If I were the Padres GM (Replace Myers & add two starting pitchers)

Jul 9, 2019; Cleveland, OH, USA; American League pitcher Shane Bieber (57) of the Cleveland Indians reacts after striking out the side against the National League during the fifth inning in the 2019 MLB All Star Game at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Credit: AP Photo

The first of four separate articles in which our writers at EVT take a spin at being the General Manager of the San Diego Padres. Nick Lee is up first with his goals and offseason additions for the Padres as they head into the 2020 season. 

It’s time to put on my GM cap and rub my hands together and get to work. The weather has turned cold, and the World Series trophy has been hoisted which means it’s time for the Hot Stove to get a-burning.

The Padres need to address several areas; first and foremost, they need a proven veteran above-average starting pitcher or two. Next, they need to find a way to move Wil Myers’ contract while also acquiring an outfield bat to replace him, preferably a left-handed one. Then they need to bolster the bullpen and figure out the catching position.

Second base is also up for grabs as Luis Urias certainly did not grab hold of the spot last year in the 71 games in which he played, with a .223 average and .655 OPS.

Here are the goals I set for the Padres’ 2020 offseason.

  1. Payroll below or up to $135 million
  2. Shed Wil Myers’ contract and replace him with a lefty outfielder
  3. Add two MLB starting pitchers
  4. Add to the bullpen
  5. Explore options for catcher and second base

First, let’s look at the Padres payroll to see what we are up against as far as signing free agents.

Players AGE POS. PAYROLL SALARY
Manny Machado 27 3B $32,000,000
Wil Myers 29 LF $22,500,000
Eric Hosmer 30 1B $21,000,000
Garrett Richards 32 SP $8,500,000
Kirby Yates 33 RP/CL $6,500,000
Ian Kinsler 38 2B $3,750,000
Hunter Renfroe 28 RF $3,400,000
Austin Hedges 27 C $2,900,000
Manuel Margot 25 CF $2,100,000
Greg Garcia 30 2B $1,700,000
Dinelson Lamet 27 SP $1,700,000
Matthew Strahm 28 SP $1,500,000
Luis Perdomo 27 RP $1,000,000
Hector Olivera 35 LF 8,500,000
$117,050,000

 

(per Spotrac.com)

Shockingly, the Padres are actually slightly above what the league average payroll for 2020 is at just over $113 million. That certainly will change over time. That also might make the Padres’ brass squirm a bit, especially with the need to add even more if they have any hope of being competitive this coming season.

Shed Wil Myers’ contract and replace him with a lefty outfielder

Let’s find a solution to shedding Myers’ contract or at least most of it. Typically a team will have to “eat” some of the money when moving a player with an albatross contract. It is likely the Padres will need to throw in a prospect or two to make it worthwhile for the team taking Myers on. With a wealth of prospects at their disposal, the Padres should not have an issue enticing a team to bite on Myers’ untapped potential as long as they sweeten the deal with a prospect from the most coveted farm system in baseball.

Once Myers is gone, the Padres will need to add a capable outfielder, so let’s look for a trade that can get rid of Myers’ cumbersome deal and in return bring a major league-caliber outfielder back to San Diego.

Credit: Getty Images

The Texas Rangers are looking to sell off pieces and strengthen their farm system. Nomar Mazara is a lefty outfielder that Texas seems keen on moving on from. He has played four full seasons with the Rangers with a .261 average and has averaged 20 home runs, a .754 OPS, and 93 OPS+. While these numbers are certainly less than stellar, his .786 OPS last year would have been fourth-best on the Padres, just a hair behind Manny Machado. He also is only 24 years old with two more years of control and plenty of room to grow.

If the Rangers are going to take on Myers and most of his contract, they will want compensation via prospects. With how deep the Padres are at catcher down on the farm (two other catchers in the organization’s MLB Pipeline Top 30), they can afford to part with Austin Allen, who accumulated 71 plate appearances in the big leagues in 2019. Pitching is always a need, and the Padres should sweeten the deal with a starting pitcher that has some experience like Eric Lauer. Lauer is a guy who can still grow into a solid starter (92 ERA+ in two seasons) but might not be a vital piece of a Padres playoff rotation.

