Power Poll: Padres, Gonzalez make big move

Adrian Gonzalez‘s days in San Diego are numbered.

We all know that, right? He’s a free agent after the 2011 season, and his trade value will never be higher than it is right now. The Padres, as a franchise, could really use the influx of talent that trading Gonzalez would certainly bring into the fold. Fans in places such as Boston are licking their chops at the thought of adding the sweet-swinging lefthanded slugger to their lineup. 

Adrian Gonzalez and the Padres have been on a tear.
Adrian Gonzalez and the Padres have been on a tear.

But here’s a question to consider: What if the Padres are actually in contention when the All-Star break rolls around this July? Would they trade Gonzalez to another contender? It’s not like he has a bank-breaking salary ($4.75 million this year, no-brainer option for 2011 for $5.5 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts). Sure, they probably wouldn’t get as much for him in July 2011 as they would in July 2010, but wouldn’t a potential playoff push this August/September be worth that cost for a franchise that could use some good pub? 

Maybe this won’t be a question in a few weeks. Maybe San Diego will slide back into afterthought status. But at the moment, the Padres are the top team in the NL West, and the conversation is at least worth having. Maybe, just maybe, the number for Gonzalez is higher than we thought.

Anyway, on to the poll.

1. Rays (last week 2). Last year, the Rays finished 17 games under .500 on the road. This year, they finished their first road trip of the season with a 9-1 mark that includes a four-game sweep in Fenway Park. Tampa Bay has outscored its opponents by 50 runs through 19 games so far this year.

2. Twins (4). The Twins are the only team in baseball that hasn’t lost a series yet this season. Lefty starter Francisco Liriano hasn’t allowed a run in his past two starts, covering 15 innings.

3. Yankees (1). Maybe this isn’t a fair question, but I’m not the first to ask it: How long will the Yankees keep Javier Vasquez in the rotation? He’s been awful—a 9.00 ERA and 1.800 WHIP through four starts—and his previous stint with the Yankees didn’t exactly buy him an extended grace period.

4. Padres (17). Up from 17 to 4 and the Padres aren’t even the highest risers of the week. San Diego pitching was mighty impressive during that eight-game winning streak, which successive home sweeps of the Diamondbacks and Giants, and two wins in Cincinnati.

5. Cardinals (7). The Cardinals’ hitters enter the week second in the NL in home runs (24) but only 12th in runs scored per game (4.33). Their pitchers are first in team ERA (2.72) and have allowed the fewest home runs in the league (9).

6. Phillies (3). The most intriguing matchup this week is Wednesday’s showdown between the Phillies’ vaunted lineup and two-time Cy Young champion Tim Lincecum.

7. Athletics (5). The A’s own the lowest team ERA in the AL (2.93); Justin Duchscherer leads the starters with a 1.82 ERA and Andrew Bailey has yet to allow a run in six appearances.

8. Giants (6). After a solid start offensively to the season, the Giants’ hitters have managed just 11 runs in the past seven games. Of course, their pitchers have given up just 14 in that same stretch.

9. Rockies (13). Miguel Olivo gets the early nod for free-agent signing of the year. Despite splitting time behind the plate with Chris Ianetta, Olivo leads the Rockies with his five home runs. He’s also hitting .317 with a 1.056 OPS.

Rookie first baseman Ike Davis helped the Mets have a big week.
Rookie first baseman Ike Davis helped the Mets have a big week.

10. Mets (27). Meet the Mets, eh? The New Yorkers took three of four from the Cubs, then swept the Braves to complete a much-needed successful homestand. Rookie first baseman Ike Davis has contributed a .318 average in this seven games, his first in a major-league uniform.

11. Tigers (10). The Tigers are tied for 27th in the majors in home runs (11) but 12th in the bigs in runs scored (88). Finding a way to get it done.

12. Nationals (16). The 1-0 win against the Dodgers on Sunday was the first by that score for the Nationals since September 16, 2008.

13. Marlins (8). Closer Leo Nunez has give up just one hit in 8 1/3 innings this season. Most impressive.

14. Blue Jays (11). Despite a .223 team batting average an league-worst .297 team on-base percentage, the Blue Jays enter the week a game over .500.

15. Angels (19). The first couple weeks were up and down for the Angels; handing the Yankees their first series loss of the season is a good first step toward stability.

16. Dodgers (15). With 26 homers, 101 RBIs and an .842 OPS last year, Matt Kemp already is a star, but he’s on the verge of becoming a superstar. He leads the league (or is tied for the lead) in homers, RBIs, runs and total bases entering the week.

17. Mariners (18). The two Mariners most known for their gloves—center fielder Franklin Gutierrez and first basemen Casey Kotchman—are leading the team in RBIs and OPS.

