- The Nationals are one of many teams who have interest in Padres southpaw Brad Hand, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Twitter link). Reports from earlier this week indicated that that Padres were getting a lot of trade buzz about Hand, who has posted a 2.00 ERA, 11.7 K/9 and 3.18 K/BB rate in 27 innings this season. It isn’t surprising that Washington is one of the teams in the mix given the Nats’ bullpen issues this season — Nationals relievers entered the day with a cumulative 5.17 ERA, the highest bullpen ERA in baseball.
- The expectation is that the Padres will deal second baseman/third baseman Yangervis Solarte by the deadline, per Cafardo. Solarte’s name came up in trade rumors last winter on the heels of a career season (.286/.341/.467, 2.8 fWAR in 443 plate appearances), but he hasn’t helped his stock this year. So far in 2017, Solarte has slashed a meek .240/.330/.345 in 197 PAs. While it’s encouraging that his walk and strikeout rates match (10.2 percent), the 29-year-old has shown considerably less power than he did last season, with his ISO having dropped from .180 to .105. He’s quite affordable, though, with a $2.5MM salary this year and $4MM coming his way in 2018. Solarte also has a $5.5MM club option or a $750K buyout for 2019.
The Padres have announced that they’ve placed outfielder Manuel Margot on the 10-day DL, retroactive to Thursday, with a strained calf. To take his place on the active roster, they’ve recalled fellow outfielder Franchy Cordero from Triple-A El Paso.
The Margot move is somewhat expected — Margot’s calf injury was already known, and he was wearing a walking boot yesterday. The center fielder was batting .259/.305/.389 in what figured to be his first full big-league season.
As disappointing as it must be for the Padres to lose a high-upside 22-year-old outfielder for awhile, though, the Cordero move is interesting in its own right. Cordero is also 22, and he was batting .289/.349/.520 for Triple-A El Paso — good numbers even after considering that El Paso is a great place for hitters. He played in 2015 at Class A Fort Wayne, but the Padres moved him aggressively through their system in 2016 as he batted .290/.344/.450 across three levels, demonstrating good contact ability and burgeoning extra-base power. He earned a 40-man roster spot in November.
Cordero’s most significant downside at the plate currently seems to be strikeouts — he’s had 59 of them in 190 plate appearances so far this season, although that might be somewhat understandable given his youth. MLB.com rates Cordero the No. 23 prospect in a strong Padres system, praising his raw power and his defense in center field.
- The Padres have placed young center fielder Manuel Margot in a walking boot as a precautionary measure, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Margot’s calf issue is likely to send him to the 10-day DL, it seems, though the team is waiting to make a final decision. Through exactly 200 plate appearances on the year, Margot is hitting .259/.305/.389 with four home runs and five stolen bases (albeit in ten attempts).
- Cuban shortstop Jose Israel Garcia was recently declared a free agent by Major League Baseball, per Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, and he’s drawing interest from a number of clubs. To this point, the Reds, Astros and Padres have all shown interest in Garcia. That would seem to indicate that he’s looking to sign before the current period comes to a close on June 15, as each of those teams has exceeded its 2016-17 pool allotment to the point that they’ll incur maximum penalization in the 2017-18 class. There’s not much data on the 19-year-old Garcia, though Heyman has described him as “slick-fielding.”
TODAY: Several organizations have held “preliminary dialogue” with the Pads regarding Hand, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. He’s “drawing keen interest,” per Lin, who suggests that the southpaw could be the first player the team deals away this summer.
YESTERDAY: The Padres recently reaffirmed to clubs that they’re “open for business,” and lefty reliever Brad Hand is the “primary” piece that they have on the table at present, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney (Twitter link).
San Diego’s willingness to sell off pieces isn’t exactly a new development, though the fact that the Padres are marketing Hand (or are at least willing to part with him) is of note. It does not, however, seem that there have been any serious trade discussions regarding Hand just yet; Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune tweets that the Friars have had some “very preliminary” on the lefty. Lin adds in a full column that Hand has “emerged as a coveted trade piece.”
It’s early in the year to see a trade for such a notable commodity take place, though the Padres have been a definitive seller for quite some time now, so perhaps they’d be more willing than most to move a quality reliever. The 27-year-old Hand may not be a household name, but he’s emerged as a dominant relief arm since the Padres plucked him off waivers from the Marlins in early April last year.
Since joining the Padres, Hand has turned in 115 1/3 innings of 2.65 ERA ball with a 146-to-46 K/BB ratio. He’s held left-handed opponents to a comical .123/.234/.221 batting line in that time but also shut down right-handed batters to the tune of a .219/.295/.350 triple slash.
That level of excellence figures to appeal to just about any club in need of bullpen help, but the most appealing aspect in a potential Hand trade could be the amount of club control remaining on his contract. The former second-round pick still has two years of control beyond the 2017 season remaining, and he’s earning a modest $1.375MM in 2017. That makes him financially affordable for virtually any team in the Majors, although the low salary and considerable amount of control remaining should also make the Padres’ asking price rather substantial.
