Offseason Outlook: San Diego Padres

Prepare for another offseason of short-term free agent deals from the Padres in their attempt to stop the bleeding on a perennially lousy offense.  The Friars also have more bullpen patchwork ahead than usual.

Guaranteed Contracts

Contractual Options

  • Aaron Harang, Type B SP: $5MM mutual option with a $500K buyout
  • Brad Hawpe, unranked 1B: $6MM mutual option with a $1MM buyout
  • Chad Qualls, unranked RP: $6MM club option with a $1.05MM buyout

Arbitration Eligible Players (estimated salaries)

Free Agents

Talk about a lack of commitments.  The Padres owe $11MM to their starting middle infield for 2012, and nothing beyond that.  GM Jed Hoyer has a clean slate and a payroll expected to be in the $53-55MM range, the team's highest since '08.  As I showed last week, Hoyer should have $20MM+ to work with in 2012 payroll flexibility.  At a September 29th press briefing, the GM was clear about his offseason goals.  He plans to add veteran leadership, rebuild the bullpen, cut down on strikeouts, improve the bench, and add a corner outfielder.

The 2011 Padres ranked third in ERA among NL relief squads.  However, they traded Mike Adams and Qualls and Bell are free agents.  Cory Luebke will stick in the rotation, following a midseason shift.  Those four pitchers accounted for 46% of the team's relief innings and a 2.65 ERA.  The Padres will probably be looking to make multiple Qualls-type signings, snapping up decent arms on one-year deals in the $3MM range.  The team will find plenty of willing applicants, as usual given their ballpark.  

Bell probably should have been traded too.  The closer doesn't appear interested in the team's reported proposal of two years at about $14MM and has announced his intention to deny them a chance at draft picks by accepting arbitration.  I wouldn't go much higher on a contract offer, so the best move now is to offer arbitration and see if Bell still prefers to stay in San Diego on a one-year deal.  I'm not sure that's really best for him — he's 34, he's never had a multiyear deal, and his strikeout rate took a big dip this year.  He'd probably have to endure another summer of trade rumors, too.  This offseason might be his best chance for multiyear security, and his agency could probably find a team willing to guarantee three years.  

Cutting down on strikeouts and adding a corner outfielder might have to be accomplished with one player, as the Padres' infield appears set.  Corner outfield free agents with high contact rates include Juan Pierre, Endy Chavez, and Coco Crisp.

This offseason might be a good time to shop Headley.  He's a useful player but light on power, and the Padres have third base candidates coming up in the farm system.  Power pays in arbitration, so Headley's affordability adds to his trade value.  It doesn't hurt that the free agent market offers almost nothing at his position, aside from Aramis Ramirez.  This offseason is also a good time to lock up center fielder Cameron Maybin, who was worth nearly five wins above replacement this year in a breakout season.

For the second season in a row, the Padres' rotation ERA ranked fourth in the National League.  Mat Latos, Stauffer, and Luebke make for a solid front three.  Harang or a veteran of his ilk should take another spot, perhaps with Richard and Moseley battling for the last.

The cosmetic changes discussed in this post probably won't make the Padres a contender.  They haven't ranked in the upper half of the National League in runs scored since they placed eighth in 2004, the year Petco Park opened.  With Anthony Rizzo, Jedd Gyorko, James Darnell, Rymer Liriano, and others, the team has young hitters on the way.  Several of them will need to produce at the Major League level for this team to return to prominence.


36 Responses to Offseason Outlook: San Diego Padres Leave a Reply

  1. mondaymorninggm 4 years ago

    boy that team looks bad on paper!! i wouldnt want that to be my aaa squad. they need to sign reclamation ptchers on the cheap, let them pitch that huge park and trade away. its their only hope.  maybe instead of all these crappy one year signings thy would be better served spending a lot on areally talented player that they can keep and hopefully build around. no more hudsons please.

  2. I would also add the possibility of David Dejsus or even taking a risk on someone like Grady Sizmore. However, Pierre, is not playing in RF. Blanks, baring a trade will be in LF. So, you can just about rule him out. I mentioned Crisp not too long ago. However his OBP is not that high for a corner OF spot let alone CF. I guess passing. One thing is certain, the Padres will focus on players who can make contact, hit line drives and utilize their speed and defense for spacious Petco park. Essentially needing two CF’s. 

    I also conquer regarding shopping Headley. If the price is right. He can be a very valuable third baseman outside of Petco and the NL West. I could see the Angels looking at him.

    I wouldn’t want to trade a guy like Latos, who looks as if he has arrived in many aspects as a front of the rotation starter. Not unless its for a sure thing elite bat in return. Jesus Montero’s name has been thrown around. That would be intriguing. Not sure if you turn down that trade. Could help both teams, need for need.

    “They haven’t ranked in the upper half of the National League in runs scored since they placed eighth in 2004, the year Petco Park opened”

    Modify The Fences.

