San Diego Padres – MLB Trade Rumors Sun, 22 Jul 2018 01:59:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Padres Asked Yankees For Miguel Andujar In Brad Hand Talks Fri, 20 Jul 2018 14:15:31 +0000 The Yankees were involved in the Manny Machado sweepstakes before the Dodgers acquired him from the Orioles this week, though adding him wouldn’t have led New York to trade rookie third baseman Miguel Andujar. Rather, the Yankees simply would have platooned Andujar at first base or sent him down to the minors while Machado played third, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required). The bottom line is that the Yankees “have no plans to trade Andujar,” writes Rosenthal, who adds that they recently turned down the Padres when they asked for the 23-year-old in exchange for reliever Brad Hand. San Diego ended up sending Hand to Cleveland in a blockbuster deal on Thursday.

Padres Could Pursue Noah Syndergaard In Offseason Thu, 19 Jul 2018 18:43:48 +0000 While the Mets have received substantial interest in both Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, a trade of either still seems unlikely to happen, per James Wagner of the New York Times (all links to Twitter). The Mets are seeking elite prospects and/or young MLB-ready talent for both pitchers, and it’s been tough to find a fit. Contending clubs, such as the Braves and Yankees, have that type of talent but are reluctant to include it in deals. Other contenders, like the Giants and Diamondbacks, don’t necessarily have the type of pieces the Mets are seeking in return. As Wagner notes, many of the best prospects in baseball are on non-contenders/rebuilding teams, such as the White Sox, Blue Jays and Padres — clubs that are spending more effort to trade pieces away at the moment. Wagner adds that he hears the Padres like Syndergaard, though, and hope to contend in the near future, so they could pursue him this offseason. For now, however, Asdrubal Cabrera, Jeurys Familia and Zack Wheeler are the likeliest Mets to be moved.

  • Adding a reliever or two appears to be the Braves’ top priority prior to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, tweets David O’Brien of The Athletic. Atlanta could alter that approach and pursue a rotation option, but there’s a considerably larger supply of available relievers, even after this morning’s blockbuster sending lefty Brad Hand and right-hander Adam Cimber from the Padres to the Indians. General manager Alex Anthopoulos recently suggested that the team would be reluctant to part with too much young talent in order to acquire a rental player.
Indians Acquire Brad Hand, Adam Cimber For Francisco Mejia Thu, 19 Jul 2018 15:47:18 +0000 In a sudden and abrupt development, the Indians and Padres announced a blockbuster trade Thursday that will send one of baseball’s best relievers, Brad Hand, and emerging setup man Adam Cimber from San Diego to Cleveland in exchange for catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia — one of the top-regarded prospects in all of baseball.

Brad Hand | Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians’ desire to augment what has surprisingly been one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball has been no secret, and Hand, in particular, was reported by ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick to be a target of theirs earlier this week. That said, there’d been little to no suggestion that Cleveland’s interest was anything more than preliminary in nature to this point.

Cleveland’s acquisition of Hand harkens back to the team’s 2016 pickup of fellow southpaw Andrew Miller. While Hand isn’t quite the ultra-dominant weapon that Miller was at the time, he’s nonetheless established himself as one of the top relievers in all of baseball over the past three seasons and, like Miller in 2016, is controllable for years beyond the current campaign. Hand signed a surprising three-year, $19.75MM extension with San Diego this offseason despite already being well into his arbitration years and being within striking distance of free agency.

Hand recently voiced a desire to remain with the Padres as the team pushes back toward contention but candidly acknowledged his cognizance of the fact that the extension also markedly upped his trade value. Today’s agreement underscores the veracity of those comments, as he’ll now head to Cleveland through at least the 2020 season. Hand is earning $3.5MM in 2018 and will be paid $6.5MM in 2019 and $7.5MM in 2020. The Indians will also have a $10MM club option on Hand for the 2021 season, which comes with a $1MM buyout.

Originally a waiver claim from the Marlins organization, Hand landed in San Diego with little fanfare. However, over the course of the past three seasons, he’s gone from long reliever to setup man to elite closer, as evidenced by his 2.66 ERA, 11.8 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9, 46.5 percent ground-ball rate in 213 innings dating back to Opening Day 2016. For an Indians club that has seen its collective bullpen struggle to a ghastly 5.28 ERA (second-worst in the Majors), Hand alone would represent a massive and much-needed upgrade.

Of course, Hand isn’t the only upgrade Cleveland is acquiring in this case — far from it. The 27-year-old Cimber represents an entirely different type of success story for the Padres. A former ninth-round pick, the sidearming Cimber wasn’t even in consideration to break camp with the Padres heading into Spring Training this season, but a dominant performance earned him a spot on the Opening Day roster. Though he was late to arrive on the Major League scene, Cimber quickly emerged as a reliever who looks like he may never have to return to the minors.

Adam Cimber | Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In 48 1/3 innings out of the Padres’ bullpen this season, Cimber has turned in a 3.17 earned run average, though secondary numbers paint an even more optimistic picture. Cimber has averaged 9.5 K/9 against just 1.9 BB/9 with a 52.3 percent ground-ball rate. ERA alternatives such as FIP (2.32), xFIP (2.79) and SIERA (2.68) all feel he’s outperformed an already strong ERA mark.

Cimber has allowed only two home runs on the season thus far and has rendered opposing right-handed hitters utterly useless; righties are slashing a comically bad .207/.221/.261 against Cimber through 123 plate appearances. He does come with some platoon concerns, as lefties have clobbered him for a .288/.391/.569 slash through 69 PAs, but he comes to the Indians organization with five and a half years of club control and won’t even be eligible for arbitration until the completion of the 2020 season.

It’s not clear exactly how the Indians will utilize their new pair of relievers. While Hand could surely be viewed as an upgrade over struggling incumbent closer Cody Allen, the Indians may also relish the idea of having both Hand and Miller available as high-leverage, multi-inning weapons to use during any game situation (once Miller is healthy, of course). Manager Terry Francona could also simply choose to utilize a variety of ninth-inning options depending on matchups, rather than deploying one true closer.

While the Padres surely found it difficult to part with a pair of quality relievers who could have affordably helped to anchor their bullpen for the next several seasons, they’re also assuredly thrilled to add yet another elite prospect to what was already regarded as one of the game’s top farm systems. Baseball America ranked Mejia as the game’s No. 24 overall prospect on yesterday’s updated Top 100 list, while ESPN’s Keith Law just this morning ranked Mejia as baseball’s No. 5 overall prospect.

In Mejia, the Padres are adding a 22-year-old switch-hitting catcher who also comes with experience at both third base and in the outfield corners. But Mejia’s future with the Padres is likely behind the plate, and he could even see significant time there this season. Mejia got off to a slow start but went on an otherworldly hot streak to open the month of June and hasn’t looked back since. The author of a historically excellent 50-game hitting streak in the minor leagues last season, Mejia hit .297/.346/.490 in Double-A in 2017 and is hitting .279/.328/.426 so far in Triple-A despite facing older competition. Since the start of June, he’s notched an obscene .391/.421/.594 slash with four homers and 15 doubles through 141 plate appearances.

Francisco Mejia

The acquisition of Mejia clouds the future of once-vaunted catching prospect Austin Hedges in San Diego. While Hedges’ defense behind the plate has been every bit as strong as advertised, the questions about his hitting ability have proved valid. Though he’s hit for plenty of power in the Major Leagues (.250 ISO), Hedges’ overall batting line through 730 trips to the plate sits at .205/.253/.355. He’s a superior defensive option to Mejia, but his bat looks decidedly unlikely to ever stack up to that of today’s newly acquired backstop.

As such, Mejia and Hedges could form a strong catching tandem behind the plate. Mejia will bring a more offensive-minded focus, but the Padres will feel comfortable in knowing they have a plus defender to utilize behind the dish on days when Mejia isn’t there — either for a full day off or perhaps in an outfield corner or at third base. Mejia’s versatility would at least allow the Friars to consider rostering three catching options at a time, though most clubs prefer not to do so (the division-rival D-backs being one notable exception).

For the Indians, today’s trade isn’t so much about winning the American League Central as it is about strengthening a relief corps that was already widely expected to be pitching in October baseball. Cleveland, after all, holds a 7.5 game lead over the Twins in the division. The move is also one of long-term import, however, as bullpen anchors Allen and Miller are both slated to hit free agency at season’s end. With the possibility of both departing, the Indians have now added some long-term insurance while also creating a potentially dominant relief corps for the 2018 postseason, assuming Miller can fully heal and Allen can return to form.

As for the Padres, the addition of Mejia could well be one of the final pieces in an ongoing rebuild that has seen GM A.J. Preller and his staff compile one of the most impressive farms in recent memory. Mejia’s path to the Majors will largely coincide with that of top prospects Fernando Tatis Jr., Luis Urias and others, giving the Padres a young core of position players on which they can dream — in addition to a deep reservoir of pitchers that has already begun to emerge at the big league level.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ken Rosenthal and Robert Murray of The Athletic were the first to report all of the notable components of this trade (all links to Twitter).

Trade Rumblings: Hand, Dodgers, Dozier, Heaney, Skaggs Thu, 19 Jul 2018 04:00:10 +0000 Though the Phillies lost out to the Dodgers in the Manny Machado sweepstakes, they’re far from done looking for upgrades to their ballclub. Dennis Lin of The Athletic tweets that the club is interested in Padres reliever Brad Hand. As Lin notes, there are certainly many other clubs in competition for the lefty’s services; he’s easily one of the most talented bullpen arms in the game. As one might expect, however, San Diego’s asking price for Hand remains very high, as he can be controlled through the 2021 season at a very reasonable cost. The Yankees, Indians and Cubs are among the other teams who’ve been connected to Hand, who owns a 3.03 ERA and 13.20 K/9 on the season.