It’s also worth noting that struggles from Hand’s teammate, Brandon Maurer, have opened up the ninth-inning picture in San Diego somewhat. Maurer worked the eighth inning tonight in a one-run game (and fired a perfect frame against the Mets), while Hand was tabbed for the save by manager Andy Green. The outing wasn’t exactly pretty — Hand loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk before recording an out — but Hand did manage to fire a scoreless inning to notch his third career save. Green, however, said after the game that Hand is not necessarily his new closer (Twitter link via MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell). Rather, the Padres will take save opportunities on a case-by-case basis and mix in both Maurer and Hand.
MLBTR’s Jeff Todd listed Hand among the game’s likeliest summer trade candidates last week when previewing some names to keep an eye on as the July 31 non-waiver deadline draws nearer. Hand figures to be just one of many assets that the Padres market to rival clubs this summer as general manager A.J. Preller continues his effort to stock his farm system and build a sustainable contender. Trevor Cahill, assuming he returns to health, would be another ideal trade candidate for the Padres. Names like Yangervis Solarte, Clayton Richard and perhaps Maurer (if he regains his form) also figure to frequent the rumor circuit this summer.
- Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune takes a look at right-hander Dinelson Lamet’s unlikely path to the Major Leagues in advance of the 24-year-old’s MLB debut. Lamet, who will start for the Padres tonight, is the rare Dominican-born prospect that did not sign until after his 20th birthday, Lin notes. Most Dominican ballplayers that show big league potential are snatched up beginning at age 16 and possibly a year or two later, but Lamet signed less than two months before turning 22 and is now set to debut less than three years later. As Lin writes, Lamet was poised to sign with the Phillies, but a documentation issue torpedoed that deal. Lin chats with former Padres exec Randy Smith about what the team saw in Lamet as an amateur and how they went about closing the deal.
- Padres manager Andy Green won’t name Brad Hand his new closer despite the lefty’s save in last night’s win over the Mets, but he did tell reporters that Hand and former closer Brandon Maurer will both be in the mix for saves (link via MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell). “It’s going to be looking at the game and seeing what’s best for the group of guys we have at that point in time,” says Green. “I think we’ll just bounce guys around and utilize them in the best way possible going forward right now. Wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Brandon Maurer in that situation in the ninth. Wouldn’t be shocked to see Brad Hand back in that situation.” Hand, of course, saw his name pop up as a trade target in a couple of reports last night and figures to be an oft-rumored trade candidate in the months leading up to the non-waiver deadline. For that matter, though, Maurer could also generate interest, though he’d first need to distance himself from a rough stretch of games through which he struggled in mid-May.
The Orioles have claimed shortstop Luis Sardinas off waivers from the Padres, per a club announcement. He had been designated for assignment recently.
Sardinas, a switch-hitting 24-year-old, gives the Baltimore organization another piece of infield depth. The club had an open 40-man spot to work with, but will need to make an active roster move as Sardinas is out of options.
Things haven’t gone well thus far for Sardinas, who slashed only .163/.226/.163 in his 53 plate appearances with San Diego this year. He has seen action in each of the past four MLB campaigns, including this one, though he has compiled just 480 total plate appearances and owns a lifetime .570 OPS.
That said, Sardinas ranked among the game’s Top 100 prospects according to both MLB.com and Baseball Prospectus in 2013 and 2014. He was praised as an excellent defensive shortstop while ascending through the minors, though that hasn’t borne out in his brief MLB experience to date. With the Orioles, Sardinas figures to serve in a utility capacity — a role that veteran Paul Janish is currently filling with the big league club.
- The Padres sent Trevor Cahill for an MRI on his injured right shoulder, but the test revealed no structural damage, tweets MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. Cahill will nonetheless be shut down from throwing for the next 10 to 14 days, though, after experiencing continued discomfort in a weekend throwing session. Getting Cahill back to full health will be critical for a rebuilding Padres club that could look to cash in on his perhaps surprisingly excellent start to the season. The 29-year-old’s return to a starting role has yielded a 3.27 ERA with 11.1 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and a 60.2 percent ground-ball rate through 41 1/3 innings this season. Between that spike in strikeouts and Cahill’s modest $1.75MM salary, he’d generate plenty of interest if healthy.
- Meanwhile, the Padres will get their first look at interesting pitching prospect Dinelson Lamet, per Craig Mish of Sirius XM (Twitter links). He’ll start on Thursday, per the report. Lamet, 24, has shown well in his first full attempt at the highest level of the minors. After streaking through the system last year, he has started the current campaign with 39 innings of 3.23 ERA ball on the back of 11.5 K/9 against 4.6 BB/9. He opened the year rated tenth among Padres’ prospects, according to MLB.com, which noted that his ability to improve his command will likely dictate whether he can stay in the rotation for the long run.