There is no doubt in my mind, nor should there be in yours, that the San Diego Padres will make some moves in the very near future.
The team is not built to win now, but that does not mean that the team is not focused on winning for the long-term.
One way to build for the future is by trading off major league-caliber players for prospects. Sadly, this is a routine that Padres’ fans are well aware of. However, this season has a distinctly different feel to it, as the team has stockpiled loads of talent at the minor league level. The majority of said talent is in the lowest of minor league levels presently, so the road is long to success. There are no guarantees for victory, but the fact this current Padres’ regime has a plan, goes a long way towards satisfying the starved fan base.
Trading a player like Brad Hand or Yangervis Solarte seems likely. Both have worth and you can easily argue that their value will never be any higher than it is at this point right now. Both men are vital to the team’s success now, but in reality the team is not structured to win presently. So you have to do what you have to do.
Both men will not be highlighted in this piece, like the title suggests.
There are other options for the team to deal though, and here is a rundown on some of the likely subjects.
It pains me to write this, as I really like the young infielder/outfielder. The reality of the situation is– he is entering one of his last chances to establish himself in the league. The former #1 pick of the Friars in 2011 has great ability, but his plate discipline simply has not improved. With the demotion of Schimpf to Triple-A El Paso, the third base position should be Spangenberg’s for the most part. It will be an excellent chance to see if he can maintain, but if he cannot, I fear his days in a Padres’ uniform could be numbered.
As far as value goes, he should maintain some. If given a chance to play everyday, on a team that is structured correctly for him, it could be beneficial for the young man. The Padres are hoping he can be a top of the order hitter, but he just can’t cut down on his strikeout rate. He seems to have made improvement on his launch angle and selection at the plate. Spangenberg was sadly putting the ball on the ground too much, and he was the victim of the slider, resulting in a high K rate. With an improved approach at the plate, he could finally be the player the Padres envisioned him being. The next month or so will be critical for the future of Spangenberg. He is on this list as the Padres have plenty of options in the infield, and they are surely growing concerned if he will ever progress to the player he can be.
Since he was signed prior to the 2016 season, he has done nothing but earned respect among Padres’ fans. Buchter is not overwhelming in any regard, and can get touched up a bit from time to time, but he has been a solid presence in the bullpen for the Friars. He went 3-0 last season with a 2.86 ERA in 67 games and 63 innings pitched. In his first taste of major league life, Buchter struck out 78 batters last year, while walking 31 and earning a 1.03 WHIP. In 2017, he owns a 3.04 ERA in 23 innings pitched and 25 games. Nothing overly impressive, but still very respectable numbers.
Buchter is signed until the 2022 season and is still making barely over league minimum. He is not due for arbitration until 2019, so the Padres are not in a hurry to deal him. He provides excellent value at a bargain rate. The 30-year-old was a late bloomer, like some left-handed pitchers are. If Hand is dealt, then Buchter will likely be kept. But you never know. LHP Brad Wieck is in the minors, and could be a decent option for the future.
If Trevor Cahill can return to form and provide a solid contribution at the top of the Padres’ rotation, he could provide excellent value on or before the trade deadline. Prior to his injury, the right-handed pitcher had maintained an excellent strikeout rate, while calming the unsettled rotation. He went down in early May with a shoulder injury, but has been able to get back to throwing recently. Last Friday, he was able to play catch and reported no setback. He should be going out on a rehab assignment in the next week to 10 days.
At this point his value is low, but if he can return to form and prove his health is not an issue, the Padres could fetch a decent return. Towards the end of the year, there are plenty of teams that are in the need of starting pitching for their playoff run. Cahill is an interesting name to keep an eye on going forward as far as proving talent for the Padres’ future.
The left-handed starting pitcher has emerged in his second stint with the Friars. He could provide value for the team, as he has proven to be durable in the last few seasons since returning from shoulder surgery. He has the ability to pitch out of the bullpen if needed, so that increases his value to a potential playoff team. Thus far in 2017, Richard is 4-7 in 13 starts, recording a 4.54 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP. Not particularly impressive from the pitcher out of the University of Michigan, but he has the potential to turn it around and provide value for the Padres. Last season, Richard went 3-3 for the Padres down the stretch, recording a 2.52 ERA while starting nine games for the team.
Richard would not require a huge haul of talented players, but the Padres could get a decent player who could blossom under the tutelage of the Padres’ coaching staff. Preller will explore every option in improving the team. Richard would be a nice player to keep around for the young pitchers that are nearly major league-ready, but if he can earn the team a decent prospect, then they will surely make the move. If the Padres really want Richard for next season, they can re-sign him in the off-season as he is a free agent after the 2017 season. So there is that.
The 33-year-old journeyman relief pitcher has emerged this season, of late. He is pitching out of the bullpen in long relief for the most part. 13 of his 20 appearances have been for more than one inning this season. He is a capable reliever and is on this list as he is a veteran and could be of interest. He is not going to get earn a huge haul for the team, but when you are contending for a title, the more arms the merrier. He will be of interest.
If A.J. Preller can find a taker for him, and thus receive a young player in return, then he will surely do it. Stammen could be packaged with other players if he continues to throw well out of the pen. I would not expect the house for the right-hander, but if a team is desperate for arms late in the year, he could provide some value for the Friars.
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