Let us first explore if there are any free agent starting pitchers looking for work worthy of taking a flier on.
The Padres have money to spend and could easily afford a pitcher if the price is right.
You do need to have some concern when reviewing each of these names as the season starts next week and they failed to land a job. Some were asking for too much money, while others just had no suitors. Not much in this list, but let’s explore it anyway.
The former Cy Young Award winner (2012) is now 43 and a long shot to pitch in the majors again. Dickey had a respectable year last year in Atlanta, where he was 10-10 with a 4.26 ERA in 190 innings pitched. He is only an innings-eater at this point in his career and not even a mid-rotation-type starter. Dickey made $7.5 million last year, but would easily take a fraction of that for another opportunity to pitch at the major league level again. Dickey would probably only be a consideration if the team were decimated by injuries.
At 34, Garza could still have some life left in him. He is currently shelved after undergoing shoulder surgery in January. The right-handed pitcher could be had for nearly nothing because he would probably not contribute in 2018 very much. Garza would be an investment in the future, something like the team did with Josh Johnson or Brandon Morrow. In the future, the big righty might have more value out of the pen once he returns healthy.
In 2010, Ubaldo was an absolute horse for the Colorado Rockies. He finished the year 19-8 with a 2.88 ERA and struck out 214 batters in 221 innings. His numbers sharply declined after that, as has his velocity. He once topped out in the triple digits, but hasn’t approached that speed in a long time. Ubaldo’s career might be over, but if Darren Balsley could possibly fix him and regain some lost velocity, he could be useful. This is a real long shot though. Especially at this point in the season.
The former Pirates’ and Marlins’ left-handed pitcher is available. I am surprised the 30-year-old did not surface somewhere on a minor league deal. He isn’t anything particularly special, but could be useful as a long reliever or back-end starter. He played for $3 million last year in Miami, and could be had at or near the league minimum. Locke is an interesting idea, but at this point, Lucchesi and Lauer would be better options for a developing team in a starting role.
We have been over this before as he would be the major acquisition via trade. His price tag would be excessive though as he is signed for a relatively inexpensive contract for the next few seasons (around 4-years/$43 million). The Padres would have to part with some serious prospects to get a deal done. Moving Lauer, Quantrill, or Lucchesi at this point could be foolish. The scary thing is that dealing one of those arms would only be a fraction of what the Rays would require for Archer. If the Padres think they are going to compete sooner rather than later, Archer makes sense. However, the price tag would be extraordinary and the team would need to be prepared for the consequences.
The Indians have an excess of starting pitchers and the right-handed hurler could be had for the correct price. The 28-year-old Dominican right-hander has some of the best stuff in all of major league baseball, but has struggled with health and durability. Salazar has never made it through a whole season without being sidelined with some sort of injury. He was 5-6 last year in 23 games and 19 starts, recording a 4.28 ERA. The pitcher struck out 145 batters in 103 innings pitched. Salazar has always been able to rack up the K’s as he owns 686 career strikeouts in 587 innings pitched. He has also walked 210 in that time. If the Padres can harness his mechanics and get a full season or two from him, he could be something special. The price tag would not be cheap, but the Padres have prospects and young major leaguers to get a deal done.
“The Dark Knight” has only been a shadow of himself in the past few seasons. Harvey recorded a 6.70 ERA last year in 92 innings pitched. He probably needs to get out of New York to jump-start his career, and even then, I’m not sure if that would help. Luckily for him, he is a free agent at the end of the 2018 season and should be able to sign a deal somewhere. 2018 is a big year for Harvey and he should be motivated to perform. The Mets have intentions of winning so they would not be too eager to deal him. At 29, he is too young to write off, but he needs to turn the corner with his maturity and preparation. The Padres could wrestle him away from the Mets, but there are plenty of red flags to beware of here.
At 27, Wheeler is still capable of being a productive major league pitcher. The former Giants’ top prospect has had arm issues and there are still concerns about his health. He was just sent down to the minors by the Mets after losing a battle for the #5 spot in the rotation. Wheeler is capable of being a decent hurler and could probably be had at a relatively decent price. Though, with so much youth on the way, trading for Wheeler doesn’t really make too much sense for the young Padres.
James was born and raised in America’s Finest City. He is a passionate baseball fan with even more passion towards his hometown Padres. Editor-In-Chief of EastVillageTimes.com. Always striving to bring you the highest quality in San Diego Sports News. Original content, with original ideas, that’s our motto. Enjoy.