More rumors and rumblings from around the league…

  • The Dodgers aren’t done yet, either, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports, as they’ll now pursue a reliever to help closer Kenley Jansen at the back end of their bullpen. It’s worth noting that Los Angeles will sit just a few million dollars below the luxury tax threshold following the acquisition of Machado, so any bullpen additions will likely come cheap, or send a player (such as Logan Forsythe) back to a trade partner in order to offset some of financial burden involved. In addition to Hand, Jeurys Familia, Zach Britton, Kirby Yates, Craig Stammen and Raisel Iglesias are just a few names who could be available.
  • Also in the aftermath of the Machado sweepstakes, the Brewers are left looking to acquire an infield upgrade. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that they’re expected to explore trading for Twins second baseman Brian Dozier. With Minnesota all but out of the the AL Central race already and Dozier set to become a free agent at season’s end, he makes plenty of sense as a potential trade target for the Brewers, despite a down season so far. The Brewers are also expected to explore pitching upgrades, Rosenthal adds.
  • Also from Rosenthal, the Angels aren’t likely to trade young starters Andrew Heaney and Tyler Skaggs, despite previous reports that the club might consider doing so. The Angels see the two young southpaws as key components during a 2019 season in which they hope to contend. Rather, Rosenthal notes, the club is more interested in trading some of their relievers (he lists Jose Alvarez, Blake Parker, Cam Bedrosian and Justin Anderson), though they’d want a good enough return to justify giving up controllable players.
Indians Interested In Brad Hand Tue, 17 Jul 2018 21:44:28 +0000 The Indians are among the clubs with interest in Padres closer Brad Hand, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The Yankees and Cubs are among the other teams that have been previously linked to Hand in recent days.

Cleveland’s interest in Hand comes as little surprise. The 28-year-old left-hander has established himself as one of the game’s premier relievers over the past couple of seasons, and he’s signed to an affordable deal that guarantees him $6.5MM in 2019, $7MM in 2020 and has a $10MM club option for the 2021 season. The Indians, meanwhile, have surprisingly had one of the game’s absolute worst bullpens in 2018 and typically operate on a fairly tight budget, making Hand’s contract all the more appealing.

Of course, that contract and Hand’s excellence dating back to 2016 — 2.66 ERA, 11.8 K/9, 3.0 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9, 46.5 percent ground-ball rate in 213 innings — mean he’ll come with an especially steep price tag. The Indians have shown in the past that they’re willing to dip into their farm for significant upgrades at the deadline under the current front office structure, and a deal to bring Hand to Cleveland would bear similarity to the team’s 2016 acquisition of Andrew Miller from the Yankees (certainly in terms of significance and quite possibly in terms of price point). Cleveland sent vaunted prospects Clint Frazier and Justus Sheffield to the Yankees as part of that exchange.

It’s fair to expect that if the Indians have inquired about Hand, they’ve also spoken to the Padres about righties Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen — each former members of the Indians organization themselves. San Diego figures to be actively listening on all three, after all, and at least in terms of bullpen targets, the Indians have been most prominently connected to relievers they can control beyond 2018 so far. Cleveland is reportedly interested in Baltimore righty Mychal Givens, and the Indians have also been tied to Marlins relievers such as Kyle Barraclough, Drew Steckenrider and Adam Conley.

That said, given the fact that Cleveland relievers have been clobbered for a 5.28 ERA that ranks 29th in the Majors this season, the Indians will surely be exploring myriad options as they look to fortify the bullpen with an eye toward October baseball.

Cubs Interested In Zach Britton, Brad Hand Mon, 16 Jul 2018 02:14:53 +0000 The Cubs have been in contact with the Orioles about closer Zach Britton, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score reports.  Padres closer Brad Hand is also on the Cubs’ “wish list” for potential bullpen upgrades.

At first glance, the relief corps doesn’t stand out as a glaring need for Chicago, as the Cubs’ relievers have posted generally strong numbers overall (aside from ranking 29th amongst bullpens in BB/9).  Brandon Morrow has quieted the critics by pitching very well as the Cubs’ closer, and he has also been generally healthy, spending only a 10-day minimum stint on the DL in June due to back spasms.

Still, even the most loaded of teams will still scan the market for an extra bullpen arm, and the Cubs have a particular need for ninth-inning depth given Morrow’s lengthy injury history.  It’s worth noting that Chicago has yet to use Morrow on three consecutive days (though he has pitched three times in four days on multiple occasions), and only one of his 35 outings has been longer than an inning.

Morrow is signed through 2019 with a club option for the 2020 season, so adding Hand (signed through 2020 with a club option for 2021) would give the Cubs with a long-term back-of-the-bullpen tandem that would rival any in the game.  Britton is only signed through the remainder of this season, and thus would come at a lower price tag in trade talks, though there is enough interest in his services that the Orioles can ask for a healthy prospect return.

Chicago is one of eight contending teams who have checked in on Britton, according to Levine.  We already know the identity of some of these other teams, as past reports have linked the Red Sox, Yankees, Indians, Astros, and Phillies to Britton’s market.  Hand has also drawn attention from other teams, with the Yankees also known to have interest in the left-hander.

Britton didn’t make his 2018 debut until June 12 due to offseason Achilles tendon surgery, though given his track record, he only had to show that he was both healthy and reasonably effective to earn himself a spot as one of the deadline’s most sought-after trade pieces.  Through 14 2/3 innings, Britton has a 3.68 ERA, 7.98 K/9, and 62.2% grounder rate, with a hefty 25% homer rate and a 5.52 BB/9 standing out as red flags.  He has thrown scoreless outings in 13 of his 15 appearances this season, with all of his six earned runs allowed coming over two rough outings (and 1 1/3 innings) against the Braves and Mariners.

It’s hard to really pass judgement based on such a small sample size, though Britton has at least looked solid, if obviously not at the level of his past dominance from 2014-16.  His average fastball velocity of 94.3 mph is down from the last two years (when he cracked the 96mph threshold), though Britton has been increasingly throwing harder in recent outings, as one might expect as he shakes off the rust.

Hand, meanwhile, has been outstanding in his second year as the Padres’ closer.  The lefty owns a 3.05 ERA, 13.2 K/9, and 4.33 K/BB rate over 44 1/3 innings, numbers that just earned him his second consecutive All-Star selection.  Hand’s 13.8% swinging-strike rate and 93.8mph average fastball are both career highs.

Yankees Interested In Ross, Hand, Yates Sun, 15 Jul 2018 23:29:38 +0000
  • The Yankees are one of the many teams who have checked in with the Padres about Tyson Ross, Brad Hand, and Kirby Yates.  New York was already been linked to Hand in rumors, and it makes sense that the team would also inquire about another talented reliever in Yates, who would come at a lower asking price.  Ross has posted solid numbers (4.32 ERA, 8.06 K/9, 2.26 K/BB rate over 108 1/3 IP) as he finally looks to be recovered from the shoulder issues and eventual thoracic outlet syndrome surgery that limited him to only 54 1/3 innings in 2016-17.  Since Ross is only signed to a minor league deal, his modest salary makes him attractive to all suitors, particularly to a Yankees club that is trying to bolster its rotation without passing the luxury tax threshold.

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    Is Padres' Asking Price On Yates Too High? Thu, 12 Jul 2018 01:48:41 +0000
  • Padres reliever Kirby Yates has emerged as a terrific setup option in San Diego, but ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick spoke to one scout who expressed doubts that the Padres would find someone willing to meet their asking price in a trade (Twitter link). “He’s been really good. But he’s not going to get the return they’re asking for, because he kind of came out of nowhere,” the scout said. “It’s hard to give up a pretty good prospect for a guy who’s had three good months.” Of course, it’s worth noting that Yates performed well for the Friars all through the 2017 season as well. However, he didn’t adopt the splitter that has become a wipeout pitch for him until the current season, which is likely the point to which that unnamed scout was alluding. Yates has a ridiculous 1.51 ERA with 11.4 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 0.25 HR/9 and a 49.4 percent grounder rate in 35 2/3 innings this season. The 31-year-old can be controlled through 2020.
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    Brad Hand On Extension, Trade Rumors Tue, 10 Jul 2018 15:45:20 +0000 In a piece in which he discusses several players whose All-Star participation will be colored by trade rumors, Bob Nightengale of USA Today holds a particularly interesting chat with Padres closer Brad Hand. The lefty has been through the rumor mill before, of course, so he knows what to expect. This time, though, he’s in the first season of a new deal he struck with the organization over the winter. That doesn’t mean that Hand is certain to remain in San Diego, however, and he gave a realistic appraisal of the implications of his extension from a broader perspective. “You can look at it from both sides,” Hand said. “It’s like you signed a long-term deal to stay in San Diego or you just increased your trade value by adding more years of control. Obviously, I have more value now, because instead of teams having control of me for one year, now it’s possibly for three years.” Though he expressed interest in remaining with the Friars, that’s ultimately not in Hand’s control, as his deal does not include trade protection.

    NL Notes: Darvish, Bryant, Duensing, Bass, Hedges, Muncy Sun, 08 Jul 2018 23:00:27 +0000 Yu Darvish has yet to resume throwing after getting a cortisone shot in his arm last week, but according to Cubs president Theo Epstein, that doesn’t mean the club is likely to go out and try to acquire a frontline starter prior to the July 31st trade deadline. Carrie Muskat of compiled quotes from Epstein about the club’s deadline stance that leave little room for interpretation. “There’s no way we’re going to go out and acquire starters the caliber of a locked-in Kyle Hendricks or a locked-in Jose Quintana. The majority of our answers lie within, that’s for sure,” he said. Of course, he later added that the club is “still in the mode of assessing”; it’s not difficult to imagine that things could change quickly if the rotation doesn’t turn itself around. In regards to Darvish’s status, Epstein said the club doesn’t want to push him too hard in an effort to get him back on the field. ’It’s not about rushing. Just get back out there. Get back in your routine. Get back in your work. Then, as this plays, we’ll get you back out there. Of course, we want you back sooner rather than later, but if biology’s not going to permit it, it’s not going to permit it.” Beyond Darvish, the Cubs have gotten disappointing performances from Hendricks, Quintana and offseason signee Tyler Chatwood on the year.

