The San Diego Padres made a little noise during the first half of 2019, but the front office remains focused on 2020 as the year their contention window opens.
The Padres have their key pitching prospects, like Mackenzie Gore and Luis Patińo, still waiting in the wings. Gore is expected to make his debut next season, and seeing his name on the Opening Day roster is a possibility. Patińo could be up sometime later in 2020.
While the Friars have talented pitchers waiting in the wings, the team is still connected to available frontline starters in trade rumors. The most recent rumor is from Jon Morosi, who said that the Padres have interest in Trevor Bauer. Morosi reported earlier this month that San Diego still has interest in New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard.
The Padres could enter August with one of these two pitchers on their 40-man roster, or the MLB July 31 Trade Deadline could pass with the team acquiring neither. But which one would be the better acquisition for San Diego’s contention plans in the future? Which trade would be more hurtful than helpful? East Village Times takes a look at the pros and cons of both Bauer and Syndergaard.
The Cleveland Indians have put themselves in the postseason conversation, and Bauer is a part of the reason how they got there. The Indians are victorious in four of his last five starts. He struck out 48 over that span.
It would seem silly to trade their best pitcher when the Indians are thinking about playoffs. However, if they are thinking beyond 2019, dealing Bauer makes more sense. Morosi said that Cleveland would owe $45 million to Bauer, Cory Kluber, and Carlos Carrasco, more than one-third of their 2019 payroll ($120 million). Bauer is also a free agent after 2020, and it doesn’t seem likely he would stay in Cleveland.
According to Morosi, Cleveland will demand major league ready players in a Bauer trade, and not prospects. Dealing prospects seems like the most likely strategy from the Padres’ end in a trade, but they have players either already at the MLB level or ready to step in when given a chance.
One player who is still a prospect but appears ready for the Show is second baseman, Luis Urias. He had a short stint in San Diego in 2018 before a hamstring injury ended his season. He has played in a handful of games with the Padres in 2019, as well. He has spent most of this season, however, in Triple-A El Paso.
Urias has done about all he can do in the minors, while Ian Kinsler and Greg Garcia have split time at second base with the Padres. Urias is hitting .315/.398/.600 with the Chihuahuas this season, with 19 home runs and 50 RBIs. He has cooled off a bit since June but is still on pace for 30-plus dingers. With Jason Kipnis looking at free agency after 2019, the Indians will need to fill second base going forward.
Two other players who have been mentioned as tradeable are Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes. The Padres still have a crowded outfield. Moving Wil Myers and his contract will be difficult, and the outfield situation will only get more complicated once Travis Jankowski returns from his wrist injury. Throw in Manuel Margot, and Franchy Cordero (if he can stay off the Injured List) and the Padres have six outfielders. At least one will need to be moved.
Of these six, Renfroe and Reyes hold the most value. Renfroe is having his best season, already setting career highs in home runs (27) and wRC+ (128). He has 49 RBIs so far in 2019, 19 short of his career-best (68). His offense is complemented by his vast improvement in the outfield, making him one of the best players on the Padres roster.
Reyes (24) is younger than Renfroe (27) and has one less home run, and has a significant presence in the lineup. However, Reyes is a liability on defense. It’s been said before that “La Molé” might be suited better for the American League, where he can be used as a designated hitter. If it comes down to those two, the Padres might be more reluctant to trading Renfroe.
A package of Urias and Reyes with one or two lower-level prospects might get a deal done. Bauer would be in the rotation when the team is ready to contend in 2020, but it isn’t a guarantee he would be with the team beyond that. The Padres also have to consider his unwillingness to sign any multi-year deals. Bauer also has a bit of a history when it comes to social media.
On the flip side, Bauer has a friendship with Padres’ third baseman Manny Machado, so he wouldn’t be a stranger in the clubhouse. While Bauer has come off as an edgelord on twitter in the past, he hasn’t had issues with any of his teammates in Cleveland, so there shouldn’t be any concern he would disrupt a San Diego clubhouse full of young players.
PAGE 2 LINK BELOW