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
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.