It’s another offseason, so it’s time to speculate on Wil Myers’ future with the San Diego Padres.
Over the last two offseasons, rumors surrounding Myers have constantly been tossed around. The issues leading to these rumors came from his injury history and how he was underperforming compared to his lucrative contract. This offseason, his name should be in trade rumors for different reasons, as he has seemingly fixed those two problems.
Last season he was owed $22.5 million if it were a full season. He played up to that high contract. He played in 55 of the 60 regular-season games plus all six of the postseason games. He slashed .288/.353/.606, which makes a career-high .959 OPS. He also ranked 5th among right fielders with a 1.9 fWAR.
Padres present outfield
There is no clear fourth outfielder, but Greg Allen and Jorge Oña are possibilities. Allen is a solid defensive outfielder who can play all three slots, and Oña is an unproven player. After trading away Taylor Trammell, no one in the farm system is immediately ready to step up to the big leagues. If Myers is to be traded, a replacement needs to come in that trade.
Pham and Profar
There are questions about Tommy Pham’s future with the team. He is projected to make $8 million in the final year of his contract. 2020 has been problematic for Pham; he tested positive for Covid-19, injured his hand, and got attacked with a knife while at a strip club. It’s possible the Padres non-tender him and use that money to resign Jurickson Profar.
Profar is coming off a breakout season that many evaluators foresaw when they ranked him as a top prospect. He started to bat for average, struck out less, and adapted nicely to playing left field. He is a free agent, but Preller did see his potential when they were both in the Rangers organization. He continued his faith in Profar by acquiring him for the Padre organization. Profar then started to shine as the replacement for Pham when he went to the injured list. The Padres might opt to keep both Pham and Profar and use them as a platoon option like they did at the end of the season. That will be a storyline to follow this offseason.
Corner outfield market
This offseason’s crop of corner outfielders is pretty weak, at the Dodgers signed Mookie Betts to a long-term deal. Marcell Ozuna, Joc Pederson, and Michael Brantley are the big-name corner outfielders that teams will bid for. Ozuna and Pederson are best suited to be a DH, and for argument’s sake, we will assume the NL will have a DH again. Brantley can hand the corner outfield slots defensively. The Astros will be losing three outfielders, Brantley included, and will likely be bidding to keep Brantley, which would keep his price very high. There is Nelson Cruz, who technically could play outfield, but at 40 years old probably wants to remain a DH. Ozuna is potentially the top bat next to DJ LeMahieu. He will command a very high price tag. Pederson is coming off a down season and still has questions about if he can hit lefties well.
This creates a market for Wil Myers. He won’t be the cheapest option available, and the Padres will most likely help pay down his contract in a trade. What other teams will realize is with the thin market, Myers would be worth the price. He has the track record that teams would want, he doesn’t have any platoon questions, and he is defensively versatile.
My potential trade
The Padres managed to beat the Cardinals in the Wild Card series this postseason. The matchup created a great battle between the two teams, and now it’s time for them to make a trade. The Cardinals outfield did not produce well offensively and should look to improve in that area.
Myers will bring All-Star caliber play into the outfield and provide a nice punch into the lineup. By moving O’Neill, the Cardinals can give the reins over to Dylan Carlson, who is their top prospect. Now, the Cardinals might be afraid of creating another Randy Arozarena situation. Myers does have a history that can give them more comfort in knowing what they get. Then Tirso Ornelas provides a left-handed bat to the Cardinals farm system that really lacks lefty bats outside of their top two prospects.
O’Neill has his struggles with plate discipline but does have some pop when he makes contact. Jayce Tingler helped turned Myers around by putting a large focus on plate discipline. I believe he can do the same with O’Neill. Cabrera then fills the need for a left-handed relief pitcher that the Padres will need. Matt Strahm is undergoing another knee surgery this offseason, and Tim Hill ended up with reverse splits. That leaves Drew Pomeranz as the last lefty, and there is a chance he takes over the closer role. The cherry on top for the Padres is that both O’Neill and Cabrera are in the pre-arbitration stage so that they will have two cheap and controllable assets.
Why the Friars should trade Myers
After reading to this point, it’s reasonable to ask why the Padres would trade Myers when he played so well. That is a legitimate question; he was a key part of the best lineup Padre fans have ever seen on their team. His value is at its all-time high, and the money he will get could be better spent elsewhere. One of the top goals for Preller is to lock down Fernando Tatis Jr.to a long term deal. With money locked up in Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer, the Padres need to find the money to extend Tatis. Myers is the easy choice to move with the $46 million minimum he has left on his contract (this assumes the team doesn’t use the club option).
Why they shouldn’t trade Myers
Myers is coming off his best career season and is still 29. He can build off that season and be a huge part of a World Series contending team. AJ Preller does have more important questions in left field regarding Tommy Pham and Jurickson Profar. They also are looking to add a fourth outfielder, so trading away an outfielder doesn’t solve that problem.
At the end of the day, Preller would be dealing from a position of power. He has proven that he has an eye for undervalued players that can make a turnaround. Just look at the trade that brought over Trent Grisham and Zach Davies. At the time, many people thought that trade would take years to show a winner if there was a winner. Just one year after the trade, the Padres appear to have robbed the Brewers. If Preller doesn’t move him, then he keeps one of the best lineups in Padre history for another year.