In an excellent piece for Baseball Prospectus, Jeff Quinton examines how the Padres went from uninteresting to potential contenders without spending too heavily or parting with top prospects Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges, Matt Wisler or Rymer Liriano. As Quinton notes, the Padres took an indiscriminate approach to adding players this offseason, focusing on overall value delivered rather than team need. The Padres could have claimed their outfield was full after adding Matt Kemp, for example, but proceeded to add further value by acquiring both Justin Upton and Wil Myers. Similarly, one could have said the team was set at both catcher and starting pitcher and should have focused on the infield, but they added value in areas that weren’t seen as traditional areas of need. By doing so, the Padres didn’t put themselves in situations where they were forced to overpay because the other team knew San Diego desperately needed the player in question. Rather, the team sought general value and therefore found more buyer-friendly markets, Quinton speculates.
Here’s more on the National League West…
- Aaron Hill tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that he’s feeling good heading into Spring Training and thinks he has a few good years at second base left in him. Hill wouldn’t blame his 2014 struggles on injuries, even though he dealt with several, instead saying that he began to press after his initial struggles. As Piecoro notes, the D-Backs’ ideal scenario would have Yasmany Tomas handling third base with Hill playing well at second base. While such an outcome would obviously improve Arizona’s on-field performance, it would perhaps more importantly make Hill, who is owed $12MM in each of the next two seasons, a considerably more tradeable asset.
- The Rockies’ addition of Kyle Kendrick allows them to work top prospects Jon Gray and Eddie Butler into the rotation more slowly rather than rushing them to the Majors, writes the Denver Post’s Nick Groke. Gray, Butler and trade acquisition David Hale join several in-house candidates to give the Rox better depth than they had in 2014 when they used a club-record 15 pitchers, Groke notes. He points to the fact that Franklin Morales — the team’s “emergency starter” — ranked second on the team in innings as an example of how problematic depth was in 2014. Additionally, Groke notes that Morales, who is still a free agent, probably won’t return to the Rockies.
- In a notebook piece, Groke’s colleague Patrick Saunders touches briefly on a point of frustration for some Rockies fans — the fact that the team did not make a run at James Shields or any other top starters despite a clear rotation need. Saunders notes that the only way the Rockies will ever add a top flight starter under owner Dick Monfort is via trade, as they’d have to grossly overpay a free agent to come to Coors Field, and Monfort “is never going to hand out big money to a free agent pitcher.”