18. Cubs (23). Carlos Silva has given up 10 hits in 19 innings for the Cubs this season. In his two years with the Mariners, he gave up 254 hits in 183 2/3 innings.

19. White Sox (28). In a less-surprising case of a new Chicago ace, John Danks has been dominating for the Southsiders. The lefty is 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 0.862 ERA through four starts for the White Sox.

20. Red Sox (26). The Red Sox are 4-2 when Darnell McDonald plays and 4-9 when he doesn’t. McDonald, a 31-year-old journeyman who has played in the bigs with the Orioles, Twins and Reds, is hitting .417 with a pair of home runs.

21. Astros (30). Houston roared out of last place in this poll by winning seven of eight, against the Cubs, Marlins and Pirates. Lance Berkman’s return to the lineup has helped.

22. Brewers (22). They scored 36 runs in a three-game road sweep in Pittsburgh, then managed just four runs while being swept at home in a three-game series against the Cubs.

23. Braves (9). Through 18 games, Braves leadoff hitters have just seven hits and seven walks—that’s an .091 batting average and .165 on-base percentage.

Chris Davis has been struggling for the Rangers.
Chris Davis has been struggling for the Rangers.

24. Rangers (21). First baseman Chris Davis is, as they say, struggling. Through 15 games, he has a .188 average and one RBI.

25. Diamondbacks (24). All things considered, going 3-3 in a homestand against the Cardinals and Phillies—the frontrunners in the Central and East—isn’t too shabby.

26. Indians (14). As quickly as they jumped up in last week’s poll, the Indians fell this time around. That’s what happens when you’re shut out three times in a five-day span.

27. Royals (20). In five of their six series this season, the Royals have lost two of three.

28. Reds (25). Backup catcher Ryan Hanigan is batting .458 with seven RBIs in the seven games he’s started.

29. Pirates (12). Yep, that’s a dramatic drop. But they went 0-6 last week, and were outscored 36-1 at home by the Brewers. At least they were only outscored 19-8 while being swept in Houston to end the week.

30. Orioles (29). Are the Orioles the least-talented team in baseball? No. But every other team in baseball has at least seven wins; the Orioles have three. So here they sit, at No. 30 on this list.

Ryan Fagan is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at rfagan@sportingnews.com, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ryan_fagan.

Sponsored link: Padre tickets available

Adrian Gonzalez‘s days in San Diego are numbered.

We all know that, right? He’s a free agent after the 2011 season, and his trade value will never be higher than it is right now. The Padres, as a franchise, could really use the influx of talent that trading Gonzalez would certainly bring into the fold. Fans in places such as Boston are licking their chops at the thought of adding the sweet-swinging lefthanded slugger to their lineup. 

Adrian Gonzalez and the Padres have been on a tear.
Adrian Gonzalez and the Padres have been on a tear.

But here’s a question to consider: What if the Padres are actually in contention when the All-Star break rolls around this July? Would they trade Gonzalez to another contender? It’s not like he has a bank-breaking salary ($4.75 million this year, no-brainer option for 2011 for $5.5 million, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts). Sure, they probably wouldn’t get as much for him in July 2011 as they would in July 2010, but wouldn’t a potential playoff push this August/September be worth that cost for a franchise that could use some good pub? 

Maybe this won’t be a question in a few weeks. Maybe San Diego will slide back into afterthought status. But at the moment, the Padres are the top team in the NL West, and the conversation is at least worth having. Maybe, just maybe, the number for Gonzalez is higher than we thought.

Anyway, on to the poll.

1. Rays (last week 2). Last year, the Rays finished 17 games under .500 on the road. This year, they finished their first road trip of the season with a 9-1 mark that includes a four-game sweep in Fenway Park. Tampa Bay has outscored its opponents by 50 runs through 19 games so far this year.

2. Twins (4). The Twins are the only team in baseball that hasn’t lost a series yet this season. Lefty starter Francisco Liriano hasn’t allowed a run in his past two starts, covering 15 innings.

3. Yankees (1). Maybe this isn’t a fair question, but I’m not the first to ask it: How long will the Yankees keep Javier Vasquez in the rotation? He’s been awful—a 9.00 ERA and 1.800 WHIP through four starts—and his previous stint with the Yankees didn’t exactly buy him an extended grace period.

4. Padres (17). Up from 17 to 4 and the Padres aren’t even the highest risers of the week. San Diego pitching was mighty impressive during that eight-game winning streak, which successive home sweeps of the Diamondbacks and Giants, and two wins in Cincinnati.

5. Cardinals (7). The Cardinals’ hitters enter the week second in the NL in home runs (24) but only 12th in runs scored per game (4.33). Their pitchers are first in team ERA (2.72) and have allowed the fewest home runs in the league (9).

