With the Diamondbacks striving to address the weakness in their rotation, the Padres competition has grown even more challenging, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The team wants to walk the fine line between contending and rebuilding by collecting a high volume of prospects for their current trade chips. Rosenthal calls it the “Kimbrel Model.” With the high cost of free agent pitching, the club’s rotation depth should become more attractive to other organizations.
- The Diamondbacks’ signing of Zack Greinke doesn’t change the Padres’ plans, tweets Rosenthal. The club will still aim to contend while reducing payroll and adding prospects. From my perspective, I see that some fans may prefer for the club to enter a full rebuilding mode while others prefer instant gratification. In the case of the Padres, the tightrope approach could make sense. The club has just enough talent to maybe get lucky, yet they’ll probably still collect early draft picks. I find their situation reminiscent of the 2015 Braves. They contended for the first half of the season before selling.
- Tyson Ross is the team’s best trade asset, but the club could also opt to extend him, suggests Rosenthal (tweet). Ross is under club control through the 2017 season. The righty is widely regarded as possessing perhaps the best slider in baseball, but his fastballs grade out as below average per PITCHf/x. He has a career 3.57 ERA with 8.49 K/9, and 3.65 BB/9. His slider-heavy repertoire means he probably won’t improve upon his walk rate, but he has posted more strikeouts and a better ERA in recent seasons.
- Per ESPN’s Jayson Stark, it would be hard for the Padres to trade Ross and pretend to contend. That could lead San Diego to prefer a trade involving Andrew Cashner, says CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman (via Twitter). The Padres will look to deal Cashner once the free agent market dries up. The hard throwing righty is coming off a disappointing season that included a 4.34 ERA with 8.04 K/9 and 3.22 BB/9. He’s posted better walk rates in past seasons, so a rebound in his control could help the 29-year-old recover his past form.
- Ten teams have shown interest in free agent third baseman Will Middlebrooks, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. The Padres non-tendered Middlebrooks earlier this week. San Diego originally acquired the former Red Sox starter last winter in exchange for Ryan Hanigan. After a promising rookie season in 2012, Middlebrooks has failed to live up to expectations. He posted a meager .212/.241/.361 line in 270 plate appearances last season.
- The Padres future flexibility depends upon which contracts they shed, tweets Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. The club owes about $64.5MM to eight players with four arbitration eligible players set to earn about $21MM more. Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton, James Shields, and Ross are their priciest talents.
- Lin also has the details of the split-contracts signed by Josmil Pinto and Cesar Vargas (tweet). Both will earn just north of the league minimum in the majors ($500K) with at least a six figure guarantee if optioned to the minors.