San Diego Padres Rumors

San Diego Padres trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL West Notes: White, Hahn, A’s, Paxton, Venable

Astros first base prospect Tyler White is a triumph for the team’s scouting department, as Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes. White, a 33rd-round selection that signed for $1,000 out of Western Carolina, has soared through the minors and reached Triple-A this year, where he’s hitting .396/.489/.617 with five homers and nearly as many walks (26) as strikeouts (28) in 178 plate appearances. Drellich spoke to Astros scouting director Mike Elias and the team’s director of decision sciences, Sig Mejdal, about the way in which they came to draft White. Drellich also wonders if the Astros, who are struggling with first base production, can afford to keep White in Triple-A. Though he doesn’t need to be added to the 40-man roster to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, White could potentially boost the production of a team dedicated to winning right now, which may trump traditional roster concerns.

Here’s more from the AL West…

  • Athletics right-hander Jesse Hahn may not pitch again in 2015, manager Bob Melvin suggested to reporters, including John Hickey (Twitter link). Hahn has not yet begun playing catch since being shut down with a flexor tendon injury just over a month ago. Hahn, an offseason trade acquisition, was outstanding for the A’s through 96 2/3 innings this season, posting a 3.35 ERA with a 64-to-25 K/BB ratio. Durability, however, has long been a concern for Hahn, who totaled just 163 1/3 innings in a minor league career that spanned from 2012-14.
  • Billy Beane and his lieutenants have never had fewer than 74 wins in a season, but that number is in danger in 2015, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. A good deal has gone wrong for the A’s in 2015, but perhaps the most troubling fact is that the A’s have only received contributions from four players that are products of their own farm system. Two of those names — Max Muncy and Arnold Leon — have been fringe roster pieces this season.
  • Mariners southpaw James Paxton believes he’s ready to embark on a rehab assignment after throwing a pair of innings in a simulated game on Wednesday, writes Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. Paxton said it’s been “a couple of weeks” since he felt pain in the strained tendon in his finger that has sidelined him since May 28.
  • Talks between the Padres and the Rangers on Will Venable came together fairly quickly, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link). Venable passed through waivers, and multiple teams showed interest, but the Rangers jumped into talks on Monday evening and had a deal completed by Tuesday evening.

Ian Kennedy, Joaquin Benoit Claimed On Waivers, Pulled Back By Padres

The Padres traded Will Venable to the Rangers tonight, but they almost certainly won’t be dealing another pair of potential free agents; Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that right-handers Ian Kennedy and Joaquin Benoit were both claimed on revocable waivers, but trades couldn’t be reached, so the Padres pulled the pair back.

Kennedy, 30, is a free agent at the end of the season and is owed about $2.58MM of his $9.85MM salary through season’s end. The former Yankees/D-Backs hurler has struggled for much of the season, but he’s been a more appealing trade target of late, working to a 2.82 ERA with a 76-to-23 K/BB ratio in 83 innings dating back to June 1. Kennedy’s been very homer-prone this season (1.9 HR/9), but much of that can be attributed to an abnormally high 18.7 percent homer-to-flyball ratio that is well above his career mark of 10.6 percent.

The 38-year-old Benoit has been one of the better late-inning relief arms in the game over the past few seasons, though there are some possible red flags in his game this year. Though Benoit’s pitched to a stellar 2.13 ERA, his strikeout rate (8.2 K/9) and walk rate (3.0 BB/9) have both gone the wrong direction in 2015, and he’s benefited from a likely unsustainable .163 average on balls in play. Nevertheless, his track record and strong bottom-line results led to a claim despite a relatively substantial salary; Benoit is owed $2.1MM of his $8MM salary through season’s end, to say nothing of a $1MM buyout on an $8MM option for the 2016 season (though some teams were probably interested in exercising that option).

While the waiver claims and retractions technically don’t prevent the pair from being traded, it becomes extremely unlikely that either will be moved now. The Padres can put both players on trade waivers for a second time, but the waivers would no longer be revocable at that point. More likely is the possibility that the Padres are impressed enough with Kennedy’s resurgence that they’re eyeing a draft pick as compensation in the event that he signs elsewhere. Heyman notes that rivals don’t view Kennedy as a surefire qualifying offer candidate, but his recent surge should make it worthwhile for the Padres to extend the roughly $16MM one-year offer. I’d expect that Kennedy, a client of Scott Boras, would decline the offer and test the free agent waters.


