The third of four separate articles in which our writers at EVT take a spin at being the General Manager of the San Diego Padres. Dominic Stearn is up next with his goals and offseason additions for the Padres as they head into the 2020 season.
Now that we are officially in the hot stove, this is where championship teams are made. Fans of all sorts will clamor for certain free agent signings or trades, but some don’t make sense logistically. I will be addressing team needs and making moves as if I were A.J. Preller considering the San Diego Padres current roster, farm system, and payroll. First, let’s set some goals to accomplish.
Add a starter
The Padres already have a decent core of starting pitchers. Chris Paddack should be the ace, with Dinelson Lamet, Cal Quantrill, and Garrett Richards behind him. After Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi didn’t precisely take steps forward in 2019, it may be time to move on. By adding a solid starter, the rotation can be a threat with depth. Keep in mind that MacKenzie Gore and Luis Patino are on the way as well.
Trade Wil Myers
We are now entering the back half of Myers’ contract, which is heavily back-loaded. His production on the field comes nowhere close to what he’s being paid, and it is interfering with the Padres’ ability to spend more money. Trading him will allow more financial flexibility for a free-agent addition.
Pickup a left-handed bat
The Padres have lacked steady production from the left side of the plate for a while now. Let’s fix that this offseason.
Add an outfielder
The outfielders were very inconsistent in 2019. We can package some OFs and prospects to upgrade there.
My first move will be to clear Myers. If his contract is erased from the payroll, we will be able to open more conversations with free agents. Trading Myers is a tall task and will require the Padres to eat cash and give up some prospects. Fortunately, we have some excellent low-rank prospects that allow us to keep our higher-end guys while still giving away good players. The main struggle is finding a team that is willing to take Myers. An organization that isn’t in a position to compete now seems like a good option. A team that I saw as a suitor for Myers is the Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore had the worst record in the bigs in 2018 and will have the 2nd overall pick in the 2020 draft. They show no signs of improving, so they can be a target for a Myers trade.
After examining the Orioles, I found a significant weak spot at shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles. Richie Martin played 120 games for Baltimore in 2019 and was unproductive. A .208/.260/.322 line with six home runs and 14 walks is not what you want out of a shortstop. Combine his hitting with a .971 FLD%, -8 RDRS, and -7 RTOT in the field, and he is hurting the team. The Orioles don’t have any shortstop prospects that will be arriving soon either, so we can help with that. Fernando Tatis Jr. is the Padres current and future shortstop, so we can trade a shortstop prospect along with Myers.
My offer to Baltimore is Wil Myers, with 30 million dollars, and Padres #14 prospect Gabriel Arias for Orioles #21 prospect SS/2B Cadyn Greiner. Arias had a great 2019 campaign in Lake Elsinore (High-A) and could be MLB ready come 2021. This extra year allows Martin a second year to prove himself in the majors but gives the Orioles a replacement if he is unsuccessful afterward. In return, we have cleared Myers’ contract and received a former 2nd rounder. Greiner has struggled at the plate in the minors, but the change in scenery could help get him back to the form he showed at Oregon State.
Now that we have cleared some money, we can go free-agent shopping. Seeing as though Cole and Strasburg are going to be asking for too much money, we must go after cheaper options. With Odorizzi staying put in Minnesota, there are three pitchers that the San Diego Padres could realistically go after, Madison Bumgarner, Zack Wheeler, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. All three of these pitchers had a sub-4 ERA in 2019, so we’d be getting a pitcher that will compete with Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet for the opening day starter nod.
However, when you think about the end goal that we are trying to accomplish, a World Series title, there is a free agent that stands out above the rest. Among these free-agent starters is one of the greatest postseason pitchers of all time: Madison Bumgarner. In 102.1 postseason innings, he has a 2.11 ERA to go along with his career 3.13 ERA. Bumgarner also brings a competitive and robust attitude to the mound, similar to Chris Paddack. It is also worth noting that Mackenzie Gore, our #1 prospect, has grown up idolizing Bumgarner. There would be no better way to welcome Gore to the majors than adding his idol to our roster. My offer to Madison Bumgarner would be a three-year deal, because he is 30, for $60 million. This will be a competitive offer for a pitcher who is on a slight decline, plus Bumgarner can stay in California, where he has pitched his entire career.
Now that we have improved payroll and added a starting pitcher, it is time to bolster the lineup. As I mentioned earlier, I need to add a left-handed bat and an outfielder to this squad. Reports came out earlier this week that the Chicago Cubs were interested in splitting with some of their core players this offseason, so I took a dive into their team. Kyle Schwarber, their left-handed hitting left fielder, is coming off of a very sneaky good year. His line of .250/.339/.531, along with 38 home runs and average defense, could be useful in San Diego next year. It seems like Kris Bryant is the future in left for this team, so they should be willing to part with Schwarber. Willson Contreras, the NL all-star starting catcher, is also seemingly available. Also, it is possible that we could add switch hitter Ian Happ, whose line in 2019 was .264/.333/.564 in a short year.
From Chicago, the San Diego Padres will receive Kyle Schwarber, Willson Contreras, and Ian Happ. In return, we will send them infielder Luis Urias, switch-hitting catcher Francisco Mejia, Padres #25 prospect outfielder Buddy Reed, and #3 prospect RHP Luis Patino. It may come to shock a lot of people that I’d be willing to trade the #30 ranked prospect in the game. However, I think that the Padres will already have their pitching rotation solidified for the next couple of years. Chris Paddack, Dinelson Lamet, and Mackenzie Gore seem like the young three-headed monster the Padres want. After I bring in Bumgarner to go along with the likes of Quantrill, Lauer, Lucchesi, and Richards, I don’t see a need for Patino, who likely won’t be ready until 2021. Also, Patino has some command issues. He walked 34 batters in 87 innings in Lake Elsinore this year. Once he gets to higher levels and starts to face more mature hitters, he might begin to walk more guys. We can use his undeniable potential to get MLB talent to help us win now. Being a GM is not supposed to be easy, and this is a risky move that could take the Padres to the next level. This trade also helps the Cubs because they get young talent that will help with their slight rebuild. Luis Urias could benefit from a change of scenery after an up-and-down rookie campaign, and Francisco Mejia is an excellent replacement for Contreras.
With these transactions, I have 41 guys on the 40 man roster. I need to clear one spot, and we have an abundance of pitchers. Gerardo Reyes is 26 and showed very little consistency in his ability to throw strikes in 2019. We can trade him to a team that needs a lot of bullpen help for cash. The Kansas City Royals had a 5.07 bullpen ERA, and are not currently ready to fully compete. We can send Reyes to KC for cash considerations. Despite the poor numbers in 2019 for Reyes, he has undeniable potential. His 99 MPH combined with his slider from a ¾ angle is a small risk worth taking for KC.
Our payroll has been increased by about 25 million dollars, but the team has gotten significantly better. As we continue to win, more seats will be filled, and more merchandise will be sold. An exciting era of San Diego Padres baseball is about to begin, and these are the moves I would make to field the best team possible.
The 26 man roster will come into place following Spring Training. Here is my roster:
Willson Contreras, Austin Hedges