The multi-talented Desmond has been playing the outfield for the whole 2016 season. He started out playing left but showed such natural ability that the Rangers converted him into a center fielder, where he has done well. His is still very capable of playing in the infield and there are reports that is where he prefers to play. Desmond is hitting .290 on the year with 20 home runs and 70 RBI while stealing 18 bases. He is making eight million dollars this season and will likely get a decent pay-day on the open market. The Padres reportedly flirted with Desmond this past winter before he signed in Texas, could the two sides talk again?
The 32-year-old switch hitting shortstop has had a down year in Atlanta after being traded by the Angels in November for Andrelton Simmons. Aybar has had a productive career and could still have some worth. He has a career .274/.314/.374 batting line in over 4,700 at bats. He made $8.5 million this season and will have to take a pay cut. He would be a gamble as his offensive numbers have trended downward the last three seasons. Interesting option but only on a one year basis. The Padres do not need to commit multiple years to Aybar.
This 33-year-old infielder has a plus bat but there are some concerns about both his defense and his attitude. Not a great recipe if you are a Padres fan. Escobar is a lifetime .283 hitter in the major leagues in 4,800 at bats. He also owns a .351 on base percentage during that time. He has just a little bit of power and little to no speed, but does square up the ball often. His defense at short is sub-par at this point. He has virtually no range and has been playing third base for the Angels this season. He could play short, but do you really want to have an aging veteran out there in 2017 with no upside? Not a solution for the team in 2017.
Speaking of aging veterans. Drew seemingly has been around forever. For me he is the guy the Padres should have selected in the 2004 draft instead of Matt Bush. Drew has 11 years of major league service time but has slowly been weaned from playing shortstop solely. He has the ability to play the position but again, you can’t expect 150 plus games from him at this stage of his career. He is a career .252 hitter with 121 home runs in 4,200 at bats. The Padres might like him as a platoon mate for a young shortstop in 2017, but that would be it.
The free agent market is really weak. Desmond should get a hefty payday, but I really don’t see the Padres paying him top dollar. Drew could be an option off the bench but if the Padres want an everyday player at the position its going to probably be someone acquired via trade. There are some possible shortstops that could be acquired, but there are definite issues in acquiring any of them. The Padres will have to pay a hefty price.
I have enjoyed this 26-year-old and his skill for some time. I was hoping the Padres would trade for him when it was obvious the Brewers were going to deal him. The Brew Crew instead dealt him in January to the Diamondbacks with Tyler Wagner for Isan Diaz, Chase Anderson and Aaron Hill. Segura had a down year in 2014 and 2015 after being an all-star in 2013 as a 23-year-old rookie. This season he was moved to second base because the D-Backs have Nick Ahmed at shortstop and Ahmed is a top-notch defender. Segura responded offensively in his first season by hitting .312 so far in 371 at bats with 10 home runs and 45 RBI while stealing 24 bases. He has also gotten on base this year more by being patient at the plate. His current .361 on base percentage is easily a new career high. He puts the ball in play, plays above average defense and has speed.
Inter-divisional deals are very tough to pull off. The Diamondbacks are well aware of the Padres need at shortstop and would hold out on trading Segura for nothing less than a huge package. Segura is not due for free agency until the 2019 season, which fits the Padres plans perfectly. He has two more years of team control and that is another reason the D-Backs would expect a huge return. If Preller wants a shortstop to plug in until the kids are ready, Segura is one of the best options in my opinion. Wrestling him away from the Diamondbacks will be a huge problem though.
If the Padres want to get really creative they could contact the Rangers in regards to Elvis Andrus. He is still owed $88 million dollars through the 2022 season. That is a ridiculous amount of money for him and the Rangers would love to get him off their payroll. They have plenty of internal options at the position, but no team (including the Padres) would take Andrus unless the Rangers ate a large portion of his remaining salary. He is having a decent year in 2016 as he is currently hitting .288 with a .343 on base percentage. Andrus has virtually no power as he only has 31 career homers in 4,500 at bats, but he does have speed as he has stolen 232 bases in his 8-year career. The Padres need a shortstop, but investing in him to a certain degree through 2022 is a huge commitment.
