Earlier this week on Padres Radio, A.J. Preller indicated that the team is talking trade of an outfielder this winter.
Kind of strange, as the majority of the rumors have been swirling around Brad Hand and Yangervis Solarte. Now, most seem to center around recently acquired third baseman Chase Headley. Still, Preller is one who keeps all his doors open. He always thinks outside the box.
In this day and age of major league baseball, most general managers copy each other in terms of strategy. A.J. Preller moves to the beat of his own drum and is always looking for an edge over an opponent. He has no problem trying to take advantage of a situation, and that is exactly what you have to do to survive when you are a smaller market team. The Friars are certainly going beyond surviving, as the team has made much progress in recent years. The franchise is gaining respect.
It is a long road to come back from how irrelevant this organization was. Preller will do what it takes to get the job done. You can be certain of that.
The Padres presently have an excess of outfielders, as well as their second base/third base logjam. Currently, Manuel Margot and Hunter Renfroe are locked into starting roles. Beyond those two, Jose Pirela and Alex Dickerson appear to be the front-runners for the left field job. Matt Szczur, Franchy Cordero, and Travis Jankowski are all on the 40-man roster, and then there is the talk about Wil Myers being moved to left if a first baseman is acquired.
Preller could have been talking about Jabari Blash when he was indicating an outfield trade, but I believe the team may be exploring more options.
They are certainly open to any and all offers at this point. Preller is not one to walk away without hearing what a team has to offer. That in itself is valuable. Even if a deal is never consummated, learning the perceived value of a team’s player and your own prospect is tremendous information. That kind of information is what he takes in and saves for a later date. The man has a tremendous ability to process information that pertains to baseball. The Padres could be moving an outfielder. They certainly have an excess.
Let’s take a look at each outfielder on the current Padre roster and determine if they are indeed a trade piece.
Of all the outfielders, he is probably the only real untouchable. Margot plays the game with grace and has a movie star-like smile on his face while playing the game. He is an excellent teammate and is under team control for a long time. His bat is progressing into a top of the order threat and the man is still learning his abilities. Defensively, he is a Gold Glover in the making. The Padres will build around this young man.
I would say that he is untouchable, but I don’t believe he is. Preller did not draft Renfroe. He has no direct attachment to him. If the Marlins ask for Renfroe in a Christian Yelich deal, then the Padres should seriously consider it. Renfroe is still young and could blossom, but he has a lot of holes in his swing. His defense was also subpar last year. You could argue that his value will never be any higher. You may also make the case that it was at its pinnacle prior to the 2017 season.
This infielder was thrown to the wolves in left and really started to impress late in the year. He will not be an above average outfielder, but he looks like he could be serviceable there. A late season pinkie injury, on the bases, did not allow Padre fans to see Pirela in late September. He could be viewed as a trade option, but I really do not think teams are aware of how good he was last season. His value should be higher than what it currently is. I think Preller holds on this versatile player unless someone pays the price.
He had an impressive 2016 season, but then missed the whole 2017 season with a back injury. He brings a solid left-handed bat to the Padres, but has always had health problems. Dickerson probably does not have much value on the open market, so a trade seems unlikely. This will be a big year for the Poway High Alum.
He is kind of lost in the shuffle, but provides the team with a capable backup to Margot in center. Szczur will not impress you with any skill on the baseball diamond, but he does everything well. He is an unheralded type of player so his value is minimal at best. He will compete for a job in the spring.
“Fast Freddy” could be of use to a team looking for a center fielder. He has plus defensive abilities and great speed, but has struggled to get on base. The left-handed hitter missed a lot of time last year with a foot injury, and that hurt his value. At the beginning of the 2017 season, he was the Padres’ starting left fielder. His value is low, but he still could be dealt if Preller finds a suitor. Jankowski is currently being shopped, but will anyone be a buyer? Speed and defense at a fraction of the price should fetch something.
This is an interesting player. He has tremendous ability. Excellent bat speed with top end speed. His center field defense seems to be improving the more he plays the position. Cordero looks to be a man without a spot on the Padres’ roster currently though. Things could change, as the Padres might open the season with him if he impresses in the spring. As far as trade value, Cordero has some. He is tearing it up in the Dominican Winter League and has accomplished pretty much all you can do at the minor league level. He is a top 15 talent in the Padre system and of all the outfielders, he may be the one the Padres are fielding calls on.