San Diego Padres Rumors

San Diego Padres trade and free agent rumors from

Possible Qualifying Offer Players Who Could Be Dealt

Next year’s free agent market contains plenty of players who could receive qualifying offers — David Price, Jordan Zimmermann, Jason Heyward, and others. Here’s a look at potential qualifying offer recipients who have the best chance of being traded this season, thus preventing them from receiving that designation.

At issue, of course, is draft pick compensation and forfeiture. A team extending a qualifying offer to a player receives a draft pick in return if the player signs elsewhere. The signing team also gives up a draft pick. But a player who has been traded in the season before he becomes a free agent can’t be extended a qualifying offer and thus isn’t attached to draft picks. That can be an important consideration for teams shopping for free agents, as we’ve seen in recent years in the cases of Kyle Lohse, Nelson Cruz, Ervin Santana, Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales, whose markets have all shrunk in part because of the qualifying offer.

Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake, Reds. The Reds are off to a 4-0 start but still aren’t that likely to contend, which means that Cueto and Leake could hit the free agent market this summer. Trading Cueto, in particular, would be a great way for the Reds to add to their collection of young talent. Leake might be somewhat trickier to trade, since the Reds’ return might not be worth that much more than the draft pick and negotiating leverage they would forgo by dealing him.

Ben Zobrist and Scott Kazmir, Athletics. Billy Beane’s trade for Zobrist this offseason was a somewhat surprising one to begin with. The Athletics could easily contend, but if they don’t, Beane seems unlikely to sit still, and finding a new home for Zobrist wouldn’t be difficult given his versatility. Kazmir is another possibility — if he performs at his 2014 levels, he could receive a qualifying offer if the A’s contend or be traded if they don’t.

Alex Gordon, Royals. The Royals haven’t discussed an extension with Gordon, who would undoubtedly be an attractive trade target if the Royals were to fall out of contention in the AL Central. They’re currently 4-0, however, and there’s still the matter of Gordon’s $12.5MM option. Exercising it would likely not be an optimal financial decision from Gordon’s perspective, but he’s expressed interest in doing so before. If he were to make clear to the Royals that he planned to do so, he almost certainly wouldn’t be a trade candidate.

Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy, Padres. San Diego gambled heavily this offseason on the Padres’ ability to win in 2015. If they don’t, A.J. Preller doesn’t seem like the sort of GM to hang onto two key players who are due to become free agents. One possibility if the Padres were to trade Kennedy or especially Upton would be to acquire big-league talent in return, much like the Red Sox did when they dealt Jon Lester last summer. That would enable the Padres to re-tool for 2016, when they’ll still control most of the players they acquired over the winter.

Yovani Gallardo, Rangers. The Brewers exercised what was effectively a $12.4MM 2015 option ($13MM minus a $600K buyout) before trading Gallardo to Texas. His market value likely is somewhere near the value of a qualifying offer, and extending him one wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Rangers if he performs well this season. They could easily trade him rather than doing that, although that might be somewhat difficult given all the higher-impact starters who might be available and the value that would disappear if the ability to extend Gallardo a qualifying offer were to vanish.

Jeff Samardzija, White Sox. The new-look White Sox are 0-4, and GM Rick Hahn has said he will be “nimble” in turning his attention to the future if the organization’s moves to contend this summer don’t work out. That might mean Samardzija could be traded for the third time in a year. He would likely command significant value on the trade market.

Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, Orioles. Davis and Wieters are worth watching, although it’s somewhat unlikely that they’re valuable enough to receive qualifying offers and that they become trade candidates. Davis had a down season in 2014, while Wieters continues to struggle with health problems (and there’s currently no timetable for his return from an elbow injury). If Davis and Wieters are productive and healthy, the Orioles could well contend, and thus it’s unlikely they’ll be traded. If they aren’t, they might not be qualifying offer candidates.

West Notes: Kennedy, Angels, Alvarez

Here’s the latest out of the game’s western divisions:

  • Padres righty Ian Kennedy is headed to the 15-day DL, as Dennis Lin of theSan Diego Union-Tribune reports. Fortunately, Lin tweets, skipper Bud Black says that Kennedy already has shown improvement and that the team does not believe he’ll be out long. Then there is the fact that, as Jon Morosi of FOX Sports notes on Twitter, San Diego has solid rotation depth and will be comfortable handing the ball off to Odrisamer Despaigne.
  • The fact that the city of Anaheim has a new lead negotiator does not change the Angels‘ stance in stadium talks,’s Alden Gonzalez reports on Twitter“Why would it change anything?” queried owner Arte Moreno. “We are not negotiating.”
  • The Dodgers have been said to be indeed lining up as top contenders for the services of hyped Cuban hurler Yadier Alvarez. As Jon Heyman of reports, president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman has gone to watch Alvarez pitch in the Dominican Republic, where he established residency upon leaving Cuba.

