Here’s the latest from sunny San Diego…
- The Padres have interest in super-utilityman Marwin Gonzalez, The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reports (subscription required). Gonzalez’s versatility would make him an important figure on a roster with so many moving parts, with Lin suggesting that Gonzalez could initially play shortstop until top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. is ready for the majors (likely early 2020 but potentially by late in the 2019 season). Once Tatis has been promoted, Gonzalez could be used all around the diamond. This multi-position ability, of course, will make Gonzalez a popular target around the league; earlier reports suggested that the free agent has drawn some interest from almost every team in baseball.
- Pitching is a big priority for the Padres this winter, though Lin has updates on two notable arms that didn’t quite fit into the team’s plans. The Friars were unwilling to offer more than three years to Nathan Eovaldi, who landed a four-year deal to re-sign with the Red Sox. Meanwhile, San Diego “has not placed a high priority” on pursuing Japanese southpaw Yusei Kikuchi. The Padres, like other west coast teams, had been mentioned as a logical suitor for Kikuchi given their closer proximity to Japan.
- While the Padres have had a long-standing interest in Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, their chances of trading for the All-Star could be limited. As outlined by both Lin and Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Realmuto is something of an imperfect fit for a Padres team that may not be planning to contend for another year, as Realmuto is only under contract through the 2020 season. As Acee notes, while the team may be open to Realmuto as essentially a rental (with catching prospect Luis Campusano perhaps ready to take over by 2021), that would limit what the Padres are willing to offer the Marlins, who have been unwilling to accept anything less than a sky-high return for Realmuto’s services. One scenario that doesn’t seem to be an option is the idea of San Diego acquiring Realmuto only to flip him elsewhere in another trade — Lin writes that the Padres value Realmuto as “a rare impact player” on their own roster.
- The Padres have reportedly been unwilling to discuss trading top prospects MacKenzie Gore or Luis Urias, though MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell feels Tatis is the only absolutely untouchable prospect. Gore, Urias, or any of the other blue chip talents in San Diego’s deep farm system could all be moved “for the right price,” and Cassavell feels the team would make such a move for a frontline MLB star (such as, for instance, Noah Syndergaard).