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Mailbag: Drafting skills or signability?

Mailbag: Drafting tools?

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With the Padres trading veterans down the stretch and saving money on payroll while not decreasing ticket prices, does that mean the team will go after the best prospect in the 2009 Draft and not the easiest to sign (like Matt Bush)? If not, what is the saved money going towards?
-- Brad R., Vista

Honestly Brad, I think the Bush debacle was a one-time thing. I find it difficult to see the Padres doing something like that again, regardless of what their payroll is. There are a lot of ways to save money, but steering clear of the best available talent in the Draft is surely not the way to go about it. Let's say they get the No. 1 overall pick and have a chance to nab Stephen Strasburg of San Diego State. He'll likely command a huge bonus which the Padres, or any other team, might not be excited about paying. But you do it. Players like Strasburg don't come around often. Top picks don't come around often, especially if the team is any good. You get a chance to sign an impact player, then you do it.

With the play of Luis Rodriguez at short, it looks like Khalil Greene is becoming expendable along with his high dollar contract. All the Padres kids are very performing well. Is it possible that could Greene could be gone this winter?
-- Robert M., Spring Valley Lake

Hang on there Robert, I think you're getting a little ahead of yourself. You are correct in the sense that Rodriguez's play has provided the Padres a nice lift after Greene was lost for the season. Rodriguez has been good in the field and has shown to be a capable hitter, a line-drive hitter whose swing is a nice fit at PETCO Park (and, really, everywhere else). But let's be clear, Greene is the better shortstop, offensively and defensively. He didn't show it offensively this season but look at the offense Greene provided last season (when compared to other shortstops) as well as his Gold Glove-caliber defense. Chalk this up as an off year for Greene, and figure Rodriguez in the mix for a bench spot in 2009.

What can you tell us about Paul McAnulty? What are his chances of becoming a full-fledged Padre? I sure wish he could have been given half a chance to prove himself.
-- John M., Port Hueneme

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Hey John, I like Mac quite a bit as well. He's a good guy, but your "wish" that he could have been given half a chance is off-based. McAnulty got 135 at-bats with the Padres and hit .207. The Padres won't likely recall him in September, as they will give their outfield at-bats to rookie Will Venable. But Randy Ready, Portland's manager, was impressed by McAnulty's work after the outfielder was sent down in July. McAnulty hit .343 in 53 games with 13 home runs and knocked in 50 runs in 181 at-bats.

"Mac came down and said he just wants to be playing," Ready said. "He kind of put himself back on the map. ... I think the organization still has interest in him."

Is it possible that the Padres will only bring back three or four of the current players next season, dumping everyone else from the 25-man roster? Keep Jake Peavy, Adrian Gonzalez, Chase Headley and Heath Bell and everyone else goes?
-- Kathy K., Poway

Well, I like Peavy's range and all but it is going to be tough to cover the field with just four players! In all seriousness, I don't think you'll see those type of wholesale changes during the offseason. That's too much to build for a team that won't, let's face it, have unlimited resources to sign free agents in the off-season. Nor should they dispose of all but four players. The Padres will have to be creative in the offseason to fill their needs, and might have to make a tough call on moving a player they would much rather hang onto. But given this is a team that could lose 100 games, I would say that changes are certainly in order. Does it mean trading Kevin Kouzmanoff or a prospect like big first baseman Kyle Blanks? Maybe. If nothing else, it should be an interesting winter.

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

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