  3. Amish_willy 4 years ago

    Trading Latos for Montero wouldn’t fly for me. Obviously Montero is a special talent with the bat, but he’s a much better fit for an AL club, and with the Padres already well stocked at LF/1b with a legit starting catcher, I think about Montero for Latos for about as long as it takes to say “no thanks”.

    They should be locking up Latos while the cost would still be somewhat reasonable (25-30m).

    • FYI… The Padres don’t have a legit starting catcher. Hundley is a quality backup.

      • padresfuture 4 years ago

        He is an injury prone starter at this time.

      • Amish_willy 4 years ago

        The only thing preventing Hundley from being an above-average catcher is starting 110-120 games. Yorvit’s presence prevented that in 2010 (as did Henry Blanco’s in ’09) with injuries being the cause this year. Career OPS+ of 104 (132 in ’11) with good defense. I’d rather supplement Hundley with a better backup then Rob Johnson while focusing on other more glaring holes, particularly when their biggest asset is the one being dangled.

    • My thinking is this: 

      PETCO neutralizes pitching and puts a premium on hitting, so I believe the emphasis should be put on offensive production. Sure, Montero could be a better AL player. However, if he can stick at catcher, i’d consider it. The Padres need production in the worst way. Having Ausmus in the organization working with players is also a bonus with the younger guys we already have. I like Hundley a lot. Question is, can he stay healthy and continue to flourish.

      • Amish_willy 4 years ago

        It’s a worthy point, that said if they were to deal Latos for a bat it seems like a good young RF (or stud SS) would be a better target then someone offering what Montero has. If we could slot Montero at 1b if the catcher thing didn’t work out, it’d be one thing, but the path isn’t clear for that to happen.

        I love that Latos has given up the same OPS to hitters at home and away. Think it’d be a long long time before we got our hands on another arm with his kind of upside.

        • Good points. I also agree bringing in a bat at a corner position, or up the middle infield would be preferable. However, I just look at 80 power on the 20-80 scale and salivate because of Petco park. If he could be average behind the dish, it could work for both sides.

          • I really wish Montero could catch, but I get the feeling the Yankees have given up on him there. I’m not sure his offense would be worth having baseballs worst defensive catcher, which is what I fear he would be. We’ve got so much good pitching coming up, I really don’t want to saddle them with a bad catcher. 

            I don’t know why there isn’t more talk about Josh Willingham. The guy is a legit power hitter and would add a credible cleanup bat to the lineup. There’s no way the A’s are going to pay him while their stadium deal is being held up. I’ll bet they offer arbitration and let him walk. Let’s sign him to a 3/36 deal with 4th year option. I know people worry about his age but he only needs to stay healthy for 2 of those years as we’ll trade him when Decker, Darnell, Blanks, whoever, is ready to take an OF spot. 

            We’ve got the money to do it. It’d take 12 million at the most to get Willingham for 2012, that should leave enough left over to get some bench players and a Vet pitcher. 

          • The problem is; why would any offensive minded player want to play in Petco park? The Padres cant overpay hitters the way maybe other teams overpay pitchers to come to bandboxes’. 

            If Montero could only be an average catcher. It’s interesting alright.

          • It’s interesting. I’d really love to believe he could catch here and it probably is worth considering. 

            Willingham has expressed a desire to stay in Oakland. And that’s not an easy place to hit either. Even so, he still managed to hit 29 home runs. When he hits homers, they tend to be of the “no doubter” variety. 

            Just because we have a low payroll it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t spend the money when we have it available. Well, it’s available now and for the next 3 or 4 years at least. There’s probably a 2-3 year gap until guys like Gyorko, Decker, Liriano and Spangenberg turn this offense around. In the meantime we should focus on a core of Guzman, Willingham, Rizzo, and possibly Blanks. 

          • Willingham needs to be in left though. Blanks is not going to be in RF in Petco.

    • padresfuture 4 years ago

      While I agree that trading Latos straight for Montero would not fly, I am not opposed to trading Latos for legit hitting. If the Yankees offered Montero and Gardner then I could see a “discussion” involving a pitcher like Latos. I am also not opposed to wrapping Latos up at a reasonable cost as you suggest, although I am always leary of long term pitching contracts as we have bantered on previously.

      My preference would be to use some of the extra AA pitching talent to aquire some hitting. Maybe something like Wieland for Reddick.

      • Amish_willy 4 years ago

        Elsewhere Latos has been brought up in potential deals for guys like Stanton & Heyward. Hard to see the Marlins making that trade, nor the Braves due to all their pitching. But the Phillies are interesting.

        Latos & Venable (or Tekotte) for Domonic Brown and Trevor May deal would be an interesting deal for both. Of the outfielders mentioned, Brown would be my third choice, but you put him in an outfield with Blanks and Maybin and you’ve got a group with a ton of potential.