Minor MLB Transactions: 8/18/15

Here are the day’s minor moves:

  • Lefty Chris Capuano accepted an outright assignment with the Yankees yesterday, as Chad Jennings of the LoHud Yankees Blog tweeted, but the club has already announced Capuano’s recall today. The Yanks’ staff was stretched when starter Bryan Mitchell left early last night after taking a scary comebacker off of his head. Capuano, who signed a $5MM free agent deal with New York over the offseason, will return to the open market after 2015.
  • The Padres have outrighted right-hander Dale Thayer, the club announced. Thayer was designated recently when the club signed fellow righty Bud Norris to join its pen. He has struggled this year, but does have an impressive track record in recent campaigns since making a late-career breakout. Over 65 1/3 innings last season, Thayer worked to a 2.34 ERA with 8.5 K/9 against 2.2 BB/9. He is earning $1.38MM this year and can be controlled for two more seasons via arbitration.


West Notes: Mariners, Gyorko, Dodgers Pen

MLBTR joins the rest of the baseball world in extending its best wishes to veteran Giants beat writer Henry Schulman, who announced yesterday that he is undergoing treatment for a serious illness. We wish Hank a speedy recovery and look forward to his return to the beat.

With a tip of the cap to one of the game’s preeminent journalists, here are some notes from out west:

  • The Mariners are beginning to assess whether to make a front office move, says Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, with the team still not decided on whether to bring back GM Jack Zduriencik. Rosenthal addresses the idea of Seattle pursuing Dave Dombrowski for a front office role, noting that many in the game see it as a likely fit, but it appears that the connection is being made on paper rather than through actual indications of specific interest.
  • Padres infielder Jedd Gyorko made his first-ever professional appearance at shortstop yesterday, and it seems there is at least an outside chance that he could be considered there in the future. While manager Pat Murphy did not give much of an indication of the club’s plans, as MLB.com’s Corey Brock tweets, neither did he dismiss it as a spot start. “We’ve got to see if our hunch is right first,” Murphy responded when asked whether Gyorko was auditioning for a new position next season.
  • The Dodgers bullpen has had its ups and downs this year, but one issue it has not struggled with much is sufficient rest, as J.P. Hoornstra of the Los Angeles News Group explains. With plenty of turnover and careful tracking of the work load, the team has minimized the wear and tear on its relief arms. Of course, as Hoornstra notes, it’s fair to ask whether that tack has been successful, as the pen has struggled at times (in particular, of late).

Brandon Morrow To Undergo Season-Ending Shoulder Surgery

AUGUST 17: Morrow will indeed undergo surgery that will require a three-to-four month recovery window, Brock tweets.

AUGUST 5: Padres right-hander Brandon Morrow, who left the second start of a rehab assignment early last week, may now require surgery to repair a shoulder impingement, tweets MLB.com’s Corey Brock. The recovery on that operation would be three to four months, meaning Morrow’s season would be over. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets that the operation is “likely.” The diagnosis of the injury came on a second opinion of the shoulder from Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Injuries are nothing new for Morrow, who has now logged six separate stints on the disabled list, dating back to the 2009 season. While the former No. 5 overall draft pick’s talent is alluring, he’s never been able to stay healthy with any form of consistency. Morrow has logged 768 2/3 innings in parts of nine big league seasons but has topped 100 innings just three times and never pitched more than 179 1/3 innings in a season.

The Padres rolled the dice on both Morrow and fellow talented-but-injury-prone righty Josh Johnson this offseason, perhaps hoping that one or the other would be able to deliver semi-regular starts in the fifth spot of the rotation. That hasn’t been the case, as Johnson hasn’t pitched, and Morrow’s been limited to 33 innings.

The work Morrow did turn in was quality, as he pitched to a 2.73 ERA with 6.3 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 47.5 percent ground-ball rate. That production actually isn’t a bad return on the club’s modest $2.5MM investment. Morrow had the opportunity to earn an additional $5.5MM via incentives as a starting pitcher (or $1.5MM as a reliever), but he now seems extremely unlikely to reach the minimum threshold for any of those bonuses. (They’d have kicked in at 12 starts or 40 relief appearances, plus an additional $500K for 168 days on the active roster, per Cot’s.)


