San Diego Padres – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-06-20T20:45:26Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres To Recall Chris Paddack]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163357 2019-06-20T00:03:51Z 2019-06-20T00:03:12Z Padres ace Chris Paddack, optioned to the minors June 12, will return to start in the majors this Saturday, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

It was an eyebrow-raising decision when the Padres demoted Paddack a week ago, though the move quickly became understandable when it was revealed they did it to give him a breather. The 23-year-old right-hander has already pitched 65 2/3 innings this season, which comes close to the professional-high 90 frames the former Tommy John surgery recipient amassed in the minors in 2018.

One of the game’s elite prospects entering the season, Paddack has lived up to the billing thus far. He owns a 3.15 ERA/3.73 FIP with tremendous strikeout and walk rates (9.87 K/9 and 1.78 BB/9) through the first 12 starts and 65 2/3 innings of his major league career. But Paddack has stumbled somewhat since the outset of May, when his ERA sat at just 1.55, which likely played into the Padres’ decision to send him to the Single-A level on a short-term basis.

Upon Paddack’s return, he’ll rejoin a team which continues to hang around the National League’s playoff race. Winners of four in a row, the Padres are only 2 1/2 games back of the NL’s second wild-card spot at the moment.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Sign Third-Rounder To Record Bonus]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163236 2019-06-19T02:20:59Z 2019-06-19T01:58:58Z The Padres have signed third-round pick Hudson Head, the 84th selection in this year’s draft, to a $3MM bonus, Jim Callis of MLB.com reports. That’s a colossal payday relative to Head’s slot, which came with a value of $721,900, and represents a record bonus for a third-rounder.

Head’s a high school outfielder from Texas who fell short of where the Padres picked him, according to prominent draft pundits. FanGraphs (No. 90), MLB.com (No. 122) and Baseball America (No. 128) all placed the ex-Oklahoma commit below 85th. But Head, 18, has an “advanced feel for hitting” and “could wind up with solid or better tools across the board,” Callis and Jonathan Mayo write.

The Padres entered this year’s draft with the league’s eighth-highest bonus pool, $10,758,900, which gave them room to splurge on Head. The club previously used a large portion of that money on sixth overall pick C.J. Abrams, whom it inked to a below-slot deal worth $5.2MM.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Designate Kazuhisa Makita]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163219 2019-06-19T00:55:53Z 2019-06-18T23:48:09Z The Padres announced that they’ve designated right-handed reliever Kazuhisa Makita for assignment. His roster spot will go to lefty Logan Allen, whom the Padres have officially selected from Triple-A El Paso.

Makita lasted just one day on the Padres’ roster, as they selected him from Double-A Amarillo on Monday. Makita didn’t appear in San Diego’s win over Milwaukee then, but he did log a solid amount of action out of the Padres’ bullpen last year.

After emigrating from Japan on a two-year, $3.8MM contract heading into the 2018 season, the submarining Makita stumbled to a 5.40 ERA/4.85 FIP with a 20.2 percent groundball rate in 35 major league innings last year. Makita did record 9.51 K/9 against 3.09 BB/9 in that span, but the Padres still booted him from their 40-man roster last offseason. The 34-year-old hasn’t been lights-out this season at the Double-A level, where he has posted a 3.82 ERA with 8.6 K/9 and 1.7 BB/9 in 37 2/3 frames.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Select Makita, Recall Mejia; Machado Appeals 1-Game Ban]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163086 2019-06-17T22:47:15Z 2019-06-17T22:24:06Z As part of a series of roster moves, the Padres have selected the contract of right-handed reliever Kazuhisa Makita from Double-A Amarillo. The club recalled catcher Francisco Mejia from Triple-A El Paso, optioned backstop Austin Allen and left-hander Nick Margevicius to El Paso, and transferred outfielder Franchy Cordero to the 60-day injured list in other transactions.