    More from around the National League…

    • In Muskat’s piece, Kris Bryant also gets a mention. The former MVP reportedly had a good day in the batting cages on Friday and is nearing a return from the DL. Bryant’s been sidelined since June 23rd with shoulder inflammation, and the Cubs have anxiously been hoping to get him healthy again and back in the lineup. P.J. Mooney of The Athletic reports on Twitter that Bryant is heading to the Cubs’ AA affiliate to begin his rehab assignment; he’ll be joined by lefty Brian Duensing. Mooney also notes that righty Anthony Bass is headed to the DL due to an illness; fellow righty James Norwood will take his place, making his first trip to the big leagues.
    • The Padres still believe in the offensive potential of elite defensive backstop Austin Hedges, says AJ Cassavell of But they’re more than happy with the value he’s providing them with from behind the plate. Manager Andy Green had this to say on the subject: “We’re patient on the offensive side, because we see the value on the defensive side.” Hedges was right at the Mendoza line on the season with a .200 average entering play today, and his OPS sat south of .600 as well.
    • Breakout Dodgers slugger Max Muncy has been tearing it up this season, with an ISO of .347 to go with an 18.9% walk rate. But he almost didn’t play baseball at all this year, as Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports chronicles. Following his release by the A’s last season, Muncy was looking into how many classes it would take to complete his business degree. “You start experiencing failure and you don’t know if you’re as good as you thought you were. Mentally I wasn’t doing as good as I should have been. And then, last year was a chance for me to regroup and recover and focus on myself,” Muncy said. “I could just focus on baseball, remembering how much I love the game and how much I liked playing it. For me, that was the biggest thing.” Now, of course, things have turned around to an extraordinary level, and Muncy is practically a lock for his first All-Star selection.
    Padres Outright Matt Szczur Sun, 08 Jul 2018 19:05:11 +0000
  • Padres outfielder Matt Szczur will also remain with his organization after clearing waivers, the team announced. The Padres designated Szczur last weekend, after the 28-year-old began 2018 with a .187/.265/.267 line in 84 trips to the plate.
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    Yankees Interested In Brad Hand, Zach Britton Sun, 08 Jul 2018 01:53:10 +0000 The Yankees already possess perhaps the game’s premier bullpen, but they could nonetheless add to their relief corps in the coming weeks. The club’s among the teams interested in a pair of established lefty relievers – the Padres’ Brad Hand and the Orioles’ Zach Britton – Jon Heyman of Fancred tweets.

    While Britton is the better known of the two, Hand has eclipsed him in value since his breakout 2016. Hand previously landed on the Yankees’ radar last July and looked like a strong bet to leave San Diego via trade, considering the Padres were nowhere near playoff contention. Instead, the Padres kept Hand and then inked him to an extension worth a guaranteed three years and $19.75MM over the winter. The deal also features a $10MM club option, which Hand’s employer will pick up if he continues at anything resembling his current pace.

    Since 2016, Hand leads qualified relievers in innings (210) and has posted a 2.66 ERA with 11.83 K/9, 3.04 BB/9 and a 46.8 percent groundball rate. The 28-year-old is now in his second season a full-time closer, during which he has converted 24 of 28 save chances, but he’d work in a setup role with the Yankees because of closer Aroldis Chapman’s presence (though Chapman has battled left knee tendinitis since early May, Bryan Hoch of tweets). He’d accompany Chapman to give the Yankees two lights-out southpaws and yet another tremendous option alongside setup men Chad Green, Dellin Betances, David Robertson and Jonathan Holder.

    In addition to Chapman, Green, Betances, Robertson and Holder, New York has gotten terrific results from relievers Adam Warren and A.J. Cole this season. The team also has 2017 standout Tommy Kahnle on hand in the minors. It may not behoove the World Series-contending Yankees to meet the still-rebuilding Padres’ reportedly high asking price for Hand, then, especially given New York’s need to address its rotation and maybe even its first base situation during the next few weeks.

    Contrary to Hand, Britton does not look like a top-end reliever at this point, nor is he controllable beyond this season. Since an incredible 2016 in which he compiled a .54 ERA in 67 innings, Britton has dealt with a decline in output and a ruptured Achilles. He returned from that injury, which he suffered over the winter, last month and has since allowed six earned runs (with just eight strikeouts against seven walks) in 10 1/2 frames and experienced a dip in velocity.

    Along with his newfound performance issues, Britton comes with a high salary. He’s owed the balance of $12MM, and the Yankees could be wary of that given their desire to stay south of the $197MM competitive-balance tax threshold. They’re plenty familiar with the 30-year-old Britton, though, as he has spent his entire career with AL East rival Baltimore. The Orioles are far out of playoff contention and figure to sell off as many pending free agents as possible, including Britton, in the coming weeks.

    Padres Sign First-Rounder Ryan Weathers Sun, 01 Jul 2018 23:30:13 +0000 The Padres have signed left-hander Ryan Weathers, the number seven overall pick in this year’s amateur draft. AJ Cassavell of was first to tweet news of the signingJim Callis of reports that he’ll receive the full slot amount of $5,226.500 as his signing bonus.

    Though the Loretto (Tennessee) High School product was a consensus first-round talent according to, Baseball America and Fangraphs, all three of those publications ranked him outside of their top ten draft prospects; in particular cited his lack of a “true out pitch” as reason to doubt he’d be taken so high in the draft. As such, it was a bit of a surprise to see the Padres take him with the seventh overall selection, though it’s worth noting that 2018 marks the second consecutive year that the Friars selected a high school lefty with their first round pick (they took MacKenzie Gore third overall last year).

    Weathers is well-known for his overall athleticism, having led his high school to their first-ever state championship in basketball prior to pitching for them this spring. Weathers also has a fair amount of pedigree; his father is Dave Weathers, who enjoyed a major-league career spanning a remarkable 19 seasons. The younger Weathers gives a lot of credit for his development to his dad.

    It’s generally believed that Weathers has a high floor for a high school selection. His fastball sat in the low nineties this past spring, clocking in at up to 95 MPH on a few occasions. Some scouts believe his big curveball might be an even better pitch than his fastball. Weathers has a good change-up as well, which he utilized often. notes that Weathers does a good job of repeating his delivery; as such, many evaluators believe he could develop future plus command, albeit with pitches that largely grade as average or slightly above for the time being.

    Padres Designate Matt Szczur Sun, 01 Jul 2018 17:07:22 +0000 The Padres have designated outfielder Matt Szczur for assignment, per a team announcement. Additionally, San Diego reinstated infielder Allen Cordoba from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Single-A, and recalled infielder Carlos Asuaje from Triple-A.

    The 28-year-old Szczur’s in his second season with the Padres, who acquired him in a trade with the Cubs in 2017. Szczur has struggled over 84 plate appearances this year in San Diego, where he has hit .187/.265/.267. Overall, the right-handed hitter’s a .231/.312/.355 in 667 major league PAs.

    The Padres plucked Cordoba from the Cardinals in the December 2016 Rule 5 draft. Cordoba managed to hang with the Padres despite slashing just .208/.282/.297 in 227 PAs last season, his age-22 campaign. He has totaled just 49 PAs this year – all at the Single-A level – on account of a concussion.

    Padres Interested In Michael Fulmer Sat, 30 Jun 2018 14:18:22 +0000
  • Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer is drawing a lot of interest from not just contenders like the Phillies, Dodgers and Yankees, but also from rebuilding teams like the Padres.  Clearly Fulmer would be a fit for a lot of teams considering both his ability and his years of control; he isn’t arbitration-eligible until this winter, and he has four years of arbitration coming as a Super Two player.  Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman wrote earlier this week that it could be unlikely that Fulmer is actually dealt, as Detroit has naturally put a big price tag on the righty in trade talks.  San Diego is deep in prospects, however, so the Friars could be one of the few teams who wouldn’t immediately balk at the Tigers’ demands.

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    Injury Notes: Darvish, Nelson, Cordero, Chapman, Strasburg, Cespedes, Font, Dunning Sat, 30 Jun 2018 04:58:11 +0000 With ongoing uncertainty leading to some real worry, it came as something of a relief when the Cubs announced that Yu Darvish has been diagnosed with a right elbow impingement, as Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic was among those to cover on Twitter. Already on the DL, Darvish will receive a cortisone shot before being examined again next week. It’s not yet known what the course will be from that point, but the club is no doubt pleased that there’s not a more significant underlying issue plaguing the high-priced hurler.