        Brown only posted an ops+ of 97 this year, but his 25bb/35k in 210 PA’s is a nice rate for a 23 year old bat with his set of tools. Could only imagine the reaction Amaro would get adding Latos to the mix. Trevor May would obviously be a big piece for SD, 390 k’s in 286 IP these past two years in A-Ball.

        • angryredmenace 4 years ago

          I don’t see the phillies trading the last of their top tier prospects for a position they are strong at.The Phillies simply don’t need starting pitching.

          • Pete 4 years ago

            Those Phillies prospects are hardly worth top flight MLB talent as well. The only people who don’t think the Phillies well is completely dry are Phillies fans. Dom Brown’s about the only player worth a look at, and if the Phillies were smart they’d make him the everyday LF next year. But he’s so unproven he’d be worth someone like Tyson Ross, not Mat Latos.

        • angryredmenace 4 years ago

          I don’t see the phillies trading the last of their top tier prospects for a position they are strong at.The Phillies simply don’t need starting pitching.

  4. Suprwest 4 years ago

    After seeing what Parrino and Forsythe did at third base (and other infield spots), I think it’s prime time to dangle the Headley bait. He’s not a power guy, but he showed this year that he can put the ball in play. He also improved his average batting right, his natural hitting side. I would give the 3rd base job to Forsythe right now, and may have Parrino on the bench should they trade Hudson or Bartlett mid season. 

    Pass on Venable. I don’t feel like enduring another 162 games of bad swings at balls down and away.

    Keep Alberto Gonzalez. They guy did great with RISP, something the Padres offense always needs.

  5. Padres wouldnt have much work to do in the pen if Hoyer had not blown it by trading Adams and not Bell.

    Adams would have been an effective and affordable closer and Bell were offered at least one of the two pitchers the Padres got for Adams.

    Can you say complete FAIL!

    • Amish_willy 4 years ago

      What happens if next off-season Adams signs a deal as a free agent, lets say 3/20m, while one of Erlin/Wieland has already made their big leauge debut and is having success? Will it still be a “complete FAIL!”?

      If your cool giving Adams that kind of money (on a SD budget) you’ve got more brass then me. Loved him while he was cheap, rather he be gone when he gets expensive. The year of control in 2012 was a worthy sacrifice in the long haul considering what they got back IMO.

      • Dylan Ramirez 4 years ago

        They were supposedly offering us one but not both for Bell. I don’t see why they didn’t take it. I honestly don’t know why we needed both. We have plenty of arms in the system that profile as middle of the rotation starters. I would have taken Erlin and called it a deal.

        I don’t feel we have as much work to be done on the bullpen as this article suggests although now we HAVE to bring Bell back. There’s no doubt about that in my mind.

        CL: Bell
        8th Bass (groom him to be the closer)
        7th Gregerson
        6th: Frieri
        the rest: Spence, Thatcher
        long relief: pick someone up and let him compete with Castro and Deduno.

    • Pete 4 years ago

      Erlin and Wieland are a couple of blue chip prospects, relief pitching is overrated. You always trade Adams for those two. Padres cleaned up on the Adams deal.

      Who cares about closers anyway? The A’s grabbed some scrub SP named Bailey from AA and he instantly became one of the top 5 closers in baseball the following year. Closers are only hot commodities for short-sighted teams.

  6. None of the options named will be picked up and the bottom five on that list of arbitration eligibles will probably go away. The exception may be Thatcher if the Padres are convinced he can return healthy.

    Since there are no good corner outfielders available in Free Agency including Crisp and Chavez, look for some of your favorite prospects to be traded away to pick one up.

    The Padres arent looking to lower SO rates with a player or even two. They are looking to do it with hitting coaches. Yes coacheS. The Padres are hiring not one, but two hitting coaches to replace Ready.

    Qualls is NOT a free agent yet, but probably will be when Padres don’t pick up his $6 million option.

    I like Mickey Koke’s idea of taking a chance on Sizemore in a trade. Relatively cheap with huge upside and only one year left on his contract if he is an injury problem. Padres could probably get the Indians to pick up a portion of his salary without giving up a top prospect since Sizemore has not played much since 2008.

    • Amish_willy 4 years ago

      Sizemore has a 8.5m option for 2012, along with a 500K buyout. Suggesting the Indians pick up a portion of his salary while taking back a so-so prospect makes little sense from their perspective. On the free agent market he’s probably looking at half that, at most.

    • I wasn’t speaking of a trade between the Indians and Padres for Sizemore. It doesn’t look like the Indians will exercise his option. I was talking about signing him as a FA. I still like that idea. 

      • I’d rather sign Damon if were going that route. He might add some veteran leadership this club desperately needs.  