Additionally, Padres third baseman Manny Machado has been issued a one-game suspension “for aggressively arguing and making contact with umpire Bill Welke” in Saturday’s game in Colorado, but he will appeal, Bob Nightengale of USA Today was among those to report.

This is the first big league promotion of the season for the 34-year-old Makita, whom the Padres signed out of Japan to a two-year, $3.8MM guarantee in January 2018. The submarining Makita struggled to a 5.40 ERA/4.85 FIP last season in San Diego, in part because of a microscopic 20.2 percent groundball rate. While Makita did manage 9.51 K/9 against 3.09 BB/9, that wasn’t enough to prevent the Padres from designating him for assignment last November. Makita has since pitched to an unsightly 5.40 ERA with 9.5 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 35 innings divided between the Double-A and Triple-A levels.

The recall of Mejia may be the most interesting move here, as he’s not far removed from a run as one of the majors’ best hitting prospects. Now 24, the Padres acquired Mejia from the Indians last June for relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber. Mejia hasn’t done much in the majors, though, which led the Padres to demote him to El Paso on June 1. But the Padres want more offense from behind the plate – something the light-hitting Allen and Austin Hedges haven’t provided – which explains their decision to bring the gifted Mejia back to the majors.

Machado, the Padres’ highest-profile player, may sit a game stemming from an ejection Saturday. He slammed his helmet to the ground and fired his bat against the backstop amid a heated argument with Welke.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres To Promote Logan Allen]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=163042 2019-06-17T20:57:41Z 2019-06-17T20:08:15Z The Padres will promote highly regarded pitching prospect Logan Allen, according to MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell. The southpaw is expected to make a start tomorrow.

Acquired as part of the 2015 Craig Kimbrel deal, Allen has steadily climbed the prospect charts over the past several seasons. The former eighth-round pick, now 22 years of age, cracked most top-100 charts entering the current campaign.

Allen hasn’t exactly been at his most impressive in 2019, though the offensively robust PCL surely hasn’t helped his stat sheet. Through 57 2/3 innings, he carries a 5.15 ERA with 63 strikeout sand 22 walks.

This continues the Padres’ season-long strategy of rotating up young arms to the MLB roster. That approach hasn’t led to much in the way of stable starting pitching, though it has allowed the team preserve its talent base while trying to compete. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results have been uneven.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Report: Padres Would Need “Overwhelming Offer” To Trade Kirby Yates]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162749 2019-06-15T02:07:56Z 2019-06-15T02:06:07Z The Padres may be readying to listen on most of their position players, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be anxious to move their most appealing pitching assets. Indeed, the San Diego organization would require “an overwhelming offer” in order to part with emergent relief ace Kirby Yates, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell.

It’s hardly surprising to hear this stance emerge at this stage of the proceedings. The Friars are still hanging in the Wild Card picture, for one thing. Even if it has mostly resolved to deal, there’s little reason for the organization to enter a period of negotiation by hanging an OBO on one of its best trade pieces.

The Padres’ leverage here is aided by the fact that Yates isn’t an asset that must be cashed in just yet. He’s earning only $3,062,000 this year and has another season of arb control remaining. Even if the Padres decide to move him, it doesn’t have to happen in the next six weeks.

San Diego GM A.J. Preller has dealt with a situation like this in the past, with interesting results. The Friars held onto Brad Hand at the 2017 deadline, when he was among the top trade candidates, then locked him into a high-value extension. The club ultimately spun Hand off via trade in the ensuing summer. The situation isn’t quite on all fours with this one. Hand was a season further from free agency than Yates will be this winter; the Pads are also closer to dedicated contention than they were at that time. Regardless, the takeaway is that there are options here beyond a summer trade.

Yates has been every bit as impressive as Hand from an on-field perspective. Much like his former teammate, Yates took some time to find his way. But he has not stopped improving since landing in San Diego. The 32-year-old currently owns an absurd 0.96 ERA with 15.4 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9 over 28 innings. Yates has yet to allow a home run this season.

