San Diego Padres – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-03-16T03:59:38Z Steve Adams <![CDATA[Cimber Forcing His Way Into Padres' Bullpen Mix]]> 2018-03-15T14:25:31Z 2018-03-15T14:21:47Z
  • Padres skipper Andy Green tells the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Kevin Acee that right-hander Adam Cimber has pitched his way into consideration for a spot in the team’s Opening Day bullpen. Cimber, 27, spent Spring Training 2017 in minor league camp and by Green’s own admission wasn’t near the top of the team’s list headed into big league camp this year. A sidearming righty, Cimber has hurled six shutout innings with two hits, no walks and five strikeouts. Recently, he’s been facing high-profile hitters such as Edwin Encarnacion, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras and still finding success, Acee notes. The opportunity before him isn’t lost on the former ninth-rounder, who signed for a $5K bonus in 2013. Cimber discusses the opportunity to finally earn a big league salary playing the game he loves, as well as some of the ups and downs that come with being a minor league relief prospect.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Asuaje, Spangenberg Creating Tough Decision For Padres]]> 2018-03-14T04:03:03Z 2018-03-14T02:14:16Z
  • Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune highlights the ongoing competition for the Padres’ starting second base job, which is currently down to Carlos Asuaje and Cory Spangenberg. Both have been impressive this spring, OPSing north of .900 in their small samples of work, but as Acee notes, there may only be room for one of them to make the roster. (Both have two minor league options remaining.) However, he does note that manager Andy Green’s tone on the matter has changed somewhat. After once characterizing the competition as an either-or scenario, Green took a softer stance Tuesday. “We’re not set in stone how we’re going to put the roster together all the way across,” said Green. “It’s going to be tough the way we’re currently constructed to carry both of them, but it’s not an impossibility.” The winner of the competition won’t have any time to get comfortable, though; as Acee notes, prospect Luis Urias is also looming and could debut early in the 2018 campaign as well.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Reaction To The Phillies/Jake Arrieta Agreement]]> 2018-03-12T04:26:39Z 2018-03-12T04:23:39Z One of the offseason’s major free agents finally came off the board today, as Jake Arrieta agreed to a three-year, $75MM contract with the Phillies that will become official once the right-hander passes a physical.  Here is some of the early reaction to the deal…

