A mega trade proposal for Padres & Cubs

Credit: Fox Sports

Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs could benefit from this mega-trade.

The time is now for the Padres to take the next step towards playoff contention.

The San Diego Padres have done a great job in acquiring veteran, All-Star-caliber talent to pair with a young core of highly talented players. However, there are still some glaring needs that the organization must address to compete for their first playoff berth since 2006.

These areas of need include outfielders and veteran starting pitching. Having traded Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot this offseason, their positional depth chart is headlined by Wil Myers primarily. As for starting pitching, the Padres have made strides in developing their rotation, particularly in Chris Paddack and Cal Quantrill, along with MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino in a very deep farm system. However, they are still missing experienced veteran pitching that they have been unable to acquire in free agency, relative to other positions on the team.

In looking around Major League Baseball, there are several trade partners that the organization can engage with and attempt to turn these weaknesses into advantages. In looking across baseball, the Chicago Cubs seem to be an ideal candidate. What may entice the Cubs to engage in a trade is to shed some payroll, particularly with their starting pitchers, while augmenting their talented offense with some depth. They may also look to add some bullpen depth behind Craig Kimbrel. Here is the blockbuster trade proposal that may benefit both franchises:

Padres Receive:                                                                                                    

Cubs Receive:

From the Padres perspective, this automatically upgrades their starting pitching rotation and outfield unit immediately:

Lester: A three-time World Series winner, Jon Lester is an ideal fit for the Padres for a myriad of reasons. The first being that he has been in the game for 14 years, spending five of them in the National League (all with Chicago). He is a strong veteran presence for any young pitching core and is a perfect fit for San Diego.

Second, he is still productive, relative to where he is in his career currently. His curveball is highly underrated, as opposing batters whiffed on the pitch 40.3% of the time. He also allowed an opposing wOBA of 0.239 on that pitch. Against the other NL West teams, he is also highly impressive, with a combined ERA and SO/9 of 3.20 and 8.80 respectfully.

Finally, if the Padres manage to make the postseason in 2020, Lester will be a vital component for a deep run. Having pitched 154 innings in the playoffs, he has an ERA of 2.51, a WHIP of 1.019 and a SO/9 of 7.80. If the franchise were to make this trade a reality, Lester’s immediate impact would be felt in a short period.

Hendricks: Amongst pitchers that threw at least 2,500 pitches in 2019, Kyle Hendricks finished eighth in average changeup spin (2,115 rpm) and ninth in average curveball spin (2,784 rpm). Relative to National League pitchers that threw at least 170 innings, he ranked third in BB/9 (1.63) out of a group of twenty-seven pitchers. In the totality of his career, he has also been very consistent in generating positive outcomes, while limiting negative ones, as reflected in his FIP over the last five years:

 

The skillsets of Hendricks are a welcome addition to a Padres rotation that projects to be highly skilled over the next several years.

Heyward: By acquiring Heyward, he is an immediate upgrade over Wil Myers, both at the plate and in the field. Offensively, Heyward is more productive and patient at the plate, relative to Myers. In reference to the chart below, since 2015 Heyward’s strikeout rate has been significantly lower year after year, meaning that he sees more pitches and is more patient, whereas Myers does not possess this ability:

From a defensive perspective, Heyward has been elite in this category for the majority of his career. A five-time Gold Glove winner, he is still a premier lockdown defender in the outfield. Amongst right fielders in 2019, he ranked 2nd in Outs Above Average (OAA) with 7. OAA is essentially the cumulative value of the plays a fielder made, accounting for range, number of made plays, and their degree of difficulty.

Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Rizzo: At 30 years of age, Anthony Rizzo is still one of the preeminent first basemen in the game, and an underrated defender, having won three Gold Gloves and a Platinum Glove. A versatile offensive player, his quality of contact historically is impressive. Using 2019 as a reference, Rizzo’s xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG finished in the 94th, 95th, and 78th percentiles respectfully. For a broader perspective, amongst other first basemen, he ranked 3rd in xwOBA (0.390), 2nd in xBA (0.300), and 10th in xSLG (0.497). This combination of defense and offense is a welcome addition to a Padres lineup that is already talented in these categories.

