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

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Add to the bullpen

Besides All-Star closer Kirby Yates, the bullpen is very much in flux. The Padres used 28 different relievers in the 2019 season. Jose Castillo was hurt for almost all of 2019, but if he can come back healthy, he is a big weapon late in games. Michel Baez, Andres Muñoz, Matt Strahm, and Trey Wingenter are likely candidates to compete for a bullpen spot. San Diego should add at least one veteran reliever.

With the Padres paying a reasonable amount for Wheeler in free agency, the preference here will be to seek one in a trade. John Gant has quietly put together a strong career in the bullpen for the St. Louis Cardinals with a 3.54 ERA and 114 ERA+ in 90 appearances in the last two years. He posted a 117 ERA+ last year, but a really rough September (13.50 ERA in nine games) left him off of the postseason roster. This means the Cardinals might agree to deal him despite them being a contending team.

Let’s offer the Cardinals outfielder Buddy Reed (25th ranked prospect in the organization) and Lake Elsinore reliever Dylan Coleman for Gant, who is 27 years old with three seasons of control left. His ERA+ has improved each of his first four years in the big leagues. The Cardinals will likely ask for a prospect near the big leagues, which Reed is, plus Coleman can perhaps eventually fill the void of a reliever with Gant’s departure.

His salary for 2020 is a meager $1.4 million, pushing the Padres total 2020 payroll to just under $129 million.

Explore options for catcher and second base

Much like the last offseason, the Padres are looking to improve at second base and catcher. Luis Urias, now with two separate seasons of stints in the majors, is still very much a question mark. Ian Kinsler is more or less dead weight, with one year and almost $4 million owed, as he floundered to the tune of a .217 average and 70 OPS+ in 87 games last year before being benched and eventually shut down due to injury.

Austin Hedges continues to be elite behind the plate defensively yet looks completely overmatched as a hitter. Among hitters with at least 300 plate appearances, Hedges was dead last in batting average (.176) and OPS (.563). He also finished with a -0.6 WAR while his competitor, Francisco Mejia, finished at 0.7, over one win better. It’s time to give Mejia the keys to the house and find something to do with Hedges.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Mejia certainly has work to do defensively, yet he had an even 0 Defensive Runs Saved and 0.1 dWAR meaning he is not a liability. Those are better numbers than Marlins backstop Jorge Alfaro and Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez.

Having dealt Austin Allen, the next catcher in the system is Luis Torrens who was a Rule 5 pick in 2016. He can be a serviceable backup to Mejia.

Hedges will not be happy being sent down again and will likely want out of the organization. We will swing a trade involving him to acquire a second baseman that can play every day and help Luis Urias along.

Adam Frazier of the Pirates played 142 games at second base in 2019 with a solid 6 Defensive Runs Saved with a .278 average and .753 OPS at the plate. He has experience playing in the outfield as well if needed, and he would be another welcome left-handed bat. He will be 28 and has three seasons left of control.

A straight swap of Hedges for Frazier might not be enticing enough for the Pirates given Hedges’ lackluster offense, so we will throw in Lake Elsinore lefty Osvaldo Hernandez. Frazier would be an instant upgrade over Urias and Kinsler, who combined for 0.7 WAR while Frazier posted 2.7 last year.

The Pirates are strapped for catching talent as they were 20th in Defensive Runs Saved at the catching position as a team in 2019, so Hedges is an instant upgrade defensively, and he gets a change of scenery. Hernandez is an enticing lefty who had a 3.90 ERA in 12 games for Lake Elsinore last season.

Frazier’s arbitration is estimated at $3.2 million in 2020, with the dumping of Hedges’ $2.9 million, which puts the payroll right around $130 million, below our limit.

Roster Review (new acquisition in bold)

Remember, rosters increase to 26 players in 2020.

Starting Lineup (2019 WAR)

C: Francisco Mejia (0.7)

1B: Eric Hosmer (-0.3)

2B: Adam Frazier (2.7)

SS: Fernando Tatis Jr. (4.2)

3B Manny Machado (3.1)

LF: Hunter Renfroe (2.6)

CF: Manuel Margot (1.8)

RF: Nomar Mazara (0.7)

Starting Rotation

Shane Bieber (4.9)

Zack Wheeler (4.1)

Chris Paddack (2.6)

Joey Lucchesi (1.6)

Dinelson Lamet (0.4)

Bullpen

Kirby Yates (2.8)

John Gant (0.6)

Matt Strahm (1.1)

Michel Baez (0.6)

Jose Castillo (0.0)

Andres Muñoz (0.2)

Cal Quantrill (0.1)

Trey Wingenter (-0.5)

Bench

Ian Kinsler (-0.3)

Luis Urias (1.0)

Josh Naylor (0.1)

Greg Garcia (1.4)

Luis Torrens (N/A)

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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.
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BK
BK
2 years ago

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.

TD
TD
2 years ago

Where is Garrett Richards???

John Boccia
John Boccia
2 years ago

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.

Rick
Rick
2 years ago

Allen is that left handed bat we need. Move Lauer to the pen with his good control. But the second trade is great.

Tanned Tom
Tanned Tom
2 years ago

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… Read more »

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