with you," said one National League scout. "He can be a legitimate fourth outfielder right now. His defense isn't great, but it is more than serviceable."

"We would have gladly put him on our 40 man roster had San Diego not done so," said an American League General Manager.

One man's sludge is another man's gold.

Back to reality. The Padres have now signed Joey Hamilton, Gene Kingsale and Stanley. Not eye popping but is there a plan?

The rumors of yesterday have Kevin Towers sure he can have a catcher in place by the end of next week. A few things strike us about this.

What would propel Towers to sign a lower level catcher off the free agent market when the prices will likely drop as time goes on?

Is he looking at Ivan Rodriguez or Javy Lopez, thus necessitating the need for haste?

That answer is likely no. Towers was in Phoenix to specifically gauge the trade market for catchers. He was interested in AJ Pierzynski, but the asking price was too steep and he knew he had to walk away. He remains interested in Ramon Hernandez and the Oakland Athletics remain interested in Mark Kotsay. One of the potential holdups is the insistence that Terrance Long go in any deal. Still it is the closest thing to a tangible thing that Padres fans have at this moment in time.

How does this all tie in together? Well, maybe it doesn't. But hear me out:

Stanley joins the Padres as a fourth outfielder possibility as Kotsay gets dealt for Hernandez. With Giles in center, someone will have to be able to come in as a defensive replacement in close games to secure the middle of the outfield. Giles would then move to left or right and one of either Xavier Nady or Ryan Klesko would head to the bench.

That person could be Stanley. No one is saying he is the next coming, but as one scout says, "He has the potential to be a good Major Leaguer who can hit for some power, draw walks and steal some bases."

Or he could be what another scout says of him, "We are talking about a player that has been too old for every league, has not blown people away with his talent and has an adequate arm at best in the outfield."

What do you do with Terrence Long if he comes along? A question for another day perhaps…

Denis Savage can be reached at

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