Offseason Outlook: San Diego Padres

The Padres will look for starting pitching this offseason as they aim to re-establish themselves as an NL West contender.

Guaranteed Contracts 

Arbitration Eligible Players (estimated salaries)

Free Agents

With new ownership and a new television contract in place, there's optimism that the Padres can expand payroll in the relatively near future. Though the newly-approved, Ron Fowler-led ownership group has not revealed precisely where payroll will sit, GM Josh Byrnes recently indicated to Barry Bloom that it could increase. Regardless of how much money he has at his disposal, Byrnes is expected to prioritize starting pitching in the team's first offseason under new ownership. 

Chase Headley - Padres (PW)

The Padres have $30MM committed to the 2013 payroll, according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. San Diego's class of arbitration eligible players looks unusually large again this offseason, so much of the team's remaining flexibility will go toward players in their arb years. 

Chase Headley (pictured) will be of particular interest following a season in which he emerged as an elite offensive producer despite Petco Park's pitcher-friendly tendencies. His salary could reach the $7MM range through the arbitration process, so he's not the bargain he once was. He's only going to get more expensive, and could command $50-80MM on an extension.

There are indications the new ownership group will spend to keep Headley, but if they aren't willing to do so, they should consider trading him. It might be difficult for fans to tolerate the move just one year after the Mat Latos trade and two years after the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Yet there's no sense in losing a franchise player for nothing but a draft pick when multiple MLB-ready prospects would be available in trades. The Padres have helped develop one of the game's top farm systems by trading elite MLB players before they become prohibitively expensive. If the team's new ownership group continues operating on one of the league's smallest payrolls, Byrnes will have to consider parting with Headley. At a time that teams such as the Braves, Phillies, White Sox and Diamondbacks could be in the market for third base help, demand for a player of Headley's caliber would be overwhelming. Hopefully for Padres fans, ownership decides to spend at a level that can accommodate an elite player as he approaches free agency. If not, the Padres must re-consider trading Headley.

Though the Padres out-scored just six teams this past season, they now seem set at most positions. They got an early start on the offseason by signing Carlos Quentin to a three-year contract and extending Chris Denorfia, the right-handed hitting platoon partner for Will Venable, on a modest two-year deal. These signings solidify an outfield that includes Venable, Cameron Maybin and Jesus Guzman, who also thrives against left-handed pitching.

The Padres also have enough internal options to pass on a relatively weak class of free agent infielders. Headley, Yonder Alonso, Logan Forsythe and Everth Cabrera have earned places atop the team’s depth chart, and Jedd Gyorko also figures to get the chance to contribute next year. San Diego struggled against right-handed pitching this past year, so if Byrnes can find a way to supplement Forsythe, yet another lefty masher, with a left-handed hitting second base backup he should do so.

The Padres could cut ties with arbitration eligible pitchers Tim Stauffer, Dustin Moseley and Micah Owings. Stauffer, a valuable contributor from 2009-11, appeared in just one game this past year because of an elbow injury. He'd earn $3MM or so if tendered a contract, so it's hard to argue that a low-budget team should retain him through the arbitration process. Similarly, Moseley appeared in just one game for the Padres in 2012. He underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in April and should also be non-tendered given his current salary of $2.01MM.

John Baker could be deemed expendable now that Nick Hundley and Yasmani Grandal are in place at catcher, so he's a non-tender or trade candidate. Kyle Blanks, the former top prospect who underwent season-ending labrum surgery in April, can expect a contract offer despite his lost season.

As mentioned, the rotation will be an offseason focus for San Diego. Presently it includes few sure things other than Clayton Richard and Edinson Volquez. Promising arms such as Andrew Cashner and Casey Kelly could make an impact and Cory Luebke and Joe Wieland could return from injuries midway through the 2013 season. But Byrnes intends to add starters from outside of the organization following a season in which Richard and Volquez were the only pitchers to start more than 15 games.

Fly ball prone free agents such as Carlos Villanueva, Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy and Jeremy Guthrie could succeed in Petco Park and they figure to be in the Padres' price range. Former Padres ace Jake Peavy, another free agent who allows his share of fly balls, could appeal to the Padres on a short-term deal, but he has significant leverage as one of the top pitchers available. An the other end of the spectrum, Carl Pavano and Daisuke Matsuzaka could be worth adding for a minimal commitment.