    • “For the Phillies, this was as close to a no-brainer as $25 million per season gets,” David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes.  Murphy argues that the Phillies were simply in such dire need for starting pitching that a quality arm like Arrieta was too good to pass up, even at a significant price for a still-rebuilding team.  Though Arrieta’s performance dipped in 2017, Murphy notes that even Arrieta’s down year still more or less equaled Aaron Nola’s numbers, so “in essence, the Phillies will have added another Nola even if Arrieta’s 2017 is his new normal.”  Even if Arrieta declines further, the three-year length of the deal means that he won’t be much of a long-term burden on the Phils’ spending abilities.
    • The threat of such a decline, however, makes this signing “a strange one” for the Phillies, in the opinion of’s Keith Law (subscription required).  Arrieta’s peripherals and velocity were both down in 2017, and Law wonders if “this is a Tim Lincecum situation where there’s no actual injury but he’s just wearing down after a great peak.”  Even if Arrieta stabilizes his performance or regains some of his old form, Law questions the wisdom of a contract that will likely deliver most of its value before the Phillies are truly ready to contend.
    • “The Padres had more than passing interest in Jake Arrieta”, Dennis Lin of the Athletic tweets, but the $25MM average annual value of Arrieta’s contract was too high for San Diego’s liking.  The club was known to have been at least considering the idea of going after the right-hander, who could’ve joined Eric Hosmer as the second major Scott Boras client to (surprisingly) sign with the Padres this winter.  Lin feels the Padres are likely to stick with their current rotation mix rather than add another starting pitcher, though “there are fans of Alex Cobb in the organization.”
    • The Nationals had been mentioned as a speculative landing spot for Arrieta for much of the offseason, due to both the Nats’ possible need for another starter and Boras’ well-documented relationship with the Lerner family.  As Mark Zuckerman of notes, however, “Nats folks insisted from the beginning Boras was trying to make them more interested in Arrieta than they were.”  Even if Washington was more likely to engage in Arrieta’s market if the price dropped, it seemingly never got low enough for the Nationals to make a strong bid.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres Made Run At Yelich Before Brewers Trade]]> 2018-03-10T21:13:18Z 2018-03-10T05:41:31Z
  • In other news that’s largely of historical interest, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag provided some notes on the Padres’ offseason efforts. The team was able to land Eric Hosmer after Kansas City was unable to earn ownership authorization for its initially reported, seven-year offer, Heyman reports. That seemingly helps explain why subsequent reports indicated that K.C. never went that high in the bidding. San Diego also “made a big play” for outfielder Christian Yelich before he was shipped from the Marlins to the Brewers, Heyman notes in his leaguewide rundown of information. Notably, the Pads effectively ended up adding an outfielder when they inked Hosmer, thus pushing Wil Myers back onto the grass.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Could The Padres Add A Starter?]]> 2018-03-08T19:39:15Z 2018-03-08T19:39:15Z
  • The Padres have had “internal discussions” about Jake Arrieta, writes FanRag’s Jon Heyman, though he notes that it’s not clear if the team has any interest in actually making an offer. Realistically, there are likely many clubs that aren’t obvious suitors for Arrieta and the remaining top-level free agents that have at least internally kicked around the idea of delving back into the open market with prices bottoming out in recent weeks. Arrieta “has the fortitude to wait things out,” per the report, however. Heyman notes that Padres sources have indicated they’re at least keeping tabs on market prices for several players, which, again, probably holds true for a number of clubs.
  • Meanwhile, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune spoke to two agents who represent two of the remaining starters on the market within the past week and was told that the Padres are “looking for pitching.” However, Padres officials emphasized to him that they’re not actively pursuing arms from outside the organization and are focused on the in-house options they have — both at the big league level and looming in one of the game’s best farm systems.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Alex Dickerson Reportedly Weighing Tommy John Surgery]]> 2018-03-08T19:23:00Z 2018-03-08T16:08:06Z
  • Padres outfielder Alex Dickerson, who was diagnosed with a sprained UCL recently, could be looking at Tommy John surgery to repair his throwing elbow, tweets Dennis Lin of The Athletic. Dickerson, who missed all of the 2017 season due to back surgery, is still considering a non-surgical rehab program as well, however.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Alex Dickerson Diagnosed With UCL Sprain]]> 2018-03-08T03:48:25Z 2018-03-08T03:48:25Z Padres outfielder Alex Dickerson has been diagnosed with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his left (throwing) elbow, and surgery is a possibility, writes’s AJ Cassavell. It’s a tough break for the 27-year-old Dickerson, who missed all of the 2017 season following back surgery but showed some promise at the plate in his rookie campaign in 2016. That year, Dickerson slashed .257/.333/.455 with 10 homers in 285 plate appearances while walking at a 9.1 percent clip and fanning in just 15.4 percent of his plate appearances. Per Cassavell, the club is “hopeful” that Dickerson won’t require Tommy John surgery, but even if he doesn’t require surgery, he’s likely to miss at least the first month of the season.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Colin Rea Suffers Setback]]> 2018-03-04T00:26:34Z 2018-03-04T00:25:06Z
  • The Padres have temporarily halted right-hander Colin Rea’s throwing program after he experienced soreness in his pitching shoulder Friday, AJ Cassavell of reports. Rea, who’s working back from 2016 Tommy John surgery, is now unlikely to be ready for the start of the year, Cassavell suggests. Consequently, it appears he’s out of the running for a spot in the Padres’ season-opening rotation, though Cassavell notes that they still have seven other candidates for their starting five.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[NL West Notes: Samardzija, Padres, Rockies]]> 2018-03-03T07:28:45Z 2018-03-03T07:28:45Z Giants righty Jeff Samardzija held an interesting chat with’s Jon Morosi. In large part, it’s a lengthy discussion of Samardzija’s multi-sport background and decision to pursue baseball professionally — which, he says, was driven more by interest than any considerations of the health implications of playing in the NFL. The San Francisco hurler likens the game of baseball to a “big painting you put together” and hints he could still have some masterpieces in his brush. He also suggests he’s not yet thinking about the end: “Where’s the end of the wick? Who knows? Let’s find out. That’s the fun of it all.”

    More from the NL West:

