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San Diego Padres manager Bud Black talks pitching with David Lauria of FanGraphs. FanGraphs also has a couple of pieces on Petco Park’s impact on offense (more specifically, how it might affect Carlos Quentin).  Note that while Petco is a more friendly home run park for right-handed hitters, it suppresses total offense for righties and lefties about equally (it’s tougher on doubles — a more frequent event — for right-handed batters).

Dex loves the Quentin pick-up, and over at GLB he posted a poll asking how he’ll perform in 2012. Of the 300 some voters, 72 percent believe Quentin will play at least 120 games and 53 percent think he’ll homer 20 times or more. I wasn’t a big fan of the deal, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Quentin gets 500 plate appearances and hits 20-25 homers.

Bill Center at The Union-Tribune (now with better URL) has an article on the Padres potentially extending Cameron Maybin and/or Carlos Quentin. Quentin will be 29 next year and, unless he has a breakout-type year, I can’t see the Padres extending the already slow, injury-prone slugger into his early thirties.

At Friarhood, Steve Adler posted an interview with recently jettisoned right hander Mat Latos. In the interview Latos does little to squelch the notion that he may have some maturity issues. He’s still only 24 years old and I doubt it had much to do with his trade to Cincinnati (Josh Byrnes has said as much). The Padres got a really good package for him. Still, “maturity issues” aren’t exactly a trait you’d look for in a potential multi-million dollar investment.

Don’t take this as sour grapes, though. Latos will have every chance to prove the naysayers wrong in Cincinnati. I wouldn’t be surprised if he remains a borderline top-of-the-rotation starter over the next few years with the Reds. Like I mentioned, this trade was largely a baseball one.

On the prospect front, Baseball America reports that Adys Portillo made strides in the Venezuelan League, including a five inning, one hit performance in November. Randy Smith on Portillo:

 He has a “burning desire to be successful. Even after getting hit around, he bounces back the next day,” Smith said. “I think he gets it; he understands he is a work in progress and does not get too high on a good day or too low on a bad one.”

As a 19-year-old, Portillo struggled last season in his first real taste of Single-A ball. His strikeout rate actually improved (25 percent), which is encouraging, but he walked six per nine and posted a 7.11 ERA in 82 and a third innings.

Chicken Friars takes a look at the Padres middle infield and starting rotation heading into 2012. The middle infield of Orlando Hudson and Jason Bartlett is not one to get too excited about. If anything, though, their combined production should improve in 2012, as they should regress back toward career norms.

The greatest Website in the history of the Internet, Cot’s Contracts, is moving to Baseball Prospectus. The look and feel will remain largely the same, there’s some extra tools to play around with, and it’ll remain free. Not much to complain about.

I’m still writing at The Hardball Times every other week. My latest piece is one the Boston Red Sox bullpen.