At some point, someone will put the ball over the fence against Yates. Perhaps there’s a bit of regression coming. On the other hand, Statcast actually feels he has been a bit unfortunate to post a .216 wOBA, crediting him with a ridiculous .210 xwOBA based upon the quality (or lack thereof) of contact against him.

With a cheap salary and remaining arb control, Yates would be a monster trade chip for the Padres. It’s hard to imagine that Preller won’t at least see what he can get. And he’ll surely be realistic about the team’s chances of even making a spirited Wild Card run. At the same time, the organization has already proven it’ll push some chips toward the present with major free agent signings and the Opening Day promotion of Fernando Tatis. It’s possible to imagine a number of different plausible outcomes when it comes to Yates and the Padres.

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Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Reportedly Willing To Trade Most Position Players]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162644 2019-06-14T12:13:33Z 2019-06-14T06:36:30Z Padres outfielder Hunter Renfroe has come up in trade rumors this week, and the club is indeed willing to deal the 27-year-old slugger, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. However, Renfroe’s not the only Padre who could end up on the move before the July 31 trade deadline. The team’s willing to give up “virtually” any of its position players except for shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., third baseman Manny Machado and first baseman Eric Hosmer, according to Acee.

The Padres’ goal in dealing from its current position player cast would be to upgrade offensively at two spots – catcher and center field – and add “young arms,” per Acee. Their desire to pick up controllable pitching has long been known, though it’s interesting they want a better offensive backstop.

Major leaguers Austin Hedges and Austin Allen haven’t hit, but Triple-A catcher Francisco Mejia rode his potential at the plate into high rankings on prospect lists not long ago. As recently as last summer, when the Padres acquired Mejia from the Indians for relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber, Keith Law of ESPN regarded Mejia as one of the game’s top five farmhands. While Mejia has struggled mightily in the majors since then, he’s still just 23 and has tallied a mere 134 plate appearances in the bigs. It’s unclear from Acee’s report whether the Padres would be open to parting with Mejia, who has raked since they optioned him to the minors last month, or if they just don’t think he’s ready to make an offensive impact at the game’s highest level yet.

The 26-year-old Hedges has made an MLB impact, meanwhile, but almost solely behind the plate. Hedges rates as an elite defender, and though he was a respectable offensive player just last season, he otherwise hasn’t hit much since his 2015 debut.

Likewise, center fielder Manuel Margot has seldom hit since the Padres first promoted him in 2015. There has been talk of San Diego demoting him to the minors to help alleviate its outfield logjam. But as a 24-year-old speedster who has excelled in the field and won’t reach arbitration until the offseason, he’d likely draw interest on the trade market.

Perhaps aside from Renfroe, right fielder Franmil Reyes stands out as the Padres’ most valuable trade chip among position players. They offer similar offensive skill sets, and Renfroe’s a much better defender, though Reyes is three-plus years younger. Set to turn 24 in July, Reyes has slashed .263/.320/.520 (123 wRC+) with 35 home runs in 516 PA since he first came up last season. Further increasing Reyes’ appeal, he’s earning a minimal salary and isn’t scheduled to reach arbitration until after the 2021 season.

If the Padres keep Renfroe and Reyes, perhaps they’d consider trading fellow corner outfielder Josh Naylor. The 21-year-old Naylor hasn’t gotten off to a strong start since the Padres promoted him May 24, but he’s a top 100 prospect or close to it. Franchy Cordero, yet another of their young corner outfielders, seems likely to stay put when considering his recent injury issues. Cordero, 24, has missed most of the past season-plus with right elbow issues, and he suffered a mild quad injury while rehabbing this week.

As for the rest of San Diego’s roster, outfielder Wil Myers and second baseman Ian Kinsler jump to the fore as players the team would probably like to move. The trade value is minimal in both cases, though.

