The 2017 San Diego Padres are going to be an exciting team to watch.
Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Austin Hedges, and company will provide many interesting moments for a fan base that has been starved for quality baseball for quite some time. The new Padres’ regime is trying to cultivate a winning tradition within the organization and it is definitely a work in progress.
The current need for the team appears to be in the starting pitching department. With ace Tyson Ross recovering from shoulder surgery, there is nothing but question marks regarding the rotation. Luis Perdomo, Christian Friedrich, Jarred Cosart, and Paul Clemens make up the rest of the rotation. Cesar Vargas and Erik Johnson have an outside chance at a rotation spot, but each are recovering from arm injuries. There’s just nothing but uncertainty regarding this staff.
Looking at that potential group, it is evident that the Padres need to add some arms. They cannot have a repeat of last season, when the bullpen was constantly taxed by the starters inability to go deep in games. Only Luis Perdomo threw a complete game last season for the Padres, which is sad. It is obvious that the Friars need their starters to eat innings in the front half of the game if they plan on competing at all in 2017.
The team will be busy exploring options on the waiver wire, free agent market, and trade market this winter. The Padres have depth in certain areas. That will definitely be enticing once teams get down to business in attempting to improve their teams. The CBA is done, so now is the time for teams to get their rosters stocked for the 2017 season.
One particular franchise that fits the mold for a potential trade partner is the Tampa Bay Rays. They are reportedly (Jon Heyman and Ken Rosenthal reporting) looking to trade some starting pitching and have some interesting names that could entice the Padres to give up talent.
At this point, the Rays are looking for a starting catcher, a left fielder/designated hitter, and bullpen help. All three of those are what the Padres presently have a surplus of. Austin Hedges, Derek Norris, Christian Bethancourt, and Hector Sanchez could probably all start on most days for any major league team. The Padres are undoubtedly wanting to keep the young, defensive-minded Hedges with the franchise as the team has depth with young pitching prospects. Bethancourt is currently being groomed to be utilized in a hybrid role for the 2017 season. He will play some outfield and possibly pitch out of the bullpen, besides catching a few games here and there. Sanchez could be kept on the roster as well and utilized as the team’s backup first baseman to Wil Myers. That leaves Derek Norris, who is the obvious odd man out.
Norris is coming off a horrible year in which he hit .186 in 415 at bats. He was below average defensively as well, but is still 28 and should have some value on the market. His value is realistically minimal at best, though. The Rays would have interest, but they are not dumb. They know his value took a major hit last season. They also understand the Padres need to move the catcher. Still, the Padres have the catching that the Rays need and they could very well take advantage of an undervalued Norris.
When looking at the Padres’ strengths, you will also notice the team has plenty of outfielders and a decent amount of arms in the bullpen. Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot are not going anywhere, at least not unless the Padres get an offer that they just can’t refuse. But Travis Jankowski, Alex Dickerson, Jabari Blash, and Nick Torres are interesting players that perhaps could help the Rays offensively. Then you have bullpen arms like Brandon Maurer, Brad Hand, and Ryan Buchter that all have decent value. The Rays could get exactly what they need from the Padres, but what kind of pitching do they have to offer?
The Rays have four starting pitchers that may be of interest to the Padres. Each have a different value attached to them coming into the 2017 season. The Padres could pay any asking price if they feel inclined to, but at this point the team needs to be careful when adding players. They do not want to damage the special aura they are building around this franchise.
In recent weeks, the Rays have been entertaining offers for Logan Forsythe and possibly Evan Longoria. If either are dealt, then the Padres will once again have an answer for the Rays as the Friars have Ryan Schimpf, Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg, and Carlos Asuaje possibly available for trade. All four can play either position. The possibility of a deal between these two clubs just gets more interesting by the day. The match is there, but that alone hardly guarantees a deal.
Lets take a look at the foursome in the Rays rotation that could help the Padres and analyze a trade scenario between these two clubs.
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