Newly acquired Goebbert ready for next chapter
Padres prospect settles in with new club after anticipation prior to being traded
SAN DIEGO -- Jake Goebbert won't just be visiting his former Sacramento River Cats teammates Monday as the El Paso Chihuahuas, the Padres' Triple-A affiliate, visit Raley Field for the first of four games, but he'll also be reunited with his car.
Which, as of this very moment, is filled with many of Goebbert's belongings, the unintended casualty of last week's trade that saw the Padres deal outfielder/first baseman Kyle Blanks to the A's for Goebbert, a 26-year-old left-handed-hitting outfielder.
"I'll have to deal with it at some point," Goebbert said by phone on Saturday from El Paso, where he was not just trying to assimilate himself to his new surroundings and teammates, but where he was also still attempting to digest the upheaval of the previous six days.
"I've been traded before, so I knew a little of what to expect," Goebbert said. "This was a little different, to be honest, I'm looking at it as a great opportunity for me and my family. I love being back in the NL ... and hopefully there's a great opportunity with the Padres."
Most trades involving Minor League players -- though Blanks had Major League service time -- don't get a lot of hype or garner much advanced notice. But with San Diego's deal with Oakland, it was a bit different, as there were rumors about an impending deal between the teams, with Blanks and Goebbert named.
Not that either player had even the vaguest idea something might be happening. A lot of times, at least at the Minor League level, trades happen quickly and notice is short. One moment you're part of the A's organization, the next you're with the Padres -- grab your things, sort out the details later.
For Goebbert, he caught wind of a potential deal when he arrived at the ballpark in West Sacramento on May 11 for a game against Salt Lake. He didn't find his name in the lineup, which seemed odd. But soon, this all began to make sense.
"I actually had no idea about it until it got leaked on Major League Trade Rumors. That's when it started to make sense," Goebbert said. "I asked my manager, and he said something was possibly happening but then it sort of died."
When nothing happened Monday, Goebbert thought he might be in the clear. Better still, he thought he would jump right back into the River Cats' lineup the next time out.
"It was really just business as usual for me," Goebbert said. "... As far as I was concerned, I was still with the River Cats. I showed up, I was taking BP and doing my early work even though I wasn't in the lineup. On the back burner, there were still some questions. I think the most difficult thing was staying focused."
On Wednesday, the River Cats had the day off. Instead of sitting around and waiting for a phone call that might not happen, Goebbert and his wife of three and a half years, Heather, jumped in his car and went to Lake Tahoe.
This wasn't a trip made on a whim or one designed as a pleasant distraction, either.
"We like to try and do fun things in every city we've been to," Goebbert said. "I feel lucky in that I get to see so many different parts of the country. That [visiting Lake Tahoe] was the one thing on my list that I wanted to really do while I was in Sacramento. I'm glad I got to it in time."
This went back to Goebbert's time with the Astros, the team that drafted him in the 13th round in 2009 out of Northwestern. The Goebberts stopped in Asheville, N.C., on one trip on their drive to Spring Training in Florida. They once spent time in Savannah, Ga., walking through historic downtown.
Earlier this spring on an off-day, the Goebberts made the drive from Sacramento to Napa Valley to sip wine and take in the scenery.
"Honestly, she [Heather] drives me to do most of these things," Goebbert said.
Goebbert returned from Lake Tahoe refreshed and, after a two-game hiatus, ready to play baseball for the River Cats. He went to bed Wednesday thinking that Thursday would be the day.
He was right -- sort of.
"I woke up the next morning and had some missed calls," Goebbert said. "That's when I knew."
The trade was finally announced on Thursday. After a few travel delays, Goebbert arrived in El Paso just in time for batting practice on Friday. He played that night and again Saturday. On Sunday, Goebbert helped El Paso rally from a 7-1 deficit against Las Vegas, as his home run in the seventh inning was the decisive blow in a 10-9 win.
Goebbert's new start with a new organization is officially underway. On Monday, though, he'll get a chance to see former teammates and friends who were teammates just a week ago. What a wild ride it's been.
"One of the great things about baseball is it's such a fraternity," Goebbert said. "When we get back to Sacramento, I'll get to see everyone again. I'm excited for the change, though. I think it's the next step for me in my career. Hopefully, I'll keep progressing."