The two teams could get a deal done but the Rangers would have to pay at least half his remaining salary. Andrus doesn’t exactly kill your team with his production, but he isn’t an offensive star by any means either. The Padres would probably not be too interested in an Andrus deal unless they got a deal they just could not refuse. If the Rangers package Andrus with one of their prized young prospects while eating salary, the Padres just might have to listen.
Profar is partly why the Rangers would love to move Elvis Andrus. The Rangers have patiently been waiting for Profar as he had two consecutive seasons of injuries. A shoulder tear sidelined him for all of the 2014 and 2015 season. This after coming up and looking like one of the best prospects in the game of baseball. He brings a rare combo of power and speed and has always had a knack for squaring up the baseball. This season for the Rangers, the 23-year-old switch hitter is hitting .267 with five homers and 17 RBI in 210 at bats. He has played every infield position and left field for the Rangers. Profar is a ball player in every sense of the word and it looks like his injury issues are a thing of the past.
Profar is 23 and under team control through the 2019 season. The Rangers would love to hold onto him but I think they realize they made the mistake with Andrus and they are going to have to deal with it by keeping him as their shortstop. Rougned Odor is entrenched at second base so that leaves Profar as a very highly touted trade chip. The Padres have some players that could be useful to the Rangers. Preller is also known to like Profar and covet him. Now getting a deal done is the tough part.
The Los Angeles Angels acquired Simmons from the Braves in November, but the franchise is a mess right now. They gave away a ton of talent in recent years for upgrades and they have not done well in the development of their young players. Simmons is a luxury to the Angels right now, and the gold glove caliber shortstop could be attained for the right price. Simmons is signed long-term though and owed $47-million dollars from 2017 to 2020 before becoming a free agent in 2021. That is a pretty penny for Simmons, but he does play an excellent shortstop though his offense is a work in progress. The Padres have money to spend in the next few years as all these young kids coming up will be making league minimum.
Acquiring Simmons would probably be pretty easy as the Padres now have the prospects the Angels lack. Nick Torres and Michael Gettys make sense right now as each are developing and are blocked by other young outfielders on the Padres roster. The Angels need help and I would not be surprised to see them sell off some of their talent. A.J. Preller reportedly had discussions with the Braves in regards to Simmons before he was dealt to the Angels so its clear he likes the young infielder. We will just have to wait and see.
This 25-year-old has had a break out year for the Brewers in 2016 as he is hitting .299 on the year with a .384 on base percentage. The leadoff hitter has stolen 46 bases and has played well defensively too. Villar is a switch hitter and was acquired from the Astros for Cy Sneed in November of 2015. He has proved to be one of the Brewers best players, so why would they even consider dealing him? The reason is Orlando Arcia, the Brewers #1 prospect and the 11th best prospect in all of baseball. Arcia is ready for service time now and the 22-year-old has a great ceiling. He is clearly the future of the franchise and Villar is just holding the spot for him.
If the Brewers want top dollar for Villar, this offseason would be the time to deal him. He does have issues even though he has put up great numbers this season. In 431 at bats this year he has struck out 130 times. That is not good. In fact that is down right horrible. There is a hole in his swing. Villar might be serviceable but the Padres must not overpay simply because they have a need. Luis Sardinas would be almost as effective as Villar, so keep that in mind. The Brewers do need to make room for their best prospect so a deal could be reached that benefits both teams.
All in all the shortstop outlook for 2017 looks cloudy at best. The Padres best alternative is a trade. The before mentioned players would be nice in some regards, but who really knows which players the Padres are targeting. Luis Sardinas as the starter is a scary thing. He is capable, but I would think the team would be more comfortable with a more stable player at a position that has been a headache for a long time. Stay tuned Padres fans. Preller is gonna Prell again soon as he molds this team into a contender.