    • As the Padres consider roster options, the club is looking to squeeze some added utility out of certain players. Infielder Christian Villanueva, in particular, will be tried out as a backup option at short, per’s AJ Cassavell (via Twitter). The 26-year-old, who’s out of options, has played all of 14 innings at short as a professional. But after he posted a .296/.369/.528 slash at Triple-A last year, the Pads seem to be looking for ways to hang onto Villanueva.
    • In other Padres news, the organization is seeing promising signs from injured hurlers Robbie Erlin and Colin Rea, per Cassavell. The Tommy John recoverees are certainly interesting players to watch this spring, as both have shown their talent at times in the past. Erlin, it’s worth noting, is well ahead of Rea in the rehab process, though both are well over a year removed from their procedures. Both are part of a long list of pitching possibilities in Padres camp, as reflected in the current organizational depth chart over at Roster Resource.
    • It seems one area of focus this spring for the Rockies is finding a way to swipe a few more bags. As Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports, the club is particularly interested to see whether the fleet-footed Raimel Tapia can learn to translate his speed into stolen bases. Just as interesting as the efforts on the bases, it seems there’s at least some hope that Tapia could hold down a spot at the top of the lineup. That seems a bit of a questionable fit, as the young outfielder doesn’t walk much and is therefore quite reliant upon maintaining a lofty batting average on balls in play to get on base. While lineup construction is hardly the most consequential issue facing the Rox, it seems worth noting that second baseman DJ LeMahieu has led the club in OBP in each of the past two seasons and would seem to be a sensible fit in the leadoff spot.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 3/1/18]]> 2018-03-01T18:08:50Z 2018-03-01T18:07:40Z Here are Thursday’s minor moves from around the game…

    • The Padres have added veteran outfielder Cole Gillespie on a minor league contract, tweets SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. San Diego already has a fairly notable outfield crunch, though Gillespie is surely viewed as little more than a minor league depth option at this juncture. The 33-year-old didn’t play in affiliated ball last season, splitting the year between the Mexican League and the independent Atlantic League and batting a combined .283/.353/.384. Gillespie logged 212 plate appearances for the 2015-16 Marlins and hit .276/.318/.413 in that time — his most recent MLB action. He’s spent parts of six seasons in the Majors, where he’s batted .251/.305/.367, and he’s a career .289/.381/.459 hitter in parts of eight Triple-A campaigns.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Green On Padres' Outfield Logjam]]> 2018-03-01T04:43:41Z 2018-03-01T04:43:41Z
  • The Dodgers and Padres are both facing crowded outfield mixes, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick notes in a team-by-team look at the Cactus League. The Dodgers made “every attempt” to trade Matt Kemp after reacquiring him in a salary-motivated trade back in December but were unable to find a taker. He’s now competing with Joc Pederson and Andrew Toles for at-bats in left field, with prospect Alex Verdugo looming as well. The Padres, meanwhile, have Manuel Margot and Wil Myers holding down a pair of outfield spots, leaving a huge group of Hunter Renfroe, Jose Pirela, Alex Dickerson, Travis Jankowski and Franchy Cordero vying for playing time. Skipper Andy Green tells Crasnick there’s a “cutthroat competition” for playing time but also noted that the deep mix of outfielders creates the ability to platoon and play matchups more effectively.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Padres Notes: Young, Mitchell]]> 2018-02-26T01:42:52Z 2018-02-26T01:42:52Z The late Kevin Towers was memorialized at a “Celebration Of Life” ceremony today at Petco Park, with scores of Towers’ friends and colleagues from around baseball in attendance.  The Associated Press’ Jay Paris and the Padres’ Bill Center each have details on some of the memorials from the 22 speakers who shared their experiences and fond memories of Towers, whose 35 years in baseball included stints as the general manager of the Padres and the Diamondbacks.  “He was one of the guys that always brought all the GMs together,” said former Reds and Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty.  “Kevin loved life and lived it to the fullest.  He suffered a lot in the last two years but he always stayed positive and fought a brave fight.  There will never be another KT.”

    • Also from Laurila’s piece, he hears from right-hander Chris Young that multiple teams contacted the veteran about potential front office positions this winter.  The 38-year-old isn’t quite ready to retire, and in fact hopes to play two more seasons, though he is realistic that his on-field future could be decided within the next few weeks.  “This spring is going to determine that.  I’m either going to show that I’m back to being myself, or that my stuff isn’t playing.  If my stuff isn’t there and I can’t get outs, the time will have come to move on from the playing side,” Young said.  The Padres signed Young to a minor league deal this winter to see if he can rebound from a very rough pair of seasons; Young posted a 6.52 ERA over 118 2/3 innings with the Royals in 2016-17, allowing a whopping 35 home runs in that stretch.
    • After three years of shuttling between Triple-A and the Yankees’ big league roster, Bryan Mitchell is relieved to finally have a stable place in the Padres’ rotation, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes.  “It’s awesome….To know that now, I can set all my focus on Opening Day and working toward that.  I don’t have to put pressure on myself or worry about that,” Mitchell said.  “It’s just less stress, to be honest — to know that’s how they [the Padres] feel and I have that waiting on me.  I can just set my goals on that first start and have everything ready versus have everything ready and not knowing.  It eliminates the unknown factor.”  The Padres felt strongly enough about Mitchell’s potential that they were willing to take on the $13MM remaining on Chase Headley’s contract in order to acquire the right-hander from New York.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Preller, Green On Addition Of Hosmer]]> 2018-02-22T05:47:00Z 2018-02-22T05:47:00Z Padres GM A.J. Preller said at yesterday’s press conference to introduce Eric Hosmer that Hosmer’s openness to new data was a key component in signing him (link via Dennis Lin of The Athletic). “[H]e’s a guy with an inquisitive mind,” said Preller. “Those are things that, when we sat down with him, were important to us.” Many have suggested that Hosmer, one of the league leaders in ground-ball rate, could more consistently tap into his power and become a more reliable offensive weapon were he to adopt a more fly-ball-oriented approach.

