Pitching is something the Padres have. The first instinct for the team is to try to move Andrew Cashner. He is in the last year of his contract and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. He has shown no interest in re-signing with the Padres so it seems inevitable that the team moves on from the right handed pitcher. The former Cubs property was dealt to the Padres for Anthony Rizo once the Padres obtained Yonder Alonso in the Mat Latos trade. A horrible decision and most Padres fans would rather not even think about the choices that were made that off-season.
Cashner would interest the Cubs slightly but his value is so low right now that he by himself would not even come close to the value the Cubs need for one of those youngsters (Baez, Soler, Schwarber). So cross Cashner off the list for the moment.
Let’s talk about the most logical answer. Tyson Ross is becoming an ace pitcher and the Cubs could surely use him to boost their rotation. There have multiple reports of the Cubs interest in Ross. The Padres have two complete seasons with Ross before he is due for free agency, so it is safe to say his value is at an all time high. There is a fine line with Ross right now though. Should the clubs deal him when his value is high or do you believe he will get even better and thus signing him long-term at a decent team friendly deal?
This is the type of decision that G.M.’s lose sleep over. Ross has the ability to be great but in reality he is only one player. If any team is willing to overpay for his services then the Padres will have no choice but to say goodbye to their big right handed pitcher. Baseball is a business and sometimes you just have to plain and simply do what is right for the team. Still though, dealing Ross and watching him take his game to the next level is a real possibility. He has that type of stuff, and has yet to reach his maximum abilities. Ross would easily fetch one or two or the Cubs trio of prospects. The Padres are rightfully being very cautious and are weighing out their options with Tyson Ross. He is undoubtedly under a microscope right now.
That brings us to James Shields who is loved by Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Shields is due a lot of money and is considered overvalued right now around major league baseball circles. He could interest the Cubs, but he by himself would not be enough for any of those Cubs prospects. Shields opt out year is another concern. The Cubs would not want to deal one of those prospects for a one year rental and Shields has that capability with the current structure of his contract. It keeps going back to Tyson Ross and that is a scary thing for Padres fans. If the team were to move him, they better get swept off their feet with multiple prospects.
The Cubs could also have some interest in Derek Norris, but the team already has Miguel Montero and David Ross on their roster and Schwarber is also listed as a catcher. Norris would be an upgrade for the Cubs at catcher, but Ross is a clubhouse favorite and Montero is due $28 million over the next two seasons. The Cubs are invested in him and he will play if he is healthy. Again, it keeps coming down to Tyson Ross as the Cubs major interest.
Okay so say the Padres acquire Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber or Jorge Soler for Tyson Ross. Both players would have trouble finding positions to play on the current Padres roster. Schwarber could step in to first base and Wil Myers could immediately go to left field. Soler could play center but Jon Jay and Melvin Upton Jr. would have no place to play left and Jabari Blash would be out of the picture completely. Then there is Baez who could play three infield positions but the Padres have Alexei Ramirez (SS), Yangervis Solarte (3b) and Cory Spangenberg (2b) all set to start the season as the teams starters in the infield.
Schwarber make sense immediately for the Padres. Having Myers in left field shouldn’t be a horrible thing. But what about Jabari Blash and Hunter Renfroe? A mega trade seems unlikely at this point. At least not before the season starts. The Padres have already named Tyson Ross as the teams opening day starter. Perhaps A.J. Preller is hoping James Shields can boost his trade value this season. Also perhaps he is hoping the Cubs become desperate and are forced to move their young talent for pieces that are needed to secure a championship. Something that is a reality in Chicago. If they need a key player or two, they will not and should not be shy about trading for them.
A trade between the two teams seems possible but both teams are set to start the season with what they currently have on their roster. At least A.J. Preller would like you to think that. The grind of a season is long and injuries can hit at any time. These two teams match-up well in a potential deal and there has already been multiple reports the two sides have talked within the last year. Where there is smoke, there is fire. There is certainly a fire here. But is it a small little fire or a roaring firestorm? Stay tuned.