    Let’s run through some other health updates of note …

    • The Brewers are still unsure when they’ll welcome back righty Jimmy Nelson, GM David Stearns tells reporters including’s Adam McCalvy (via Twitter). “We still think Jimmy is going to pitch for us this year,” Stearns stressed. But the shoulder surgery that knocked Nelson out has required a “slower process,” says Stearns, with Nelson still “yet to pitch off a mound.” It seems there’s no chance that the Brewers will welcome back their staff ace in advance of the trade deadline, meaning they’ll need to assess their rotation without full knowledge of his ability to contribute down the stretch.
    • Padres outfielder Franchy Cordero appears quite likely to elect season-ending surgery,’s AJ Cassavell tweets. It’s still not a certainty, and the lack of urgency in making the final call — it has been under consideration for at least ten days — speaks to the general timeline. Though Cordero would miss the rest of the MLB campaign, he’d likely be ready to participate in winter ball and certainly be at full health for Spring Training next year.
    • Athletics third baseman Matt Chapman has progressed to taking swings, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. He has already been out for about two weeks with a hand injury.
    • It seems there’s some cause for optimism for the Indians regarding reliever Tyler Olson.’s Jordan Bastian tweets that Olson has been able to throw a bullpen session, which certainly indicates he’s progressing rather well from a lat injury that perhaps could have been worse.
    • Likewise, Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg turned in a surprise bullpen session, as Dan Kolko of was among those to tweet. That’s the first real indication that Strasburg is ready to begin working back toward a return from shoulder inflammation in earnest.
    • In other NL East news, the Mets increasingly have a confounding situation on their hands with regard to star outfielder Yoenis CespedesKristie Ackert of the New York Daily News writes. Cespedes went on the DL in the middle of May with what seemed to be a minor injury, but still has not resumed running. Skipper Mickey Callaway says the veteran is “feeling a lot better,” but there’s no real sense of a timeline.
    • Righty Wilmer Font left today’s game with a lat injury, with Rays skipper Kevin Cash saying it’s probably a serious one, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. The recently claimed righty “in all likelihood will miss significant time,” says Cash, which is quite a disappointment for all involved. Entering play today, the 28-year-old had found his groove with the Rays, turning in 22 innings of 1.64 ERA ball with 7.0 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9.
    • In news of longer-term consequence, the White Sox are still holding their breath with regard to well-regarded pitching prospect Dane Dunning. The team announced that he has been diagnosed with a “moderate elbow sprain that presently will not require surgery.” For the time being, he’ll rest for a while and resume throwing in about two months’ time if he’s deemed ready. That’s hardly good news, but is certainly better than the worst-case that may have been feared.
    Cardinals Claim Tyler Webb Fri, 29 Jun 2018 20:08:57 +0000 The Cardinals have claimed lefty Tyler Webb off waivers from the Padres. The San Diego organization, which announced the move, had designated Webb for assignment recently.

    A tenth-round pick in the 2013 draft, Webb moved quickly to the upper reaches of the Yankees system and has always produced quality K/BB numbers. But the 27-year-old has received limited opportunities in the majors. He has just 13 total MLB innings on his ledger, with those coming with three different teams over the past two seasons.

    This season, Webb has thrived at Triple-A. Through 22 innings, he has allowed just five earned runs while recording 28 strikeouts against eight walks. But in his time in the bigs, he has shown only a low-nineties fastball and swinging-strike rate of just over eight percent.

    Amateur Draft Signings: 6/24/18 Mon, 25 Jun 2018 02:50:07 +0000 Here are today’s most notable signings from the first few rounds of the draft.  Scouting reports and pre-draft rankings can be found courtesy of MLB.comFangraphs, Baseball America and ESPN’s Keith Law (the latter two available to subscribers only)…

    • The Padres signed Texas Tech outfielder Grant Little to an $800K bonus, MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis reports (Twitter link).  The bonus falls just a bit shy of the $812.2K slot price for the 74th overall pick.  Of note, this was the pick in Competitive Balance Round B that San Diego acquired from the Twins last month in the Phil Hughes trade.  Fangraphs ranked Little 65th in their rankings, though the other outlets ( 128th, BA 158th, outside Law’s top 100) weren’t nearly as bullish.  Scouts believe Little (a left fielder in college) could handle second base, third base, or even center field as a pro.  Little is considered to have strong contact skills at the plate, though he lacks power.
    Padres Designate Tyler Webb Sun, 24 Jun 2018 19:37:38 +0000 The Padres announced that they’ve designated left-hander Tyler Webb for assignment. His roster spot will go to right-hander Robert Stock, whom the team selected from Triple-A on Sunday.

    This is the second time a team has designated Webb this season. The Brewers jettisoned Webb on April 7, leading the Padres to claim him off waivers a week later. The 27-year-old went on to throw five innings with San Diego prior to his latest designation, allowing seven earned runs on six hits and three walks (with four strikeouts). He has been far better as a member of the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate in El Paso, where he has logged a 2.05 ERA with 11.45 K/9 and 3.27 BB/9 in 22 innings.

    Padres Activate Austin Hedges, Select Robert Stock Sun, 24 Jun 2018 17:53:09 +0000 The Padres announced a slew of roster moves Sunday, including the reinstatement of catcher Austin Hedges from the disabled list and the selection of right-hander Robert Stock from Triple-A. The club also placed righty Jordan Lyles on the DL with right elbow inflammation, recalled reliever Kazuhisa Makita and optioned both reliever Phil Maton and catcher Rafael Lopez. With a full 40-man roster, the Padres will need to create an opening for Stock.

    Hedges is back after going on the DL on May 1 because of tendinitis in his right elbow. The 25-year-old struggled at the plate before then, hitting .173/.235/.293 in 81 trips. On the other hand, the defensively gifted Hedges shined as a pitch framer, per Baseball Prospectus. He’ll rejoin A.J. Ellis to comprise the Padres’ top two catchers, pushing Lopez out of the mix. Lopez didn’t take advantage of Hedges’ absence, as he has batted a meager .180/.263/.290 in 114 PAs and offered subpar pitch-framing work this season.

    Stock, 28, is finally in position to make his major league debut nine years after the Cardinals chose him in the second round of the 2009 draft. A two-way player at USC, where he was also a catcher, Stock converted to pitching on a full-time basis after the 2011 season. Also a former Pirate and Red (not to mention an indy league participant), Stock joined the Padres prior to 2018 and has since fared well in the minors, including a 23 1/3-inning run at Triple-A, where he has logged a 1.93 ERA with 9.26 K/9, 3.86 BB/9 and a 55.6 percent groundball rate.

    Lyles’ issue isn’t expected to require surgery, but he’ll see a doctor Monday, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The 27-year-old has collected 21 appearances (eight starts) this year and recorded a 4.46 ERA with 7.56 K/9, 2.43 BB/9 and a 46.8 percent grounder rate over 66 2/3 innings.

    Given the numbers Maton has posted this year out of San Diego’s impressive bullpen, his demotion comes as a surprise. The 25-year-old has recorded a 1.53 ERA with 9.17 K/9 and 4.08 BB/9, though he went on the DL with a right lat strain on May 13 and hasn’t been effective in his two outings since returning this week. Over a total of 1 2/3 innings in those appearances, Maton allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits and a walk.

    Padres Interested In Maikel Franco Sun, 24 Jun 2018 13:43:27 +0000 The Padres have interest in Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (video link). A deal may not be easy to swing, though, as Rosenthal notes that the Phillies would have to acquire a third baseman or a shortstop from elsewhere in order to move Franco.

    Franco, now 25, garnered hype as a prospect and made good on that as a rookie in 2015, when he slashed .280/.343/.497 with 14 home runs in 335 plate appearances. He hasn’t been anywhere near that effective since, however, as he has offered below-average production in each season dating back to 2016. In 229 trips to the plate this year, Franco has hit .255/.297/.425 – nearly matching his lifetime line of .248/.300/.426 – with nine homers.

    With a .230/.300/.498 line and 16 HRs in 230 PAs this season, Padres rookie third baseman Christian Villanueva has been better than Franco in the aggregate. But the 27-year-old Villanueva has gone backward in each month of the season, having posted a wRC+ of 199 in April, a 74 mark in May and a paltry 53 this month. Given Villanueva’s struggles and their lack of obvious third base solutions in general, it’s understandable that the Padres are seeking help there, even though they’re 35-44 and well out of playoff contention. Franco could be a multiyear solution for San Diego if it acquires him and he turns his career around, as he’s arbitration eligible through the 2021 campaign.

    Despite the subpar production of Franco and other left side infielders Scott Kingery and the injured J.P. Crawford, the Phillies boast a 41-33 record and own a 1 1/2-game lead over the Dodgers for the NL’s second wild-card spot. They’re also in contention in the NL East, trailing the division-leading Braves by just 1 1/2 games. As such, it seems the Phillies are on track to buy as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. If they do bolster the left side of their infield before then, it could come in the form of Orioles shortstop/third baseman Manny Machado or one of the other high-end third basemen likely to be available – the Royals’ Mike Moustakas, the Blue Jays’ Josh Donaldson or the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre (who has drawn Philly’s interest).

    Should the Phillies land one of those players or other infield help, it could open the door for Franco to head to San Diego. The Phillies may package him with other talent in order to acquire relief help from the Padres, Rosenthal notes. The Padres’ bullpen has been a significant bright spot this year, which has led to interest in relievers such as Brad Hand, Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen. Hand, the closer and the best of the Padres’ relievers, would garner the largest return. The Padres reportedly want a “young everyday player” back for him, and while Franco fits that description, there’s little doubt Philly would have to surrender additional talent for San Diego to give up Hand.

    Padres Reportedly Checked In On Manny Machado Sat, 23 Jun 2018 04:29:11 +0000
  • The odds seem rather long, to say the least, but Jon Heyman of Fan Rag wrote yesterday that the Padres have at least checked in with the Orioles on star infielder Manny Machado. That connection might make greater sense if the Padres were a more plausible contender or, at least, if Machado was not slated to reach free agency at season’s end. As it stands, it’s tough to fathom the Friars unloading young talent in an attempt to chase the postseason this year. Doing so in earnest, in all likelihood, would mean adding multiple other pieces as well. It could still make sense, though, for the Padres to get a gauge on Baltimore’s situation. The Pads could face some 40-man pressures this winter, so there could be an opportunity to function as a part of a three-team arrangement. If the club is really feeling bold, perhaps it could make an early strike for Machado with plans to flip him if a sudden run up the standings doesn’t ensue, though a mid-season gambit of that kind involving a rental player of Machado’s caliber would be sui generis.
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    Padres To Activate Wil Myers, Option Franmil Reyes Thu, 21 Jun 2018 17:22:09 +0000 The Padres are set to activate first baseman/outfielder Wil Myers from the DL, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). His return was suggested on Twitter yesterday by James Clark of the East Village Times, who reported that the team will option Franmil Reyes in a corresponding roster move.

    Myers has been on the shelf with an oblique injury and has only taken forty plate appearances thus far on the season. He recorded just one home run and no walks in that ten-game sample, but still stands with a .300/.300/.450 slash to this point.

    If there was a notable development early in the year, it could be that Myers drew positive reviews for his work in right field. The sample is too small to tell us much of anything, but it’s generally positive given the circumstances.