    Regarding the divide between Hosmer’s four Gold Glove Awards and his poor ratings from Defensive Runs Saved and Ultimate Zone Rating, manager Andy Green noted that those metrics don’t account for Hosmer’s ability to pick low throws, nor do they account for “organizational philosophy on (defensive) positioning.” Lin also spoke to Padres lefty Matt Strahm, who teamed with Hosmer in Kansas City before being traded to San Diego last summer. Strahm referred to Hosmer as “Superman” and noted that Hosmer “literally can pull all 25 guys in a clubhouse together, and I’ve never seen that.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres To Designate Rocky Gale]]> 2018-02-20T17:48:34Z 2018-02-20T17:14:38Z The Padres will designate catcher Rocky Gale for assignment, according to Dennis Lin of The Athletic (Twitter link). That’ll open a 40-man spot to accommodate the signing of Eric Hosmer.

    Gale, who is just days from his thirtieth birthday, has seen limited MLB time in parts of two seasons. He spent the bulk of 2017 playing at Triple-A, where he slashed .278/.328/.365 over 377 plate appearances.

    Despite his lack of opportunities in the majors, Gale certainly has ample experience in the upper minors. He first reached Triple-A way back in 2011 and has seen at least some action at the highest level of the minors in every ensuing season.

    San Diego could still included Gale in its camp competition for the reserve catching role if he ultimately clears waivers. For now, though, veteran A.J. Ellis is likely in the lead for the job as the backup to starter Austin Hedges. The only catcher currently on the 40-man is Luis Torrens, who was kept on the active roster last year as a Rule 5 pick. Minor-league signee Rafael Lopez is also in camp along with non-roster invitees Stephen McGee and Austin Allen (neither of whom has yet appeared in the majors).

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Padres Sign Eric Hosmer]]> 2018-02-20T03:31:30Z 2018-02-20T03:30:05Z MONDAY: The deal is official, with the Padres announcing the signing of Hosmer as well as the key terms.

    SATURDAY: The Padres have agreed to sign first baseman Eric Hosmer, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.  The contract is an eight-year deal that includes an opt-out clause after the fifth season, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (via Twitter).  The deal contains a full no-trade clause for the first three seasons and then limited no-trade protection afterwards, Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller reports (Twitter links).  Hosmer will be paid $20MM in each of the first five seasons and $13MM in the three remaining years, plus a $5MM signing bonus.  The $144MM total figure represents the largest contract in the history of the Padres franchise.  Hosmer is represented by the Boras Corporation.

    Eric HosmerThe agreement concludes a rather unusual trip through the open market for Hosmer, and he winds up on a team that nobody could’ve predicted as a potential suitor last fall.  With a rebuild underway and Wil Myers safely locked in at first base, the Padres didn’t at all appear to fit as a landing spot for Hosmer’s services.  Instead, San Diego rather quickly emerged as an interested party in Hosmer, as the team felt that his young age (he turned 28 last October) indicated that he could still be a productive cornerstone player when the Padres were again ready to contend.  With Hosmer now signed, in fact, it’s possible that the Friars could push that contention timeline forward by at least one season.

    [Updated Padres depth chart at Roster Resource]

    Hosmer is the second major free agent first baseman to join a surprise team this winter, after Carlos Santana’s deal with the Phillies.  Both signings represent aggressive moves by rebuilding clubs, and while Philadelphia has been widely expected to kickstart their ride back into contention with a big splurge in the 2018-19 free agent market, the Padres were seen to be at least a couple of years away since most of the top names in their well-regarded farm system were still in the lower minors.  General manager A.J. Preller is no stranger to aggressive moves, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he tried to deal some of those young blue-chippers for players that could help the Padres as soon as 2019.