Shortstop Alternatives For The Padres

The Padres are said to be “scouring” the trade market for shortstop upgrades over internal options Clint Barmes and Alexi Amarista, and while significant trades at this stage of the season are indeed rare, the Sunday’s blockbuster acquisition of Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton from the Braves shows that GM A.J. Preller isn’t averse to making trades at any stage of the season.

Both Dave Cameron of Fangraphs and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports beat me to writing something on the subject, and each piece is well worth the read. However, there are a vast expanse of shortstop options available for the Padres to explore, and Rosenthal reports that the team seems likelier to add a low-cost upgrade than to make an extravagant splash for the likes of Elvis Andrus or Starlin Castro. (The Padres have concerns about Castro’s glove at shortstop, in fact, Rosenthal adds, and have not recently been in touch regarding Chicago’s middle infielders.)

Cameron discusses a wide range of shortstop possibilities for the Friars, concluding that an acquisition of Jean Segura might be the most logical upgrade for San Diego. While I agree that Segura makes some sense for the Padres, there are some additional low-cost names (from a financial standpoint, that is) that could  be replaced within their respective organizations.

Before delving into some speculative candidates, let’s first take a quick glance at the current options in San Diego. Barmes batted a decisively sub-par .245/.328/.294 last season, with six of his nine walks coming while batting eighth, in front of the pitcher. While he’s well-known as a plus defender, Barmes projects to be roughly a replacement level player when looking at the ZiPS and Steamer projection systems. Likewise, Amarista is a light-hitting infielder, who projects to be scarcely more than a replacement-level option. He’s younger than Barmes but is also just a .233/.278/.335 hitter in more than 1200 plate appearances. It’d be a surprise to see him contribute anything close to league-average production at the dish.

The Padres have a pair of serviceable gloves at shortstop, but neither comes with much in the way of offensive upside, and as such, their search for a shortstop upgrade isn’t unexpected.

All that said, let’s look at some options around the league that could serve as alternatives to Amarista and Barmes…

Luis Sardinas, Brewers: Preller of all people should be familiar with Sardinas, who was signed by the Rangers and developed into a promising prospect while Preller was still in the Texas front office. The jury is out on how much Sardinas will actually hit — he’s batted .290/.310/.374 in limited Triple-A action and didn’t fare much better in the Majors last year — but he’s regarded as a plus defender and has more upside at the plate than either incumbent option in San Diego. Sardinas is blocked in the Majors by Segura, who, as Cameron noted, could be a fit in San Diego himself, if the Brewers believe that Sardinas can adequately step into the everyday role at shortstop.

Javier Baez, Cubs: While much of the talk surrounding the Cubs and Padres has centered around Starlin Castro, one could make the case that Baez is a better fit. The Padres’ payroll undoubtedly has to be nearing its apex, and squeezing Castro’s sizable contract into the books may be too tall a task. Additionally, the Cubs are trying to contend this year, and jettisoning one of their core pieces and more proven hitters could be a lateral move, or even a step backwards, depending on what the Padres are willing to offer. Baez isn’t a definitive upgrade, but his light-tower power unequivocally gives him more upside than current options, and Preller’s Padres have an affinity for right-handed power bats. The Cubs could commit to Arismendy Alcantara at second base in the event of a Baez trade, though the Padres have parted with most of their upper-level pitching prospects, making a trade perhaps more difficult.

Jordy Mercer, Pirates: Moving Mercer now would likely accelerate that Pirates’ timeline for getting Korean shortstop Jung-ho Kang regular at-bats at the big league level, and they may not be comfortable moving Mercer until seeing how Kang adjusts to the Major Leagues (admittedly, they may not be comfortable moving him even if Kang hits). However, Mercer is a solid enough hitter and fielder that the Padres could reasonably expect him to be worth a couple of wins per season, and they could send Amarista back to Pittsburgh along with any potential prospects to give the Bucs an immediate alternative in the event that Kang struggles. If the Padres offered a means of improving the Pirates’ 2015 roster, it’s at least plausible.

