As the World Series comes to a conclusion, it is certainly inevitable that the San Diego Padres will begin fielding calls on their players.
General manager A.J. Preller is a mover and a shaker, and is not shy about potentially improving his team.
The Padres are on an upswing. Those with baseball knowledge recognize the fact that the team has stockpiled prospects at virtually every position. The present nucleus of the club is young with Wil Myers, Austin Hedges, Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Dinelson Lamet leading the way. The team is close to being competitive, but still has some very noticeable holes.
The lack of quality starting pitching is evident, but the team does have options with Dinelson Lamet, Luis Perdomo, Clayton Richard, Travis Wood, and Matt Strahm leading the way for possible rotation members. These five would likely start the season as the rotation, but you can be sure that the Padres will bring in some veteran players to compete during spring training. Jordan Lyles and Tim Melville are also on the roster, as are Robbie Erlin and Colin Rea, who are coming back from Tommy John surgery. Then there are names like Kyle Lloyd, Michael Kelly, and Walker Lockett, who are young and close to being major league ready, though the trio is nothing to write home to mom about.
The good news is there are more young arms on the way. Joey Lucchesi, Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Jacob Nix, Enyel De Los Santos, Michel Baez, Adrian Morejon, and Logan Allen are close. They will not start to trickle in until the end of the 2018 season, so Padre fans will have to remain patient for now. The starting staff is a need for sure, but it is not a glaring weakness at the moment. The main issue with this team has been the lack of a quality shortstop.
Clint Barmes, Erick Aybar, Luis Sardinas, Alexei Ramirez, and Alexi Amarista have all manned the position in recent years. Each were unimpressive and only provided an offensive hole to a team that already had trouble scoring runs. The Padres have a savior in the wings though. Fernando Tatis Jr. made it all the way to Double-A at the age of 18, and looks to have the ability to play the position long-term. He still needs some seasoning though, so his debut is a question mark presently. The need for a shortstop is there currently, but in reality, Tatis isn’t too far away from contributing.
Expect the Padres to possibly re-sign Aybar or kick the tires on a few older, experienced shortstops. Tatis is close and there is no need to invest in anyone for a long period of time. Preller is a cagey trade negotiator. He would prefer to take on undervalued talent at this point and flip them when the time is right rather than pursue an over-valued free agent. Alcides Escobar is an interesting option, but the Padres will not pay him top dollar.
If I were a betting man, I would put Brad Hand, Yangervis Solarte, Travis Jankowski, Cory Spangenberg, and Carlos Asuaje on the trade watch list. Hand and Solarte seem to be the most likely to go. Recently in our EVT Podcast, we sat down with A.J. Cassavell, MLB beat reporter for the Padres, and he indicated the same thing. This is no given though. The young G.M. will only make a deal if it makes his team better. The hot stove is certainly heating up and the Padres will be right in the middle of it. Stay tuned as the Padres begin to formulate a plan for the 2018 season.