The Padres had a strong finish to the 2012 season, winning 42 of 75 second half games. To improve the chances that this success continues in 2013, Byrnes must obtain starting pitching depth over the winter. Extending Headley would be a reassuring move, though a new deal doesn't have to be reached at this time. Over the course of the first offseason since the sale of the club was completed we're sure to learn a lot about just how aggressive new ownership intends to be.

Photo courtesy of US Presswire.

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

  1. jakec77 3 years ago

    Headley to the Braves makes too much sense. Gilmartin and Teheran could compete for rotation spots with the Padres as soon as this spring, and would both almost certainly be in the majors by the end of the year.

    • briankoke 3 years ago

      I’d want a lot more than that for Headley, but I see the match you’re talking about with the Braves. I wouldn’t go after more prospects for Headley. I would want a proven front of the rotation type of starter. I would ask for Hanson and then some. A better match for both teams might be Jedd Gyorko to the Braves for pitching…

      The Padres will probably explore an extension for Headley at this point.

      • jacks100 3 years ago

        You don’t want Tommy Hanson.

      • PhxPadsFan 3 years ago

        If the Pads send Headley to the Braves they need to get Simmons as part of the package in return. It is highly unlikely that will happen.

        • Amish_willy 3 years ago

          Agree on Simmons, he’s the kind of talent that would surely pique the Padres interest in discussing Headley. Very doubtful though.

    • Sir Coyler 3 years ago

      if we’re gonna deal headley, which would greatly upset me, i’d want an MLB-ready corner outfielder just because Venable is streaky, Quinton may be gone (injury or trade) and Denorfia probably will never be an everyday OF. but as a baseball follower, yes, you’re right, if i am the braves i try and acquire headley yesterday.

      • cjmsd 3 years ago

        Quentin wont get traded, they just extended him. He also has a no trade clause.

    • davbee 3 years ago

      Gilmartin is thoroughly unimpressive (6.4 Ks per 9 innings last year in AA and AAA). Teheren struggled as well (6.7 Ks per 9 innings, 5.08 ERA). The Padres can get way more for Headley than this.

  2. EddieWinslow 3 years ago

    Should be Casey Kelly, not Joe Kelly in the third last paragraph.

  3. Federalist85 3 years ago

    I think you mean Casey Kelly, not Joe Kelly. Headley is the biggest decision this offseason. Fans would not be happy with a trade, but if we can get a haul like we did for Latos than it makes too much sense not to trade him and give Gyorko 3B.

  4. Padres4life 3 years ago

    so let me get this straight. John Baker (healthy all year, stellar back up, helped contribute with clutch hits) is a non-tender candidate, but Kyle Blanks (injury prone, can’t hit anything but a mistake and can’t field) might get offered a contract? wow! thats unreal! Hundley should be expendable AND Blanks, Keep Baker! Sheesh

    • They’re not going to carry 3 catchers next season but they could always swap Blanks for Guzman if he shows anything in Spring Training.

      • Petcopadre 3 years ago

        Blanks for Guzman? Blanks has only shown glimpses of potential. Guzman has been somewhat consistent during his MLB tenure.

        • Mike 3 years ago

          Blanks has too much upside to not try at least one more time on.

          • Padres4life 3 years ago

            upside? the dude is one of the worst i’ve ever seen.

          • johnnycomelately9 3 years ago

            You have bad sight, The man can have more 30 homer seasons. He has huge power but hasn’t figured out major league pitchiing. When he’s healthy he can be HUGE.

          • PhxPadsFan 3 years ago

            This is the same type of thinking that has kept Venable in the lineup through three different GMs. Some guys will never figure it out.

          • Amish_willy 3 years ago

            With Venable, like Headley, hitting very well away from Petco, I think fans still don’t grasp the way the park plays, especially for left-handed hitters. Something Venable is 100% of the time and Headley about 70%.