    After all, the Friars have an extended commitment to Myers, who was bumped to the outfield to make room for Eric Hosmer. Though he’s earning just $2MM this year and $3MM next, Myers is due a healthy $20MM annually from 2020 through 2022. His contract also includes a $20MM option for an additional season, which comes with a $1MM buyout.

    There has been chatter at times that the Padres could look to find a taker for some of that deal, though there’s no real indication that it’s a serious consideration. The San Diego organization does have a rather extensive group of options in the outfield, but can ill afford to try to move Myers now, when his value is at a rather low point.

    For the time being, then, the club will hope that Myers can show good health and good form on the field. It’s conceivable he could end up being involved in some trade discussions over the summer or the offseason to come. At this point, though, it is not really clear where the interest would come from or how a deal might conceivably be structured.

    Without regular time available in right field now that Myers is back, the Padres will send the 22-year-old Reyes down to continue honing his craft at Triple-A. His first taste of the majors certainly highlighted some of his strengths and challenges as a player.

    Reyes knocked six long balls and carried a .228 isolated slugging market in his 96 plate appearances. On the other hand, though he had sported quality K/BB numbers on the year at Triple-A, he has posted a whopping 40.6% strikeout rate and meager 4.2% walk rate in the majors. Reyes is also quite a large man who has drawn some ire for his work in the field, though DRS actually viewed him as an approximately average performer in right (again, in a limited sample).

    Upcoming Rule 5 Crunch Could Motivate Padres To Deal Wed, 20 Jun 2018 19:59:35 +0000
  • There’s a widespread expectation that the Padres will sell some pieces this summer, but Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription link) takes a deeper look at a factor that could push the Friars into activity: the Rule 5 Draft. San Diego has more than a dozen prospects who’ll be Rule 5 eligible this offseason, Lin observes, which could create further motivation to open some spots on the 40-man by moving assets that are controlled beyond the 2018 season. Brad Hand, Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen all fit that bill and have all already drawn trade interest, Lin writes, and the Padres could also shop outfielders Hunter Renfroe and Travis Jankowski to other clubs as well. Lin speaks with general manager A.J. Preller at length about the upcoming roster crunch in a thorough look at some of the decisions the club will face in the not-too-distant future.
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    Franchy Cordero Considering Elbow Surgery Wed, 20 Jun 2018 18:32:56 +0000 Padres outfielder Franchy Cordero has been diagnosed with a bone spur in his right elbow following an MRI, tweets AJ Cassavell of Cordero is currently mulling whether to attempt a rest/rehab route or to undergo surgery that would keep him out for a substantial period of time. Dennis Lin of The Athletic pegs the rehab timeline for Cordero at 12 weeks, which would cover the vast majority of the remaining season (Twitter link).

    Cordero originally landed on the disabled list in late May due to a strained right forearm, but his rehab assignment was recently shut down after he felt some discomfort in his elbow while swinging a bat during a minor league plate appearance.

    [Related: San Diego Padres depth chart]

    The 23-year-old Cordero is hitting .237/.307/.439 with seven homers in 154 plate appearances so far in 2018. He’s one of several intriguing but still-unproven outfield options on the Padres’ roster, joining Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes in that regard. San Diego also has Wil Myers locked into a corner outfield spot following the offseason signing of Eric Hosmer, while fleet-footed Travis Jankowski provides an older but more defensively sound option than the other outfielders on the roster (with the exception of Margot).

    Considering the fact that the surgical route has the potential to put Cordero out for the remainder of the season, there’s little harm in waiting to see if rest will make the injury tolerable enough to play through until the offseason. After all, given the team’s uncertain mix of outfielders, the final months of the season could represent a proving grounds for Cordero, who possesses exceptional power but has, to this point in his career, been far too strikeout prone. If, even after a substantial period of rest, the discomfort in Cordero’s elbow proves to be too much, delaying the surgery wouldn’t figure to have any impact on his readiness for the 2019 campaign.

    Franchy Cordero's Rehab Shut Down Due To Elbow Concerns Wed, 20 Jun 2018 16:12:23 +0000
  • Padres fans are holding their breath as they await a new diagnosis on outfielder Franchy Cordero, whose rehab has been shut down entirely, as Dennis Lin of The Athletic tweets. Cordero, who began a minor league rehab assignment this week, “felt something” in his elbow while taking a swing in one of those rehab games, according to Lin. He was evaluated by Dr. Neal ElAttrache yesterday. While there’s been no official word from the team just yet, it’s an ominous-sounding injury at a time when the organization hoped Cordero was nearing a return to the lineup. The 23-year-old Cordero hit .237/.307/.439 through 154 PAs early in the season and had developed a penchant for off-the-charts exit velocity and distance projections from Statcast thanks to his light-tower raw power.
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    Padres Reportedly Seeking Young Position Players In Hand Talks Wed, 20 Jun 2018 14:42:27 +0000
  • Much as we’ve heard in prior periods of trade interest, the Padres seem disinclined to offer up closer Brad Hand for less than a compelling return. Per’s Jon Morosi, via Twitter, the “likely asking price” on Hand will be a “young everyday player.” Morosi gives the example of Rafael Devers, should the Red Sox come calling, but there’s no evident reason to read that as more than a hypothetical. If anything, it seems the report stands for the proposition that the Friars are not going to be particularly amenable to considering packages consisting of multiple, far-off prospects. We recently rated Hand as one of the top ten players to watch at the trade deadline, but noted that the San Diego organization has little reason to simply take what it can get for a player who is under affordable control for a few more seasons after signing an appealingly priced extension over the winter.
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    Amateur Draft Signings: 6/14/18 Fri, 15 Jun 2018 03:45:03 +0000 Here are the day’s deals of note from the top few rounds of the draft (rankings referenced are courtesy of Baseball AmericaMLB.comFangraphs and ESPN’s Keith Law — with the scouting reports from MLB and Fangraphs both coming free to the general public) …

    • Athletics second-round pick Jeremy Eierman will receive a $1,232,000 bonus, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). That’s well over the $872,400 slot value that came with the 70th pick. The Missouri State produce drew big grades from BA (#26) and (#29) as the top collegiate shortstop, with both a history of productivity and an intriguing power/speed offensive profile for a player who could potentially stick at shortstop. Analysts also note that an offensive downturn in the just-completed season introduced new questions about his long-term outlook.
    • The Cubs are in agreement with second-round pick Brennen Davis on a $1.1MM bonus, Callis reports on Twitter. That checks in just north of the 62nd pick’s $1,060,900 allocation. Davis ranked 81st on the Fangraphs board, with physical tools and projection driving the outfielder’s draft standing. He had been committed to the University of Miami.

    Earlier Updates

    • The Padres will pay out $2.6MM to land supplemental first-round choice Xavier Edwards, according to’s Jim Callis (Twitter link). A consensus first-round talent, Edwards went 38th overall ($1,878,300 allocation) and required a well-over-slot bonus to give up his commitment to Vanderbilt. Fangraphs was the highest outlet on the Florida high-schooler, ranking him 17th among all eligible players based upon his outstanding speed, quality bat, and promising outlook as an up-the-middle defender.
    • The Rays have deals in place with compensation selection Nick Schnell and competitive balance Round B choice Tanner Dodson, according to reports from Callis (Twitter links) and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times (also on Twitter). Schnell will receive $2.3MM; the high-school outfielder was chosen with the 32nd overall pick, which comes with a $2,171,700 slot value. He’s credited with a quality tool set and what calls an “extremely projectable frame.” Tampa Bay will save some money on Dodson, whose $997,500 bonus falls shy of the $1,228,000 slot value at #71. He’s valued most as a power pitcher but is also said to have legitimate talent as a switch-hitting outfielder, which could give the Rays another multi-functional prospect to work with.
    • Second-round choice Nick Sandlin will go to the Indians for $750K, Callis tweets, which will leave some savings against the $939,700 pick allocation. With the signing, the Cleveland organization will add a highly effective collegiate hurler who is known less for his pure stuff than for his wide pitch mix and use of varied arm angles. Sandlin cracked the top 100 list of the Fangraphs team and landed within the top 200 draft prospects as graded by Baseball America and It certainly seems he’ll be an interesting player to follow as a professional.
    Padres’ Relievers Drawing Trade Interest Thu, 14 Jun 2018 17:52:17 +0000 The Padres, unsurprisingly, have already been receiving trade inquirieson their relievers, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic in his latest notes column (subscription required). Not only is Brad Hand garnering a strong bit of interest, but setup men Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen are each drawing inquiries from rival clubs, as are some of the team’s younger relievers.

    Most notably, Rosenthal suggests that the interest in Hand is different than in recent years, owing both to his newly signed contract extension and the fact that he has now more emphatically cemented himself as a proven, elite lefty reliever.

    Each of the listed relievers has an ERA south of 2.50 on the season, and each boasts strong K/BB numbers in addition to a ground-ball rate of 50 percent or better. More appealing than any of that, however, could be the simple fact that each of the three is both affordable and under control for multiple seasons.

    Hand, who turned 28 in March, is the most notable of the bunch. Despite his relative proximity to free agency, he signed surprising three-year, $19.75MM contract extension in the offseason — a deal that also gives the Padres affordable a $10MM club option over the 2021 season. A waiver claim by the Padres out of the Marlins organization, Hand has improved each year in San Diego. He’s currently sitting on a 1.78 ERA with 13.3 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.76 HR/9 and a 50 percent ground-ball rate in 35 1/3 innings.

    Overall, since joining the Friars, he’s pitched to a superlative 2.43 ERA and averaged nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings. With an average annual value just barely north of $6.5MM, his contract would fit into the majority of teams’ budgets — even those close to the luxury tax threshold (with, perhaps, the notable exception of the Giants, though a San Diego/San Francisco swap of this magnitude seems unlikely anyhow).

