A trade is only remedy in Padres search for an ace

Credit: USA Today Sports

Credit: AP Photo

Trading for an “ace” pitcher is the only way the 2020 San Diego Padres can add to their pitching staff.

The San Diego Padres’ staff for the 2020 season seems to be in place.

Penciled in as the top five starters are Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet, Joey Lucchesi, Zach Davies, and Garrett Richards. Paddack and Lamet provide a swing and miss aspect to the rotation. Both pitchers have a dominant strikeout pitch (Paddack/changeup and Lamet/slider) and are young enough to provide some uncertainty to their overall value. Davies and Lucchesi are the perfect counter to the top two, as they do not use velocity to get hitters out. Richards is a wild card in the equation, and his health will be essential.

The team also has young hurlers like Cal Quantrill, Ronald Bolanos, Adrian Morejon, and Michel Baez, who could factor eventually for the Padres in 2020.

With all this depth, does the team need another starting pitcher?

An actual top-of-the-order presence would be a terrific addition to the Padres’ staff, but nearly every team in the majors can make that statement. Ace pitchers are few and far between, and you can count them on two hands if you really get down to analyzing that fact. With Stephen Strasburg and Gerrit Cole off the free-agent market, the Padres have no other option than to potentially trade for someone who fits the bill of an ace.

Here are some options. They all come with some issues- whether it be the price tag, production, or general wear and tear.

David Price

The former Cy Young Award-winning pitcher is due $96 million for the next three seasons. There is some speculation that Wil Myers and his hefty contract would make sense for the two teams. Myers is due roughly $25 million less, and the Sox are trying to save money. Price was 7-5 last year with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.314 WHIP for Boston. There is an injury risk here as Price has a balky elbow and missed time last year with an injured wrist. There is potential for him to reach his peak once again, but there is a significant risk factor.

Shane Bieber

The 2019 American League All-Star was drafted by the Indians out of UCSB in 2016 with a fourth-round selection. The 24-year-old went 13-4 last year with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.054 WHIP. The right-hander struck out 259 batters in 214 innings pitched and looked dominant at times. He will not be a free agent until after the 2024 season. With four years of service time left on his contract, the Indians would need to be absolutely blown out of the water to trade even think about trading him.

Mike Clevinger

At 29 (when the season begins), Clevinger is a superior option for the Indians via trade as they attempt to reshuffle their roster. The lanky right-handed pitcher has added velocity in recent years and teams with a hard biting slider. He went 13-4 in 2019 for the Indians, posting a 2.71 ERA and a 1.056 WHIP. He has three years of control on his contract and would not be someone who Cleveland gives away via trade. The price will be steep, but indications are the Indians are entertaining the idea.

Noah Syndergaard

Thor to San Diego is something that speculation seems to follow. The Padres are known to covet the right-handed pitcher as the two sides have communicated in the past. The Padres have never satisfied the Mets’ high asking price for Syndergaard. With Marcus Stroman and Jacob deGrom anchoring the rotation, New York could trade a pitcher to gain strength in other areas of weakness. Thor went 10-8 in 2019 with a 4.23 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP. Substantial numbers, but most feel the 27-year-old is on the verge of breaking out. The pitcher is a free agent after the 2021 season, so his price tag will still be inflated.

Chris Archer

The 31-year-old pitcher has been excellent throughout his career but was roughed up in 2019 for the Pirates. Archer went 3-9 with a 5.19 ERA and a 1.412 WHIP. The National League has not been kind to the right-hander as he owns a 4.92 ERA in 33 starts. He is due $9 million in 2020 and has a team option of $11 million for 2021. The Pirates would not need to be overwhelmed in a deal for the pitcher because there is some risk with him. The two-time All-Star has potential but is he a better option for the Padres than what they currently possess.

Robbie Ray

With the signing of Madison Bumgarner, the Arizona Diamondbacks may be willing to move left-handed pitcher Robbie Ray. Strikeouts have never been an issue for Ray, but he has struggled with throwing strikes and working late into games. The southpaw went 12-9 last year with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.342 WHIP. This is his contract year, so the pitcher will be highly motivated to have a breakout year. The price tag shouldn’t be too expensive if the Padres care to take a chance on an inter-division trade.

Marcus Stroman

Another pitcher in the final year of their contract is this small in stature pitcher. Stroman went 10-13 last year with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.307 WHIP between the Blue Jays and Mets. There are some whispers that New York could be swayed to move this pitcher over Noah Syndergaard in a potential deal. The Mets have issues and need to fill several holes on the roster. There is upside with Stroman, and he could be electric in a contract year. The Padres will surely explore this if New York is indeed willing to move the pitcher.

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15 thoughts on “A trade is only remedy in Padres search for an ace

  1. You guys are funny.
    This club won 70 games last year, yet some act as if we ought to stand pat, and treasure every teenager in the system. Of course you keep the blue-chips, but all the others should be made available to bring in proven talent.
    If we wait until the kids are ready, Preller will be long gone. Are you all expecting him to commit professional suicide, out of loyalty to the “plan”?
    When an upgrade is available, it’s a GMs task to make it happen. Even teams that hoard prospects have to bring in top flight pitching to win. The Cubs did it when they signed Lester, the Astros did it when they traded for Verlander, and the Yankees might just have done it by signing Cole.
    Preller should explore all the options James listed in his article.