    The lackluster San Diego lineup has now added three notable veteran upgrades this offseason, though obviously Hosmer is a long-term asset in a way that Chase Headley and Freddy Galvis (potential trade chips and both signed through only 2018) are not.  Myers will shift into a corner outfield spot, leaving Jose Pirela, Hunter Renfroe, Alex Dickerson, Cory Spangenberg, and Matt Szczur all battling for regular at-bats in the other corner position or in bench roles.  The Padres could also look to deal from this surplus to add pitching depth in the rotation or bullpen.

    Hosmer entered free agency on the heels of a career year that saw him hit .318/.385/.498 (all career bests) with 25 homers and 98 runs scored over 671 plate appearances with the Royals last season, and he was also one of five players who appeared in all 162 of his team’s games in 2017.  As good as he was, however, Hosmer is still looking to string together consecutive quality seasons as a big leaguer — he has alternated between strong years and replacement-level performances in each of the last six seasons.  Hosmer’s grounder-heavy offensive attack seems to leave him prone to a wide variance in production, as he has been pretty average in the power and walks department.  It has been theorized that Hosmer’s approach at the plate would differ if he left Kauffman Stadium, though moving to another pitcher-friendly stadium in Petco Park will make it interesting to see what adjustments, if any, Hosmer makes.

    These question marks surrounding Hosmer’s status as a top-tier player, plus the general chill surrounding the free agent class as a whole this offseason, may have contributed to a relative lack of teams in his market.  With other possible first base-needy teams (i.e. the Red Sox, Mariners, Cardinals) turning to other lineup options, Hosmer’s market was seemingly limited to just the Padres and Royals.

    A Hosmer reunion also seemed somewhat curious for a K.C. team that appears to be entering a rebuild stage, though the Royals also valued Hosmer’s youth and potential as a long-term building block, particularly since he has already contributed to one World Series title and is hugely popular within both the Kansas City community and the Royals’ clubhouse.  The Royals had reportedly offered Hosmer a seven-year deal in the nine-figure range, though the exact dollar figure wasn’t quite certain.

    Instead, the Royals will now receive an extra pick after the first round of the June amateur draft as compensation for Hosmer (who rejected a qualifying offer) signing elsewhere for more than $50MM.  Combined with their other compensation pick for Lorenzo Cain’s deal with the Brewers, plus their Competitive Balance Draft selection, the Royals currently have four of the top 40 picks in the draft, setting them up for a strong reload of their farm system.  Another pick will be coming their way if Mike Moustakas signs elsewhere, as well.  For the Padres, since they are revenue-sharing recipients and didn’t exceed the luxury tax, they’ll only have to surrender their third-highest draft pick as penalty for signing Hosmer.

    The Padres had reportedly issued a seven-year offer worth under $140MM to Hosmer, so it looks like the extra year and the extra bit of cash sealed the deal.  Hosmer is guaranteed to make at least $105MM as a Padre, and he’ll have the option of testing the free agent market again after his age-32 season.  MLBTR projected Hosmer for a six-year, $132MM deal this winter (ranking third on our list of the offseason’s top 50 free agents), so Hosmer’s actual deal fell short in average annual value ($18MM per year to our $22MM per year) but contained more potential years and a larger overall dollar figure.  If Hosmer does opt out, he’ll have earned an average of $21MM per season over the first five years.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Hunter Renfroe Reportedly Drawing Trade Interest]]> 2018-02-19T04:46:49Z 2018-02-19T04:46:49Z Trade interest in outfielder Hunter Renfroe has picked up, according to a tweet from Jon Morosi of The report comes less than 24 hours after the Padres’ signing of Eric Hosmer to an eight-year, $144MM contract.

    The signing of Hosmer would seem to displace incumbent first baseman Wil Myers, pushing him back to the outfield where he began his career. That would correspondingly create a logjam in the outfield for the Padres, as Renfroe, Jose Pirela and Manuel Margot had previously seemed tabbed for the three spots there. The team also has Alex Dickerson, Travis Jankowski, Cory Spangenberg and Matt Szczur, all of whom are candidates to compete for at least some at-bats. With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that teams would be calling about the 26-year-old Renfroe. Whether or not the Padres are seriously considering trading him remains to be seen, of course.

    Renfroe boasts less than a full season’s worth of MLB at-bats for his career, and has struck out in over 28% of them. His power upside is tremendous, however, and that potential has translated to 30 career long balls thus far. It’s worth noting that after being recalled from the minors on September 18th of last season, Renfroe smashed six homers in his final 11 games of the season. If the former top prospect can work to reduce his sky-high 33.7% career chase rate and improve his contact overall, he’d be a truly valuable hitter for any major league ballclub.