Myers, 28, hasn’t lived up to the six-year, $83MM contract the Padres gave him in January 2017. They backloaded the deal, meaning he’s owed almost $63MM through 2022 (including a $1MM buyout in ’23). Although Myers was a 30-home run hitter as recently as 2017, he’s still just a .242/.324/.450 batter (106 wRC+) dating back to then.

Kinsler, 36, joined the Padres on a two-year, $8MM contract in the offseason. While Kinsler has long been a quality major leaguer, the Padres haven’t gotten much return on their investment so far. Kinsler has hit .204/.264/.387 (72 wRC+) with minus-0.3 fWAR in 201 PA., though he has fared much better following an ice-cold April (.262/.309/.505 since May 1). Regardless of whether the Padres find a taker for Kinsler, it seems like only a matter of time before he loses his starting spot to standout prospect Luis Urias.

After a surprisingly competitive start to the season, San Diego has begun fading from the National League playoff race. Losers of five straight, the Padres sit 33-36 and 5 1/2 games out of wild-card position. However, with the talent already on hand and the high-potential players baking in the minors, the club may not be far away from contending on an annual basis. It seems general manager A.J. Preller will operate aggressively over the next month-plus in an effort to better position his roster to accomplish that. With that in mind, the Padres should be a compelling team to watch leading up to the deadline.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Option Chris Paddack]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162379 2019-06-12T22:46:32Z 2019-06-12T22:46:32Z In a move that’ll come as a surprise to many, the Padres announced that they have optioned right-hander Chris Paddack to Class-A Lake Elsinore. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale first reported the move (via Twitter), noting that the Friars are looking for ways to manage Paddack’s workload after he threw just 90 innings in 2018 — his first season back from Tommy John surgery.

Dennis Lin of The Athletic tweets that Paddack isn’t expected to be in the minors long. Assuming he’s back up in fewer than 20 days, the move won’t impact Paddack’s timeline to free agency, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune points out (Twitter links). Acee adds that Paddack is going down merely to rest and is expected to return in 10 days or so (the minimum required length of an optional assignment, barring recall in the event of an injury).

While workload surely was surely the driving force in the decision, Paddack has also fallen into somewhat of a slump after his brilliant start to his rookie campaign. In the past month, the 23-year-old has pitched to a 5.76 ERA with 30 hits and eight home runs allowed in 25 innings. He’s still sporting a stellar 26-to-3 K/BB ratio in that time, but the long ball has been problematic of late.

Paddack’s 65 2/3 innings are already within striking distance of last year’s total, so the brief trip to the minors will give him some downtime without forcing the Padres to carry a pitcher they’re trying to deploy minimally for a week or two. Right-hander Robert Stock is up from Triple-A to take his spot on the active roster and will give the Padres a fresh arm in the bullpen. He’s pitched to a 2.79 ERA in 19 1/3 Triple-A innings and collected 27 strikeouts in that time — albeit against 15 walks and three hit batters.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Hunter Renfroe Drawing Trade Interest]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162168 2019-06-11T17:41:36Z 2019-06-11T17:41:36Z As explored at MLBTR last week, the Padres have a well-known surplus of outfield options, and the mix could soon become even more crowded with Franchy Cordero (and, eventually, Travis Jankowski) on the mend. The Friars moved Alex Dickerson in a trade with the Giants this week, shedding one outfielder from their 40-man roster, but Dickerson hasn’t factored prominently into the crowded outfield picture anyhow. His departure does little to thin the field.

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported this morning (subscription required) that a  more prominent player, Hunter Renfroe, has been “quite popular” with other clubs as the Padres and other teams begin to explore trade possibilities now that the draft is in the rear-view mirror.

Renfroe was an oft-speculated offseason trade candidate, as the outfield crunch facing the Padres isn’t exactly a new development. But the Padres held onto all of their outfielders this winter, as they were seemingly unable to find an offer to their liking. In the case of Renfroe, that should prove to have been a smart play given that the 27-year-old has elevated his stock through the first two-plus months of the 2019 campaign. Through his first 196 plate appearances, Renfroe is hitting .243/.296/.602 with 18 home runs, nine doubles and a triple.

