If I were the Padres GM (Improve staff and trade for outfielders)
The Curious Case of (Wil)iam Myers
Ah yes, Mr. Myers. You and your contract are quite the case. I’m going to have to trade Myers and the $60 million remaining on his contract if I want to free up some cap space to pay for future assets. However, I think I have a way that would benefit the Padres.
Myers has been shifted around a lot and now patrols the outfield grass for the Padres, but he was the first baseman before Eric Hosmer showed up. However, no matter where he is playing, he has struggled with the bat in recent years. It is a well-known fact that the Padres are shopping Myers.
So, we’ll have to trade Myers to a team that needs him. Hmm… somebody who needs a first baseman with the cap space to afford. How about the Seattle Mariners?
Dan Vogelbach struggled defensively, posting a -4 DRS at first base while getting graded out at -11.2 on Fangraphs. He also cratered with the bat in the second half of the season, collecting a .626 OPS after an impressive first-half OPS of .881 OPS netted him an All-Star nomination. While the Mariners have top prospect Evan White at their disposal, it’s going to take another year at the least before he is ready for the bigs. Myers would bridge the gap for White while producing better than Vogelbach offensively and defensively.
The Padres aren’t the only ones shopping an outfielder. Seatle is shopping Mitch Haniger around to teams that are willing to listen. Haniger had a rough season and only played in 63 games due to a ruptured testicle (yes, it happened). He struggled to a .220/.314/.463 batting line while his fWAR sat at 1.1, a far cry from the 4.5 fWAR he had in 2018. If the Mariners are selling low on Haniger, then I am all in on acquiring the former All-Star and bringing him to San Diego.
They’ll have to take Myers and his contract, though, and that’s going to take prospects. I’m also going to have to gobble up some of his contract. With Myers owed $60 million over the next three years, I’ll have to eat half of that, which still saves me $30 million.
However, the Mariners have put a high price tag on Haniger, so now is the time to pay the piper. I’m not dangling Luis Patino (he would already have been traded), but I will dangle Adrian Morejon. Sure, the Cuban left-hander has a bad case of the injury bug, Morejon is oozing with potential and is still 20-years-old. He would fit well for the Mariners once he fully develops and could even serve as a bullpen piece in a worst-case scenario.
Looking at the depth chart, something the Mariners might have to upgrade to eventually is their third base depth. Kyle Seager, despite a second-half OPS of .863, only has two years left on his contract and will be erring on the wrong side of 30 when it expires. So that’s why I’m bundling Ty France alongside to complete the deal. He had his fair share of struggles in the big leagues, but he laid waste to Triple-A pitching as his .399 batting average, 1.247 OPS, and 22 home runs led him to be named the 2019 Pacific Coast League MVP. He won’t be winning any Gold Gloves, but he will still serve as an average to slightly above-average third baseman. By the time Seager is out of Seattle, France will be used to Major League pitching and has the potential to be an exceptional third baseman for the Mariners.
My bundle of Myers, France, and Morejon should be more than enough to put Haniger in brown pinstripes by 2020. There are still some other moves to be made, however.
The Return of the All-Star
I’ve picked up two starting pitchers and hooked a deal for a new outfielder, but I’ve still got space in my budget for an unheralded former All-Star that, at one point, was the ace of the Padres staff.
I’m talking, of course, about Drew Pomeranz.
Pomeranz was traded to the Red Sox after appearing in the All-Star game in 2016 but lost much of his stardom after struggling with both the Boston and San Francisco. However, after a 2019 trade to the Milwaukee Brewers, Pomeranz thrived in his new role; reliever.
In 28.2 innings out of the bullpen, Pomeranz pitched to a 1.92 FIP, 1.67 xFIP, and a 0.84 WHIP to go along with a 15.70 K/9 and 2.51 BB/9. Lefties only batted .230/.273/.393 against him on the season, and that was combining his innings as a starter and a reliever.
As far as lefties, I have Matt Strahm and Jose Castillo in my bullpen. But I can’t count on Castillo even with his electric arm thanks to his murky injury history, and Strahm can’t be the only left-handed pitcher in the bullpen. My bullpen has functional pieces with Michel Baez and Andres Munoz serving as valuable set up men with Kirby Yates as the lockdown closer. So adding another left-hander in Pomeranz will only make my bullpen stronger and lessen the load on my starters. I’ll snag Pomeranz for a two-year, $15 million deal with a club option for a third year.
I think I’m done now. I have filled up some holes on my roster while not having to dip too deep into my prospect pool.
I’m banking on the potential of Haniger and Gray, but should those two deliver on their real ceiling; the deals will be won. I’ve acquired an ace in Clevinger at the expense of Patino and Urias, but it was a deal I was willing to make.