            So what makes Headley so special but Venable is a waste? Both players were Super 2’s, meaning after last season Headley was where Venable is now in terms of service time in the majors. Venable has the higher fWar (9.9 vs 9.4) over that same period of time despite having much fewer plate appearances, 1773 vs 2114. Coming into the year Headley only slugged .400 in a season once, that was 2008 his partial season. Venable had done that three times.

            Let’s non-tender Venable and the 2.5m he has coming to him, but definitely go out and give Headley that 70m extension.

            In regards to Blanks, I can’t name a padres player that they’ve developed in the past decade, probably longer that showed the same kind of power Blanks did, albeit in short bursts due to never staying healthy up to this point. If he turns out to be the next Nelson Cruz or Michael Morse, won’t the same fans be running back crying foul how the Padres never get it right? One things for sure, he’s AL bound, but don’t blame the Padres for wanting to see if he’d turn good. I wish he would have gotten a 400-500 AB season.

            With Venable’s 9.9 WAR, that production on the free agent market would be worth around 43m. Up to this point the Padres have paid hm less than 3m. Were those 3 GM’s not very bright about him, or was it someone else…

          • 1st off half of WAR is based on fielding metrics that are worse than useless as a predictive stat until you get to 420 games of data, about 3 seasons. Venable barely has enough data in 5 seasons. Throw it out if you are trying to make meaningful comparisons of players future performance.

            2nd If you must use WAR at all then over the past 3 seasons its Headley 15.1 fWAR to Venable.7.1 fWAR (and 10.2 fWAR to 4.4 fWAR over the past 2 seasons).

            3rd Venable only has 35 less games & 480 less plate appearances over that same period.

            That Headley has more playing time is a testament to his effectiveness against both RH starting pitching and LH starting pitching. A 9 point split for Headley vs a 47 point split for Venable. Ad to that Venable’s streaky play and you have a 4th OF. Headley has consistently been one of the top 3B in the NL, now MLB.

            Blanks can mash when healthy. 20 HR, 22 Dbls and 3 Trpls in 448 AB. Getting him healthy and into the lineup on a regular basis has been his issue. With Quentin missing half of each of the next 3 seasons Blanks should get plenty of playing time.

          • Blanks has hit 20 HR in 488 AB. The kid can flat out MASH the ball. Scary strong. With Quentin guaranteed to miss half the season for each of the 3 seasons the Padres are stuck with him, having someone like Blanks is good insurance.

      • Amish_willy 3 years ago

        Or Darnell.

      • Ivan Verastica 3 years ago

        yes, I obviously prefer baker over hundley, the grandal-baker duo seems to work well

  5. redsFAN86 3 years ago

    The best offseason move for the padres is to get healthy. I like the make up of this team if the right players can get on the field.

  6. Skip Schumaker could be a good fit next year for the Pads. LH batter who can backup 2nd base and play all 3 OF positions. He’s a good hitter and a class individual with a great clubhouse presence who knows how to win. Descalso has earned the 2nd base position next year for the Cards and Chambers is ready for the 4th OF position.

    • Ivan Verastica 3 years ago

      agree, he looks like a good mid-role player, like denorfia or venable

  7. Ivan Verastica 3 years ago

    I’m really excited about this team, if the 2013 padres are the second-half 2012 padres we have a good chance of making the playoffs,
    please, keep headley, the keys will be the health of carlos Quentin and the consistency of yonder Alonso, just add one or two pitchers, and we are set, LET’S GO PADREEEES

  8. Amish_willy 3 years ago

    You’re missing the point about the 43m, that is the figure he “earned” in his first 3+ years based on Fangraphs WAR. If the Padres were wanting to extend Venable he’d be in a similar position Nick Hundley was in looking at 3/9m or so. Sorry for the confusion. I wasn’t implying the team give him that money.

    Dude hits .286/.365/.509 away from hitter’s hell in 2012 and fans still want to see him replaced… makes me scratch my head.

  9. PhxPadsFan 3 years ago

    You can spin his numbers anyway you want the fact is that he and Blanks have both been given a fair shot to show they are MLB ballplayers and they have not. It is time to move on.