Eugenio Suarez, Reds: Acquired from the Tigers in the offseason, Suarez isn’t as gifted a defender as Barmes, but he but he held his own from a defensive standpoint last year in the eyes of Ultimate Zone Rating (Defensive Runs Saved was a bit more pessimistic). He comes with significantly more upside at the plate, however, as evidenced by a .278/.362/.415 batting line. ZiPS projects him at two wins, for those who are interested in projection systems, and the Reds, who stand to lose both Mike Leake and Johnny Cueto after the season, might be interested in adding some pitching to the upper levels of their system, even if it’s not an elite prospect with front-of-the-rotation upside.

Eduardo Escobar, Twins: Minnesota seems set to give Danny Santana every opportunity to prove that he’s their shortstop of the future, leaving Escobar as a perhaps overqualified utility infielder. The switch-hitting 26-year-old grades out as average or slightly better in the field over the course of a relatively small sample of 1053 innings, and he delivered a .275/.315/.406 batting line in the Twins’ pitcher-friendly home park last year (102 OPS+/wRC+). His offense may trend downward a bit, as he may not sustain his .336 BABIP, but he’s probably a better hitter than Amarista/Barmes and won’t sink the Padres in the field. Of course, the Padres could try to pry Santana away from the Twins as well, who could then use Escobar at shortstop until the more highly regarded Jorge Polanco is MLB-ready. But, I’d think the asking price on Santana would be higher, even if he clearly won’t repeat last year’s .405-BABIP-fueled offensive output.

Brad Miller/Chris Taylor, Mariners: Both Seattle shortstops were oft-mentioned as trade candidates throughout the offseason. For the time being, Miller’s getting a look at shortstop after Taylor fractured his wrist in Spring Training. Miller’s first half in 2014 was an unmitigated disaster (.204/.273/.330), but he quietly had a nice second half (.268/.330/.464), performed quite well in spring and has hit well in this season’s minuscule sample size. Miller struggles against lefties, so perhaps there’s some merit to the idea of a platoon, but either of these two would likely be an upgrade in San Diego (once Taylor is healthy, of course).

Obviously, there are far more names that could be suggested. The likes of Erisbel Arruebarrena and Deven Marrero come to mind, though each strong defender has drawn questions about his bat. Danny Espinosa has far more big league experience, but he offers a similar tale of plus defense and a questionable bat. Jonathan Villar has been displaced in Houston, but he grades out as a poor defender and hit his way into a demotion to Triple-A last year. Nick Franklin, now with Tampa following last year’s David Price trade, could be a consideration, but he’s injured at the moment and has also drawn questions about his glove at short.

The temptation for Padres fans, based on Preller’s track record, might to expect the moon and set their sights on Troy Tulowitzki and Starlin Castro, but the market does bear plenty of affordable options that are perhaps superfluous to their respective organizations. While that doesn’t mean they can be had for nothing, the presence of viable, starting-caliber alternatives within the organizations listed here makes a trade easier to envision.

Heyman’s Latest: Kimbrel, Howard, Perez, Salty, Soriano, Cueto

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has penned a lengthy column that’s chock full of Hot Stove related items as the season gets underway. First and foremost, he chronicles the Braves‘ trade of Craig Kimbrel at length. Heyman spoke to president of baseball ops John Hart, who candidly told Heyman that the team took a hard line of refusing to trade Kimbrel unless Melvin Upton Jr. was involved in the deal. “We were not going to separate Kimbrel and trade him by himself,” Hart told Heyman. Atlanta reached out to the Cubs, Astros, Dodgers and Padres, among others, this winter in an effort to move Upton, and despite the Dodgers’ bullpen needs, they weren’t willing to add Upton’s contract to that of Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, having already shed Matt Kemp‘s contract. The Padres trade didn’t heat up until about four days before it was agreed upon, Heyman writes, with Hart even remaining in Orlando to finish negotiations rather than fly with the team to Miami at the end of Spring Training. Hart credited assistant GM John Coppolella for doing much of the legwork and his creativity in getting the trade finalized.