    Which teams are interested in acquiring the righty-hitting Renfroe and what they’d be willing to give up is unclear at this time. Morosi notes that the Braves are currently looking to add an outfielder, and Renfroe is a long-term piece (he’s under team control through at least 2023) that could certainly help the Braves during their next window of contention if he pans out. The Indians are in need of a right-handed hitting outfielder as well, though that fit is merely speculative. It’s also easy to wonder at this point whether teams who’ve shown interest in Brewers outfielder Domingo Santana (the Diamondbacks come to mind) might also have interest in Renfroe.

    Renfroe was taken 13th overall by the Padres out of Mississippi State University during the 2013 draft, and rose quickly through the minors at first, reaching the Double-A level by the midway point of the following season. Prior to 2016, MLB Pipeline described him has having “plus-plus raw power to his pull side.” The publication also noted one of his biggest drawbacks: an aggressive, lengthy swing that makes him vulnerable to “quality secondary pitches” on the outer part of the plate. He’s long been lauded for his physical strength, as well as the quality of his contact when he’s able to put the bat on the ball.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Law: Hosmer Signing A "Baffling Misstep" By Padres]]> 2018-02-18T20:49:45Z 2018-02-18T20:49:45Z The Padres’ signing of Eric Hosmer “is the most inexplicable move of the offseason,” Keith Law of ESPN opines (Insider required). Despite only bidding against the Royals for Hosmer, the Padres significantly overpaid for Hosmer in handing him an eight-year, $144MM guarantee, writes Law, who doesn’t expect the player to justify the cost. Hosmer has endured an inconsistent career, hasn’t lived up to the considerable hype he had as a prospect, and isn’t enough of an impact player to help turn around the Padres’ fortunes, Law contends. Further, adding Hosmer and bumping Wil Myers from first back to the outfield is unlikely to benefit the latter, who “will probably become an adequate-not-good player” in the grass, as opposed to the “good-not-great player” he was at first base, Law offers. While Law is bullish on the Padres’ overall direction, he regards this signing as a “baffling misstep” by their front office.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Claim Rowan Wick]]> 2018-02-16T20:04:03Z 2018-02-16T19:56:31Z The Padres have claimed right-hander Rowan Wick off waivers from the Cardinals, reports Dennis Lin of The Athletic (on Twitter). Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch had first reported that Wick, who was designated for assignment when the Cards signed Bud Norris, had been claimed by an unknown team (Twitter link).

    Wick, 25, was drafted as a catcher and moved to the outfield before ultimately transitioning to the mound on a full-time basis in 2016. As one might expect, then, his body of work as a reliever in the minors is rather limited, but he’s shown some positive trends. This past season he split the year between the Gulf Coast League, Double-A and Triple-A, working to a combined 3.19 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings. Wick also issued 19 walks, hit two batters, balked twice and uncorked a pair of wild pitches, so he still seems somewhat raw on the mound.

    The Padres aren’t strangers to the notion of trying to convert a position player into a pitcher, though, having gone through the process (albeit unsuccessfully) with former top catching prospect Christian Bethancourt in recent years. San Diego had an open spot on the 40-man roster, so a corresponding move from the Friars won’t be necessary to accommodate the addition of Wick.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Padres' Pursuit Of Eric Hosmer]]> 2018-02-16T15:16:28Z 2018-02-16T15:16:28Z
  • The Padres’ personnel department has “fallen in love” with Eric Hosmer, writes Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. San Diego continues to maintain serious interest in adding Hosmer’s bat and leadership skills to its emerging core of young players — so much so that two sources indicated to Acee that the team would forgo making a big splash in next year’s free agent crop if it meant signing Hosmer this winter. Part of that likely stems from their interest in Hosmer, while some of the thinking is likely also attributable to the fact that more traditional big spenders like the Dodgers, Yankees and Red Sox (as well as possibly the Rangers and Giants) will be more aggressive next winter. It’s difficult, after all, to envision the Friars topping any of those deep-pocketed clubs in a bidding war.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Padres To Sign A.J. Ellis]]> 2018-02-17T07:31:00Z 2018-02-15T03:54:20Z The Padres have signed catcher A.J. Ellis, Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.  The agreement is a minor league deal, according to’s AJ Cassavell (all links to Twitter). Ellis can earn at a $1.25MM rate in the majors, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets.

    The longtime Dodgers catcher is returning to the NL West after spending the end of the 2016 campaign with the Phillies and 2017 with the Marlins.  Ellis hit .210/.298/.371 with six homers over 163 plate appearances for Miami last season, working behind A.J. Realmuto.  He’ll now look to serve as Austin Hedges’ backup with the Padres, as Ellis will compete with Rocky Gale, Rafael Lopez, and Luis Torrens for the job.