    Hand, though, is hardly the only waiver claim who has reinvented himself in San Diego. The 31-year-old Yates pitched well for the Padres after being claimed from the Angels last season, but he’s taken his game to a new level in 2018, tossing 27 innings with a flat 1.00 ERA, a 32-to-8 K/BB ratio and a 52.3 percent grounder rate.

    San Diego encouraged Yates to ditch his slider in favor of a splitter (as he recently discussed with’s AJ Cassavell), and the righty has transformed himself completely. That ground-ball rate is nearly 20 points higher than his career mark, and the formerly homer-prone Yates has now surrendered only one home run in 2018 with his new ground-focused attack. Yates, who has a 2.83 ERA in 82 2/3 innings and an average of 13 strikeouts per nine innings pitched since joining the Padres, is earning just $1.0625MM in 2018 and is arbitration-eligible through the 2020 season.

    Stammen, meanwhile, parlayed a minor league deal with the Padres prior to the 2017 season into a two-year, $4.5MM deal spanning the 2018-19 seasons. And after posting a 3.14 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, 1.34 HR/9 and a 51.6 percent ground-ball rate in 80 1/3 innings of relief last year, Stammen has further elevated his status in 2018.

    So far, the 34-year-old has logged a 2.30 ERA with a career-best 9.5 K/9 against 1.4 BB/9 and 0.29 HR/9 with a 50 percent ground-ball rate through 31 1/3 frames. Stammen’s velocity remains in the low 90s (91.2 mph average fastball), but his 12.2 percent swinging-strike rate and 35.6 percent chase rate resemble his peak form with the Nationals from a few years back. Beyond that, he’s pounding the zone more than ever, evidenced not only by his walk rate but his superb 69.1 percent first-pitch strike rate. At $2.25MM both this year and next (plus up to $1MM worth of incentives each season), he’s a bargain that any team could afford.

    Rosenthal notes, too, that some of the Padres’ younger relievers have also attracted interest. While specific names aren’t listed, it stands to reason that clubs may have checked in on rookie Adam Cimber, who went from an afterthought to a potential All-Star seemingly overnight. Former starter Robbie Erlin has displayed the best control of his career while working as a multi-inning lefty, while right-hander Phil Maton has impressed since joining the club as well.

    [Related: San Diego Padres depth chart]

    Of course, it’s hardly certain what route the Padres will take this summer. Preller has surprised onlookers in the past by holding onto Hand at multiple trade deadlines, and he opted not to trade Tyson Ross in 2016 and Jhoulys Chacin last season. With an emerging young core, perhaps Preller and his staff would prefer to hang onto their impressive collection of controllable bullpen arms with an eye toward contending in the future.

    It’s also not out of the question that the Padres end up viewing themselves as at least fringe contenders during the current season. While such a notion will elicit plenty of eye-rolling, the Friars are 11-4 over their past 15 games and now sit 5.5 games back in the NL West. They’re still four games under .500, so a serious run seems far-fetched, though they’re also on the verge of getting Joey Lucchesi, Wil Myers and Franchy Cordero back from the disabled list, as well.

    Myers, Lucchesi, Cordero Set For Rehab Assignments Thu, 14 Jun 2018 04:19:30 +0000
  • The Padres announced tonight that outfielders Wil Myers and Franchy Cordero and left-hander Joey Lucchesi are all set to begin minor league rehab assignments tomorrow. San Diego has been without Myers since April 29 due to a left oblique strain, while Cordero has been out since late May due to a forearm strain. In the absence of both corner outfielders, the Friars have been utilizing a mix of Travis Jankowski, rookie Franmil Reyes, Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe and Matt Szczur in the outfield, though the impending return of both Myers and Cordero will shuffle that arrangement. Myers has taken just 40 plate appearances with the big league club this season, hitting .300/.300/.450, while Cordero hit .237/.307/.439 through 154 PAs and began to draw some notoriety for his prodigious home run distances and exit velocities on Statcast. As for Lucchesi, he was among the most impressive rookie pitchers in all of baseball through his first nine starts, pitching to a 3.23 ERA with a 48-to-15 K/BB ratio and a 43.8 percent ground-ball rate in 47 1/3 innings. He’s been out since May 15 due to a hip strain.
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    NL West Notes: Buehler, Turner, Hand, Marte Sun, 10 Jun 2018 03:52:58 +0000 Walker Buehler left last night’s game before he was able to get through the sixth, but it wasn’t due to poor performance. The promising young right-hander left due to a side injury. Thankfully, Bill Shaikin of the LA Times reports that Buehler is describing his injury as “bruised ribs”. There’s no word yet as to whether he’ll need to land on the DL for a stint, but the news ought to bring a mild sigh of relief to Dodgers fans. Such a description would seem to eliminate the dread of an oblique or intercostal strain, if Buehler’s self-description holds up. Bruises seem far less likely to disrupt his excellent season thus far; Buehler’s been worth 1.7 fWAR across nine starts in part thanks to a 4.91 K/BB ratio and 54.5% ground ball rate.

    Other items out of the NL West…

    • The Dodgers have received news on Justin Turner that’s far less promising, however. Shaikin also reports that Turner’s performance could be diminished all season by lingering wrist issues. The slugger spent most of the season thus far on the DL after suffering a fractured wrist during a spring training game. Shaikin also points out that he’s been held out of the lineup in three of the last four games, and has managed just a .668 OPS since returning from the disabled list.
    • AJ Cassavell of revisits the Brad Hand extension in his recent piece, reminding readers that it significantly reduced the likelihood of the reliever being traded any time soon. Hand has been one of the best relievers in baseball in recent seasons by metrics such as WPA, fWAR and ERA, and though he’d certainly fetch a hefty price for the rebuilding Padres, they now control him through 2021. That’s a season in which they could feasibly be contending for a title. For his part, Hand certainly had that in mind. “”When I signed the contract, that was the big part of it,” he said. “I wanted to be here, I wanted to help the young guys come up, and I wanted to win a World Series here.”
    • Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo believes Ketel Marte is “100% playable” in spite of a recent injury, says’s Steve Gilbert. However, Lovullo adds that he “created some tenderness” with a headfirst slide into third base this past Sunday. He was held out of the lineup on Saturday, but the move seems to have been largely precautionary; his manager reportedly wanted to give him a day to get ahead of the injury. Marte has struggled to produce offensively throughout his career, sporting a .258/.313/.364 line since debuting in 2015. However, his excellent defense has played him to 2.6 wins above replacement, according to Fangraphs’ metric.
    Padres Had Offseason Interest In Miles Mikolas Sat, 09 Jun 2018 21:55:16 +0000
  • Along with the previously reported Rangers, the Twins and Padres were among teams with offseason interest in right-hander Miles Mikolas, per Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Mikolas, who pitched in Japan from 2015-17, ended up signing a two-year, $15.5MM deal with the Cardinals. The 29-year-old is no stranger to the Padres, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 draft and then had him on their roster for parts of the 2012 and ’13 seasons. Mikolas was unheralded in San Diego, but he has turned into one of the NL’s most effective starters during his stint in St. Louis. Across 79 1/3 innings this season, Mikolas has notched a 2.27 ERA with 6.58 K/9, 1.02 BB/9 and a 50.2 percent groundball rate.
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    Jose Torres Suspended For Remainder Of Season Under Domestic Violence Policy Fri, 08 Jun 2018 20:15:14 +0000 Major League Baseball has announced that Padres pitcher Jose Torres has been suspended for the remainder of the season for violating the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy. Technically, it’s a 100-game ban that will be considered to have started on June 5th.

    Torres has been on the restricted list all season long after he was arrested in February and charged with a host of crimes after a domestic disturbance. He stood accused of pointing a gun at a woman with whom he was in a domestic relationship, with criminal charges for assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage, and intimidation as well as for possession of marijuana.

    At one point, at least, Torres was scheduled to go to trial in July, but may well have reached a plea agreement. The league typically awaits resolution of a criminal case before issuing a suspension, though the joint domestic violence policy does not condition the authority to do so upon any legal action.

    This ban appears to be the longest yet handed down by commissioner Rob Manfred. Previously, Hector Olivera’s 82-game suspension had been the lengthiest under a policy that was instituted in the summer of 2015.

    Preller, Conner On Acquisition Of Hughes, Draft Pick Mon, 04 Jun 2018 20:23:49 +0000 The Padres’ acquisition of Phil Hughes was clearly more about acquiring the Twins’ competitive balance draft pick than the pitcher himself, and GM A.J. Preller and scouting director Mark Conner spoke to’s A.J Cassavell about the swap. Preller told Cassavell that he’s been calling every team that received pick in the competitive balance lottery on a near-weekly basis in an attempt to acquire an additional selection — something that’s long been a priority but was magnified in 2018 after San Diego surrendered a pick to sign Eric Hosmer“The game now is about making your money work for you,” said Preller. “…You have to figure out what’s the best bang for your buck. Having the extra pick gives you more options.”

    The move was met by excitement from Conner and his scouts, who’ll now not only have an extra pick (No. 74 overall) but an additional $812,200 in their draft pool. The Padres, of course, spent considerably more than that to obtain the pick, relieving the Twins of just over $7.6MM of Hughes’ salary. While it seems a shrewd (albeit expensive) pickup of a resource with limited availability, not every organization agrees; one exec from another club told FanRag’s Jon Heyman last week that the Padres were “insane” for taking on that much of the remaining contract to obtain the pick.

    Padres Designate Kyle McGrath Mon, 28 May 2018 18:34:04 +0000 The Padres have designated left-hander Kyle McGrath for assignment, according to the team. His 40-man spot will go to right-hander Phil Hughes, whom the Padres acquired from the Twins on Sunday.

    McGrath has been with the Padres since 2014, when they selected him in the 36th round of the draft, and made his major league debut last year. Across 23 innings in San Diego, including four this season, the 25-year-old has notched a 3.13 ERA with 7.83 K/9, 3.52 BB/9 and a minuscule 28.1 percent groundball rate. Additionally, McGrath has limited left-handed hitters to an ugly .152/.243/.250 line.