More highlights from Heyman’s article (though the entire piece is well worth your time)…

  • While some reports late in Spring Training indicated that the Phillies would be willing to eat up to $50MM of the remaining $60MM on Ryan Howard‘s contract, two GMs tell Heyman they hadn’t heard that figure. One of those GMs was of the belief that the Phillies’ top offer was to pay about $35MM, which, Heyman speculates, may have been a large reason that the Royals opted to sign Kendrys Morales for two years and $17MM rather than pursue a Howard trade.
  • Speaking of the Royals, Heyman hears that the team is open to pursuing a second extension with catcher Salvador Perez and would be happy to make him a Royal for life. Heyman notes that some in the organization even have some sympathy for Perez, whose five-year, $7MM contract is widely considered the most team-friendly deal in all of baseball. Perez’s deal contains three startlingly low club options valued at $3.75MM, $5MM and $6MM for the 2017-19 seasons — two of which would have been free-agent seasons beginning at the age of 28.
  • The Marlins tried to trade Jarrod Saltalamacchia this winter after the catcher’s first season on a three-year, $21MM pact was a struggle, but his salary was too great a deterrent. The Marlins presumably feel that top prospect J.T. Realmuto could step into the catcher’s role in the not-too-distant future.
  • The Tigers are believed to be at least monitoring Rafael Soriano‘s workouts at the Boras Sports Training Institute in Miami, per Heyman. However, Soriano has seen his stock suffer not only due to ineffective innings late int he 2014 season but also due to perceptions about his personality and negative clubhouse impact. At least one club that was taking a hard look at late-inning relievers ruled out Soriano entirely due to that perception, Heyman reports.
  • The Reds felt the odds of extending Johnny Cueto prior to Opening Day were so slim that it’s not even clear if they made a formal offer, writes Heyman. Cueto is seeking a figure in the range of $200MM following Max Scherzer‘s mammoth contract this offseason, he adds. Heyman also opines that David Price would probably be selling himself short if he took much less than $200MM from the Tigers at this point as well.
  • Anecdotally, Heyman tells the story of how Cody Ross‘ career began when he was sold to the Marlins from the Reds in exchange for “cash considerations” of precisely one dollar. Former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky spoke to Heyman about the deal, explaining that they didn’t have room on the Cincinnati roster back in ’06 but genuinely wanted to get Ross into the best possible position to have a chance at a Major League roster spot. Ross has gone on to earn more than $52MM in the game of baseball.

California Notes: Ross, A’s, Padres, Shortstops

The Giants and Padres engaged in an extreme pitchers’ duel on Thursday night, needing a full 12 innings to decide a 1-0 Giants victory.  Pinch-hitter Justin Maxwell‘s RBI single in the top of the 12th proved to be the difference in a game that saw both clubs combine for only 13 total hits.  Here’s some more news from teams from the Golden State…

  • Newly-acquired Athletics outfielder Cody Ross told reporters (including’s Jane Lee) that A’s were one of multiple teams who got in touch with him almost immediately after the Diamondbacks released the veteran over the weekend.  Ross saw Oakland as an ideal fit since he wants to play for a contender, and he now sees his release as a positive after he initially felt “blindsided,” “upset” and “bitter” about being let go so suddenly by the D’Backs.
  • Ross also noted that the Giants were one of the teams who had a “little bit” of interest in signing him, and The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea confirms that this was the case, but the team didn’t have an available roster spot.  Ross, of course, played for the Giants from August 2010 through the 2011 season and played a big role in the club’s 2010 World Series title with an MVP performance in the NLCS.
  • With the Padres looking for shortstop help, Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron sees the Brewers’ Jean Segura as a realistic trade target.  Cameron speculates that a deal of Segura for Odrisamer Despaigne, Brandon Maurer and one of Alexi Amarista/Clint Barmes could give both teams an overall roster upgrade.  Beyond Segura, Cameron doesn’t see the likes of Troy Tulowitzki, Elvis Andrus, Starlin Castro or Jose Ramirez as plausible San Diego trade targets for a variety of reasons.
  • For the 20th straight season, the Padres have signed Matt LaChappa to a minor league contract, a move that gives the southpaw a regular income and access to health insurance, USA Today’s Ted Berg reports.  Steve Bischeff of the Orange County Register first wrote about LaChappa in 2005, detailing the second-round pick in the 1993 draft suffered a heart attack while warming up before a minor league game in 1996.  A virus around his heart led to a second attack and LaChappa is now confined to a wheelchair, but the Padres have continually renewed his minor league deal every year since the incident.
  • In news from earlier today, the Dodgers acquired Ryan Webb in a trade with the Orioles, while the A’s lost Alex Hassan to the Rangers on a waiver claim.

