Three Moves the Padres Should Make This Offseason
The San Diego Padres are rumored to be looking at many different options to improve the team in 2019. Here is a look at three separate moves the Padres should make this winter:
It’s no secret that the Padres were one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball in 2018. This isn’t news to anyone, as the season was always meant to be one for development and opportunity as many rookies made their debuts for the Friars.
With that being said, 2019 will be a critical year for the development of the team as well as the organization as a whole. Upper management has floated 2020 around as the target year for the team to compete, but an established core, or at least the makings of one, has to be in place before the Padres are expected to win.
The current roster has many holes and as currently constructed probably isn’t making much noise in 2019, even though GM A.J. Preller thinks it can. With the offseason still in its beginning stages, here are just three moves the Padres could make if they really want to move their timeline up one year.
Right now the Padres are operating with a very deep outfield and bullpen so the odds of them picking up high-end talent at either of those positions are very slim. They also have Eric Hosmer locked in at first base and the catching duo of Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia behind the plate, so don’t expect the team to splurge on Yasmani Grandal or pick up any first-base-only types. The only other position the Padres probably aren’t adding at is second base, as Luis Urias will be given a chance to lock down the position long term.
If the season started today, Wil Myers and Christian Villanueva would be the team’s best options at the hot corner while Javy Guerra and Greg Garcia represent the only shortstop options on the 40-man roster.
Myers is better suited for the outfield and Villanueva cooled off significantly after a scorching-hot April, so an addition here makes sense. Garcia profiles more as a utility player given his career 94 wRC+ and Guerra struck out 36% of the time in Triple-A, so there’s also an argument to be made that the Padres need a stop-gap shortstop as they wait for Fernando Tatis Jr.’s arrival.
In the rotation, the Padres threw 12 different pitchers out there to make at least one start in 2018 and will be looking to add to that group as the offseason progresses. Their rotation lacks proven options and would really benefit from the acquisition of at least one front-line starting pitcher, even though many of their top prospects could fill that role one day.
In summation, the Padres have too many outfielders, a glut of relievers, and lack quality options in the rotation and on the left side of the infield.
If I’m A.J. Preller (and I am for this exercise) I’m going after controllable starting pitching first, laser-focusing mainly on a one or two-type starter under control for two seasons at the very least. The Padres’ starters were last in ERA in the National League(5.09) and 2nd to last in FIP (4.71), so one starter won’t be enough if the goal is to at least make some waves in 2019.
The market for starters is very saturated at this point as guys such as Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel represent the best of free agency, and big names like Corey Kluber, Marcus Stroman, and James Paxton have found themselves on the block for various reasons.
Corbin and Keuchel are more than capable pitchers, but they will probably both get offers exceeding five years/$100 million as both will be on the open market for the first time. Pitchers are very volatile and locking one up for over three years can be incredibly risky, so for sake of flexibility, we’ll go make a trade for James Paxton.
Move 1: Trade catcher Austin Allen, right-handed pitcher Michel Baez, and right-handed pitcher Reggie Lawson for left-handed pitcher James Paxton
Now before we go on, please put the pitchforks away. Trading prospects are hard, but the system is deeper than it has ever been and the 40-man roster can only have so many prospects on it.
For Seattle, this could very well be a best-case scenario as they have one of the worst systems in baseball, but this move also fills an immediate need for them at the Major League level. Baez is the prize of course, as he has the ability to be a future two or three starter in the majors. Lawson’s upside is a bit lower, but he has above-average stuff and could be a very good bullpen arm if he doesn’t pan out as a starter.
Allen came into 2018 with questions about his defense behind the dish, but improved his profile while also providing above-average offense in Double-A. His 130 wRC+ along with 22 home runs and .857 OPS are representative of his advanced bat and he will be exposed to the Rule 5 draft this offseason if he isn’t added to the 40-man roster. Seattle just traded their starting catcher and only have one left on their 40-man, so Allen would fit in just fine.
In return, San Diego gets two years of an established starter who is actually getting better each year. A former top prospect, Paxton’s drawback has been his injury history. Topping 20 MLB starts the past three seasons, the Padres will be betting on a clean bill of health from Big Maple as his K% (from 22.9% to 32.3%) and xFIP (3.35 to 3.02) have been improving for three years.
Now that we have our ace, we should supplement the rotation with another starter, this time a free agent. Gio Gonzalez is a guy who could give the Padres a good innings-eater on a short two-to-three-year contract and Nathan Eovaldi represents a high-risk/high-reward option that could help the Padres immensely. There are many other starters who could provide stability in the rotation, but there is one who I believe fits the best.
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Born and raised in Vista, Ryan has been a Padres fan since birth. Currently attending Palomar College, Ryan is trying his hand at expressing his passion for baseball through writing. There is no better life than the baseball life.
2 Weeks later and Paxton is a Yankee.
With that said, I agree with some of your thoughts…
-Working a trade with the Reds for Suarez would be a great start.
-Gio Gonzales would be a very decent piece at 2 years and 20 MAX.
-The rumored deal with the Mariners would make a lot of sense and I’m guessing there are more moving parts to that trade then a 2 for 1 contract swap/change of scenery kind of deal. But Segura at SS and Leake joining the staff are upgrades indeed.
– Syndergaard deal… High Risk/High Reward given the injury history and it will be costly to acquire him. Tatis/Gore kind of costly.
– Realmuto deal makes a TON of sense IMO and this could be a more significant move than the others.
SD has a payroll sitting around 75 million… The Padres should have a 150 million payroll each and every season and it’s unacceptable to keep using the small/mid market argument for a franchise that is consistently in the top 10 most profitable MLB teams over the last decade.
Suarez isn’t available and there’s no need for Realmuto.
If they can add Thor and Suarez without having to deal Tatis, Urias, Gore, Paddock, Pattine and Meija then let’s pull the trigger. Those are our high probability guys who should perform. The rest are just prospects at this point.
But adding those 2 proven, young cost controlled studs and keeping the prospects mentioned, puts a serious squad on the field at a decent cost. SD really wouldn’t have a weak position + a nice young starting 5!
I think we could part with one urias and paddock for kris bryant and that would be ok
Blow this whole thing up
Mejia/Asjuaje/Baez/Logan Allen for Realmuto
Allen/Miguel Diaz/Perdomo/Gettys/Myers/Jankowski for Haniger/Seager
Yates/Renfroe/Naylor/Jankowski for Carrasco
Hedges/Quantrill/Laurer/Villanueva/Munoz for Thor
Paxton is a little too close to free agency for my taste. Wouldn’t be opposed to the other moves you mention tho.
Well thank God he is not Preller. Myers should be in the first trade with Allen for a more reliable starter. Thor from the Mets come to mind. And a trade for Sano should be second. 3rd should be a signing like bringing craig back to close.
Not sano for 3rd. Cubs are looking to move kris bryant so let’s trade Wil and a hand full of prospects to bring him home!!
Cubs aren’t looking to move Bryant and even if they were they would not be taking Wil Myers in the trade. Wil Myers makes a trade package worse, not better.
Absolutely no chance that the Mets acquire Myers in a trade that involves them losing Thor. Even with the injury concerns Thor has a ton of trade value. Myers has negative trade value.
The Mets aren’t trading Syndergaard for that and the Twins aren’t selling low on Sano.