Not a lot of big news came out of Padre land this week. Probably the biggest news, being that is was the only real notable news, was the signing of RHP Fernando Rodney.
The Padres are offering Fernando Rodney plenty of incentives. 1-year guarantee is $2M. 2-year max is $18.6M. https://t.co/L0N5GDgevx
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) January 20, 2016
The deal is kind of complicated. For a base salary the Padres will only be paying Rodney $2 million with a team option for a second year. The deal also comes with incentives that could push his first year’s salary to $7 million and his total for two years to $18.6 million if all the incentives kick in.
At first glance, this looks like a great deal for the Padres. They get themselves a good, veteran closer to place in the back-end of their bullpen. On top of that, with a low base salary, the Padres are really only paying Rodney for the performance he gives them. If his performance is strong he will get paid well. If not, he will only make the base salary that has been agreed upon. All around a good, team-friendly deal going forward into 2016.
Finally, Yoenis Cespedes signed with someone. And no, it wasn’t the San Diego Padres.
So full Cespedes deal with #Mets, per sources: Three years, $75M, full no-trade clause, opt-out after one year. Pending physical.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 23, 2016
After weeks of contract discussions and posturing from both sides, a deal was finally reached. Despite the Nationals looking like favorites after offering Cespedes a five-year deal, the Mets were still about to sign him on a three-year deal. The most important part of the deal for Cespedes is the opt-out after the first year of his contract, which will allow him to re-enter the free agent market next offseason with weak outfield competition.
Despite the seemingly poor fit in New York, given the fact that Cespedes will likely have to play a whole season in center field, the Mets got the offensive firepower their lineup had so desperately needed. More importantly, the Mets kept Cespedes away from their division rivals, making next year’s NL East race all the more interesting.
Looking forward to next season, the Padres look to be in an in-between phase. The team likely won’t be a contender, but they aren’t tanking either. As it currently stands, the Padres look to be a 70 something win team for 2016. With that being said, with the All Star Game coming to town, the season should still be very interesting to watch. More importantly for the Padres future though is the 2016 draft.
In that draft the Padres will have a total of six picks in the first 100 picks, giving the team a very good opportunity to restock the farm system that has been severely depleted by last offseason’s frenzy. Last year’s draft brought a good haul for A.J. Preller and company, including Austin Smith and Jacob Nix, but next year could be even better. Next year’s draft will go along way in showing what the Padres long-term future may look like.
With most of the high-profile free agent pitchers signed, Yovani Gallardo remains one of the few still remaining on the board. While his market has been slow to develop this offseason, it has picked up significantly this week. It is reportedly down to three teams— the Orioles, the Astros and the Rockies. The Astros and Orioles make sense, as both are contending teams in need of some pitching upgrades. The Rockies, however, make quite a bit less sense.
Given that Gallardo is a pitcher with draft pick compensation attached, it seems illogical that the Rockies would give up a draft pick to sign him, especially given their position at, or at least near, the bottom of the NL West. Add to that Gallardo’s declining numbers, and the fit just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Gallardo has struggled with a declining strikeout rate, which seems like it would backfire majorly at Coors Field. The Rockies just aren’t making a lot of sense with their offseason moves.
The question has been asked again and again by Padre fans. Is this team rebuilding? Whether they are or not behind the scenes, the more question is this — should they be? It’s pretty clear the Padres are leaps and bounds behind the Los Angeles Dodgers, and perhaps even the Giants and D’backs, leaving them in an unenviable position. Despite this, the Padres still have at least some cause for optimism at this point. The farm system is steadily improving, the team has six draft picks in the upcoming draft, and at least some good talent on the big league roster.
The answer isn’t as simple as rebuilding or contending, as there are different degrees on the scale. The Padres don’t need to be tanking in order to be rebuilding toward the future. Collecting assets while fielding at least a somewhat competitive team seems to be the way the Padres are going. And at this point, that is completely fine.
Trade Deadline Moved
Perhaps the biggest news out of baseball this week, as it pertains to the season, is the news that the trade deadline will be moved for this year only, from July 31st to August 1st. Due to the trade deadline falling on a Sunday, Major League Baseball decided to move it back a day so players would not be getting pulled from day games due to impending trades. This move obviously makes a lot of sense and will impact the on field games much less on a Monday than on a Sunday.