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  10. Padres4life 3 years ago

    how are you sticking up for Venable? the guy strikes out on three pitches on a consistent basis and he only has hot months in June and July and tails off to his normal self and helps us lose games by not contributing early or late into the year. Venable should be benched until June and then be given at bats because he historically can only hit during the summer time.

  11. Amish_willy 3 years ago

    Do you really think I’m trying to manipulate you by pointing out how well Venable does outside of Petco? Lets start with the obvious, Will Venable is a platoon player that should be on the bench when a lefty starter is on the mound. So was Ryan Klesko with the Braves, they always seemed to have a righty that could mash lefties, so for those 20-30% of the time a lefty starts you sit your guy. Petco for lefthanded hitters is brutal, if your a legit Padre fan you know that.

    So let’s take those two things out of the equation – Will Venable in his career owns a road line verse righties of .283/.350/.482. Couple that with his speed and athleicism and you’ve got quite the ball player. With talk of the fences being moved in that should be music every lefthanded hitters ears.

    Have you not seen the numbers our RF put up in 2012? Do you realize that position provided the highest OPS from any position in 2011 for the Padres?

    2012 SD RF’s : .280/.347/.455 – 37 2b’s, 14 3b’s 15 Hr’s, 28 sb’s & 104 runs scored. No position scored more runs, no position hit more extra base hits. Only 1 position stole more bases.

    No, Will Venable is not part of the problem.

    And Daniel, take a look at his strikeout rates, improving each year and down to 20% this year. A perfectly acceptable number. And FYI, only LF’s struck out less than RF’s for the 2012 Padres. So I’d hardly use that as my reasoning to banish Venable.

  12. Blanks has been hurt and when he has played he hit 20 hr in 448 ab. He has showed he belongs. BA will come with consistent ab. He has been injured too much to get those consistent abs often, but when he has he has hit. We saw that last August when he started 24 of 28 games and hit .273 with 7 hr. Health is what he needs.

    Venable has had his FT shot and been streaky and disappears for weeks or months at a time. He is a good 4th OF or platoon player. He is just not an everyday RF. He has proven that he just cant hit LHP.

  13. Amish_willy 3 years ago

    Here are Venable’s monthly splits for his career when he’s not playing at Petco:

    April – .260/.306/.410
    May – .288/.355/.514
    June – .263/.304/.495
    July – .268/.369/.441
    Aug – .271/.330/.447
    Sep – .296/.373/.446

    hmmm…. I’d suggest re-reading what you wrote for the full effect. When you use words like “only” and “historically” it’s good to have the facts to back up such claims, otherwise it’s just non-sense.

  14. PhxPadsFan 3 years ago

    I never said he is part of the problem, but he is not the answer in the long run. He is 30 years old and he has shown what he can do and he is a 4th or 5th outfielder/platoon player at best. It is time to move on. I hope it is this year, but if not Liriano is not far off.
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  15. He is not part of the problem, but he is certainly not the solution

    Venable has hit .278 on the road over the past 3 seasons. Good enough for 33rd among OF with 400 PA on the road. Lets not try to say that is awesome, because its not.

    Combined with the other 4 players who had playing time, the RF platoon did very well for the Padres in 2012.

    That does not mean Venable is anything more than a 4th OF or platoon player. Dont try to make him out to be more valuable than he is.

    If he could be packaged with a couple of top prospects to bring in a real everyday OF like Alex Gordon then he should be gone and Denorfia can ably fill his shoes.

  16. Amish_willy 3 years ago

    It sure sounded like you thought he was part of the problem. Anyways, I think I posted enough factual information to prove Venable’s worthiness. The above (& below) would be ridiculous numbers for a 4th or 5th!! outfielder. Some people just like to hate.

    With Venorfia set to cost a combined 4.5m in 2013, the Padres have a good thing going particularly with a guy like Rymer Liriano closing in. Yeison Asencio could advance quickly as well and would be in the RF picture. Paying 12-15m yr for B.J. Upton or Swisher would be a far costly upgrade… as some are skeptical either would be able to come in and put up a 3.5-4.5 WAR season in hitter’s hell.

