The San Diego Padres have a very young offensive team led by Wil Myers, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, and company, but they lack pitching at the moment, which they will need to be considered a relevant team in the near future. The pitching is coming, however, as the Single-A level is flooded with young talented arms like Cal Quantrill, Anderson Espinoza, Austin Smith, Jacob Nix, Jean Cosme, Eric Lauer, and Logan Allen.
If the Padres could somehow get some young dependable starters to bridge the gap to 2018 and 2019, when these young hurlers should be ready, then they could be a contending team sooner than most people think.
It is obvious the team will explore adding young pitchers in the off-season via trade, and today a tweet came out indicating the Padres are one of several teams talking to the White Sox about Chris Sale. That seems logical, as the Padres have several top prospects whom the White Sox could covet. The Sox current farm system is lacking and they could easily benefit from a package deal of young players.
Sale is a #1 pitcher and is quite dominant on the mound. He owns a career record of 74-50 in 228 games with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.065 WHIP. He has struck out 1,244 batters in 1,110 inning pitched at the major league level and is very nasty against left-handed batters. Last year with the White Sox, Sale went 17-10 with a 3.34 ERA and a 1.037 WHIP in 32 starts, where he struck out 233 batters in 226 innings. Simply nasty numbers from this southpaw.
Sale has been an all-star the last five seasons for the White Sox, and will not be acquired for anything less than an excellent package of young players. That is certain.
He is signed for the next three seasons at a very reasonable price for an ace pitcher as well. Sale will make $12 million next year, which is only $1 million more than what the Padres will be paying the White Sox for James Shields in 2017. In 2018, he has a team friendly option at $12.5 million, and in his last year under contract in 2019, he will make $13.5 million, if the team picks up his option. $38 million for three years of Chris Sale is a great deal, no matter how you slice it. The Sox will get top dollar for their left-handed ace. You can be sure of that. The Padres are only one of several teams looking at the pitcher, and once playoff season ends the hot stove will heat up even more. If the Sox want to move Sale, they will have no trouble finding a suitable deal.
So is this real? Are the Sox really moving him and are the Padres a possible landing spot? Where there is smoke, there tends to be fire.
**BREAKING MLB NEWS**
Source: White Sox talking with multiple teams about Chris Sale
So far Red Sox & Cardinals in heavy.. Yankees/Padres in
— Incarcerated Bob IBN (@incarceratedbob) October 14, 2016
This tweet comes from a less than secure source, so you really cannot take it as credible. The two teams MAY have had preliminary discussions involving a trade, but there are NO reports from the team or any of their beat writers.
So why are we even discussing this? Well, because it does make sense that the Sox are shopping Sale, and it also does make sense that the Padres are kicking the tires on a potential deal. Sale irked a lot of people in the upper management of the Sox when he ripped up his throwback jersey before a start, and flat-out refused to pitch in the uniform, which he deemed uncomfortable. The Sox could be looking to move him before he sours his value or before he makes too many in the clubhouse angry. Chris Sale’s value is the highest it’s ever been right now and if they want top-dollar, now might be the time to move him to patch some of the holes the franchise has on its roster.
Sale is an ace in every sense of the word and his attitude matches that. He can be a handful on the mound and can be equally explosive in the locker room. Or at least that is the reputation that he has. That kind of ace pitcher could go a long way in the N.L. West, especially against fellow southpaws Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw, who have an equal attitude when toeing the rubber. The Padres would love to add Sale, but do they have the proper prospects the Sox would covet?
In return for Sale, the first thing the Sox would want in return is some young pitching that is close to major league ready. That is something the Padres are lacking currently. Unless the Sox like Michael Kelly or Andrew Lockett, the Padres have few Triple-A pitchers ready for service time. That brings us to the current pitchers on the Padres 40-man roster. Would dealing Brandon Maurer, Brad Hand, or Luis Perdomo be productive for the team? If you are getting Chris Sale in return, then the answer is most definitely… Yes!
Those three pitchers are nice, but they alone will obviously not get a deal done. The Padres would have to part with a player like Travis Jankowski, Ryan Schimpf, Cory Spangenberg, or Alex Dickerson. In reality, it would take a before-mentioned pitcher, two from this group of four, and the Sox would still need another player or two just to start negotiations. Sale is not a cheap commodity by any means. Perhaps Derek Norris would interest the Sox? If I were the Sox, I would demand Austin Hedges from the Padres for Sale, but I do not believe the Padres would move Hedges. Norris would be the player the Padres try to move. His salary and lack of production dictate that the team would like to rid themselves of him come 2017. A deal just seems unlikely for the Padres and Sox on Chris Sale. Its just not the right time for the Padres to pay the hefty price, the Sox want. Hedges, Renfroe and Margot will not be dealt.
Another possible option is that the Padres go after Jose Quintana instead. The Sox might be inclined to keep Sale if nobody meets their high demands, but Quintana could be had at lesser value. The left-handed pitcher is 27 and owns a 3.41 career ERA in five years, where he is 46-46 with a 1.242 WHIP in 950 innings and 151 major league starts. He is a nice option for a team looking for a value pitcher.
The Padres need young pitching, and both Sale and Quintana fit the mold. The Padres have assets to trade, like a surplus of second baseman and catchers, as well as some young outfielders that could be moved for the right price. Names like Schimpf, Spangenberg, Dickerson, Norris, Jankowski, Jabari Blash, Oswaldo Arcia, Nick Torres, and even Yangervis Solarte could be names used to get a deal done for pitching.
I do not expect the Padres to move Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, or Wil Myers, nor do I expect them to part with Austin Hedges at this point. Everyone else on the 40-man roster is pretty much up for grabs. Chris Sale makes sense, but it is still up in the air if the Padres can put together a package of players worth the Sox time. Jankowski, Perdomo, and Schimpf might be close to start negotiations, but the Sox could likely do better when it comes down to crunch time. Ace pitchers are a rare thing to have and Sale is quite frankly one of the top-10 pitchers in the league, easily. Stay tuned, Padres fans. As A.J. Preller’s suspension ends, the Padres will likely begin their shopping period of the off-season. There is a lot to be done with this squad if they plan on competing in 2017.