In Major League Baseball, the month of July is traditionally when a team buys and sells assets for the future.
The San Diego Padres are certainly looking to trade off talent that could possibly fetch valuable prospects for the future. The team is rebuilding, and adding to an excellent farm system with a few trades here and there would only benefit the Padres in the long run.
Brad Hand, Brandon Maurer, Ryan Buchter, Craig Stammen, and Kirby Yates are all available out of the pen, and rotation members Trevor Cahill, Jhoulys Chacin, and Clayton Richard are sitting on one-year deals. The team will be sellers this month, but it isn’t a bad thing.
The future of this team is very bright, but no prospect in the game of baseball is a guarantee. As a franchise, you load yourself with multiple talented players at every position and you wait and see who steps up and takes the job. That formula produces championships, but it takes time for it to work. Luckily the Padres are already pretty advanced in their re-haul and the rewards are slowing starting to trickle in.
With that being said, the team might be in the rare position to possibly buy and sell at the deadline.
They could easily add salary for the coming years and deal a few prospects in the process, while not seriously damaging the team’s total farm system value.
In recent days, the Miami Marlins have made it clear that they are heading towards a rebuild. The team has many valuable players who will surely be dealt. Giancarlo Stanton is the team’s biggest name, but his contract is huge and he isn’t justifying the paycheck right now with his play on the field. The Marlins will have a hard time dealing him for equal value unless they eat a great portion of his future earnings.
Stanton is not a fit for the Padres. Nor is Marcell Ozuna, who is having an incredible year for the Marlins. The right-handed-hitting Ozuna doesn’t fit the Padres’ needs, but the team’s third outfielder, Christian Yelich, is exactly the type of player the Padres could really use. The left-handed hitter is arguably on the verge of stardom, and if the team can acquire him for a reasonable price, then they should explore the potential deal.
I know the team wants to build around homegrown talent, but at the same time they are certainly not opposed to adding a core player who could help the team. Yelich has a great reputation in the clubhouse and an excellent work ethic. He would be a quality addition to any major league team.
Before you get all excited, the Marlins have publicly stated they do not plan on moving Yelich, as he is someone they want to rebuild around. But at the same time, in a rebuilding year, if you get fair market value then you take it. The Phillies have made comments recently that they want Yelich and would pay a hefty price tag for him, so the Marlins might be wise to put him on the block now that he has multiple suitors. Again, the Marlins are saying he is not available. But you have to believe that they are just posturing for a potential deal.
The 25-year-old Yelich is having a little bit of a down year so far in 2017. He has put up a batting line of .280/.359/.406 in his first 84 games with eight homers and 43 RBI. This after slugging 21 bombs last season and driving in 98 runs, while putting up a .298/.376/.483 batting line. The tall and thin outfielder is an excellent center fielder, but is more than capable of playing left, where he won a Gold Glove in 2014 for the N.L. He has a plus arm and excellent range in the outfield. He has all the tools to be a stud for a long time in this game.
Yelich is making $3.5 million this year. He is signed long-term to a very friendly team deal, where he is due $43.25 million dollars for the next four years, starting in 2018. Yelich will make $7 million in 2018, $9.75 million in 2019, $12.5 million in 2020, and $14 million in 2021. He also has a team option for 2022 at $15 million dollars or a $1.5 million dollar buyout. That is extraordinarily cheap for the potential of this young man.
The Marlins will not be inclined to deal him, but if the Padres entice them with prospects, then a deal could be agreed upon. Typically, rebuilding teams do not deal prospects, but in this case, the Friars would be able to acquire a sure-thing young talent and do so at a (supposedly) reasonable price.
Putting the left-handed Yelich in the middle of the Padre lineup would be very beneficial for the long haul. Andy Green can hit him in between Manuel Margot and Wil Myers, or you could put him between Myers and Hunter Renfroe. Either way, he would provide the team with a legit middle of the order presence. The team needs left-handed production for the long-term and having Yelich and Myers in the middle of a potential Padres lineup would go a long ways towards success each night.
What would it take for Yelich? This is where this whole scenario gets shaky. The Padres and Marlins have come together on a few trades in the last year, but Preller was called out when Colin Rea went down with an injury after making one start for the fish. The Padres had to return minor league pitcher Luis Castillo in order to satisfy the Marlins on the Andrew Cashner deal. Hopefully, the Marlins are not holding a grudge, but that could possibly complicate a potential deal.
As far as players are concerned, the Marlins will want a great package in return for their all-star outfielder. The Padres will have to come up with a package of at least three legit prospects, and two of them will be in the club’s top-30 prospect list for sure. A proposed offer of Franchy Cordero, Nick Torres, and Joey Lucchesi might be enough to get the ball rolling, but that all depends on who and what the Marlins are targeting. Yelich is a proven commodity. The Marlins might demand Hunter Renfroe in return to even start talks. If that is the case, then huge decisions have to be made within the Padres’ front office. The Marlins would clearly like some financial freedom, but they know that Yelich has great value and is signed long-term at a more than reasonable price.
A.J. Preller is a busy man this time of the year, even more than he usually is. The Padres are on the verge of being relevant and he is hell-bent on making sure that he addresses every need for the team. Christian Yelich would be a great fit for the Padres Nation that is currently about to be born. If the asking price is within reason, it might be time to pull the trigger and start to give this young Padres team an identity.