6. Phillies (3). The most intriguing matchup this week is Wednesday’s showdown between the Phillies’ vaunted lineup and two-time Cy Young champion Tim Lincecum.

7. Athletics (5). The A’s own the lowest team ERA in the AL (2.93); Justin Duchscherer leads the starters with a 1.82 ERA and Andrew Bailey has yet to allow a run in six appearances.

8. Giants (6). After a solid start offensively to the season, the Giants’ hitters have managed just 11 runs in the past seven games. Of course, their pitchers have given up just 14 in that same stretch.

9. Rockies (13). Miguel Olivo gets the early nod for free-agent signing of the year. Despite splitting time behind the plate with Chris Ianetta, Olivo leads the Rockies with his five home runs. He’s also hitting .317 with a 1.056 OPS.

Rookie first baseman Ike Davis helped the Mets have a big week.
Rookie first baseman Ike Davis helped the Mets have a big week.

10. Mets (27). Meet the Mets, eh? The New Yorkers took three of four from the Cubs, then swept the Braves to complete a much-needed successful homestand. Rookie first baseman Ike Davis has contributed a .318 average in this seven games, his first in a major-league uniform.

11. Tigers (10). The Tigers are tied for 27th in the majors in home runs (11) but 12th in the bigs in runs scored (88). Finding a way to get it done.

12. Nationals (16). The 1-0 win against the Dodgers on Sunday was the first by that score for the Nationals since September 16, 2008.

13. Marlins (8). Closer Leo Nunez has give up just one hit in 8 1/3 innings this season. Most impressive.

14. Blue Jays (11). Despite a .223 team batting average an league-worst .297 team on-base percentage, the Blue Jays enter the week a game over .500.

15. Angels (19). The first couple weeks were up and down for the Angels; handing the Yankees their first series loss of the season is a good first step toward stability.

16. Dodgers (15). With 26 homers, 101 RBIs and an .842 OPS last year, Matt Kemp already is a star, but he’s on the verge of becoming a superstar. He leads the league (or is tied for the lead) in homers, RBIs, runs and total bases entering the week.

17. Mariners (18). The two Mariners most known for their gloves—center fielder Franklin Gutierrez and first basemen Casey Kotchman—are leading the team in RBIs and OPS.

18. Cubs (23). Carlos Silva has given up 10 hits in 19 innings for the Cubs this season. In his two years with the Mariners, he gave up 254 hits in 183 2/3 innings.

19. White Sox (28). In a less-surprising case of a new Chicago ace, John Danks has been dominating for the Southsiders. The lefty is 3-0 with a 1.55 ERA and 0.862 ERA through four starts for the White Sox.

20. Red Sox (26). The Red Sox are 4-2 when Darnell McDonald plays and 4-9 when he doesn’t. McDonald, a 31-year-old journeyman who has played in the bigs with the Orioles, Twins and Reds, is hitting .417 with a pair of home runs.

21. Astros (30). Houston roared out of last place in this poll by winning seven of eight, against the Cubs, Marlins and Pirates. Lance Berkman’s return to the lineup has helped.

22. Brewers (22). They scored 36 runs in a three-game road sweep in Pittsburgh, then managed just four runs while being swept at home in a three-game series against the Cubs.

23. Braves (9). Through 18 games, Braves leadoff hitters have just seven hits and seven walks—that’s an .091 batting average and .165 on-base percentage.

Chris Davis has been struggling for the Rangers.
Chris Davis has been struggling for the Rangers.

24. Rangers (21). First baseman Chris Davis is, as they say, struggling. Through 15 games, he has a .188 average and one RBI.

25. Diamondbacks (24). All things considered, going 3-3 in a homestand against the Cardinals and Phillies—the frontrunners in the Central and East—isn’t too shabby.

26. Indians (14). As quickly as they jumped up in last week’s poll, the Indians fell this time around. That’s what happens when you’re shut out three times in a five-day span.

27. Royals (20). In five of their six series this season, the Royals have lost two of three.

28. Reds (25). Backup catcher Ryan Hanigan is batting .458 with seven RBIs in the seven games he’s started.

29. Pirates (12). Yep, that’s a dramatic drop. But they went 0-6 last week, and were outscored 36-1 at home by the Brewers. At least they were only outscored 19-8 while being swept in Houston to end the week.

30. Orioles (29). Are the Orioles the least-talented team in baseball? No. But every other team in baseball has at least seven wins; the Orioles have three. So here they sit, at No. 30 on this list.

Ryan Fagan is a writer for Sporting News. E-mail him at rfagan@sportingnews.com, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ryan_fagan.

Sponsored link: Padre tickets available

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