Mailbag: Are there changes ahead?

Mailbag: Are there changes ahead?

Are there any trades in the near future? Also, I think the Padres' first-round Draft selection this year should be a good catcher, as catching is probably their highest priority.
-- Dustin M, Poway

I think that we're not close enough to the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline to know. Now, that doesn't mean the Padres are, at least internally, discussing potential moves and talking to other teams. The players San Diego has who hold trade value will not have the kind of value now that they might have in another month or two when other teams have a better idea of what they need to add in the second half to make a postseason run. The closer to the trade deadline, the potentially better players a team can get in return. Jeff Bagwell for Larry Andersen anyone? As for drafting a catcher, the club is actually in a good spot there, with Nick Hundley and Mitch Canham in the system. That said, I think they will look for a position player in the Draft next month, possibly a high school player.

Regarding OPS, Kevin Kouzmanoff is doing far less than expected. I think that Sean Burroughs would have done better than Kouzmanoff. Why don't they trade Kouzmanoff and use Chase Headley at third base?
-- Yong J., San Diego

Are we really discussing Burroughs? That train left long ago. Kouzmanoff is never going to have the highest OPS, because he just doesn't walk that much. That is just not a big part of his game. He's an aggressive hitter and typically jumps on pitches early in the count. Moving Kouzmanoff in a trade doesn't make sense. He's proven that he can hit at this level and in a lineup devoid of many run producers, thus moving him in a deal just doesn't make sense. Kouzmanoff was a slow starter last season and, to some extent, this season. But he's hitting .309 this month with five home runs and 13 RBIs. As for Headley, he'll get his shot and it likely will come sooner rather than later.

With all of the new players on the roster, it would be interesting to know more about their games. For instance, I can look at the stats and see that Paul McAnulty has hit well in the Minors Leagues, how's he looking in the outfield now? How is Jody Gerut looking out there in center? Has Edgar Gonzalez always had a good bat in the Minors? What kind of defensive player is he? It's good to see that management is being active in attempting to energize the team.
-- Tim K., Manitou Springs, Colo.

I'll tackle these one-by-one. Defensively, McAnulty rates as average in left field. He'll make the routine plays out there. Gerut looks good in center field. He's fast enough to cover ground, gets good jumps and is a good fit in center, especially at PETCO Park. Gonzalez's calling card has always been his bat. He's probably close to average as a defensive player in the infield. He can play some outfield in a pinch, too. As the team moves forward, of these players, I think we'll see more of Gerut since he's the best internal option in center field and he can hit leadoff.

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When do you think that we will be seeing more of McAnulty? It seems like the organization has not given him a shot. They play him for three or four games and then sit him down. This does not give him the opportunity to do anything. He is an excellent player and deserves a shot. What are your thoughts?
-- Kris A., Ventura, Calif.

The Padres aren't willing to just hand the left-field job over to McAnulty, who is hitting .217 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 83 at-bats. He's shown signs of hitting better recently, but San Diego still needs to make time for Scott Hairston (.235, six homers and 13 RBIs), who can also play some center field along with Gerut. This gives the Padres a left-handed (McAnulty), right-handed (Hairston) option in left field. But how long will the club lean on these two players in left field? That's the big question as a top prospect in Headley might not be too long from being recalled from Triple-A Portland.

With all the offensive struggles that the Padres have, do you think it was the smartest move to release Jim Edmonds? Even as a name in the lineup he was a concern for other teams as long as he was healthy. Now what do we do?
-- Mike H., El Cajon

Edmonds had to go, Mike. The Padres gave him a pass for much of April as he worked his way back from the right calf injury that limited him during Spring Training. But it didn't appear that he was any closer to consistently driving balls and there was a concern that he wasn't the same player defensively that he once was. San Diego gave him 90 at-bats to get going. Now, if the club raced out to a big lead in the National League West early, like Arizona did, the Padres might have been able to carry him longer. But with the team struggling, especially to score runs, it has to try something else. For what it's worth, Edmonds has a .118 average in 17 at-bats with the Cubs since he was released by the Padres.

Corey Brock is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.