Both Dallas Keuchel and Craig Kimbrel could very well sign in the coming days. After Monday’s MLB Draft, a pick is no longer attached to their name. Do the San Diego Padres open up the pocketbooks and pay one of these pitchers?
On Tuesday, there could be two big free agent signings within the league.
Draft pick compensation was tied to both Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel, and both are eager to begin their 2019 season. Each pitcher is expected to sign in the next few days as a potential suitor will no longer need to surrender a late first-round pick in adding them to their roster. That fact limited each pitcher from signing this winter. With that issue behind them, the pitchers are free to play for any team that meets their contract demands. There will be action on both men.
The San Diego Padres could use some pitching help, but does either pitcher make sense for the Padres in 2019 and beyond?
A case for Craig Kimbrel
San Diego Padres fans are undoubtedly familiar with Kimbrel as he had a successful 2015 season with the Friars where he saved 39 games for the team. He would solidify the Padres’ bullpen if added to the squad but is really a necessity? Kirby Yates is pitching very well right now. Kimbrel would be a welcomed addition to the staff if acquired, but the Padres don’t look to be serious contenders this season.
The Padres would probably be hesitant to hand out a multi-year deal for Kimbrel. It is not known what his market currently is right now. Did teams sour on him because of the draft pick or were possible suitors afraid that Kimbrel is 31 and looked shaky in the playoffs last season. Getting top-dollar at this point seems unlikely, so Kimbrel could demand a one-year deal with the intention of pitching well and re-establishing his value in time for next year’s winter free agent class. At this moment, a reunion with a team that is older and more of an advanced playoff contender seems likely. The Atlanta Braves make sense for Kimbrel.
A case for Dallas Keuchel
If the Padres were to sign a pitcher, Keuchel makes sense for the team as he could potentially eat innings. It is not a secret that the Padres need help in the rotation to make it through the 2019 season. Their entire staff will have innings limitations of some sort, and that could be a problem in August and September. Something will need to be done.
Keuchel is reportedly in game shape and has been throwing every fifth day competitively. He should be able to step in relatively quickly, but Keuchel is not an ace like the Padres genuinely need. When it is all said and done, you have to figure Scott Boras will get the best deal for his client. Expect Keuchel to sign with a team that is already playing well and positioned for the playoffs. Unfortunately, to Padres fans, the Dodgers do make some sense for the left-handed pitcher. With pitching at a premium, Keuchel should not last long on the true open market. He will sign somewhere.
Keuchel makes sense on paper for the Padres but is not a likely addition for the team. Scott Boras will command top-dollar, and any team will need to invest two or three years on the pitcher at the very least. The Padres do have the money to spend, but Keuchel is left-handed, and the team has several left-handed pitching prospects in the minors and currently on the staff. Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi, Matt Strahm, Nick Margevicius, Logan Allen, MacKenzie Gore, and the list goes on and on.
Craig Kimbrel on a one-year deal is a thought, but he would probably be hesitant to return to San Diego. There is a high likelihood that the Padres would try to sign and deal him in July and that isn’t exactly appealing for a pitcher who can sign anywhere currently.
The San Diego Padres will open up the pocketbooks on Tuesday, but it will be to sign their top draft picks. The team has four picks in the first 84 selections and will add some viable young talent. That will take money. As for Keuchel and Kimbrel. They will land on their feet somewhere. That is for sure. For the Padres’ sake, hopefully, it doesn’t end up being with a National League West team.