So, to recap, here is a list of players that I have both traded and received this offseason
The New Guard: Mike Clevinger, Tyler Naquin, Mitch Haniger, Jon Gray, Drew Pomeranz
Shipping out: Wil Myers, Ty France, Austin Hedges, Cal Quantrill, Hunter Renfroe, Luis Patino, Luis Urias, Adrian Morejon, Ian Kinsler
As for my 26 man roster, it’s shaping up to be something like this
Eric Lauer/Joey Luchessi/MacKenzie Gore
Luis Perdomo/Trey Wingenter/Jose Castillo/Javy Guerra/Gerardo Reyes
The deal for Lauer and Lucchesi is simple; duke it out in Spring Training for the 5th spot in the rotation. Whoever fails gets bumped to the bullpen to serve as the long reliever while Strahm gets bumped down to a situational pitcher. MacKenzie Gore will have his chance to earn a starting role coming out of Spring Training as well, but he’s going to have to show that he is ready. The final bullpen spot will be a five-person race between Perdomo, Wingenter, Reyes, Castillo, and Guerra in Spring Training. It won’t be easy for any pitcher as Perdomo is on his last legs as a Padre, Wingenter must prove that 2019 was a fluke, Castillo has to show that he is healthy and Reyes has to show that he can command his upper-nineties fastball. Guerra will have his chance, but he will most likely end in Triple-A. Only one man can swipe the spot, and, on this squad, only the strongest will survive.
I’m bringing Martini and Garcia back for their versatility and their on-base skills. I’m also letting Esteban Quiroz get the first shot at the second base job because of his impressive year in El Paso (.923 OPS and a 122 wRC+), but Owen Miller and Xavier Edwards will be nipping at his heels. I’m rolling the dice on Mejia, improving his defense while maintaining his offensive production as a full-time starter. Whether Allen or Torrens backs him up, all depends on how they perform in Spring Training. Machado, Tatis, and Hosmer are the locked-in starters at their respective positions, so I don’t have to worry about that (although you bet I’ll be listening to trade offers for Hosmer the second his full no-trade clause shifts to a modified no-trade clause after 2020).
I’ve already stated that Naylor and Martini will be sharing the load until Naquin comes back, but that’s not why I’m bringing up Olivares. No, I want Olivares to push Margot for the starting center field job. Franchy Cordero is talented, but his frequent injuries lead me to believe that he can’t stay on the field, so it is Olivares’ time to shine after netting a .170 ISO and 123 wRC+. Haniger will handle left field for me while Naquin will take over in rightfield with Margot and Olivares grappling for center field.
There are my moves for what I would do as General Manager for the San Diego Padres. This was an exciting experience, and it was harder than I thought trying to balance both my budget and roster while acquiring the right players for the right scenario.
Here is to 2020. May the baseball gods smile upon San Diego in their quest for a championship.
I am currently attending San Diego State University while working on achieving a major in journalism. At SDSU, I write for The Daily Aztec while also hosting the sports radio show “Picked Off”, for KCR Radio. A loyal fan of San Diego sports, I hope to bring content that you will enjoy reading.
This is my audition for assistant GM. Lol. A caveat: please have mercy on me when it comes to specific players in deals and projections. Without the information the team has, and maybe more importantly, knowing the team approach to hitting (coach, organizational focus, etc.), a good deal of our spitballing could be misguided. I’m more about philosophy and direction with this post.
Very few (any?) championship winning baseball teams were built on sluggers hitting .240 with a .300 OBP. When we look at the Giants, Royals, Red Sox, Astros, Nationals of the past decade, very few relied on the long ball with poor OBP. Power, yes, but not at the expense of bat control. I’m interested in ultimately a lineup of top 1/3 MLB players at their position at every position. That means high average, OBP, defense, speed, and 20-25 HR power around the diamond 1-8. Thanks to the vision of our current administration, the farm is at its franchise best and now we’re tacking on being the best at development with Tingler, etc. It’s exciting to see “what needs to happen”, finally happen. For 35 years, I have waited for this!
We have guys who fit this mantra already, and if guys are truly maximized, we may not need a lot of change in personnel. But, my sense is that isn’t accurate. Hedges, Renfroe, Kinsler, etc. don’t likely fit that model. So, here are 2 3-team deals that could jumpstart that change. Again, I don’t know specific values but think the concepts are worth pursuing. In each deal, I look for win-win-win.