  7. Chris Jardin 4 years ago

    2012 lineup: 
    1. Maybin CF  
    2. Headley 3B  
    3. Guzman 2B (put him at 2B and deal with some errors, he came up as a 2B/3B).  
    4. Blanks LF 
    5. Josh Willingham, Grady Sizemore or trade for someone RF (we have Moseley, LeBlanc, Hudson and others to trade). 
    6. Rizzo 1B (Horrible year, but a great prospect).  
    7. Hundley C  
    8. Bartlett SS   

    Bench: 
    Denorfia OF 
    Tekotte OF 
    Venable (if traded, Hermida) OF 
    Forsythe 2B/3B 
    Martinez C 
    Cabrera SS/2B  

    SP: 
    Latos RH 
    Richards LH 
    Luebke LH 
    Staufer RH 
    Harang RH  

    RP: 
    Bass RH 
    Spencer LH 
    Bach, Dedundo or Hamren RH  
    Frieri RH 
    Gregerson RH 
    Bell RH  

    Trade bait: Moseley RHP LeBlanc LHP Thatcher LHP Venable OF Hudson 2B

    • Amish_willy 4 years ago

      Guzman has played 1 game at 2b since 2008 in the minors. I doubt he’d last through April. Guys that look mediocre at the corners don’t typically find themselves moving up the defensive spectrum, and for good reason.

      Worth noting that Hudson’s .329 OBP (.359 on the road) was the highest from a middle infielder since Mark Loretta in 2005.

  8. Chris Jardin 4 years ago

    2012 lineup: 1. Maybin CF  2. Headley 3B  3. Guzman 2B (put him at 2B and deal with some errors, he came up as a 2B/3B).  4. Blanks LF 5. Josh Willingham, Grady Sizemore or trade for someone RF (we have Moseley, LeBlanc, Hudson and others to trade). 6. Rizzo 1B (Horrible year, but a great prospect).  7. Hundley C  8. Bartlett SS   Bench: Denorfia OF Tekotte OF Venable (if traded, Hermida) OF Forsythe 2B/3B Martinez C Cabrera SS/2B  SP: Latos RH Richards LH Luebke LH Staufer RH Harang RH  RP: Bass RH Spencer LH Bach, Dedundo or Hamren RH  Frieri RH Gregerson RH Bell RH  Trade bait: Moseley RHP LeBlanc LHP Thatcher LHP Venable OF Hudson 2B

  9. Chris Jardin 4 years ago

    No thanks on this group (no RBI potential):
    Corner outfield free agents with high contact rates include Juan Pierre, Endy Chavez, and Coco Crisp. I’d rather have Pagan than these guys and I don’t want Pagan either.

    Two years at about $14M – $15M is plenty for Bell.

    • Pete 4 years ago

      “no RBI potential” – can you be any more ignorant about how baseball works?

      • Chris Jardin 4 years ago

        That’s exactly how baseball works “genius”, create run opportunities/drive in runs. We had an OBP of .305 (3rd worst), but we also lead the league in steals. Pierre (.329 OBP, 50 RBI’s), Chavez (.323 OBP, 27 RBI’s, half season) and Crisp (.314 OBP, 54 RBI’s) aren’t what our offense was/is lacking….so what we need is another guy who doesn’t get on base much, but can steall a base?…no thanks, we have those guys already, what we don’t have is enough RBI guys.
         
        Our low OBP and inability to drive in runs, especially with less than 2 outs and a runner at 3rd was a huge reason we didn’t score many runs last year, not the lack of a SB.

  10. Dylan Ramirez 4 years ago

    I still think we should use our pitching depth to acquire a right fielder. I think we should trade Richard for Coghlan which would give us a real lead off hitter and a guy who has a very high contact rate and some speed. A line drive hitter with speed like Coghlan could take advantage of Petco Park’s dimensions. 

    Then do that Lackey trade that was brought up on mlbtraderumors earlier. Take on 12 million this year and 5 million the next two years of his contract. Sending Hudson and his 7.5 million on his way and Boston can probably eat some of that contract and ship him elsewhere. Also throw Brach in the deal for Kalish or Reddick.

    That would leave us with a rotation of: 1. Latos 2. Luebke 3. Stauffer 4. Lackey 5. Moseley 

    That would give us a lineup of:

    1. Chris Coghlan 2B
    2. Maybin CF
    3. Headley 3B
    4. Guzman 1B
    5. Hundley C
    6. Blanks LF
    7. Kalish/Reddick RF
    8. Bartlett SS

    Bench: Forsythe 2b/3b, Alberto Gonzalez U, Denorfia OF, Martinez C, last spot???

  11. They don’t! We don’t! Why would they? Corner outfielder(S)! Middle Infielders and catcher! PLEEEEEEEZE! Winning will come with those additions! No MORE PROSPECTS!!! ENOUGH ALREADY! We got a whole team of temps and rejects!

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