Tyson Ross Among Six Players Non-Tendered & Derek Norris Traded to Nats

Credit: AP Photo

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Credit: AP Photo
Credit: AP Photo


Just over a month since the Chicago Cubs took home the 2016 World Series trophy, and it has been a relatively quiet off-season for the San Diego Padres.

Prior to Friday, the only moves the Padres had made involved designating for assignment, and then releasing, Oswaldo Arcia, and protecting the rights of Andrew Lockett, Franchy Cordero, Javier Guerra, and Jose Ruiz from being possible selections in the Rule 5 draft.

Beyond that, reliever Leonel Campos was claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays, and the Padres officially parted ways with both Mike Dee and Randy Smith.

All that changed Friday when the Padres made a flurry of moves.

Given that Friday at 8PM was the non-tender deadline, all teams had to decide whether or not they would tender contracts to those players on the 40-man without guaranteed contracts. The Padres ended up non-tendering six players, including shortstop Alexi Amarista, right-handed pitcher Jon Edwards, right-handed pitcher Erik Johnson, infield/outfielder Jose Pirela, and catcher Hector Sanchez.

In addition to those not so surprising non-tenders, the Padres very surprisingly chose to non-tender Tyson Ross.

If Dennis Lin was surprised, all Padre fans were surprised. Despite being the staff ace for much of the stretch from 2013-2015, Ross missed all of the 2016 season with the shoulder injury he suffered on Opening Day of last season. Given his projected arbitration salary that was just shy of $10 million, it was clear the Padres saw an opportunity for some cost savings. Although many Padre fans are upset that Ross was not given a contract for next year, the two sides still may end up agreeing to a new deal.

The more interesting bit of news here is that Ross was reportedly shopped around prior to this decision. Obviously there was no viable deal available, so Preller and company made the decision to not tender Ross a contract and hope that the two sides can agree on a deal for less money. The possibility even remains for the two sides to discuss a deal for longer than one year, although it would seem to be unwise for Ross to accept a pact longer than a year or two given his diminished value currently. However, Ross has shown some intention of staying in San Diego so it appears a lesser deal is still possible.

Despite the busy afternoon that came with the non-tender decisions, AJ Preller was already busy. Even before the non-tender decisions were made public, it was also announced that the Padres agreed to trade 2015 and 2016 opening day catcher Derek Norris to the Washington Nationals for their 23rd ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, Pedro Avila. Barring any significant additions at the catcher position, this makes Austin Hedges the unquestioned opening day catcher for the Padres in 2017.

Originally signed out of Venezuela in 2014 by the Nationals, Avila had plenty of success in 2016, striking out 92 and walking only 38 in his 20 starts for the Nationals Single-A affiliate in Hagerstown. In his 34 professional appearances since being signed, Avila has struck out 184 batters, walked only 56, and given up 51 earned runs in 156.2 innings pitched. With good fastball velocity and a strong curveball, Avila could have a good enough three-pitch mix to give him starter potential. Still only 19 years old, Avila is just the kind of prospect the Padres have prioritized in recent trades.

With all the Padres Friday moves, the team ended up saving around $16 million according to estimates from MLB Trade Rumors. With the moves, the Padres 40-man roster now sits at only 33, leaving the team lots of options in both free agency and the Rule 5 draft, and the Padres payroll sits at just $56 million, of which $32 million is being paid to other organizations for players no longer with the Padres. In terms of actual player payroll, the Padres have only $24 million on the books for 2017, with Wil Myers being the highest paid player at $4.7 million.

In terms of saving money, the Padres are doing a very efficient job of cutting payroll. After the international spending spree of July, in which the Padres blew past their spending allotment and were taxed the full 100% for their overages, which amounted to over $60 million dollars between actual spending and penalties, the Padres are using these payroll savings to offset that big spending. With such a bare bones payroll at the big league level, fans will expect more spending on player acquisition and development, and A.J. Preller seems very ready to oblige. The 2017 season may be hard to watch at times, but with lots of young, big-league talent and a farm system brimming with further talent, the Padres appear to finally be on the right track for long-term, sustained success.

1 thought on “Tyson Ross Among Six Players Non-Tendered & Derek Norris Traded to Nats

  1. After paying Johnson and Morrow $10+ million the last couple of years and getting absolutely no production from them, you can see why the Padres were a little gun shy on giving Ross $10 million this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did get him under a contract at a cheaper cost as he seems/seemed to really like San Diego. I won’t lie, this was a bit of a shock to me, but I am going to trust Preller and Co.. We all thought he was a genius before this move as he has re-shaped the organization and has started the rebuild in earnest. Now with 7 roster spots available, look for a 2 for 1 trade, quite possibly involving Solarte and another busy rule 5 draft day next week.

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