Overall Analysis: One may ponder the question of why the Cubs may engage in this trade. The answer is that the franchise is looking to revamp their team to some degree. Their bullpen needs to be upgraded; Kirby Yates is a strong solution. The organization may also look to unload some expensive pitching contracts as well. With Jon Lester being 36 years of age, and owed $20 million in 2020, along with a team option for $25 million (or a $10 million buyout), it is logical to unload his contract, along with Kyle Hendricks who is also owed $54 million between 2020 and 2023. By including Cal Quantrill and Joey Lucchesi in this proposed deal, the Cubs also have two promising pitching prospects.

The Cubs also receive a strong veteran option at first base in acquiring Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers is a short-term solution to rightfield. The other major component that makes this trade viable is the addition of $30 million in cash, which offsets the contracts of Hosmer and Myers to some extent, and Hosmer has an opt-out clause after the 2022 season.

Overall, this blockbuster trade is beneficial to each franchise immediately. For the Padres specifically, this solves two significant needs on the roster and provide a veteran, championship pedigree to a young core of players.

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Nicholas Fichtner
Nicholas Fichtner is a baseball analyst and researcher, and Founder and Editor of The Launch Angle. His previous experience includes working as a Quantitative Analyst with the Northeastern University Huskies baseball program for the 2019 season. While in this role, he worked closely with the coaching staff in developing an analytics department that assisted in impacting overall strategy and player evaluation using advanced data analysis and metrics.

Before Northeastern, Fichtner served in previous roles with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League as an Assistant General Manager consulting on in-game strategy, roster management, and quantitative based player development, and as a Student Director of Analytics with his alma mater, Endicott College and their baseball program. His Thesis, entitled "Free Market Navigation in Major League Baseball," details the development of a highly sophisticated model that accurately predicts free agent player salaries based on various quantitative variables. He currently resides in Beverly, Massachusetts.

18 thoughts on “A mega trade proposal for Padres & Cubs

  1. Hosmer had a good year last year.get rid of preller ,he has no clue .trade the old guys for young guys trade the young guys for old guys , what the f is go is going on. Tommy Pham is still hurt.5 second basemen no catcher.gave away good young talent for what ,ifs and maybes.fire preller today before this trad is made.

  2. Well sheltered in place so why not. This proposal is the proverbial moving chairs around on the Tittanic. From the Cubs perspective the only upgrade is Kirby but only for a season. Wil does provide more offense than Jayson (last 4 years in WRC+ Will is tops in 3 of them and even in the 4th) but what gets Jayson a higher WAR is better defense. For arguement sake let’s say they are a wash.

    Outside of Kirby, the Cubs would gain control on a back end starter (Quantrill). Lucchesi and Kendrick have the same control and while this would help in payroll flexibility the Cubs would be giving up the better pitcher here.

    Lester and Rizzo make no sense for the Padres. Neither make them a WC favorite and if they do, it’s a 1 yr flyer and then nothing cause neither would be resigned. Plus with Lester the Pads already have one player who cant throw to 1B.

    If your hell bent on purging Hos, wait to the offseason when his NTC is gone and use the 30M to turn the 83M to 53M which would put him at a more digestible 10M AAV. Dayton could stomach that and send him back to KC with a couple of lottery ticket prospects.

  3. baseballtradevalues.com says this trade favors the Padres by $62m. I know that site isn’t the be-all-end-all but yeah, you’re way off on this one. There’s not a GM in the game who thinks Eric Hosmer or Wil Myers has any value at all.

    1. He’ll accept a trade if one is made. He only signed with us cuz of $. The real issue is his trade value, or lack thereof.

