The Shortstop Search Is Over… For Now
The Padres long winded shortstop search finally came to an end on Thursday afternoon with the signing of former Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez to a one year contract for the 2016 season. The specifics of the contract have yet to be announced, but the Padres have traded one Alexi for another and have gotten better in the process.
Ramirez represented the short-term, low-cost option the Padres needed to fill an obvious need for next season. The one year contract also gives the team flexibility, especially with Javier Guerra, Jose Rondon and Ruddy Giron all in the minor leagues. The hope is that Guerra will be ready at some point next season, but Ramirez puts off those question marks until at least next offseason. The Padres are banking on Ramirez’s bounce back potential, and a change of scenery should be good for him next season.
Where Does Ian Desmond End Up?
The Padres signing Alexei Ramirez for next season meant that the team decided to pass on Ian Desmond. Desmond was clearly looking for a bigger contract, perhaps over five or six years, a contract that the Padres were not eager to give him. As mentioned above, the Padres needed a more short-term solution while they waited for one of their prospects to be major league ready, and spending big bucks on a player like Desmond on a long-term deal just didn’t make sense.
With his most likely suitor now out of the market, Desmond’s contract future looks rather murky. The only other team besides the Padres who looked like they needed a shortstop upgrade were the Chicago White Sox. With the additions of both Brett Lawrie and Todd Frazier, and a thorough exploration of the free agent outfield market, the Sox don’t appear to be willing to meet Desmond’s asking price. It remains unlikely that Desmond gets the contract he wants, making it more logical that he signs a short-term pact for more guaranteed money over a longer term deal.
Padres A Fit for Fernando Rodney?
At the onset of the offseason, the Padres made their interest in free agent reliever Fernando Rodney known. With the trades of both Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel this offseason, and the likely transition of Brandon Maurer to a starting role, the Padres bullpen lacks a true back-end arm, as well as veteran leadership. Fernando Rodney certainly checks both of those boxes despite his struggles in Seattle prior to his trade to Chicago.
Just last week it appeared the Padres were out on Rodney, but now they appear to be right back in it. At this point the one thing the Padres can offer Rodney that no other team can is a chance to be the closer. Rodney has made it known that is the role he would like, and the Padres are one of the few teams without a set closer that can make that happen. Betting on a further bounce back from Rodney could pay off well for the Padres in 2016.
Yoenis Cespedes… Baltimore Oriole?
Ever since the signing of Jason Heyward, the outfield market has been wrought with uncertainty. The Giants signing of Denard Span last week made the picture at least slightly clearer, but there still is quite a bit of uncertainty at the top of the market. Both Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes have had their markets develop quite slowly this offseason. However, Cespedes appears to have at least one offer on the table. As a sort of backup plan to Chris Davis, who the Orioles appear to be increasingly frustrated with, Baltimore has apparently offered a contract to Cespedes. The terms are unknown, but it has been reported that the Orioles may be willing to go in the $75-90 million range for a contract, providing a yearly value of approximately $15 million over five or six years. It remains to be seen if a trade is worked out, but this is the closest Cespedes has gotten to finding a contract so far this offseason.
What’s the Padres Plan for 2016?
Are they rebuilding? Are they trying to compete? Does anyone really know what A.J. Preller is thinking outside of A.J. Preller? So far this offseason the Padres have made it pretty clear that they have no problem shipping out talent, and cutting costs in the process. The trades of Jedd Gyorko, Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit and Yonder Alonso saved not only a combined $20+ million for next season, but over $70 million over the length of their remaining contracts. Preller has made it clear that the Padres wanted to clear payroll for next season and beyond. However, the moves so far reek of a rebuild, or at least a slight rebuild, barring any other significant additions. The Padres did finally sign a shortstop, but they still project as a mid-70s win team for 2016. More so than perhaps any other team in the National League, and perhaps all of baseball, the Padres are stuck between rebuilding and competing, lacking any sort of coherent identity as a team and, more importantly, as an organization.
Toronto Blue Jays In Contact with Yovani Gallardo
One more interesting tidbit of news for this week is the report that the Toronto Blue Jays have maintained contact with free agent right hander Yovani Gallardo. Despite several additions in the pitching staff, including J.A. Happ and Jesse Chavez, the Blue Jays do not appear content with their current setup. A trade of R.A. Dickey has been rumored on and off over the past week, and a signing of Gallardo would likely facilitate that trade. The Blue Jays will likely once again have one of the best offenses in all of baseball, however their pitching staff remains a question mark. Losing David Price to their division rivals was quite a big blow, but signing Gallardo may soften that blow, at least a little bit.