    Padres manager Andy Green said earlier today that his team was still considering adding veteran catchers and shortstops on minor league deals to compete for jobs in spring camp, so the Ellis signing checks one box off the front office’s to-do list.  Ellis has far more experience than his competition, so he could have a leg up on Gale and company given Ellis’ ability to serve as a mentor to San Diego’s many young pitchers.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Andy Green Discusses Padres Roster Entering Camp]]> 2018-02-14T15:51:22Z 2018-02-14T14:45:35Z
  • Padres skipper Andy Green struck an optimistic tone in an interesting and wide-ranging discussion entering camp, as Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes. Those who’d like to get a sense of where the organization stands will want to read the entire chat. Of particular note, Green says the stance entering camp is that Clayton Richard and Bryan Mitchell already have rotation spots, with Dinelson Lamet and Luis Perdomo in the lead but not assured of a starting role. Otherwise, there’s a lengthy list of potential competitors. Likewise, second base and the outfield figure to be open battlegrounds over the coming weeks.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Will Reportedly Attend Lincecum Showcase]]> 2018-02-14T05:02:07Z 2018-02-14T04:55:29Z
  • More than 10 teams are set to attend Tim Lincecum’s showcase on Thursday, it seems. Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press, Rhett Bollinger of and Roch Kubatko of respectively report that the Tigers, Twins and Orioles will have scouts in attendance (all Twitter links). Heyman adds another handful of clubs, listing the Rangers, Phillies, Dodgers, YankeesRed Sox, Brewers, Padres and Braves as attendees (links to Twitter for the last three), in addition to the previously reported Giants. If anything, it’s perhaps more notable which clubs have elected not to attend the showcase, as there’s no real downside to at least taking a look and the showcase is shaping up to be reasonably well-attended. To that end, the New York Post’s Kevin Kernan wrote over the weekend that the Mets aren’t planning to have a scout in attendance.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres Place Jose Torres On Restricted List]]> 2018-02-13T16:05:14Z 2018-02-13T15:50:16Z TODAY: Torres is facing criminal charges in two matters, according to a troubling report from Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. After a domestic dispute in December in which he allegedly pointed a gun at the woman he lives with, Torres was charged with assault with a deadly weapon, criminal damage, and intimidation. He is also facing charges relating to marijuana possession, per the report.

    YESTERDAY: The Padres have placed lefty Jose Torres on the restricted list, the team announced (h/t’s AJ Cassavell, on Twitter). That gives the organization an open 40-man roster spot.

    It is not known at present just why Torres has gone on the restricted list. There are quite a few conceivable reasons for such a placement. While some relate to malfeasance of varying kinds, it’s necessary to keep in mind that there are also some non-nefarious possibilities. At this point, then, there’s no basis for guessing at the underlying issue that has led to the placement.

    Torres, a 24-year-old reliever, turned in a solid rookie season last year and seemed to have a good shot at claiming an active roster spot this spring. In 68 1/3 innings in 2017, he pitched to a 4.21 ERA with 8.3 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9, showing a mid-nineties heater and generating a solid 11.1% swinging-strike rate but also allowing an unhealthy volume of home runs (1.71 per nine).

    With the news, the Padres will have some added roster space to work with as they weigh any further additions. The competition among lefties will now be missing a favorite, but the Friars do have a quite a few other possibilities on the 40-man already. In addition to closer Brad Hand, relievers Buddy Baumann, Brad Wieck, Kyle McGrath, and Jose Castillo all throw from the left side. Southpaw starters Robbie Erlin and Matt Strahm could also be in the relief mix if they fail to crack the MLB rotation.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Eric Hosmer]]> 2018-02-12T20:23:12Z 2018-02-12T20:14:25Z The Padres and agent Scott Boras have “engaged in regular dialogue” regarding Eric Hosmer over the past few days, reports Dennis Lin of The Athletic. That’s a change from recent weeks, per Lin, when neither side was showing much in the way of urgency.

    Lin goes on to report that both the Padres and the Royals have “suggested flexibility” beyond their initial seven-year bids, though it’s not clear whether that’s in reference to annual value, length of contract, inclusion of opt-out provisions or some combination of the above. As he has in the past, Lin notes that the Padres’ offer to Hosmer was for less than $140MM in total. Regardless, it still seems as if the Hosmer market is a two-horse race for the time being, barring the emergence of a surprise suitor as Spring Training kicks off in both Arizona and Florida.