    1. @Tanned Tom.

      That one way to look at it. The other is a team that was .500 at the ASB and quit on Andy the second half when Franmil was moved. Hos, I’m looking at you Mr clubhouse. They won 70 games with the youngest rotation in the ML where all the experts said they wouldn’t win 100 games with. With Tatis playing 84 games. With Cordero and Castillo not factoring in at all when both were to be substantial pieces. With an overworked bullpen and pieces like Wingenter post injury, Warren, and Stock all being junk. With Wil having his worst career year. With Hedges, Margot, Lauer, Lucchesi, Strahm, Kinsler, Urias, Mejia all not moving forward in their development.

      Garrett Richards is like signing a 1 yr 15M TOR veteran to lead the staff. Kuechel got 14M for 19 starts a year ago. Lamet will have innings limit but otherwise it’s not unrealistic to expect Chris Paddack results from him in aprox 140 to 150 innings. Speaking of Chris, all limitations are off. Even with his soph season the adjustments made at the end of 2019 says he will be mid rotation type at worst. Davies with his experience is better than Lauer (excluding Dodgers) and Lucchesi is now your back end of rotation guy. Gore is where Chris was going into ST. Patino isn’t more than 12 months away. The final new piece is Larry Rothschild. It a development year where they need to be at .500 or better when 2020 ends. That will be the best rotation the Padres have had in more than a decade.

      It’s not about favoring Prospects to proven talent, at least for me. It’s Gore, Patino, Trammel, Oliveres, Campusano. The Prospects that can fill needs for the Padres within 12 to 18 months. The exception is Campusano. He is further away but Mejia and Torrens bridge to him. Hey if they can get Clevinger without losing Patino or Gore, I’m in. But to give up 6yrs to 7 yrs of Patino, 3yrs at pre arb minimum cause you don’t want to wait 12 more months is lunacy.

      Let’s not kid ourselves, it will take more and if that more is one of the players I listed it’s robbing Peter to pay Paul. Sure there is risk with prospects but so is there with Clevinger. He’s 7 yrs out from his TJ surgery and that’s the range where TJ pitchers start to break down again. He is at peak value and if he is a central piece to a post season run, then why would Cleveland trade him? The Padres aren’t one pitcher away from competing for the post season. That is why you wait.

  2. “Trading for an ‘ace’ pitcher is the only way the 2020 San Diego Padres can add to their pitching staff.”

    I disagree. Either way, it is not the need that people keep making it out to be. Also, the supply-and-demand factors are heavily against the Padres. If they did make this trade they would have to give up way, WAY too much. Add the Overpay-AJ factor and the team would lose even more value. And for what, 3 years or so of hoped-for production from ONE pitcher?

    It makes perfect sense to let Gore and Patino progress normally, and arrive in the next 6 months to a year. That would be the obviously wise move, but will Preller do the obvious?

  3. How many years should we wait to be a contender? The facts are you have to have the pitching to win. Prospects are just that prospective yet unproven talent. I don’t blame the Pads for not paying for free agent pitching all were overpriced and I agree there is no one pitcher that gets us over the top but a move needs to be made and the most obvious is David Price. If he is physically sound they have to put something together for him.

    1. Price is 34 and was broken down last year and absolutely in decline. We don’t need his 34M per year contract… AT ALL! He’d be lucky to be our #5 guy in the rotation in two years and that’s if he makes it through this year. He’s done. Let Boston pay his 100M remaining. I’d rather eat 10M/30M on Myers contract and get something for him at the deadline.

      Hedges is cheap and a Cather the pitchers like throwing to. Keep him. Mejia can go elsewhere. Another AJ error and overpayment.

      We’ve got plenty of spare parts, as I mentioned earlier, to go get Marte and a SP this offseason. MAYBE, things fall into place and we get a sniff at a WC entry. That means subtracting Margot, Mejia, Quantrill, Morejon, another lesser pitcher and a few lesser prospects to get these two deals done.

      I really fear AJ is in the win this year and mortgage the future to save his job because Fowler couldn’t shut up.

  4. Well said Tony C, Alan Alan and David C! I pretty much agree with all of your comments.

    In all practicality, the Padres should be improved but will not yet be true contenders. I figure that st best, if all the pieces fall in place, that the Padres are a Wild Card team at best. But in all likelihood, they fall just shy of that. Therefore, no pitcher who is a one year rental makes sense in a trade. And if this is true, the real goal is 2021, so why unload youth for a SP who may be worse than Gore or Patino might be in 2021?

    I think Myers is his own worst enemy…meaning a bad attitude. My feelings is platoon him at 1B, and hope and pray he hits, then trade him at the break in 2020 when his value would be greater than now.

