Dinelson Lamet’s name has been part of trade talks between the Padres and other teams, The Athletic’s Dennis Lin reports (Twitter link). Lin notes that payroll is a consideration, as moving Lamet’s $4.775MM salary would create some room for the Padres to pursue other needs, such as more hitting.
Much has been written about San Diego’s efforts to move at least one of Eric Hosmer or Wil Myers, but with nothing happening on either of those two trade fronts, the Padres have continued to explore other methods of reducing enough salary to get under the $230MM luxury tax threshold. As per Roster Resource, the Padres’ tax number is approximately $228.83MM, leaving the front office without much room to maneuver as they look to avoid a second consecutive year of tax overages.
Lamet presents an interesting trade chip, as it wasn’t long ago that the right-hander was seen as one of the Padres’ most impressive young up-and-coming arms during his time in the minors. Unfortunately, a variety of injuries (most notably a Tommy John surgery in 2018, a UCL strain in 2020, and forearm tightness last year) have limited Lamet to just 310 Major League innings since the start of the 2017 season.
While these injuries have kept Lamet from being a consistent contributor, he has shown flashes of very impressive potential. The highlight was Lamet’s 2020 season, as he finished fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting by posting a 2.09 ERA over 69 innings during the shortened campaign. However, the UCL strain prevented Lamet from participating in San Diego’s playoff run.
Lamet was moved to the bullpen last season, and he has pitched exclusively as a reliever so far in 2022. Over the small sample size of 6 2/3 innings this year, the results have been shaky, as Lamet has a 5.40 ERA, two home runs allowed, and a 13.8% walk rate. On the plus side, Lamet does have a 31% strikeout rate, lending to the idea that Lamet’s arsenal could eventually translate well to a relief role.
As a Super Two player, Lamet is in the third of four arbitration-eligible years, so any interested trade partners would also have him for the 2023 campaign. A new team could further explore Lamet as a reliever, or perhaps see if he could still stay healthy enough to contribute as a starting pitcher. Lamet turns 30 in July, so while he isn’t exactly young, other clubs could see him as a classic change-of-scenery candidate, as the righty has spent his entire pro career in San Diego’s organization.