    Venable put up a wRC+ of 118 this year (100 being average) when those guys are early in their arbitration years (cheap) you tend to value them accordingly. With Denorfia there to spell him against those pesky lefties they make for a productive platoon. Sure a platoon isn’t as good as having a stud you throw out there everyday, but for 4.5m… it woud tough to do better. Feel like throwing out examples if you want..

  17. PhxPadsFan 3 years ago

    He is a platoon player and that is all he will ever be. All lefty ate “pesky” other wise he would not be part of a platoon. You can bring all the Bill James stats you want, but he is what he is. A platoon player. They need to upgrade in RF. Ascenio may be older than him.

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  18. Amish_willy 3 years ago

    You act like a player on the heavy part of platoon (RHB) has no value to the team. He clearly handes right handed pitching well enough to face them, and those arms do make up 65-70% of the all of them… they do have a perfectly suited player (Denorfia) to off-set those others…
    Talk abou not taking in the entire picture. Since his return from is early 2011 exile to AAA he has 653 AB’s and has hit .263/.330/.438. He as 35 2b’s, 13 3b’s & 18 HR’s. That’s facing all pitchers at home and on the road. In the 220 ABs with men on he’s been at his best hitting .314/.402/.473. Talk about going all Brian Giles on us… not to mention the extra ingredient… speed.

    I find it amusing when a guy that is hitting .284/.353/.476 away from Petco is said to be not cutting it offensively. Definitely don’t want THAT guy batting 1st or 2nd… the world might implode!

    I have a memo to the SD front office going via certified mail on a suggested extension for Venable. It’s a 2+2 deal, getting his arb years under control, 2 of which would be guaranteed (2.5/3) with with two options (4 & 5m) covering his last arb year and first free agent year. Sorry all, but he’s not going anywhere soon. When he’s dealt in two years and brings back a nice prospect or two I’ll be here to talk all about the value Wil Venable brought… it’ll make you blush!
    I have a barn-raising to tend to but I will be sure to check back later.

  19. PhxPadsFan 3 years ago

    He is a career .254 hitter when it is all said and done and it does not matter how many stats you bring up you can’t get around that fact. You only support the fact that he cannot hit lefties and he cannot hit at home. He is a platoon player and that is all he will ever be. When you look at the everyday players this is the one of two positions they need to improve the most.

  20. Amish_willy 3 years ago

    You say: “When you look at the everyday players this is the one of two positions they need to improve the most. ”

    I say: “2012 SD RF’s : .280/.347/.455 – 37 2b’s, 14 3b’s 15 Hr’s, 28 sb’s & 104 runs scored. No position scored more runs, no position hit more extra base hits. Only 1 position stole more bases”

    I don’t get your urgency.

  21. Amish_willy 3 years ago

    Yes, the platoon did very well in ’12. RF’s had the highest ops in 2011. Each one of triple slash marks away from Petco, including his .278 average is considered above average, never said he was “awesome”, just pointing out why I think he’s the team’s most undervalued player by their own fan base. I’d love a team full of guys hitting .278/.355/.455.

    I would hope the Padres would be content with their collection of bats. If the middle infield experiment works out, we’ll be seeing Gyorko take Cabrera’s spot in the lineup which has “awesome” potential.

    I’m with you on Blanks. Those saying he got his chance, and we’re talking 400 AB’s over parts of 4 seasons… give me a break. I still have the Pittsburgh series from 2011 fresh in my mind. Having him to spell Quentin in Lf as well as giving them a powerful bat at 1b when they want to give Alonso a day off. I’m just bummed we only got 20 HR’s from his pre-arb years. Back in ’09 I would have expected atleast 60 and perhaps as many as 90. Of course Blanks has to stay healthy to accomplish anything.

  22. PhxPadsFan 3 years ago

    You want to hold a spot on the 40 man roster for a team that is loaded with young talent that needs to be protected by a guy who is fragile and shows flashes of power? He is not going to play 1B anytime soon and the last I looked the Pads play in the NL. I wish him all the luck, but it is time to move on.

    As for Venable that is what I have been saying. He is a 4th or 5th OF. It is time to move on if not this year it will be soon as Liriano is not far off. It would be nice to see him get a shot in September.

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