As the San Diego Padres formulated their farm system, they signed and drafted a huge amount of shortstops.
The Padres have lacked a true shortstop for a long time and this is certainly not a secret.
The issue is, when you sign teenagers, they get larger, and more often than not grow out of the position you ideally think they can man at the highest level of professional baseball. From Cal Ripken and Alex Rodriguez to Manny Machado, players that are drafted as shortstops are required to move out of the position.
The Padres have drafted, signed, or traded for Fernando Tatis Jr., Luis Urias, Gabriel Arias, Jordy Barley, Luis Almanzar, Kelvin Melean, Justin Lopez, and Jarryd Dale in the past two years. Each have the ability to play the position, but with the exception of Arias, each could very easily move off the position, and most will be converted to second base (some already have).
Why am I bringing this up? Well, the Padres have depth presently at second base at the major league level, and more is on the way.
The team needs to make a move to clear room for obvious talents such as Urias. Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg, Carlos Asuaje, and even Jose Pirela are best suited for second than any other position. Solarte and Spangenberg can play third (Asuaje can too for that matter) and Pirela is learning and turning into a serviceable left fielder.
Teams such as the Los Angeles Angels are in need of a second baseman. The Angels are built to win now. They just re-signed Justin Upton. With Mike Trout and Albert Pujols on the roster, the team is built to compete and bring home a championship. Currently, Luis Valbuena, Kaleb Cowart, and Jefry Marte are penciled in to man both second base and third base. Any of the Padres’ foursome at second base would be a huge upgrade. I mean, huge.
So the Angels have a need at both second and third. They can look at free agency to fill that need, can’t they? Sure. They can fill the void by bringing in a veteran, but they just opened up their pocketbook for Upton. It is unlikely they would do so for a fringe second base or third baseman. That is what is currently available, unless they pay the price for Eric Hosmer or Mike Moustakas. This is an advantage for the Padres. Solarte and Spangenberg should have decent value. Pirela’s value has increased incredibly in the last six months. Asuaje is serviceable, but not appreciated unless you see him play everyday.
The Angels are interested. That cannot be debated. A left-handed hitter like Solarte of Spangenberg would help break up their mostly right-handed hitting lineup. But what do the Angels have to offer, and is there potential for a deal to take place?
First off, the Angels’ farm system is in pretty bad shape. It is not the worst system in all of baseball, but there is obviously a lack of talent there. The Padres can always use pitching prospects and there are a couple of interesting names in the Angels’ system. Here are a few to look out for as the two teams start to negotiate:
This 22-year-old is a reliever only at this point in his career. He has a power fastball and a slider. The fastball sits in the mid 90’s and has lots of movement to it. Scouts describe it as deceptive. He throws a heavy fastball. He teams that with a slider/curve that is average to above average presently. The Venezuelan hurler has recorded 32 saves in his minor league career. He reached the majors last year, going 0-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 22 innings pitched.
At 21, he has progressed well, reaching the Triple-A level last season. The right-handed pitcher is the Angels #8 prospect after going 7-9 last year with a 2.80 ERA in 26 starts and 141 innings pitched in total. He is not a power pitcher, but instead relies on exceptional control. He has three above average pitches (curve/change) and can locate them all. Barria pitches to contact for the most part. He will not blow you away with his stuff, but has a very good idea of how to pitch.
The polar opposite of Barria, is this power right-handed pitcher. Magnifico has a triple-digit heater, but fails to consistently locate it. He is only 6′ 1″, so you have to believe that his mechanics can be cleaned up. The 26-year-old has Triple-A service time, but has struggled throwing strikes. He teams his power fastball with a plus slider. If a team can get him to be consistent, he has the ability to be a decent bullpen piece one day.
These three are just a few of many decent pitchers in the system. There are also some position players of interest. Michael Hermosillo is one. The 22-year-old performed well at the Triple-A level last year (.287/.341/.487) in 115 at bats. He has the ability to play center as the 5′ 11″ outfielder stole 35 bases last year in total. The right-handed hitter has developing power and an ability to take a walk. He is an interesting option, though the Padres are well-stocked in young outfield prospects.
As far as major league options, the Angels have two pitchers that are an option. Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney are a couple of lefties that could use a change of scenery. Heaney had Tommy John surgery in 2016 and missed most of 2017. The 26-year-old went 1-2 last season in five starts with a 7.07 ERA. He did have a great outing in late August where he went six innings pitched, allowing two hits and striking out 10 Oakland A’s. He ended up striking out 27 batters in 2017 in his 21 innings pitched. Heaney features a low 90’s sinking fastball that has great movement on it. He has a decent change and a nice natural cut to all his pitches. He could break out in 2018.
Tyler Skaggs is another left-handed pitcher recovering from Tommy John surgery. He had his in August of 2014. He has a funky motion and plus velocity. Skaggs also features a decent curve, but lacks consistency with a third pitch. His change is a work in progress currently. At the very least he should be productive as a left-handed relief option in the long run. Skaggs is only 26 and his high rising fastball is a true swing and miss pitch.
The Angels are in need of starting pitching. Both Heaney and Skaggs are penciled into the bottom of the rotation presently. They could be acquired, but a decent asking price is to be expected. Would a Spangenberg for Heaney deal make sense for both teams? Yes. Yes, it would. And I am a huge Cory Spangenberg fan.
At this point, the Padres have so much depth at second, losing Spangenberg wouldn’t be a problem. A Heaney for Spangy deal is a great starting point for these two teams to discuss something. Prospects could be added here and there to even out a potential deal, but this proposed trade makes some sense for both squads. A.J. Preller will surely talk to the Angels as the Winter Meetings are set to begin in the next 10 days. The Angels and the Padres match up well and have a history of completing trades. Keep an eye on this situation as the Padres look to lessen their depth at the second base position.