In conclusion, the trade will be Eric Lauer, Austin Allen, and Wil Myers plus $15 million of his contract to the Texas Rangers for lefty corner outfielder Nomar Mazara.

Giving $15 million to the Rangers to take on the remaining three years of his contract will cost us $5 million against the 2020 payroll. With the addition of Mazara’s salary for 2020, at $5.7 million, the payroll will sit at just over $105 million.

Add Starting Pitchers

The addition of Stephen Strasburg or Gerrit Cole will likely cap out the Padres payroll and really restrict them from doing much else, as either one will cost at least $30 million per year. It seems likely that the Padres will not be able to afford these premier starters, but that does not mean they cannot add solid starting pitching.

Former New York Mets starter Zack Wheeler declined New York’s qualifying offer of $17.8 million, so he will likely cost a decent sum as well. At 30 years old with less than 750 innings to his name, he should still have plenty in the tank. He went underappreciated in a Mets’ starting rotation that also had now two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom and former All-Star Noah Syndergaard. Many think Wheeler is trending in the right direction for a strong few seasons in his early 30s as he set a career-high in innings last year (195 1/3) and strikeouts (195) while also posting an ERA under four (3.96).

He has also been mostly reliable in the last two seasons, averaging 30 starts and 189 innings from 2018 to 2019.

Let’s make an offer of four years, at $84 million total, putting his 2020 cost at $21 million, which puts the payroll at $126 million. Now they have a proven big league starter still with some upside to guide their young rotation.

The Friars should not stop there.

Credit: NBC7

The Cleveland Indians indicated that they are willing to trade off some of their key players. A pitcher that should interest San Diego is Shane Bieber, the 2019 All-Star Game MVP. He finished fourth in the Cy Young voting last year after posting a solid 3.28 ERA and 144 ERA+ in 214 innings. At just 24 years old, with a whopping five years of control left on his contract, he could be a rotation cornerstone for a championship team.

Of course, all this means he will come at a hefty price.

The team will have to make Padres fans uncomfortable by parting with a beloved prospect or two, ones in the team’s top 30, according to MLB Pipeline. The Padres will offer the Indians lefty pitcher Adrian Morejon (7th ranked prospect in the organization), second baseman Esteury Ruiz (#18), and outfielder Jorge Oña. Ruiz and Oña are Rule 5 eligible next month, so the urgency to move them somewhere will be higher than others.

To sweeten the deal for the Indians, the Padres will swap another lower-level minor leaguer for one of Cleveland’s, giving the Indians a slight upgrade in that regard. San Diego will throw in Sean Guilbe, a shortstop who hit six home runs with a 111 wRC+ for Short Season Tri-City last year, in exchange for High-A right-hander Kirk McCarty, who had a 2.55 FIP in 13 starts.

That deal may not sit well with some Padres fans, but to acquire a Cy Young-caliber, already-All-Star, not-yet-25 starting pitcher, it’s going to cost. Speaking of cost, Bieber should cost less than $1 million in 2020, putting the payroll at around $127 million.

So now the Padres have two horses at the top of their rotation in Bieber and Wheeler to lead their young guys like Chris Paddack, Joey Lucchesi, Dinelson Lamet, and company.

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Nick Lee
Native of Escondido, CA. Lived in San Diego area for 20 years. Padres fan since childhood (mid-90s). I have been writing since 2014. I currently live near Seattle, WA and am married to a Seattle sports girl. I wore #19 on my high school baseball team for Tony Gwynn. I am a stats and sports history nerd. I attended BYU on the Idaho campus. I also love Star Wars.

12 thoughts on “If I were the Padres GM (Replace Myers & add two starting pitchers)

  1. Thoughts –

    Great attempt! These are for fun and you went for it!

    I think you’d need to double or more the value you implied for Bieber.

    There’s no way we don’t eat triple what you implied for Myers without way more talent attached.

    Hosmer has a no trade clause, but you didn’t offer him a platoon in your scenario. He bats like hedges against LHP.

  2. NIck

    Stick to blogging those are fantasy island deals. The Pads will need to pay minimum half of whats left owed Myers before anyone would stay tuned unless the package includes Tatis or Gore

    No way Indians are giving away a future ace without Gore in the package

    The last deal you go so far as to offer guys that may be exposed to rule 5 after Weds.

