It is not a secret that the San Diego Padres are looking to make a move or two in order to balance out their roster and make a run at a playoff appearance. The team has a solid veteran nucleus, but seeks a few components to solidify itself as a franchise for now and into the future.
The main need for the Padres is at shortstop and the team also could use a solid left-handed bat to hit in front of Matt Kemp or behind him. The natural position for said left-handed bat would be either left field or first base. We anxiously await what the Padres management team has up its sleeve. Changes need to be made, but there are many different angles in which the team can attack its needs.
The New York Yankees have major interest in Craig Kimbrel. The two team were reportedly talking trade at the deadline in July and were discussing young shortstop Jorge Mateo from the Yankees. The 20-year old infielder has exceptional speed, stealing 98 bases last season in A-ball. He hit .278 with two homers and 40 RBI’s in 117 games.
Mateo has some time to mature before he is Major League ready though. That probably limited the talks between the two clubs as the Padres have a need at shortstop now. Now that it is winter time the Padres have the ability to sign a veteran free agent like Asdrubal Cabrera or Alexei Ramirez and then trade for Mateo and let him develop in the minors.
It remains to be seen if the Padres value Mateo enough to go that route. It is also questionable if the club wants to invest in some veteran shortstops that have limited abilities. The Yankees are surely interested in Kimbrel. That is a well-known fact. In July it was rumored the Yankees were willing to eat the contract of Jedd Gyorko in a deal. They need a second baseman, and Gyorko’s deal isn’t that bad in terms of what the Yankees can afford. However Jedd Gyorko had a solid second half and even showed some great versatility in playing shortstop for the team. He probably isn’t viewed by the Padres as a bad contract at the moment.
Melvin Upton Jr. is another story. The team would surely like to get his $31.9 million off their books for the next two seasons. Would the Yankees consider taking on his salary on a potential Kimbrel deal? Losing both Kimbrel and Upton Jr off the books would save the Padres $56.9 million for the next two seasons. That in itself would be helpful for the team if they choose to go after a high-profile free agent.
One would think however that Mateo himself wouldn’t be nearly enough for the Padres to get a deal done. Even if the Yankees ate Upton Jr’s contract, I have a hard time believing the Padres would deal their ace closer for a speedy prospect who is likely two seasons from being Major League ready. So what else do the Yankees have to offer?
There was a rumor that the Padres and Yankees were working on a Brett Gardner for Craig Kimbrel deal. $39.5 million is what Gardner is due for the next three years. He would be a nice upgrade at center field and leadoff but the Padres probably want prospects for Kimbrel. Who knows what direction the Padres will go? They have so many options. This offseason should be a memorable one for Padres fans once again.