Three Moves the Padres Should Make This Offseason

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Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Padres are rumored to be looking at many different options to improve the team in 2019. Here is a look at three separate moves the Padres should make this winter:

It’s no secret that the Padres were one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball in 2018. This isn’t news to anyone, as the season was always meant to be one for development and opportunity as many rookies made their debuts for the Friars.

With that being said, 2019 will be a critical year for the development of the team as well as the organization as a whole. Upper management has floated 2020 around as the target year for the team to compete, but an established core, or at least the makings of one, has to be in place before the Padres are expected to win.

The current roster has many holes and as currently constructed probably isn’t making much noise in 2019, even though GM A.J. Preller thinks it can. With the offseason still in its beginning stages, here are just three moves the Padres could make if they really want to move their timeline up one year.

Needs:

Right now the Padres are operating with a very deep outfield and bullpen so the odds of them picking up high-end talent at either of those positions are very slim. They also have Eric Hosmer locked in at first base and the catching duo of Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia behind the plate, so don’t expect the team to splurge on Yasmani Grandal or pick up any first-base-only types. The only other position the Padres probably aren’t adding at is second base, as Luis Urias will be given a chance to lock down the position long term.

If the season started today, Wil Myers and Christian Villanueva would be the team’s best options at the hot corner while Javy Guerra and Greg Garcia represent the only shortstop options on the 40-man roster.

Myers is better suited for the outfield and Villanueva cooled off significantly after a scorching-hot April, so an addition here makes sense. Garcia profiles more as a utility player given his career 94 wRC+ and Guerra struck out 36% of the time in Triple-A, so there’s also an argument to be made that the Padres need a stop-gap shortstop as they wait for Fernando Tatis Jr.’s arrival.

In the rotation, the Padres threw 12 different pitchers out there to make at least one start in 2018 and will be looking to add to that group as the offseason progresses. Their rotation lacks proven options and would really benefit from the acquisition of at least one front-line starting pitcher, even though many of their top prospects could fill that role one day.

Credit: MiLB

In summation, the Padres have too many outfielders, a glut of relievers, and lack quality options in the rotation and on the left side of the infield.

The Moves:

If I’m A.J. Preller (and I am for this exercise) I’m going after controllable starting pitching first, laser-focusing mainly on a one or two-type starter under control for two seasons at the very least. The Padres’ starters were last in ERA in the National League(5.09) and 2nd to last in FIP (4.71), so one starter won’t be enough if the goal is to at least make some waves in 2019.

The market for starters is very saturated at this point as guys such as Patrick Corbin and Dallas Keuchel represent the best of free agency, and big names like Corey Kluber, Marcus Stroman, and James Paxton have found themselves on the block for various reasons.

Corbin and Keuchel are more than capable pitchers, but they will probably both get offers exceeding five years/$100 million as both will be on the open market for the first time. Pitchers are very volatile and locking one up for over three years can be incredibly risky, so for sake of flexibility, we’ll go make a trade for James Paxton.

Move 1: Trade catcher Austin Allen, right-handed pitcher Michel Baez, and right-handed pitcher Reggie Lawson for left-handed pitcher James Paxton

Now before we go on, please put the pitchforks away. Trading prospects are hard, but the system is deeper than it has ever been and the 40-man roster can only have so many prospects on it.

Credit: AP Photo

For Seattle, this could very well be a best-case scenario as they have one of the worst systems in baseball, but this move also fills an immediate need for them at the Major League level. Baez is the prize of course, as he has the ability to be a future two or three starter in the majors. Lawson’s upside is a bit lower, but he has above-average stuff and could be a very good bullpen arm if he doesn’t pan out as a starter.

Allen came into 2018 with questions about his defense behind the dish, but improved his profile while also providing above-average offense in Double-A. His 130 wRC+ along with 22 home runs and .857 OPS are representative of his advanced bat and he will be exposed to the Rule 5 draft this offseason if he isn’t added to the 40-man roster. Seattle just traded their starting catcher and only have one left on their 40-man, so Allen would fit in just fine.

In return, San Diego gets two years of an established starter who is actually getting better each year. A former top prospect, Paxton’s drawback has been his injury history. Topping 20 MLB starts the past three seasons, the Padres will be betting on a clean bill of health from Big Maple as his K% (from 22.9% to 32.3%) and xFIP (3.35 to 3.02) have been improving for three years.

Now that we have our ace, we should supplement the rotation with another starter, this time a free agent. Gio Gonzalez is a guy who could give the Padres a good innings-eater on a short two-to-three-year contract and Nathan Eovaldi represents a high-risk/high-reward option that could help the Padres immensely. There are many other starters who could provide stability in the rotation, but there is one who I believe fits the best.

