At this point in the offseason, when the free agent market features impact players capable of improving any club, it’s easy to forget that some teams can’t rely on free agency — especially not in early November, when asking prices are high and bargains have yet to emerge. Padres general manager Josh Byrnes is considering free agents, but at this point he ranks free agency third in importance behind trades and developing internally.
“Is it going to happen through trade or free agency or patience? Probably a little bit of all, but probably not as much in free agency as some people think,” Byrnes told MLBTR at the GM Meetings in Indian Wells.
Six of the Padres’ starting pitchers — Cory Luebke, Andrew Cashner, Anthony Bass, Casey Kelly, Joe Wieland and Robbie Erlin — recently dealt with injuries, which makes it difficult to project the 2013 rotation (Wieland and Luebke are recovering from Tommy John surgery). The Padres could look to obtain some certainty by supplementing their rotation with free agents. If they do pursue players on the open market, they might choose to do so relatively late in the offseason. Often team-friendly deals emerge in January or even February.
“That’s certainly recent history,” Byrnes said. “When I was in Arizona we signed guys like [Adam] LaRoche or [Jon] Garland late in the offseason. The early offseason is usually the heavyweights financially but we have to stay active and know what’s out there and, as I said, be patient and disciplined.”
Byrnes said the Padres will remain flexible in case the unexpected occurs and it becomes advantageous to change plans. For now it doesn’t sound as though those plans are oriented around the free agent market.