    Should a team in need of a lefty reliever claim McGrath, it would have the ability to send him to the minors. McGrath still has three options remaining, and has spent most of this year with the Padres’ Triple-A affiliate.

    Padres To Activate Hunter Renfroe, Send Franchy Cordero To DL Mon, 28 May 2018 00:53:09 +0000
  • Franchy Cordero will likely be placed on the 10-day DL tomorrow due to forearm soreness,’s AJ Cassavell tweets.  The Padres believe the issue has recently been impacting Cordero’s swing, which could explain his .515 OPS over his last 47 plate appearances.  This recent slide cooled off what had been a strong start for Cordero on the season, and the outfielder still owns an overall .237/307/.439 slash line and seven homers over 154 PA.
  • Hunter Renfroe is expected to be activated from the disabled list tomorrow to take Cordero’s spot on the Padres roster, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes.  Renfroe hasn’t played since April 17 due to elbow inflammation, and he has nine Triple-A rehab games under his belt as he prepared for his return to the majors.  Acee notes that the rehab assignment may have essentially doubled as an opportunity for Renfroe to get his bat on track, as the former top prospect got off to a slow start this season and has yet to really break out in the big leagues, though Renfroe has crushed left-handed pitching.
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    Padres Acquire Phil Hughes Sun, 27 May 2018 21:51:21 +0000 4:51pm: $7.25MM is the precise sum, Jon Heyman of FanRag hears.

    1:54pm: The Padres will pick up approximately $7.5MM of Hughes’ contract, Mark Feinsand of tweets.

    1:05pm: The Padres have acquired right-hander Phil Hughes, cash and the 74th pick in June’s draft from the Twins for young catcher Janigson Villalobos, per announcements from both teams.

    The Twins designated Hughes for assignment earlier this week, even though they still owed him the rest of his $13.2MM salary this year and another $13.2MM in 2019. Now, Minnesota will eat the remainder of Hughes’ salary this year, but San Diego will pay nearly half the tab next season, AJ Cassavell of suggests.

    In a best-case scenario for the rebuilding Padres, the 31-year-old Hughes would reemerge as a viable starter or reliever with the club. However, there doesn’t seem to be much hope on either front, given that Hughes has recently undergone two different surgeries to address thoracic outlet syndrome – which is often a death knell for pitchers. Those procedures ended each of Hughes’ previous two seasons prematurely, and have played a role in the bloated 5.99 ERA he has logged across 124 2/3 innings (33 appearances, 22 starts) since 2016.

    While Hughes is certainly the eye-catching name in this trade, acquiring the pick in Competitive Balance Round B is the greater boon for San Diego. The Padres now have four of the draft’s top 85 choices, including Nos. 7 and 38, with which to add to an already deep farm system. The Friars’ newest selection carries a slot value of $812,200, and adding it will help make up for the pick they lost when they signed free-agent first baseman Eric Hosmer in the offseason.

    Villalobos, a Venezuela native, immigrated to the United States when he signed a deal with the Padres in March 2016. He went on to post a .253/.408/.322 line in 233 plate appearances at the Rookie level from 2016-17, though the 21-year-old hasn’t played anywhere this season. He’ll suit up for the Rookie level Gulf Coast Twins when their season begins.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Travis Jankowski Has Drawn Trade Interest Sun, 27 May 2018 04:51:20 +0000
  • Padres outfielder Travis Jankowski has drawn trade interest, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reported before the Mariners-Rays swap. It seems the Mariners tried for Jankowski prior to landing Span, but according to Divish, the Padres didn’t show much interest in the M’s low-ranked farm system. Known mostly for his speed and defense, the 26-year-old Jankowski has gotten off to a .313/.382/.400 start at the plate in 89 attempts this season. He’s controllable through the 2021 season.
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    Injury Notes: Prado, Murphy/Goodwin, DeJong, Casilla, Trumbo, More Sat, 26 May 2018 05:08:48 +0000 It seems that Marlins infielder Martin Prado has suffered a rather significant left hamstring injury, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The 34-year-old has endured a run of significant problems with his hamstring muscles in the past year or so. Details aren’t yet known, but it certainly sounds as if Prado will be sidelined for a lengthy stretch. He’s owed $13.5MM this year and $15MM for the 2019 campaign. The long-productive infielder has struggled to a .169/.221/.180 batting line in 95 plate appearances on the season.

    Here’s more on the injury front:

    • The Nationals finally got some promising injury news, as they’ll send both Daniel Murphy and Brian Goodwin on rehab assignments beginning tomorrow. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted the news with regard to the former; Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post tweeted manager Davey Martinez’s announcement on both players. Murphy has yet to appear in the 2018 campaign after offseason microfracture surgery, while Goodwin has been slow to return from a wrist injury.
    • It’s still unclear just how long the Cardinals will go without shortstop Paul DeJong, but he says he has been given a four-to-eight week estimate by the medical professionals, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. More than anything, it seems that broad range indicates that there’s not a lot of clarity at this point as to how long it’ll take to heal. All involved will obviously hope that it hues toward the earlier estimate, as the replacement options all have their warts as semi-regular shortstops.
    • It seems the Athletics will go without reliever Santiago Casilla for a stretch. He has been diagnosed with a shoulder strain, as’s Jane Lee reports (Twitter links). Details of his anticipated absence are not yet available, but it’s said to be likely that Casilla will end up on the DL. At the same time, he says he does not believe it’s a serious malady. The veteran entered play today with an ugly 14:13 K/BB ratio, but had allowed eight runs on only 11 hits in his 21 innings of action.
    • Though he seemingly avoided a more concerning fate, Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo will likely head to the DL to rest his ailing right knee, as Roch Kubatko of was among those to report (Twitter links). Trumbo was diagnosed with a fairly significant case of arthritis, which won’t necessarily put him on the shelf for long but also probably isn’t the best news for a defensively limited player who’s owed $12.5MM this year and $13.5MM next. He has been productive thus far in 2018, though, with a .309/.317/.469 slash through 82 plate appearances. On the other hand, it’s somewhat worrisome that he has managed only a pair of home runs and a single walk in that span.
    • In other AL East news … so long as there are no surprises in the interim, Nate Eovaldi will finally start for the Rays on Tuesday, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Yankees announced that reliever Tommy Kahnle is back from the DL, which represents a promising development given the uncertainty that surrounded him when he went on the shelf. And while the Blue Jays still aren’t planning on a near-term return from Troy Tulowitzki, skipper John Gibbons says the veteran shortstop is at least ready to begin running, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of tweets.
    • While the Padres had hoped to welcome back catcher Austin Hedges in relatively short order, he’s now halting his rehab after his problematic right elbow flared up, as’s AJ Cassavell writes. It still seems there’s little reason to fear that Hedges is dealing with a real structural problem, though surely it’s frustrating for the organization that he hasn’t yet fully turned the corner.
    • Meanwhile, the Angels provided an update on hurler Matt Shoemaker, though it mostly suggests ongoing uncertainty with regard to the root of his arm issues. As the club announced, and’s Maria Guardado tweets, the latest examination “ruled out peripheral nerve involvement” but “showed mild edema in the forearm.” Shoemaker is also said to have undergone a bone scan. The results of that weren’t specifically cited, but it seems to suggest that the organization is looking at quite a lot of possibilities to figure out what’s really causing problems for the starter.
    Ross On Possibility Of Being Traded Fri, 25 May 2018 03:42:03 +0000 Tyson Ross spoke recently with Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune about the likelihood that he’ll be traded by the Padres at some point in the near future. Ross spoke like a pitcher who is anticipating that he’ll be traded, though he notes that his experience with the Padres in 2015 taught him that there are no certainties. That season, Ross was considered to be among the top trade assets in baseball, but the Padres held onto him — a decision GM A.J. Preller likely regrets, given that Ross was injured for the whole 2016 season and ultimately released. “I was one of the bigger names being thrown around as a trade piece,” Ross said of that 2015 campaign. “A.J. held on to me. He didn’t get his return on that. If he wants to make a move at some point, that’s the game. For him, it would be a great investment — buy low, sell high.”

    MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently took a look at Ross and another pair of Padres starters, Clayton Richard and Jordan Lyles, and explored their trade candidacy as the summer approaches. Ross, right now at least, looks like a rare thoracic outlet surgery success story; in 60 1/3 innings he’s notched a 3.13 ERA with 9.6 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.75 HR/9 and a 44.1 percent ground-ball rate.

    Trade Candidates: Padres Starters Wed, 23 May 2018 13:08:58 +0000 While some other youthful National League clubs have shown big strides thus far in 2018, the Padres remain buried in the NL West and don’t seem to be going anywhere this season. The rotation’s performance, to be sure, has not helped matters. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a source of some summer trade assets.

    Late last year, the Friars reached a two-year, $6MM extension with Clayton Richard. In December, they added Jordan Lyles for a meager $1MM guarantee in a deal that also includes an option for 2019. And when the calendar flipped to 2018, they brought back old friend Tyson Ross on an incentive-laden, minor-league pact.

    In the aggregate, the strategy wasn’t all that different from the one the Pads used in the prior winter, when Richard joined Trevor Cahill, Jhoulys Chacin, and Jered Weaver as low-cost free agents that landed in San Diego. In both cases, the idea was to buy up some cheap innings while potentially opening the door to a mid-season trade return.

    To this point, despite the generally poor performance of the San Diego starting staff, the trio of veteran assets has been rather cost-effective. Indeed, all three are worthy of tracking for organizations weighing deadline additions. The fact that none will break the bank is of particular note, especially in a world in which several contenders will be looking to improve while staying beneath the luxury tax line.

    Let’s take a closer look …

    At first glance, Richard does not appear to be doing much of interest. He’s carrying a 4.87 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 through 61 frames thus far. His typically superlative groundball rate is down, albeit to a still-excellent 54.4% rate. And he only managed a 4.79 earned-per-nine rate as a starter in 2017.

