Padres Editorial: Padres Clearing Salary to Make Run at a Free-Agent?

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Credit: UT San Diego
Credit: UT San Diego

In the past few days the Padres have saved a ton of salary this year and beyond. With the trade of Joaquin Benoit and Craig Kimbrel the team has shed $18.75 million this season and $14.25 for the 2017 season. Losing both those relief pitchers will be rough for the team but each were making quite a bit of money. The Padres should be able to fill their roles with less expensive alternatives if they do they homework.

Replacing them will be a tough task though as there just are not that many quality relievers out there on the free agent market. The team will delve into the free agent market in some capacity, but the majority of the money they saved should be put into the team in other aspects of the game.

Javier Guerra, acquired by the team has a very good chance of being the franchises shortstop of the future. He has a fantastic glove and his bat is developing and has a very high ceiling. Think of him as a Brandon Crawford type of player. He will strike out, but has very good left-handed pop for a middle infielder. Guerra is not going to be ready until the 2017 season at the earliest. He is still very young and at the age of 20, the Padres have no need to rush him into the big leagues until he is ready.

The obvious choice to spend money on is at shortstop. Ian Desmond, Alexei Ramirez, Asdrubal Cabrera and Jimmy Rollins are all free agents. Desmond will cost you the most money and he will also cost you a draft pick because the Nationals made him a qualifying offer.

Cabrera and Ramirez make interesting options and each would surely only require a two-year deal to sign. The Padres should consider this as the team still needs a shortstop to run out there on an everyday basis. Between Guerra, Ruddy Giron and Jose Rondon the Padres now have three decent shortstop prospects. All three will take a little time to develop, but they are all very good prospects.

Another option for the club to spend some money on is acquiring a starting pitcher. There are some excellent starting pitchers available this winter and the Padres could go that route with Andrew Cashner due for free agency after the completion of the 2016 season. Jordan Zimmerman, Yovani Gallardo, Rich Hill, Scott Kazmir, and John Lackey are possibilities. The team has already been linked to Rich Hill in some capacity.

Lastly the team could make a run at a left-fielder. Jason Heyward will likely be too expensive for the team, but perhaps Alex Gordon could be a possibility. That all depends on the development of Hunter Renfroe and how comfortable the Padres are with labeling him the left fielder of the future.

Anything can truly happen as the Padres try to regroup and form a team that is ready to compete now and into the future. Not an easy task for a franchise that has been dwindling in the middle of the pack for a decade. This offseason should be an interesting one for the San Diego Padres.

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