    As I’ve said in prior posts, no way we should trade any of our top 5 players. The “plan” that started 5 years ago was to build a superior farm system so that the team would have 1 or 2 rookies coming up and contributing each year from 2020 thru 2025. You can’t compete with the big market clubs for free agents so it has to come from within.
    No need to panic now and erase that plan. Our 6 thru 15 prospects would be in many other clubs top 1 thru 8 prospects, so trading a few of our “lower” prospects is fine. Just don’t sell out.

    I do like Price for Myers, but only if Boston gives up additional money or a prospect or 2 back. Syndergaard is the only other SP I’d consider, but the Mets over value him because of his iffy health track record.

    I’d prefer Marte from the Pirates, as Margot is not hitting at all in the Winter leagues right now, and Cordero is killing the ball but never seems to stay healthy.

    Campusano seems the C of the future. I’d be ok letting either or both of Hedges and Mejia go. Hedges can’t hit, and Mejia will eventually land in LF. Torrens could be serviceable or even better as he’s been overshadowed by many. He’s not great offensively or defensively but solid at both.

      1. Having read the article , and the ensuing comments, I think that you all are overlooking another option. Try this one, “King” Felix Hernandez? A proven winner, plenty of talent, could provide a value as a “leader” (like a Pedro Martinez), has the ability to give you 30+ starts a year, win you ballgames, and get into other teams heads every 5th day. Make a 2 year offer, put some cash money out there, add some incentives, and see what happens. Before you go off on trade tirades, accuse AJP of tossing away the future, and saying we have no idea on how to improve the team, or other inane speculations. This is a good possibility if done right, and could be the move needed. Look back in history, this could be the same as bringing in David Wells?

        1. A proven winner as in never been to the playoffs in his career. Lol. No King Felix is not the answer. He still thinks he’s a number 1 starter and was unwilling to take on a more mentoring role with younger pitchers thus why the Mariners let him go. Alex Wood and Taijuan Walker are both low cost high upside guys we should consider.

  5. Morejon, Quantrill, Margot, and a 20-30 prospect are those that I would consider trading for Bieber or Thor. I might even think about throwing in another prospect if need be. I don’t move my top guys… period. Include AJ Preller in that package if anyone will take him!

    At this point… AJ wants to trade to trade. More excuses to hide behind.

    We ARE NOT competing this season. Anyone who thinks that is betting on way to many “ifs”. This is a season to pull the team together in the locker room. It’s the season to get the kids innings and experience. Let Hedges work with the kids and be the guy who helps them learn to get deeper into games. If Mejia gets us +3 wins over Hedges, who cares right now?!? Mejia could be used as a chip as far as I’m concerned. He’s NOT our catcher of the future.

    Most of those mentioned are not an upgrade over our kids. Health is still a concern so we need depth. That depth might be tradable at the deadline or next off-season as well.

    Let the kids play and let’s get some questions answered. Let Myers play and get that question honestly answered. Let’s see if Hosmer will find his pride and move on from mediocrity.

    1. Why did we trade for Mejia? AJ said he was our catcher of the future. I’m sure most of you will disagree with me but the trades and the players we signed this winter were crap. No impact bat no front line starter. Hell we could have signed a 29 year old second baseman in Hernandez that hit 279 this with I believe 20 home runs. This GM lucked out with Tatis other then that not much. 70 75 wins this year and AJ gone next year. It Will be fun watching Reyes and Hunter hitting bombs for their new teams. Watch Urias come into his own.

  6. Or they can stand pat with Patino and Gore in the wings and wait 12 months to run out a rotation of


    Beiber should be and example of where Gore and Patino could be by 2022 and still be pre Arb eligible for 2 yrs. Why on earth would Cleveland trade Beiber.

    Clevinger is trading for a player at peak value 7 yrs removed from TJS. If Patino is involved that would be a short sided upgrade and too much to pay for one legitimate post season run. Wait 12 months and you have a few chances for a TOR starter with players that are already here. Jon Gray would get you near Clevinger performance with 2yrs of control and would probably not require Patino.

    Noah Syndergaard, see the Clevinger response.

    Marcus Stroman and Robbie Ray, not wise to give up young controllable pitching for a 1yr flyer with a team that has so many questions already.

    Stay the course and let 2020 play out.

  7. The days where any one Ace will carry a team thru a season and to the Playoffs are over.
    How many starters are actually expected to finish 6 innings in a game anymore?
    I like the Padres Theory of a well rounded team of talent. The challenge being though, all cylinders need to be hitting for this to be a championship team. There is not alot of room for extended slumps or injury.
    Look at Padre payroll 3 years out and you will see, were not going to sign big names even at the Trade Deadline. The model being developed is still one that will improve our team just a little more every year. I think as a fan I will be alot happier with this as time goes on. Reason being, once they have developed a team that can compete with the Dodgers, we should be able to do so for many years to come.
    GO PADS!

    1. “The days where any one Ace will carry a team thru a season and to the Playoffs are over.” – WRONG. You must not have watched the World Series. Both teams had multiple Aces.

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