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Ryan Davis
Born and raised in Vista, Ryan has been a Padres fan since birth. Currently attending Palomar College, Ryan is trying his hand at expressing his passion for baseball through writing. There is no better life than the baseball life.

18 thoughts on “Three Moves the Padres Should Make This Offseason

  1. 2 Weeks later and Paxton is a Yankee.
    With that said, I agree with some of your thoughts…
    -Working a trade with the Reds for Suarez would be a great start.
    -Gio Gonzales would be a very decent piece at 2 years and 20 MAX.
    -The rumored deal with the Mariners would make a lot of sense and I’m guessing there are more moving parts to that trade then a 2 for 1 contract swap/change of scenery kind of deal. But Segura at SS and Leake joining the staff are upgrades indeed.
    – Syndergaard deal… High Risk/High Reward given the injury history and it will be costly to acquire him. Tatis/Gore kind of costly.
    – Realmuto deal makes a TON of sense IMO and this could be a more significant move than the others.
    SD has a payroll sitting around 75 million… The Padres should have a 150 million payroll each and every season and it’s unacceptable to keep using the small/mid market argument for a franchise that is consistently in the top 10 most profitable MLB teams over the last decade.

  2. If they can add Thor and Suarez without having to deal Tatis, Urias, Gore, Paddock, Pattine and Meija then let’s pull the trigger. Those are our high probability guys who should perform. The rest are just prospects at this point.

    But adding those 2 proven, young cost controlled studs and keeping the prospects mentioned, puts a serious squad on the field at a decent cost. SD really wouldn’t have a weak position + a nice young starting 5!

  3. Blow this whole thing up

    Mejia/Asjuaje/Baez/Logan Allen for Realmuto
    Allen/Miguel Diaz/Perdomo/Gettys/Myers/Jankowski for Haniger/Seager
    Yates/Renfroe/Naylor/Jankowski for Carrasco
    Hedges/Quantrill/Laurer/Villanueva/Munoz for Thor

    2019

    Thor
    Carrasco
    Paddack
    Gore
    Lucchesi

    Tatis
    Realmuto
    Haniger
    Reyes
    Hosmer
    Seager
    Urias
    Margot/Cordero
    Pitcher

  4. Well thank God he is not Preller. Myers should be in the first trade with Allen for a more reliable starter. Thor from the Mets come to mind. And a trade for Sano should be second. 3rd should be a signing like bringing craig back to close.

      1. Cubs aren’t looking to move Bryant and even if they were they would not be taking Wil Myers in the trade. Wil Myers makes a trade package worse, not better.

    1. Absolutely no chance that the Mets acquire Myers in a trade that involves them losing Thor. Even with the injury concerns Thor has a ton of trade value. Myers has negative trade value.

  5. Not opposed to any of the three. Its nice to see someone putting thought into it and making sound deals. Not sure you are going to get Seattle’s ace for one pitcher though. Camargo is a younger, cheaper Segura, would be great but instead of two pitchers, get Max Fried back to replace Baez..

  6. While I agree with the premise and positions that need addressing, I disagree with the pitcher you are after. Those are some decent prospects for a starting pitcher that will be 30 and has never pitched in 30 games or more than 160 innings in a year. Hardly ace material. For those prospects, I’d like a little more. I would rather sign Keuchel or trade for a Kluber.

  7. You have the makings of a good article here, which is then cheapened by the bait of fictional trades. The problem with this type of conjecture is you pigeonhole your good ideas to one scenario while opening yourself to a bevy of criticism. That criticism of course, has little foundation, which unfortunately conforms to what you have scripted. In other words, you are bringing the audience up to your level, or you down to theirs, depending on how you view things. As the average fan, we may not be able to argue with your analysis… but you give us that ability once you want to trade some beloved so-and-so.

    -Why not analyze the Padres’ needs and pose your points that way? Use your conjecture on the possibilities which complement your research: They need a 3B- here are the options and best fits. They need a top of rotation starter- here are the options and best fits. -Here are potential trading partners whose needs match our resources, etc. You’re then teaching me and helping to form my opinion rather than simply evoking an emotional response- the latter of which is cheap writing.

    You have a good tone for writing and a good command. A lot of your colleagues seem invested in writing about trade scenarios and who the Padres should “get”. This amateurish approach hinders any decent analysis and is formulaic of daft research and poorly considered imitation. It should die on the drawing board.

    I’d do a 2.0 on this one personally, you have good stuff.

    1. With your essay of criticism, why didn’t you write the article bud? Your constructive criticism reminds me of the 1989 Joe Carter trade.

  8. I can see the Kikuchi acquisition and the trade with the Braves for Camargo happening, but the trade for
    Paxton does make sense for the reason that the Padres are looking for a controllable young starter.

    The moves I think the Padres should make this offseason is trading for Jose Urena and Eugenio Suarez, and signing free agent Kikuchi.

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