The on-base issues that plagued Renfroe in prior seasons are still present; his 7.1 percent walk rate is a near-mirror image of last year’s 6.8 percent, and he’s actually seen his strikeout rate rise from 24.7 percent to 27 percent. Renfroe’s average exit velocity has increased, though, and he’s shown more power than ever before. It’s extraordinarily unlikely that he’ll sustain his current 32.1 percent homer-to-flyball ratio — that’s only been done three times in the past decade — but an increase from last year’s 20.1 percent rate seems quite reasonable.

Beyond that, Renfroe’s glovework has improved by virtually any metric available. He’s already topped last year’s total of five Defensive Runs Saved in fewer than half as many innings. Ultimate Zone Rating has never pegged him as a positive defender, but he’s at +4.2 in 2019. Statcast’s Outs Above Average (+2) gives him a positive grade for the first time in his career as well.

In Renfroe, teams likely see a flawed but talented slugger whose power and defensive skills may be on the rise. He’s controlled for another four seasons beyond the 2019 campaign, although he’ll be arbitration-eligible in each of those years by virtue of Super Two status. Renfroe looks likely to head into arbitration on the heels of a 30-homer season and with upwards of 90 career long balls in the bank, so the arbitration process will treat him nicely. But even though he’ll be well-compensated over the long haul, he’s still a couple of productive years from securing a truly significant salary.

That considerable amount of club control remaining will give the Padres some pause when it comes to trading Renfroe, but they’ve also been linked to controllable starting pitchers for quite some time now. Renfroe is the type of piece who could help them to acquire such an asset. Corner outfielders are easier to come by than quality starters, so to acquire multiple seasons of such an arm, the Padres may need to include some other parts. As noted in last week’s look at their logjam, the Padres aren’t short on internal replacement options for Renfroe, and several teams with starters for sale are notably thin in the outfield. The Tigers (Matthew Boyd), Blue Jays (Marcus Stroman), Indians (Trevor Bauer, if they move him) all face some uncertainty in the outfield.

The mere fact that Renfroe is drawing interest doesn’t mean he’s any kind of lock to be moved. The Padres could move a different outfielder or, as they showed this offseason, forgo any sort of move and find a creative means of keeping all their current assets through the end of the season. Other injuries around the roster could always arise and lessen any urgency to make a decision this summer. Renfroe is an increasingly attractive trade piece, though, and his name figures to be mentioned frequently over the next seven weeks as the deadline draws nearer.

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Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Giants Acquire Alex Dickerson]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162064 2019-06-10T20:22:03Z 2019-06-10T19:18:18Z The Giants and Padres have announced a swap that will send outfielder Alex Dickerson to San Francisco. Righty Franklin Van Gurp goes to San Diego in return.

Dickerson, 29, was designated for assignment recently by the Friars. He’ll find a match with a Giants organization that has been on the hunt for interesting opportunities in the outfield all season long.

Though the Friars long tried to give Dickerson an extended look, his body didn’t hold up long enough for extended action. He turned in a solid offensive showing in his first full MLB action back in 2016, only to miss all of 2017 and 2018 owing to back issues and Tommy John surgery.

Dickerson returned this year to a tough roster situation in San Diego. The club has several younger players who deserve looks of their own at the game’s highest level.

Though Dickerson didn’t run with what limited opportunity he did have in the majors — just three singles to go with seven strikeouts in 19 MLB plate appearances this year — he has once again showed an interesting bat at Triple-A. In 113 plate appearances, Dickerson is batting .372/.469/.606 with an 18:14 K/BB ratio and five home runs.

As for Van Gurp, he’s a 2017 25th-rounder who just received a promotion to the Double-A level. The 23-year-old has battled walk issues at times but has performed well in that area this year. Through 33 2/3 innings — five at Double-A and the bulk at Class A — Van Gurp owns a 4.54 ERA with 13.1 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9.

