In a recent interview with MLB.com, A.J. Preller indicates that the Padres have been active in the past few days as far as trade talks go.
The MLB Winter Meetings just kicked off, and Preller tells A.J. Cassavell that “We’ve had discussions on the trade market for pitching– both starters and relievers– and on the free-agent market.” He continues to say “That’s been active, so we’ll see how things play out this week. That’s definitely an area of focus for us.”
With that, the team appears to be aggressively pursuing pitching for the 2018 season. Looking at relief options is a bit of a surprise, but if the team deals Brad Hand, they will surely need some assistance to make it through the 2018 season. There are a lot of young relievers on their way up, but to rely solely on these young men would be unwise.
Starting pitching is a certain need, as the rotation currently consists of Dinelson Lamet, Clayton Richard, Luis Perdomo, Travis Wood, and probably Matt Strahm. There are other candidates, but these five seem to be the likely subjects as of now. Things can change.
Trading for a starter seems strange, but the Padres are likely eyeing either undervalued established pitchers, or pitchers that are fringe rotation members for their teams in 2018. There are not a lot of franchises looking to move pitching, but let’s explore some players who could be had for the correct price.
Each are quality starters and would surely cost and arm and a leg, but if the team is looking to make a splash, they could rightfully be linked to just about anybody, on any team. The Padres have the money to spend and the deep farm system to facilitate a trade if they care to.
Some potential pitchers of interest to the Padres are as follows:
THE THREE ACES
He would be a tremendous acquisition for the Friars, but he would not be cheap in any way. Archer is under team control through the 2019 season for a very inexpensive $13.75 million. To top it off, after that, he has two consecutive team options ($9 million for 2020 and $11 million for 2021). His contract is one of the best in all of major league baseball and to wrestle him away from the Rays would be difficult. He is their ace and has been pitching like one in recent seasons. Archer struck out 11.5 batters per nine innings last year, which is dominant. They would demand at least two of the Padres’ top 10 prospects to start discussions, and even that might not be enough.
Cole is controlled by the Pirates through the 2019 season. He has yet to have a big payday and that could be a huge motivating factor for him moving forward. Cole has regressed since his rookie year and could be a player who needs a change of scenery. His stuff is dominant, but he has yet to put it all together. Under the guidance of Darren Balsley, he could be turned into a top 5 pitcher in all of baseball. He has that kind of upside. The Pirates are in trouble as they have several key players due for free agency. It may be time for the team to make a few moves and start the rebuilding process. Cole would not be cheap, but the Padres have several prospects to whet the appetite of the Pirates’ front office. Paying the asking price would be difficult as the Padres are not likely to compete in the next two seasons.
Another stud front-line pitcher who could be made available for the right price is the Jays’ ace. He is a smaller in stature pitcher, but he has a gigantic personality on the mound. He works tremendously hard and is well-respected among his teammates. The Jays reportedly shopped him in July, and the asking price was lofty. That is to be expected as he is under team control through the 2020 season. The Padres could package a decent set of players to get a deal done. They could also eat some bad salary if needed from Toronto. Mortgaging the future for a player like Stroman when the team isn’t quite built to win now is a bit risky though. You get three years of control with Stroman, but will the Padres be competitive in 2019 and 2020?
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