The San Diego Padres are presently evaluating talent for the next season and beyond. The team has dealt its longest tenured player Will Venable, and they appear ready to make a few more deals. Both Joaquin Benoit and Ian Kennedy were put on waivers, claimed by at least one other Major League team, then they were both pulled off waivers by the Padres. What this means is the Padres were negotiating with the club or clubs that claimed each player, but a trade could not be reached. Not surprising, as the Padres were likely looking for a decent return for each player. Joaquin Benoit has an $8 million dollar option for next season that is not all that unreasonable. In fact the $8 million dollar price tag is pretty fair given the ability Benoit has. He is 6-4 this season with a 2.13 ERA in 50 innings pitched. Even at the age of 38 Benoit is showing no signs of slowing down. Ian Kennedy is a curious case. Coming into this season Kennedy looked to be a lock to earn a compensation pick if he left the Padres via free agency. At times this season Kennedy has been hit around pretty hard. With being hit hard his value plummeted and it looked as though Kennedy had hurt his chances at a big off-season contract. Recently Kennedy has thrown very well and it seems as though he might indeed get a multi-year contract from some Major League team. The Padres are surely rooting for Kennedy. If he pitches well the Padres will offer him a qualifying offer of 1 year -$16 million dollars. With that they would earn a draft pick if Kennedy rejects it and chooses to sign elsewhere. The team could potentially have three first round picks next June if Kennedy and Justin Upton both leave via free agency and are offered qualifying offers by the team. Three first round picks would be fantastic for a franchise trying to rebuild its farm system. The draft pick for Justin Upton is almost a given. There are just too many factors against re-signing Upton long-term. The corner outfield position is crowded on the Padres Major League roster (Matt Kemp and Wil Myers) as well as the upper Minor League roster (Hunter Renfroe and Rymer Liriano). Not to mention the boat load of money Upton will command on the open market. I will say anything can happen, but the likelihood seems bleak of retaining the slugging outfielder for 2016 and beyond. The Padres are willing to move either pitcher but in placing them on waivers again, the team would not be able to pull them back. With that said, any team could just claim Kennedy or Benoit and the Padres could get nothing in return. Each player provides too much potential worth for the team just let them walk away. Kennedy could fetch a very useful first round pick and Benoit’s 2016 option is right on par with what the reliever is worth. The only way either player would be moved, is if a team paid a hefty price tag. Doesn’t seem very likely at this time, but once again, Preller excels in doing the exact opposite in what you believe. Stay tuned.
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