The San Diego Padres are looking to shuffle their payroll and make a move in the competitive National League West. The team will surely make a move or two this off-season. With that being said, we here at EVT will explore some possible trade scenarios. Nothing is set in stone, but the Padres will surely make some moves this winter.
The first scenario is an absolute blockbuster deal. The San Diego Padres would send James Shields and Melvin Upton Jr. to the Colorado Rockies for Jose Reyes and Carlos Gonzalez. The deal sounds crazy at first, but has a lot of legitimate factors to it. The deal could also be expanded with a few Minor Leaguers going to each team to even up the trade if needed.
Both teams are really looking to make a move. With the Rockies dealing Troy Tulowitzki, they are clearly not opposed to trading anyone. Immediately Padres fans will say, let’s get Nolan Arenado from them, but in all reality the Rockies have no need to move him and wouldn’t do so unless a team overpaid for his services. The Padres are in no position to overpay at the moment and are instead looking to make creative deals that could potentially free up some salary and fix some holes on the roster.
Looking at this proposed deal you must take the salaries into consideration. James Shields is due $65 million in total for the next three years, while Melvin Upton Jr. is owed $31.9 million for two seasons. Jose Reyes is owed $48 million (two seasons) in total while Carlos Gonzalez is due $37 million (two seasons). This deal would potentially save the Padres $11.9 million dollars and both Reyes and Gonzalez are only signed through the 2017 season. Shields would still be due another $21 million with a $2 million dollar buyout for 2018. The trade would bump the salary of the Padres up slightly for the next two seasons, but they would be free of commitments past the 2017 season. That in itself has some value to it.
Both Reyes and Gonzalez provide two needs for the Padres. The team has been in need of a shortstop for a long time. Reyes’ skills have clearly diminished, but he could provide a decent Major League option until the Padres can develop a young shortstop. Reyes is no long-term answer, but can be a nice mentor for a young developing infielder. Reyes would also be an excellent lead-off option for the Padres as well. Something that the team has needed for a long time. Again, his skills have diminished, but in order to move Upton the Padres must take on another teams perceived “bad contract”.
Gonzalez is a smooth swinging left-handed batter that can carry a team for weeks on end. He has struggled with injuries but managed to play in 153 games this season hitting 40 homers and driving in 97 runs while hitting .271 on the year. Gonzalez also provides gold glove caliber type defense in the outfield. In this scenario he would hit behind or in front of Kemp and man right field. With that Matt Kemp would have to move to left field or possibly even first base.
As for James Shields. The Rockies would love to add his mentality to a staff that is young and eager. He would easily become their ace and the Rockies would love the fact he eats up innings. Pitching in Colorado shouldn’t hinder Shields as he has a very tough quality about him. Melvin Upton would provide the Rockies a decent bat who could flourish in the thin air of Denver. Upton at the very least would provide excellent defense for the spacious Coors Field outfield. The Rockies could realistically use both players, and the Padres could use Gonzalez and Reyes, but the two teams are NL West rivals and that alone could very easily be a roadblock in a potential trade.
The sight of James Shields leading the Rockies could turn Padres fans stomach, especially if you factor in that both Reyes and Gonzalez have a long history of injury issues. That is something that has been a non issue for Shields, as he has never missed a start in the Major Leagues. Moving Shields would be a risky move for the Padres. Ian Kennedy will likely leave via free agency, so by moving Shields the team would only have Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner as viable options in the starting staff.
That would not be a huge problem for the Padres as there are many free agent pitchers available this winter. Not that the Padres would have a lot of money to throw at a free agent, but if they are patient they could land a suitable replacement or two on a decent team friendly contract. Losing Melvin Upton would also leave the Padres with a hole in center field. Travis Jankowski looked decent in his playing time this year but the Padres coddled him a bit. It’s not evident that he is ready to take over a full-time gig in the Major Leagues.
If Melvin Upton was dealt that would leave only Wil Myers as a possible center fielder along with Jankowski. The Padres experienced Myers in center, and although it wasn’t a total disaster, it is not a sight most Padres fans want to see. The team could obtain a decent center fielder like Leonys Martin or Aaron Hicks via trade however. So losing Upton would not be a difficult thing for the Padres. They mainly just want his contract off their books.
This potential trade would be difficult to get done. There are a ton of factors when consummating a deal. The two teams being division rivals might be a roadblock in getting anything done. The Padres are surely going to make a move or two, it’s not known if they intend to move Shields though. If they do, they will likely find a few bidders for his services. Despite the “down year” Shields still put up very respectable numbers and his leadership skills are in high demand. Anything can happen in Padreland and this winter could almost be as exciting as the previous one. Stay Tuned.