    2. Only through the 2020 season. This is the salary dump move AJ should make, not Will. As for the topic at hand, it’s so bad that you cant even take it seriously.

  4. Do they drug test writers too? Are you a hard core cubs fan stranded in America’s finest city? This is what a bored journalist does with too much time and not enough stories. What’s next? A trade with the Yankees for Cole? We’ll give them Paddock, Patino, Machado, Tatis and a few minor leaguers.

    This trade proposal is horrible! I‘Ll bet the cubs would jump on it in a heartbeat! think instead of veterans, you might have inserted has-beens. While Rizzo has still got some productive years in him, this would be an all-in move for a one time shot. No!

    The Padres are set up to be competitive for the next 6 years plus with who we have and who is up and coming from our farm teams. Let’s play this year (shortened season) and look to next year to seriously compete for wild card positions. The Dodgers are too loaded and will be for years to come. We need to stick with what we have and transition some of our younger studs into our team over the next few years.

    1. Lolwut? There are actually people who thinks this trade benefits the Cubs? Can you say, DELUSIONAL!?

      Getting rid of Hosmer OR Myers, let alone both, without attaching Tatis or Gore or eating ALL of their contract would be an absolute HEIST for the Padres.

  5. I don’t think that the Padres will spend that much money by paying Rizzo, Heyward, Hendricks, and and an aging Lester, and an extra $30 million for Myers. The Padres are an exciting young team, so I don’t know why people keep telling them to trade their young players and get aging players from older teams. Such a large trade would hurt the Padres chemistry. Lester is 36 and went from 18-6 in 2018 to 13-10 last year, a winning percentage from 750 to 565. It will be worse this coming year. Rizzo had 4 consecutive years with more than 100 RBIs–until last year. Heyward’s best year was 8 years ago in 2012. If we want someone who has experience as a winner, why would we trade away Hosmer? I would take Quantrill as a starter over an aging Lester. And Myers seems rejuvenated. Heyward is a better fielder, but Myers has more potential. I don’t care for the trade.

    1. Get that winning percentage the fxxk out of here Eric! Winning percentage for pitchers is IRRELEVANT!

      And completely ridiculous that you want to keep Hosmer and Myers. Neither would get a major league contract if they were FA’s this offseason.

      1. Yeah I’d take all of those cubs players. The only ones I’d be sad to lose would be Kirby and cal. The others are either expendable, incredibly inconsistent, or just bad. The pitchers from the cubs would be nice for a year or so. I don’t get why some in the comments are acting like they are garbage. They are both solid vets, and gore is going to be here next year anyway, and probably patio too. Not sure how much longer Heyward contract is but same deal, add a vet bat who is better on defense somewhat, and fits the profile the Padres have been trying to add this year. Lower strikeouts, more on base hopefully. I’m looking forward to seeing the young outfielders in the minors more anyway. BTW being able to redeem dumping rizzo would be awesome. BTW @Eric he had 94 RBIs last year, stop acting like he fell off a cliff.

        1. And if we really miss Kirby that much, nothing says we can’t bring him back next offseason, similar to what the Yankees did with Aroldis Chapman.

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Nicholas Fichtner
Nicholas Fichtner is a baseball analyst and researcher, and Founder and Editor of The Launch Angle. His previous experience includes working as a Quantitative Analyst with the Northeastern University Huskies baseball program for the 2019 season. While in this role, he worked closely with the coaching staff in developing an analytics department that assisted in impacting overall strategy and player evaluation using advanced data analysis and metrics.

Before Northeastern, Fichtner served in previous roles with the Hyannis Harbor Hawks of the Cape Cod Baseball League as an Assistant General Manager consulting on in-game strategy, roster management, and quantitative based player development, and as a Student Director of Analytics with his alma mater, Endicott College and their baseball program. His Thesis, entitled "Free Market Navigation in Major League Baseball," details the development of a highly sophisticated model that accurately predicts free agent player salaries based on various quantitative variables. He currently resides in Beverly, Massachusetts.