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Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Sign Josh Mears]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=162043 2019-06-10T16:54:10Z 2019-06-10T16:54:10Z
  • The Padres signed second-round pick Josh Mears for a $1MM bonus, reports Jim Callis of MLB.com (via Twitter). That checks in about $543K below slot, giving the Friars some additional flexibility in negotiations with their other picks. Callis further suggests that the additional funds could help to sign third-rounder Hudson Head, who “won’t come cheap.” Mears, an 18-year-old corner outfielder, ranked as the draft’s No. 68 prospect according to Law. He was 93rd on BA’s Top 500 and 118th at MLB.com. He’s rapidly elevated his stock over the past year and had been committed to Purdue but will instead begin his pro career. The Washington native draws praise for above-average right-handed power and bat speed. Law calls his power “explosive.”
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA["Outside Chance" Padres Can Sign Heralded 23rd-Round Pick]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161993 2019-06-10T04:03:24Z 2019-06-10T04:03:24Z
  • In the words of one Padres official, there is still an “outside chance” that the club could ink 23rd-round draft pick Maurice Hampton, Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes, despite Hampton’s commitment to play both baseball and football at LSU.  Hampton reportedly wanted a $2.75MM bonus to begin his pro baseball career, and while the team believes this asking price may have dropped, it still represented a hefty enough demand that Hampton fell to the 23rd round despite a consensus top-50 prospect ranking in the eyes of draft evaluators.  Since Hampton was taken beyond the top ten rounds, any contract he signs worth more than $100K would see that excess money subtracted from San Diego’s $10,758,900 draft pool, leaving the Padres with less money to sign their other picks.  However, the team has been trying to create extra financial space within their pool — the Padres took four college seniors (who have less negotiating leverage) with their picks in the seventh thru tenth rounds, and saved almost $543K when sixth overall pick CJ Abrams agreed to a below-slot bonus.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Place Adam Warren On IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161858 2019-06-09T02:58:42Z 2019-06-09T00:27:41Z
  • The Padres announced that they’ve placed reliever Adam Warren on the 10-day IL with a right forearm strain. The team recalled righty Gerardo Reyes in a corresponding move. The injury adds to what has been a trying season for Warren, a 31-year-old free-agent signing who has registered a 5.34 ERA/6.84 FIP with 7.85 K/9, 3.77 BB/9 and 2.83 HR/9 in 28 2/3 innings.
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    Ty Bradley <![CDATA[Padres Agree To Terms With First-Rounder C.J. Abrams On Below-Slot Deal]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161815 2019-06-08T18:29:48Z 2019-06-08T18:30:08Z 1:27 PM: Abrams’ bonus will be $5.2MM, per Jim Callis of MLB.com, over $500K fewer than the $5.74MM slot value for the selection.

    1:02 PM: The Padres have agreed to terms with their first-round (sixth overall) selection C.J. Abrams, per a team report.

    Abrams, a 6’2 shortstop from Roswell, GA, is said to have top-of-the-scale speed and a legitimate chance to stick at the position as he progresses through the minors. MLB.com reports the lefty swinger “controls the bat very well” and could settle in between the 10-15 homer mark annually. Abrams was a fixture on top-10 draft boards all spring, with many outlets ranking him anywhere between the second and sixth best prospect in the ’19 draft.

    With the selection, the Padres add to their embarrassment of blue-chip riches on the farm. Even with the graduations of Fernando Tatis Jr., Chris Paddack, and perhaps Josh Naylor and Francisco Mejia (should they accrue the necessary number of at-bats) the club still boasts, depending on the source, anywhere between five to eight top-100 prospects, with a glut of high-upside talents of all kinds in the wake.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[The Padres Have Yet To Resolve Their Outfield Crunch]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=161652 2019-06-07T15:36:47Z 2019-06-07T15:36:47Z It’s been rumored for months that the Padres would eventually have to make some form of outfield move. The team has more outfield options than playing time available, and that’s only become truer as the season has worn on. Currently, the Padres are “discussing what it would look like” to keep rookie slugger Josh Naylor on the roster even after Franchy Cordero returns from the injured list, per Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union Tribune. Doing so could potentially mean optioning the struggling Manuel Margot to Triple-A El Paso, where he could receive everyday at-bats and work on his approach at the plate.