(Years of control in parentheses)
Cubs get: Kirby Yates (1), Austin Hedges (3), Wil Myers (3+1), Luis Urias (6), Whit Merrifield (3+1), Jakob Junis (4)
Royals get: Eric Hosmer (6), Nick Margavicius (6), Ian Kinsler (1+1), Kyle Schwarber (2), Addison Russell (2)
Padres get: Adalberto Mondesi, Jr (4), Danny Duffy (2), Willson Contreras (3), Kris Bryant (2), Tyler Chatwood (1), and Craig Kimbrell (2+1)
Explanation: It’s complicated, yes, but hear me out. First, I think both Hosmer and Myers can be parts of a championship in SD, but to make this deal, both need to go, and the salary savings are useful. Again, I think both have been wrongly attacked by some. This deal is basically a reshuffle of guys who don’t fit well where they are but could fit better elsewhere. The Cubs would have to like the overall payroll flexibility they could use to add high level FAs, and Russell, Schwarber, Kimbrell, and Chatwood all need to go. Are a few years of Bryant and the destined-to-be-let-go Contreras worth the control of Merrifield, Urias, and easily, cheaply extendable Yates? Would the Royals be thrilled to regain Hoz, add Schwarber, and use Russell as placeholder for fast rising Witt, Jr. in addition to a young arm of some name in place of two good middle infielders? Would the Padres trade promising Urias, Yates, Hoz, etc. to add some short term players and gain financial flexibility? I say yes in some way to all 3. Does the deal require more minor pieces? Probably. But, in essence, there should be connectivity here for all 3. Most importantly, the Padres get a high ceiling LH 2nd basemen who has already succeeded in the majors, an MVP caliber catcher, and two workable bullpen arms. The deal to me hinges on Kimbrell’s medicals. Why not mention Bryant’s return to SD? Because…
Rangers get: Cal Quantril (6), Hunter Renfroe (4), Josh Naylor (6)
Mets get: Mike Minor (1), Nomar Mazara (2), Kris Bryant (2), Luis Torrens (6)
Padres: get: Noah Syndergaard (2), Michael Conforto (2), JD Davis (5), Jose Leclerq (3+2), Delino Deshields Jr (2)
Again, it’s complicated. Lol. Though Naylor could fight for 1st post-Hoz, Texas needs him, and FA offers vets that fit a “win now” dictum In this deal the Padres pass on Bryant, a value that allows the Padres to hang onto all of their top flight , controllable pitching (Gore, Patino, Weathers, etc.) and their middle infield depth. Meanwhile, Thor moves out of NY as both he and team want to do. Again, does Texas need another young mid-tier or lower arm or two to make the deal? Maybe. But, I think this general deal benefits all parties. The Padres would then look like this:
SS Fernando Tatis Jr. R
LF Corey Dickerson. L (FA)
3B Manny Machado. R
RF Michael Conforto L (TR)
C Willson Contreras. R (TR)
1B Mitch Moreland. L (FA)
CF Manny Margot. R
2B Adalberto Mondesi Jr L (TR)
C/3B/OF Francisco Mejia. S
1B/3B/OF JD Davis. R
OF Franchy Cordero. L
IF Greg Garcia. L
IF Ty France. R
IF/OF Delino Deshields, Jr.R
1 Noah Syndergaard. R
2 Garrett Richards. R
3 Chris Paddack. R
4 Dinelson Lamet. R
5 Joey Lucchesi. L
CL Craig Kimbrell. R
8 Drew Pomeranz. L (FA)
7 Dellin Bettances. R (FA)
Mid Jose Castillo. L
Mid Jose LeClerq. R (TR)
Mid Tyler Chatwood. R (TR)
Mid Andres Munoz. R
Mid Gerardo Reyes. R
Mid Matt Strahm. L
Mid Trey Wingenter. R
Mid Luis Perdomo. R
LR Danny Duffy. L (TR)
LR Eric Lauer. L
As you can see, I supplemented the team with free agents. Pomeranz and Bettances sign competitive short term contracts with high incentives with people they trust. Dickerson and Moreland are professionals who fit shirt term contract needs with veteran leadership. AJ would know Mitch from the Rangers pennants. The team would have flexibility in Tatis extension talk, keep the bulk of the long term, highest level farmhands. The bullpen could be lethal if healthy, shortening the innings needed from a somewhat balky rotation while also having depth to absorb injury. The everyday lineup has excellent defense and a more professional hit-maker feel. The bench is versatile and talent-laden. If Margot gets maximized in what may be his last chance to be the CF of the future, this team has almost no significant holes if healthy.
Ouch not even giving Garret Richards a shot at the rotation ?
Martini has already been DFA’d.
The Padres just hung out another help wanted sign… General Manager not dreaming needed – apply within
Why is everyone drinking the kool-aid that The Padres can’t afford Strasburg? They can and they owe it to the LONG suffering fans of San Diego!
It’s not a matter of can they it’s a matter of should they and the answer is NO. He wants a 6-7 year deal at at least 30 mil per. That’s just not a smart way to allocate funds for someone with his injury history. Plus he’s 31 so at the end of the deal he’ll be 37 or 38. As much as I’d like to see him pitch for us there’s so much more we can do with that kind of money!
I would agree that we absolutely can do it, however it just severely hamstrings us to making other necessary improvements to the team. Also I don’t like the idea of having to pay a potentially not as good Stras in 2025 and not being able to afford a potential stud like Paddack or Tatis or Gore and so on.