  3. Some good ideas here. A few tweaks:
    1) It seems unlikely for the Indians to trade Bieber unless they go into a full rebuild.
    2) It’s understandable that everyone wants to trade Myers, but his WAR over the last 2 years is 2.1, not great, but not horrible. Whereas Hosmer’s is -0.5, truly horrific. The quickest and easiest way to improve is to replace your worst player, and that’s Hosmer. So…
    3) Trade Hosmer plus a couple of good (not great) prospects to Boston for David Price. Then platoon Naylor and Myers at 1B, with Myers in LF the rest of the time. If Boston says no, we could sweeten the deal to add more lower level prospects. The Red Sox might look at this deal because it reduces their luxury tax payroll by $14mil/year, and allows them to add prospects all at once.
    Padres give Hosmer plus multiple good prospects.
    Padres get Price and the ability to play Naylor and Myers at their best positions.
    This of course is just a starting point, but we should be open to many options if a Hosmer for Price deal can be pulled off.

  4. I disagree with everyone on Myers. I think Hosmer signing, destroyed Myers confidence. That money could have been used this year for Strasburg. Hugh mistake. Andy Green didn’t help either by burying Myers and playing him out of position They shouldn’t give up on Myers, he’s still young enough to turn it around. Put him in LF and leave him there all season. Give the new Manager a chance to restore his confidence. His value now is worthless because of his salary and stats. Preller needs to rebuild his value. You will have to pay in prospects or $$ to get rid of him. He still could be a keeper or a valuable trade piece. What were all of you like between the ages of 25-28? Let him prove that he’s matured. We don’t need this to turn into the next Rizzo or Trea Turner. The Padres can’t afford that.

  5. You have a basic framework, but try this. Ask Myers to “retire”, and make his salary an “annuity”, paid out over 15 years. Trade Hedges, one of the rule 5 minor leaguers, and a 6 r seventh round pick? Trade Urias and Margot and another rule 5 player for pitching help. Look to sign Kendrick or Zobrist to fill in until a homegrown player or other option shows itself. Dont be adverse to moving Hosmer if the deal is bringing back needed pieces. Offer Yates for Mookie Betts and 5 million towards Betts contract. Pitching is paramount, Wheeler, Madbum, Keuchel, Hamels, Pomeranz? Trades are also a possibility for the pitching. Relief options are available for the looking, and can be found as needed, as is a “serviceable” first base option (if needed). The 40 man can be reduced by getting rid of Perdomo, and others in trades. Release Garcia and Kinsler, both are not Zobrist/Kendrick types. Look at Strasburg, Gerrit Cole is going to be s burden on who signs him.(just a feeling). I’d go to 135MM for salary. Back to Myers, all his contract comes off the books.

  6. Sorry Nick, I do not see the Rangers taking Myers and $53.5M of his contract just to get rid of Mazara. The Padres would either have to add more money or a better prospect than Allen. As for the Bieber deal, there is no way in h*ll that the Indians would make that deal. They are not going to take 3 prospects, none of which are in the top 25, let alone the top 100, for a pitcher of Bieber’s current and future ability.

      1. Even that isn’t anywhere near enough. You could take that package and add Patino and likely the Indians still wouldn’t bite. This is a guy who in his first year was Cy Young level and has 5 years of cheap control remaining. If you’re not giving them Gore or Paddack I don’t think they even talk without Patino in the package. Patino, Edwards, Morejon, and Ona and they’ve started to listen. Maybe. A trade for a guy like that has to be a crazy package because of how much surplus value he has.
        If you add two other mid-prospects to the package above (Buddy Reed, Allen, Owen Miller, etc.) then maybe? But I still don’t think I do that if I’m the Indians. It’d be enough to start haggling though.

          1. I agree, I’m actually not sure I do that as the Padres though. That hole at 2B would be huge. I’m of the opinion that Urias should stay and be given a year of reps, it’s way too soon to use him as trade bait. I’d be in favor if then Patino could be swapped for a Weathers+ package, but then the Indians probably don’t feel inclined to move Bieber with him so far away. Maybe Baez? I could see that working for both sides. Urias, Baez, Morejon, Ona, and Ruiz?

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