    Long considered to be among the game’s top prospects, Margot is hitting just .241/.283/.321 on the season, although Naylor hasn’t demonstrated much in the way of on-base skills in his brief audition so far. The former first-round pick has two homers and two doubles in 37 plate appearances but has yet to draw a walk. He’s also punched out a dozen times (32.4 percent) en route to a .243/.243/.459 overall batting line.

    Still, it seems the club is at least pondering whether an alignment consisting of Cordero, Naylor, Wil Myers, Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe is worth trying out. Defensively, there’s no true center field option, but any of the bunch could reasonably be expected to be more productive at the plate than Margot. Selling low on Margot surely isn’t something they’d prefer to do, but if the club is comfortable with Cordero or Myers in center, at least on a short-term basis, perhaps they’d more seriously explore the possibility.

    As The Athletic’s Dennis Lin recently suggested (subscription required), San Diego would also be wise to explore the market for Renfroe given that his skill set is somewhat similar to that of Reyes, but he’s four years older. Renfroe was a frequently mentioned trade candidate in the winter and is out to a .250/.304/.619 start with 18 homers in 191 plate appearances. Margot is controlled through 2022 — Renfroe through 2023. Neither seems like a viable centerpiece for a premium trade acquisition, but both would hold some appeal to teams in search of controllable outfield depth.

    Lin suggests that the Padres will be active both in looking to add long-term pieces — perhaps by condensing some of that outfield surplus and the team’s considerable prospect capital — while also being open-minded to moving current contributors. General manager A.J. Preller acknowledged that with the draft now in the past, trade talk becomes “a lot of the conversation for us,” which is generally true throughout the league.

    Beyond Renfroe and Margot, the Padres would surely be open to shedding some of Wil Myers’ remaining contract, but the enormous financial commitment to him makes any trade difficult to piece together. Myers’ six-year, $83MM contract is extremely backloaded, such that he’ll earn $20MM in each of the 2020-22 seasons (plus a $1MM buyout on a 2023 club option). He’s hitting .232/.330/.442 with 11 homers, seven doubles and seven stolen bases through 218 plate appearances, but he’s also striking out in a career-worst 36.2 percent of his trips to the plate. He’s a capable enough corner outfielder but is overmatched in center, and his strikeout trouble will always hinder his on-base skills. It’s tough to imagine a trade involving Myers without the Padres taking back a similarly onerous contract or eating a substantial portion of salary.

    It’s possible, then, that if the Friars do make a move, they’ll be sending away someone with significant team control remaining. Beyond the aforementioned Margot and Renfroe, Cordero is controlled through 2023, Reyes through 2024 and Naylor through 2025. The Padres are known to be on the lookout for starting pitchers they can control beyond the 2019 season, and parting with a pre-arbitration outfielder who has upwards of a half-decade of club control remaining would help them in that regard.

    If the Friars are to explore possible trades for names like Marcus Stroman, Trevor Bauer or Matthew Boyd (to name a few), including a controllable outfielder as a piece of the puzzle would allow them to free up immediate playing time while also addressing the pitching staff both now and in the future. It’s worth nothing that each of the Blue Jays, Indians and the Tigers in particular have faced questions about their outfield production this season. Elsewhere in the league, the Phillies lost Andrew McCutchen for the remainder of the season due to an ACL tear just days after Odubel Herrera’s future became cloudy, at best, due to assault allegations. There are ample trade opportunities to explore, and more figure to emerge as the deadline draws nearer, but Naylor’s arrival and Cordero’s looming return make San Diego’s outfield feel more crowded than ever.

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