NL West Notes: Cain, Baker, Kimbrel, Ross

The Giants officially placed Matt Cain on the disabled list with a strained flexor tendon, and the righty told reporters, including the San Francisco Chronicle’s Henry Schulman (Twitter links) that he’s hoping to return in two weeks, though there’s no certainty that such a quick return is possible. “Might as well try for it,” Cain said. “That’s what you’re hoping for. Only time will tell.” Cain said he doesn’t feel any “killing” pain, but rather he feels pain when going through certain movements. There’s currently no timetable for him to throw, and the team has recalled Chris Heston to make a spot start and fill Cain’s roster spot. San Francisco also added Kevin Correia on a Minor League pact earlier tonight to provide some depth.

Here’s more from the NL West…

  • Scott Baker looks like the likeliest option to step into the Dodgers‘ rotation in place of the injured Hyun-jin Ryu on April 14, writes Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. Of the team’s projected Triple-A starters, Baker is the only one eligible to be called up on the 14th when the team will need a starter. Carlos Frias, Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee and Joe Wieland are all on the 40-man roster and therefore need to spend at least 10 days in the Minors (barring an injury on the Major League roster) before they can return to the Majors.
  • Craig Kimbrel tells’s Corey Brock that he watched with interest from afar as the Padres drastically revamped their roster, and he’s shocked but excited to be a last-minute addition to the reconstructed team. “You can tell this organization is going after it, it’s not a few-years deal, it’s right now,” said Kimbrel. “As a player, that’s exciting. You don’t know how long you’re going to play this game. [Being here] you could tell everyone is excited … from the front office to the players. That gets me excited. I’m ready to get the ball and get started.” Brock also notes that Kimbrel’s former Braves teammate, Justin Upton, gave GM A.J. Preller a “glowing endorsement” of the closer before the trade was agreed to by both sides.
  • Diamondbacks players were relatively stunned by the team’s sudden release of Cody Ross on Sunday, writes Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic. Jordan Pacheco tells Buchanan he’s always looked up to Ross, a fellow New Mexico native. Mark Trumbo spoke highly of Ross as a teammate: “The positive energy he brought each and every day was almost unmatched. He’s a very special guy in his ability to lighten the mood in any situation. When it’s go time, he had that ability as good as anybody in the game.” Ross will sign with the A’s tomorrow upon officially clearing release waivers, FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported earlier tonight.

Padres Looking For Shortstop Upgrade

The Padres are “scouring the shortstop market,” sources from other teams tell Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). San Diego has been incredibly busy on the trade market under new GM A.J. Preller, and apparently is not stopping with the season underway.

The Padres currently feature a duo of Alexi Amarista and Clint Barmes at short, which obviously does not represent the most offensively potent pairing. Of course, they do form a strong defensive platoon partnership that could at least conceivably deliver reasonable production, but it is an underwhelming situation for a team that obviously has designs on contending.

As far as possibilities for a trade partner, the report does not give any hints. There are some established players that might be had, though the most obvious candidates are rather pricey. We just heard that the Cubs’ Starlin Castro could still be a trade candidate. The Rangers no longer have a pressing surplus up the middle, but Preller’s former employer is likely quite willing to discuss Elvis Andrus.

San Diego has been rather creative in formulating deals to add established talent, so nothing can be ruled out at this point. Of course, it could be that the team is primarily looking for a more modest upgrade.

NL Notes: Papelbon, Kimbrel, Padres, Castro

The Padres expressed some mild interest in Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon earlier in the offseason,’s Todd Zolecki reports. Obviously, San Diego no longer looks like an even hypothetical landing spot for Papelbon. It seems likely that Papelbon’s greatest appeal will ultimately lie with a club that suffers an injury or wants a chance to add late-inning depth over the summer.

Here’s more from the National League:

  • With the Padres having taken on significant salary commitments and given up young talent to acquire Craig Kimbrel from the Braves, reactions to the move have been divided somewhat between front office and uniformed personnel,’s Buster Olney writes (Insider link). Atlanta has the backing of most executives, says Olney, while players and coaches have understandably focused on the impact that Kimbrel could have in San Diego.
  • The Padres received immediate trade interest in their bullpen after adding Kimbrel, as Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. “Within minutes, probably, of the (Kimbrel) deal, four or five teams have checked in,” said GM A.J. Preller. “So that’s part of making the deal. Hopefully, you add depth and it may help us in another area down the road.” Of course, that depth could be put to use either to fill in the pen or to shore up another area of need via trade.
  • The shortstop position is an obvious area to watch for the Cubs, but Olney says (in the above-linked piece) that it may not all be positive. Starlin Castro has proven he can hit, but Olney says there are real concerns about how committed he is to grinding things out on defense. Chicago informed other teams this winter that it was open to trade scenarios involving the 25-year-old.