Minor MLB Transactions: 8/17/15

Here are the day’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Padres announced today that infielder Taylor Lindsey has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Double-A San Antonio. Lindsey, 23, was designated for assignment last week just more than a year after coming to San Diego as a piece of the team’s Huston Street trade with the Angels. A former first-round pick, Lindsey’s bat has never come around in the minors, and he has a .592 OPS between the Double-A and Triple-A levels this season.
  • Likewise, Athletics lefty Brad Mills has been outrighted to Triple-A, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. Mills was designated for assignment on Saturday after making one start for Oakland. The 30-year-old turned in five innings in the appearance, allowing three earned runs with a strikeout and a walk. Mills owns a 4.45 ERA over 127 1/3 innings at Nashville on the season.

West Notes: Shoemaker, Holland, Padres, Cain

The Angels demoted righty Matt Shoemaker to Triple-A today, capping off what has been a disappointing season for the 28-year-old.  Coming off an impressive 2014 rookie campaign, Shoemaker has been inconsistent this year, and his rough last two outings (13 ER in just 7 1/3 combined innings) apparently convinced the Angels that he needed a breather in the minors.  Shoemaker has a 4.76 ERA over 117 1/3 innings this season, though advanced metrics — such as a 3.80 SIERA, 4.01 xFIP, 8.1 K/9 and 3.5 K/BB rate — suggest he’s pitched better than his ERA indicates.  Shoemaker’s demotion leaves the Halos with a four-man rotation for now; right-hander Nick Tropeano is probably a good bet to be promoted, as he’s already made a couple of spot starts for Los Angeles this season.

Here’s some more from both the AL and NL West divisions…

  • The Rangers will decide tomorrow whether Derek Holland will be activated from the DL and start on Wednesday, Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News writes.  Holland told reporters that he felt good after a full bullpen session today, and he is ready to make just his second appearance of 2015.  Holland has played in just seven games in 2014-15 due to knee surgery, back spasms and a shoulder injury, the latter being responsible for his current DL stint.
  • The Padres didn’t move any of their big names prior to the July trade deadline and ESPN’s Christina Kahrl believes the team may similarly stand pat in August.  Dealing away controllable young players wouldn’t have helped the team contend in 2016, and veterans like Ian Kennedy or Joaquin Benoit wouldn’t have brought premium prospects back in return.  As for bigger-name veterans, Justin Upton may not have netted more than the first-round pick the Padres would obtain when Upton rejects a qualifying offer and possibly leaves in free agency this winter.  As for James Shields, Kahrl points out that the righty had a long wait on the open market last winter, so teams who passed on Shields then may not be eager to give up prospects to acquire him now.
  • It took a lot of work to get Colin Rea to the majors, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes in a profile of the rookie right-hander’s growth from being a lightly-regarded project of a prospect to a Padres starter.
  • The moving and organizational switches that come with being a pro ballplayer can be especially hard for a player’s family, the Arizona Republic’s Zach Buchanan illustrates in an interview with Taylor Ray (wife of Diamondbacks lefty Robbie Ray) and the wives of several other D’Backs players.
  • Mike Leake‘s return from the DL this week will force the Giants to make a pitching roster move, and CSNBayArea.com’s Alex Pavlovic writes that bumping Matt Cain from the rotation is an option the club is considering.  Cain has struggled through an injury-plagued season, posting a 6.05 ERA in only 41 2/3 innings.

Quick Hits: Smyly, Utley, Ross

We’ve seen several recent cellar dwellers climb to contention this season, writes Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. The Cubs, Mets, and Astros are playing meaningful August baseball for the first time in years. Davidoff looks ahead at five more struggling franchises that could surprise us all in 2016. Purely for enjoyment, my favorite picks are the Twins and Phillies. Minnesota hopes to surge on the young bats of Byron Buxton, Miguel Sano, and recent breakout Aaron Hicks. They also have sneaky upside in their rotation although the bullpen could use work. Philadelphia is the obvious long shot. Their rebuilding phase is incomplete, but they’ve identified a few key building blocks. A couple surprise breakout performances and a handful of lucky wins could at least allow the club to perform similarly to the Braves.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Drew Smyly will start for the Rays on Sunday, tweets Bill Chastain of MLB.com. The 26-year-old southpaw has spent most of the 2015 season on the disabled list with a torn labrum. Since joining the Rays in the David Price trade last season, Smyly has a 1.96 ERA, 9.1 K/9, and 2.0 BB/9 in 64 and 1/3 innings. Although the Rays remain in the thick of the playoff race, expect them to proceed carefully with Smyly.
  • We learned earlier tonight that the Angels still hope to acquire Phillies second baseman Chase Utley. The Giants remain involved with the bidding, tweets Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. Giants GM Bobby Evans cleverly commented that “the Chase for Utley continues.” As Baggarly notes, every day is one closer to the return of Joe Panik. At that point, Utley may be redundant for San Francisco. It’s already been announced that Utley will rest tomorrow, so trade speculation should remain rampant.
  • Padres starter Tyson Ross is happy to have remained with the club through the trade deadline, writes Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Ross, 28, was a heavily rumored trade candidate. He’s in the midst of a solid season including a 3.40 ERA, 9.58 K/9, and 4.14 BB/9. Ross is glad the club made no moves at the deadline. He believes the current roster is “a good group” with “a lot of promise.” He’s controlled through the 2017 season.