    True, it’s probably not worth getting too terribly excited over the 34-year-old southpaw. But there’s much more to the story. Richard is sporting a career-best 10.2% swinging-strike rate. Fielding-independent pitching metrics such as FIP (3.78), xFIP (3.48), and SIERA (3.90) all feel he has outperformed his results thus far in 2018 — and likewise that he did so last season. Though he has been tagged when facing an opposing order for a third time, he has been much more useful in the prior two times through a lineup.

    Taken together, it’s not hard to imagine the right organization viewing Richard as quite a useful asset. He’s averaging six frames per start and thus could fill out a rotation or serve as a long man down the stretch. And he has been particularly stingy against opposing lefties, who are hitting just .226/.298/.308 against him, so there’s also some postseason swingman/lefty specialist potential here. That’s an interesting combination.

    Certainly, scouts will be watching to see how Richard throws as the deadline approaches. The same is true to an even greater extent with regard to Lyles, a 27-year-old who’s off to his most promising showing in some time. Over 37 2/3 innings through 16 appearances — three of them starts — he has compiled a 3.11 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9.

    To be sure, there’s a lot left for Lyles to prove. He has enjoyed a stingy .233 BABIP-against, though Statcast figures indicate he hasn’t needed much luck in the batted-ball department (.260 wOBA against a .286 xwOBA). Clearly, opponents’ success on balls in play will go up, but the lack of good contact suggests that there’s more than just sample fortune at play. Notably, too, Lyles has thus far managed a career-best swinging strike rate (10.9%) and average four-seam velocity (95.2 mph).

    It’s worth bearing in mind that both Richard and Lyles come with affordable future control. While the Padres may yet have designs on making a leap in the standings in 2019, and might look to bolster their rotation further, it’ll be hard to add too many pieces in one winter (even from within). The club will surely value the right to control such useful arms at minimal rates of pay, meaning neither will be available unless the return is at least of some interest.

    That’s not quite the same situation for the 31-year-old Ross, who has been the Padres’ best starter thus far. He’s only under contract for the present season, so barring a Richard-like extension, he’ll be a free agent at year end.

    Since reuniting with the Friars after a miserable season apart, Ross has looked something like his old self. Over 53 2/3 innings, he’s sporting a healthy 3.35 ERA with 9.2 K/9, 3.7 BB/9, and a 46.2% groundball rate. He still doesn’t throw as hard as he used to, but has regained some (but not all) of his ability to generate swings and misses (9.9% this year).

    If the deadline was closer, Ross would probably be the pitcher of the three generating the most attention. But we still have some time for things to shake out. The Statcast data does indicate that Ross has been a bit fortunate to allow only a .273 wOBA to opposing hitters, as the quality of contact would suggest a more robust .324 xwOBA rate of output. He has thus far suppressed home runs quite well, as he did traditionally, but any slippage in that area could also reverse the ERA fairly quickly.

    Taken together, the Padres hardly have a slate of major trade assets in their starting five. But this trio could all draw interest over the summer.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Padres Struck Gold With Kirby Yates Waiver Claim Sun, 20 May 2018 01:20:28 +0000
  • Padres reliever Kirby Yates has emerged as one of the best waiver pickups in recent memory, thanks in part to the development of a splitter, AJ Cassavell of writes. Yates, whom San Diego claimed from the Angels in April 2017, has posted a 3.06 ERA with 13.6 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 70 2/3 innings as a Padre. The club can take some credit for Yates’ breakout, as it has encouraged the 31-year-old to use his splitter – a pitch he has tossed 32 percent of the time this season en route to dominant results, Cassavell details. “The Angels didn’t want me to get away from the slider,” Yates told Cassavell. “I wasn’t necessarily going to get away from the slider, but I was trying to add a third pitch. When I got here, it was, ’We like your split, we want you to throw it more.’
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    Padres Release Chase Headley Sat, 19 May 2018 17:48:31 +0000 May 19th: The Padres have made an official announcement of Headley’s release.

    May 18th: The Padres have released Chase Headley following this past weekend’s DFA, tweets Dennis Lin of The Athletic. The veteran third baseman is now a free agent. San Diego has yet to make a formal announcement, though the move is listed both on the transactions log and on the Padres’ transaction log at their official web site.

    It’s hardly an unexpected outcome for the 34-year-old Headley, who opened the season with a dismal .115/.233/.135 performance through 60 trips to the plate and is earning $13MM in the final season of a four-year, $52MM contract that he initially signed with the Yankees. Any team to claim Headley off waivers would’ve been on the hook for the remaining $9.5MM of that figure. San Diego technically could’ve absorbed a notable chunk of that salary in a trade, but Headley’s performance this season surely didn’t drum up much interest from rival clubs in that regard.

    Headley is now available to any club that wishes to sign him to a minor league contract, and he’ll only be owed the pro-rated portion of the league minimum under a new deal. That sum, subsequently, would be subtracted from the $9.5MM the Padres still owe him, so they could save at least a small portion of that money if he latches on elsewhere.

    It’s unlikely that any team would plug Headley straight into its MLB roster, but he’d make sense for a club in need of some depth at the infield corners in Triple-A. While there seems to be a perception that Headley didn’t provide much of any value to the Yankees in 2017, that’s not really the case. In 586 plate appearances last year, Headley slashed .273/.352/.406 with a dozen homers, 30 doubles and a triple. That’s hardly elite production, but his overall output rated average or slightly better, after adjusting for park and league, per OPS+ (99) and wRC+ (104). Both Fangraphs (1.9) and Baseball-Reference (1.8) felt that he was worth roughly two wins above replacement.

    For the Padres, the trade that brought Headley back to San Diego has provided poor results all around in the early going. The trade, of course, was never about acquiring Headley but rather acquiring right-hander Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees. In taking on the remainder of Headley’s contract, the Padres effectively purchased four years of control over Mitchell for $13MM.

    Mitchell, though, hasn’t panned out whatsoever in San Diego and has already lost his rotation spot. The 27-year-old came to the Padres with a terrific minor league track record and had shown potential at times in the Majors as well, but he’s been rocked for a 6.21 ERA in 37 1/3 innings with his new organization. While early-season ERA numbers can often be misleading, Mitchell’s struggles aren’t merely the product of poor luck, though. He’s issued 29 walks in 37 1/3 frames — a considerably higher total than the meager 18 strikeouts he’s managed. Mitchell has also surrendered six home runs and yielded a 39.4 percent hard-contact rate to opposing batters, as well (30th-highest among 132 MLB pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched).

    Because Mitchell is out of minor league options, the Padres weren’t able to send him to Triple-A to straighten out and were instead forced to move him into the bullpen. He logged a starter’s workload in his lone appearance out of the ’pen thus far, totaling 5 2/3 innings of long relief and allowing three runs — again with more walks (three) than strikeouts (two).

    Certainly, there’s ample time for him to improve his performance and to even make the trade a worthwhile one. The Padres, after all, can afford to be patient with him in a long relief role given their 17-28 start to the season, but he’ll eventually need to display better control, as the Friars will become more serious about contending in 2019 and beyond.

    Padres Place Joey Lucchesi On 10-Day DL Tue, 15 May 2018 16:30:03 +0000 The Padres have placed young lefty Joey Lucchesi on the 10-day DL, per a club announcement. He’ll be replaced by infielder Carlos Asuaje, who had just been optioned down.

    A hip strain is the official diagnosis for Lucchesi, who has been a revelation as a rookie. In his nine starts, he has reeled off 47 1/3 innings of 3.23 ERA ball with 9.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. It is not known how long he’ll miss, but the 24-year-old will surely be handled with care by the Friars.

    There’s no reason at present to believe that Lucchesi is dealing with a significant problem. If anything, early indications are that it’s not a major issue, as’s AJ Cassavell wrote after Lucchesi threw five frames last night.

    Erring on the side of caution is generally good policy with respect to young hurlers, particularly in the midst of a season that is exceedingly unlikely to result in a postseason berth. In this case, too, Lucchesi may be best off with at least some loose limitations on his workload. Last year, he threw 139 frames, adding nearly one hundred frames to his 2016 tally and representing a big step up from his first year as a professional.

    Padres Promote Franmil Reyes Mon, 14 May 2018 21:24:09 +0000 TODAY: The move is now official. Asuaje will be the player who’s sent out. The 26-year-old has struggled to a .198/.263/.292 slash in 118 plate appearances.

    YESTERDAY: The Padres will promote outfielder Franmil Reyes prior to Monday’s game against the Rockies, James E. Clark of the East Village Times reports.  The corresponding move isn’t yet known, though San Diego has an open 40-man spot after Chase Headley was designated for assignment on Saturday.

    Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, the 22-year-old Reyes was something of an unheralded prospect entering the season, as he wasn’t ranked by either Baseball America or as one of the top 30 minor leaguers in the Padres’ system despite solid numbers at the high-A and Double-A levels in 2016-17.  (Granted, the Padres’ farm system is particularly deep in quality prospects.)  In his first exposure to Triple-A pitching, however, Reyes has taken the Pacific Coast League by storm, entering today’s action with an astounding .346/.440/.748 slash line and 14 home runs over 150 plate appearances.

    Reyes hit 16 homers at high-A ball in 2016 and 25 homers at Double-A last season, though his latest power surge is as eye-popping as it gets, even with the caveat that the PCL is a very hitter-friendly league.  Given that the Padres are lacking both home run pop and hitting in general, it makes that the team would ride the hot hand and see what Reyes can provide at the big league level.

    It remains to be seen who will leave the roster to make room for Reyes, though the obvious candidate seems to be Matt Szczur, who has only 47 PA this season and is also a right-handed hitting outfielder.  Szczur is out of options, however, so if the Padres don’t want to expose him to waivers, Carlos Asuaje or perhaps a reliever could be candidates.  San Diego’s outfield situation could be further crowded by the return of Hunter Renfroe, who is working his way back from an elbow injury, though Renfroe has yet to begin a rehab assignment and could receive some extended time the minors anyway to get his own hitting on track.