Additional Reactions To The Kimbrel/Upton Trade

Last night’s unexpected blockbuster that sent Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton to the Padres in exchange for Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin (since designated for assignment), Matt Wisler, Jordan Paroubeck and a Competitive Balance draft pick (No. 41 overall) stunned much of the baseball world. While there’s already been a significant amount of reactions to the move, here are a few more from around the industry…

  • The Braves are “huge winners” in the trade, opines ESPN’s Keith Law. Atlanta was able to move a valueless asset in Upton and a high-risk commodity in Kimbrel in exchange for a valuable but injury-prone center fielder (Maybin), a Major League ready pitching prospect (Wisler), a highly athletic outfield prospect (Paroubeck) and a draft pick that gives them the fourth-highest pool this June, writes Law. Wisler could become a No. 2 starter if any of his secondary pitches develop into plus offerings, in Law’s opinion. While he considers that unlikely, he does note that Wisler can still be a league-average starter that adds value through durability.
  • Braves president of baseball operations John Hart tells David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that it was incredibly difficult to trade Kimbrel, and the front office was prepared for the inevitable fan backlash to trading the wildly popular closer. “Believe me, this wasn’t something that anybody in this organization had any disregard for fans,” Hart explained. “This was a huge part of the discussion as we went through it. … It’s not like you wanted to come in and start looking around and say, look, we’re going to heartlessly trade these guys off. We’re looking to, if you will, do the best thing and the right thing for the organization, and sometimes things like this happen.” Hart also said that Kimbrel handled the news that he’d been traded with the utmost class and spoke exceptionally highly of Kimbrel’s character.
  •’s Mark Bowman also has some reactions from Hart, most notably explaining the importance of the financial flexibility attained by his team in this trade. Said Hart: “…[W]e freed up some financial flexibility and I think, again, what we do with that financial flexibility remains to be determined. But I think it’s going to be something where we’ll be aggressive in our approach.”
  • FOX’s Rob Neyer offers his take on the deal, reacting to colleague Ken Rosenthal’s description of the deal as “Craig Kimbrel for $53.35 million, two prospects and the 41st pick of the June draft.” Neyer notes that the cost may be more than $53.35MM, as that doesn’t include the value that Wisler could provide if he’s even a league-average starter for a couple seasons. Neyer argues that the inclusion of Paroubeck and the draft pick could very well be extraneous in nature, as it’s unlikely that either ultimately nets a significant amount of value at the Major League level, but Wisler’s value and the potential negative value of a dead roster spot (Upton) could make the perceived monetary cost of acquiring Kimbrel even steeper.
  • Neither team is a loser in this deal in the opinion of Grantland’s Jonah Keri, who writes that the Padres may now boast a bullpen trio that can rival that of Greg Holland, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera in Kansas City. Kimbrel, Joaquin Benoit and potentially Kevin Quackenbush (if and when he is recalled from the Minors) will be a dominant triumvirate that will not only excel late in games but will also lighten the workload of injury-prone arms like Andrew Cashner and Brandon Morrow. And while the Braves have parted with their best pitcher, they shed an enormous amount of payroll while adding a near-MLB-ready pitcher and a high pick in this year’s draft, accelerating their rebuild.
  • Quentin didn’t ask for anything in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause, tweets Scott Miller of Bleacher Report/FOX Sports San Diego. The lack of incentive is a contrast to many players we’ve seen recently indicate that they’d like options exercised in advance as compensation for waiving their no-trade clause. (Quentin does have a $10MM mutual option for next year.)

Burch Smith To Undergo Tommy John Surgery

Rays righty Burch Smith is set to undergo Tommy John surgery, Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune reports on Twitter. Soon to turn 25, Smith was set to start the year in the minors but had figured to be a component of Tampa’s pitching mix.

The Rays acquired Smith as part of the deal that shipped Wil Myers to the Padres. His health issues were known at the time, as Smith had been shut down for a significant period after dealing with a forearm strain.

Smith had a rough 36 1/3 inning introduction to the big leagues back in 2013, logging a 6.44 ERA. He did show that he could get swings and misses from MLB hitters (11.4 K/9), though he also struggled with command (5.2 BB/9) in a way he never had in the minors. In 92 1/3 innings at Triple-A in 2013, Smith posted a 2.63 ERA with 9.9 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9.

The loss of Smith is more unwelcome injury news for a club that is already dealing with more than its fair share of DL stints. While most of the wounded Tampa arms are expected to return in relatively short order, the club has been working to bolster its depth.