As the July 31st trade deadline came and went, the San Diego Padres were conspicuously quiet. Most of the Major League Baseball community felt the team would make at least a few major trades in order to restructure their squad. Most major national media outlets had the idea the Padres were going to sell off their top players, but that was way off. The team was looking to trade, but had no intentions of giving players away.
It was rumored that the team was aggressively shopping nearly all of its players. James Shields, Craig Kimbrel, Justin Upton and Tyson Ross were all of major interest to teams, but when the clock struck 4:00 PM EST on July 31st, all were still Padres property. Only outfielder Abraham Almonte was dealt to the Cleveland Indians for left-handed specialist Marc Rzepczynski when it was all said and done.
The play from this seasons team has been inconsistent and it is quite obvious that the team is missing some key pieces in order to compete on a daily basis. The lack of quality left-handed hitters is evident as is the lack of a quality shortstop. The position has been manned by a combination of Clint Barmes and Alexi Amarista. Neither has the ability to play everyday. Barmes has been playing well, but at the age of 36, he is not able to be an everyday shortstop. Amarista has pretty much played everyday in the last week or so.
If the Padres were able to acquire a decent young shortstop, then the team will surely jump on it. There have been many rumors that the Padres are very interested in Javier Baez of the Chicago Cubs. Baez comes with many questions, but he has unreal power from a traditionally weak power position. It is not known if the two teams can work out a deal. It should be known that the Cubs were interested in James Shields both prior to the season and once he was supposedly made available by the Padres in July.
Baez could be a real answer but he does have some issues that need to be resolved. Baez plain and simply strikes out way too much. 57 strike outs this year in 187 Triple-A at bats this season is very concerning. Add the fact Baez has had trouble defensively at short and is currently playing second and third base in AAA as well as shortstop. He is no sure thing and quite honestly he is not a good fit for the Padres team. He plays suspect defense and is a right handed hitter who strikes out too much. Those are the type of players the Padres are stacked with, they need to find a different identity. The Padres need balance in their team rather that just a bunch of sluggers.
James Shields will be of much interest to many teams competing for a World Championship. He is viewed as an excellent #2 or #3 pitcher and it the ultimate gamer. A team acquiring him, would never have to worry about whether or not Shields is prepared to pitch. He is the ultimate professional and should fetch a nice return for the team if they choose to move him. The Padres in dealing Shields would surely be looking for the right package.
The New York Yankees could be a good fit for Shields, but the Yankees have shown a reluctance to part with any of their top prospects. We will see what A.J. Preller has up his sleeve, and whether or not he chooses to move one of his superstar contracts. So will the team deal their ace pitcher? The answer is yes, but the team would need the right deal to make it happen. Shields is due a lot of money, but he is still a very useful pitcher. If a contending team needs a starting pitcher and is willing to pay the price, a deal could happen in August. That is, if Shields has passed through waivers. That is something nobody really knows, until a deal takes place. Stay tuned.