Padres Rumors: Blue Jays Interested in Craig Kimbrel

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Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego
Mandatory Credit: UT San Diego

The trade winds are starting to blow around San Diego and the Padres are sure to make a splash once again as the trade deadline approaches. The team is rumored to be interested in selling and buying at the deadline. What??? Really??? Both? San Diego Padres management obviously thinks some changes need to be made, and some baseball executives are saying the team could be very active in the next few weeks.

The Toronto Blue Jays have shown interest in Craig Kimbrel per Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports. If the Padres decide to move on from Kimbrel, then they will surely get a good return of prospects. Kimbrel is signed through the 2018 season so a team acquiring him would certainly pay full price.

Would the Padres really deal Kimbrel? Or more importantly, would that be a smart move considering his age and track record of success? It remains to be seem if the team would make the move, but the Blue Jays do have some nice prospects that could easily get a deal done. Daniel Norris is rated as their #1 prospect and it is said that scouts from the Padres were recently in attendance in Rochester, New York to watch Norris pitch for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A Buffalo team.

Jeff Hoffman was also recently scouted by the Padres front office in a recent appearance for the Blue Jays’ Single-A Dundeline affiliate. The fact the Padres are scouting the Blue Jays does not mean a trade is imminent. It does however show that the Padres are actively looking to make changes within the current structure of the team. The future for this team and it’s players is very cloudy to say the least. Anything can truly happen, and with A.J. Preller unhappy with his team, trades will be made. If the team moves Kimbrel then Brandon Maurer looks poised to take over the closer position. He has the arm and attitude to excel at the position.

The Toronto Blue Jays and San Diego Padres really do make great trade partners. The Blue Jays need starting pitching and relief pitching very badly. With Craig Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit, Shawn Kelley, Andrew Cashner, and Ian Kennedy all available for trade, they could surely improve their staff. The question is would the Jays be willing to mortgage part of their future for instant gratification?

The Toronto Blue Jays window of opportunity is closing. The team is built to win now and they at some point are going to have to put all their chips in the middle of the table. Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista are both free agents after next season. The team will have a hard time re-signing both and each player is valuable to the team and its chemistry. The Blue Jays would surely part with top prospects in an effort to gain a championship now.

Mandatory Credit: Sporting News
Mandatory Credit: Sporting News

Daniel Norris is an intriguing player to evaluate as far as worth. He is by all means one of the top prospects in the game (listed as #34 in Baseball Prospectus 2015), but some scouts differ on his upside. He is deemed anywhere from a solid #3 pitcher to a staff ace. Most would lean towards the ace rating as Norris is still only 22 years old. He has made the fast track to the Major Leagues and will surely be back at some point this season. He started the 2015 season in the rotation, making five starts for the Jays. He went 1-1 in five starts with a 3.86 ERA. Norris struck out 18 batters in his 23 innings of work this season in Toronto.

Daniel Norris made his Major League debut in 2014 where he threw 6.2 innings and had an ERA of 5.40 ERA. Great expierence for the 21-year-old left-handed pitcher from Tennessee. Norris was a second round pick by the Blue Jays in the 2011 amateur draft. He struggled in his first pro season, but blossomed his second season in High A-ball. He had a 3.97 ERA in 90 innings and struck out 100 batters. The next season Norris pitched in Single-A, Double-A, and Triple-A, posting a 2.53 ERA in 124 innings striking out 163 batters and only walking 43. A 1.118 WHIP is excellent for a young pitcher.

Norris has a nice tailing fastball that can approach the mid 90’s in terms of velocity. He also has an above average slider and change-up and even throws a curve ball. His curve ball is listed as average but the other three pitches are above average. With that type of repertoire, Norris can surely be successful in the Major Leagues if he puts it all together. Being a left-handed pitcher also boosts his value quite a bit.

Jeff Hoffman also has tremendous upside. He was being considered for the #1 pick in the 2014 draft but had some arm issues. He required Tommy John surgery in May, but was still taken by the Blue Jays with the 9th pick in the draft in June. His upside was just too much for the Jays to pass on. The 22-year-old right-hander throws sinking fastballs that are clocked in the high 90’s. He also has an above average curveball and change-up. His command has been solid for his whole career, so he projects as a legitimate top of the line starter, provided his arm is at full strength.

With both those names being scouted, the Padres will surely have to give up some quality players in return. Craig Kimbrel is the best closer in the game right now, would he warrant both those young prospects in return? Andrew Cashner and Ian Kennedy would both interest the Jays as well as Kimbrel. So could the teams work on some sort of mega-deal? It could happen. The Blue Jays could easily view the Padres as a one stop shop to fit all their needs.

Would there be a way the Padres could get the Blue Jays to take on the contracts of Melvin Upton Jr. or Jedd Gyorko? Upton Jr. would be a tough sell for any Major League team at this point, but stranger things have happened. As far as Gyorko, a change in scenery might be best for him. Gyorko playing everyday in Toronto could easily hit 25 home runs a season. The Blue Jays could view him as a cheap power source. Shouldn’t be that tough a sell for A.J. Preller. The potential scenarios between these two teams is limitless.

Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Adding the names of Devon Travis at second base or Dalton Pompey in center field to the potential deal and the Padres could pull the trigger. Travis has had an impressive rookie campaign so far for the Blue Jays hitting .291 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 175 at bats. Travis has a very quick bat and like Gyorko is a power hitting second baseman. The right hand hitter is only 24 and has battled a shoulder injury this season.

Pompey is listed as the Blue Jays #2 prospect and Major League Baseball’s #42 (Baseball Prospectus) prospect. He is a slick fielding center fielder who is a switch hitter. The 22-year-old Pompey made his Major League debut in 2014 and has played in 23 games so far this season for the Jays. He is currently hitting .193 with two home runs and six RBI’s in 83 at bats. The young outfielder is a work in progress, but is very toolsy. The Jays hold him in very high regard and for the Padres to even consider acquiring him the deal would have to be very juicy for the Blue Jays.

The trade winds are certainly blowing and the Padres figure to be in the middle of it all. The team is attempting to be the rare ball club both buying and selling at the trade deadline. They will attempt to restructure their team and reshuffle their potential free agents. At the same time reassure the fan base that the team is indeed still committed to winning. Not an easy task to complete. They will have to be precise with their moves and a little luck doesn’t hurt either. Padres management is focused on revamping the winning tradition of the Padres, and the team must embrace this in order to move forward.

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