Rosenthal’s Latest: Hamels, Cain, Girsch, Utley

The Phillies actually preferred the Astros offer for starter Cole Hamels, but the lefty ultimately used his no-trade protection to block the trade, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports in his latest video. Included in the rejected deal were outfield prospect Brett Phillips and pitcher Josh Hader, both of whom went to the Brewers in the Carlos Gomez trade. The Astros may have been willing to guarantee Hamels’ fourth year, but he ultimately decided against the option.

  • The Royals will have a tough time re-signing several key players. Lorenzo Cain might be the easiest, but he’ll first want to see how Jason Heyward performs on the free agent market. While Heyward is four years younger than Cain, the average annual value “could be instructive” per Rosenthal. Cain is under control for two more seasons. Meanwhile, Alex Gordon can opt out after this season, and he looks like a lock to do so. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, both clients of Scott Boras, are also under club control for two seasons.
  • Cardinals assistant GM Mike Girsch was a candidate for the Padres GM job opening last year. That posting was eventually filled by A.J. Preller. Girsch may be considered for other top jobs, but the Cardinals hacking scandal may put a damper on his market.
  • Chase Utley will use his no-trade rights to pick his next team. Per Rosenthal, Utley may not make an obvious decision. For example, he may or may not be interested in playing for his home town Giants. As was reported repeatedly over the past few days, Utley will seek to find a home where he’ll continue to play regularly both this season and next.

NL West Notes: D-Backs, Dahl, Upton, Padres, Dodgers

After suffering a concussion during a simulated game and missing three weeks, 2015 first overall draft pick Dansby Swanson is ready for his first professional game.  MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg reports that Swanson will play tonight for the Diamondbacks‘ Class-A affiliate in Hillsboro.  Here’s some more from around the NL West…

  • The Diamondbacks‘ trades of Oliver Perez and Cliff Pennington both came together rather quickly, GM Dave Stewart told Zach Buchanan of AZCentral.com.  Stewart hadn’t had any talks with the Astros or Blue Jays, respectively, about either player prior to the July 31 trade deadline.  Stewart doesn’t expect to make any more deals in August, though “I didn’t think I was going to make those…. You never know.”
  • Baseball America’s Jack Etkin spoke with Rockies director of player development Zach Wilson about the frightening early-season injury to top outfield prospect David Dahl and the decision Dahl made to have his spleen removed following an outfield collision (subscription required). “The best thing for David’s life was to get that spleen out of there,” said Wilson, who went on to add that the splenectomy has allowed Dahl to play without fear. Dahl, who lacerated his spleen and suffered a concussion in the collision, would have had to play the rest of his career with a protective covering and would have been at risk of rupturing the spleen in the event of another collision. As Etkin notes, that’s a frightening proposition for a “hellbent” player like Dahl, who does not shy away from the outfield wall when roaming the outfield. Dahl is hitting .284/.301/.432 in 86 plate appearances since rejoining the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate.
  • The Padres will take a shot at re-signing Justin Upton this winter, GM A.J. Preller told MLB.com’s Barry Bloom“He’s made a very positive impression here,” said Preller. “We’re going to sit down in the offseason and see what we can do with him.” As Bloom notes, though the Padres haven’t panned out as they’d hoped, the team still has a core in place which can be built upon in future seasons, and improved ticket sales could help boost the team’s payroll heading into a season in which the Padres are set to host the All-Star Game.
  • The Dodgers‘ July pitching acquisitions haven’t worked out whatsoever to this point, writes ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon. Though Luis Avilan has tossed four reasonably effective relief innings, Mat Latos and Alex Wood have both struggled, while Jim Johnson has reverted to his disastrous 2014 form. As Saxon points out, Johnson did have very strong numbers in Atlanta, so it’s tough to fault the team for targeting him. He also points out that Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi must be a fan of Johnson, as he’s now been part of two front offices that have traded for Johnson in two years.