With an excellent group of young offensive players, obtaining pitching should be the #1 priority for the San Diego Padres moving forward.
Opening day of the MLB season is roughly nine months away.
It is not as though the San Diego Padres have given up on the 2019 season, but they are surely aware that the future is promising for this young franchise. The Padres must be careful not to go “all in” too early in their quest for a title. Playoffs are still a real possibility for the current squad, but management is aware the best days for this organization is in the future.
The fan base is energized and enthusiastic, but the team must hold steady in their quest to succeed beyond the 2019 season. The Padres cannot deal young talent until they are sure what is needed to take the team to the next level. At this point, it is evident that the Friars need pitching. They have several young options in the rotation, but the youth and inexperience of the group are starting to take its toll on the bullpen.
If the Padres can add a veteran or two to this mix of young pitchers, then one would expect growth with the whole unit. Pitching seems to be the #1 priority moving forward, and A.J. Preller is on the prowl. Eventually, the team will need to address the issue. Expect movement sooner rather than later.
Here is a brief look at what the Padres could be doing in the next nine months to address the pitching staff.
Trading Kirby Yates
The Padres are pleased with Yates as he has grown into one of the most reliable closers in the game of baseball. There are reports that the Padres will listen to offers, but they are not inclined to deal the right-handed pitcher just yet. Teams will be required to overpay in order to obtain Yates. The Padres will need veterans in the pen for the future, and though Trey Wingenter and Andres Munoz are capable of closing, they are still very young. Yates provides the team with a secure option in the ninth inning. Expect Yates name to be thrown around in and around the trade deadline, but the Padres will except nothing less than a top prospect or relevant major league options for their closer. Yates might be dealt, but the Padres will not trade him cheaply. They hold all the cards in this regard.
Grouping “Pitching Prospects” for Legit Starters
The Padres have plenty of young pitchers in the minor leagues. At some point, they could find a team looking to deal a reliable veteran hurler. If the team can package a few pitching prospects, expect them to do it. There are dozens of young pitchers in the system that will all have issues making it to the major leagues for the Padres as starters. Some will be converted to relief pitchers, but most still have the upside of rotation members. The problem is these men will have a hard time breaking into the majors with the Padres. Unless they are regarded as a top prospect in the game, they will simply not be given an opportunity. Names like Reggie Lawson, Aaron Leasher, and Osvaldo Hernandez have decent value and could be of real interest to teams rebuilding with young talent. The Padres have already been heavily scouted in Amarillo and Lake Elsinore in regards to pitching. Something has to give here eventually.
Retaining Bullpen Depth for Future
Andres Munoz, Jose Castillo, Trey Wingenter, Gerardo Reyes, and others give the Padres a reliable future in the bullpen. Relief pitchers can be a tough group to evaluate, so the Padres would be wise to just keep as many of these young arms as they can. The Padres will hoard these players in the coming months as they cannot afford to lose plus pitchers out of the pen. As mentioned, Kirby Yates could be moved so it would be vital to keep young relief pitchers with upside. Though, the Padres do have an excellent track record of taking mediocre relief men and turn them into viable closers with a positive value. Heath Bell, Kirby Yates, Brad Hand are all examples of this. No matter what, the Padres should have decent relief options when the team starts to turn the corner on their championship dreams.
The July 31 MLB Trade Deadline will be interesting this year for the San Diego Padres. They could be buyers and sellers in a market that could be very hot. Expect A.J. Preller to have his name is virtually every discussion that takes place in the coming weeks. One thing we know, the Padres will need pitching help when August and September come rolling around, and the starting staff begins to reach their innings limitations for the 2019 season.