    As for the other horse in that race, the Royals are remaining fairly quiet on the subject. The Kansas City Star’s Rustin Dodd writes that he asked GM Dayton Moore about the matter, and while Moore confirmed that he remains in touch with Boras, he declined to delve into any further specifics. “I’ve been fairly transparent throughout this process,” Moore told Dodd. “At this point, we just have to let it play out.” The GM did note in a radio appearance with 810 AM’s The Program last week that Hosmer “is the player that fits us for the future.”

    Yahoo’s Jeff Passan, though, wrote recently that Hosmer’s camp has been holding out to try to extract a nine-year deal from the Royals. Even if that may be a mere negotiation tactic to “settle” on a midpoint of eight years (that’s my own speculation, to be clear), a seven-year offer doesn’t seem likely to suffice at present. If the Padres and Royals do have some willingness for “flexibility” in their offers, as Lin suggested, then perhaps the first team to push its offer forward by another year will secure a deal.

    With Spring Training kicking off this week, Boras/Hosmer can also hold out a bit longer to see if injuries create any new opportunities. After all, they do have the luxury of knowing that the Padres and Royals, two clubs that are interested in Hosmer despite their status as rebuilding/retooling organizations, aren’t likely to spend that money elsewhere or add a more affordable first baseman because their interest is more in Hosmer himself than in upgrading at the position. However, if Spring Training wears on and no obvious alternative emerges, one has to imagine that the current seven-year proposals would hold increasing appeal.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres To Sign Tom Wilhelmsen]]> 2018-02-12T14:59:07Z 2018-02-06T13:55:42Z The Padres have inked righty Tom Wilhelmsen to a minors deal, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). He’ll receive an invitation to participate in MLB camp. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Wilhelmsen will earn a $900K base salary if he makes the roster.

    Once an anchor of the Mariners bullpen, Wilhelmsen hit a rough patch upon moving to the Rangers in 2016. While he rebounded somewhat in the second half of that campaign when he returned to Seattle, the veteran settled for a minor-league deal with the Diamondbacks this time last year.

    Wilhelmsen, now 34, earned a job in Spring Training and opened the 2017 season as a part of the D-Backs’ relief corps. Things didn’t go quite as hoped, though, as he struggled to a 4.44 ERA with 5.8 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 over 26 1/3 innings. While he maintained a mid-nineties heater and induced grounders on about half of the balls put in play against him, Wilhelmsen carried a 6.2% swinging-strike rate that fell well shy of his 10.6% career average.

    Ultimately, the Diamondbacks cut ties with Wilhelmsen in the middle of the year. He caught on with the Brewers but was unable to earn his way back to the majors. Now, Wilhelmsen will try to crack the Friars’ pen in camp. It looks like that will represent an uphill battle, as he’ll need to beat out a veteran pitcher such as Jordan Lyles and also hold off some of the organization’s younger options.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Kevin Towers Passes Away]]> 2018-01-30T18:45:22Z 2018-01-30T16:06:40Z In a sudden piece of heartbreaking news, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports reports that former Padres and Diamondbacks general manager Kevin Towers has passed away at the age of 56. Towers had been diagnosed with anaplastic thyroid cancer back in December 2016.

    Kevin Towers | Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

    Prior to his days as one of the game’s most prominent and recognizable executives, Towers broke into professional baseball as a player when he was selected by the Padres in the first round of the 1982 draft. A right-hander who starred at Brigham Young University, Towers would pitch in parts of eight minor league seasons that were slowed by injury before ultimately transitioning to the operations side of the game.

    Well-respected for his scouting acumen, Towers parlayed his keen eye for player talent into a position as the Padres’ scouting director before ascending to their GM chair in 1996 — a position he’d occupy all the way through the 2009 season. That remarkable run is one of lengthier stints that any GM has enjoyed atop his organization in recent history.

    San Diego won its division in two of Towers’ first three seasons at the helm and advanced to the World Series in 1998 under his watch. The Friars would go on to win the West on two more occasions under Towers’ guidance, taking home consecutive division crowns in the 2005-06 seasons. Never afraid to make a bold trade, Towers was affectionately referred to as the “gunslinger” for much of his career as a general manager.

    Upon being dismissed after that 2009 season, Towers spent a year as a special assignment scout with the Yankees before being tabbed as the new general manager of the Diamondbacks. From 2010-14, Towers would hold that role, and it was during his tenure that the D-backs signed face of the franchise Paul Goldschmidt to one of the game’s best contracts.

    Following his dismissal and replacement by the Dave Stewart/Tony La Russa regime, Towers joined the Reds as a special assistant to GM Dick Williams, specializing in player personnel — a role that he continued to hold even into his battle with cancer.

    The immediate outpouring from the media, former players and others in the industry serves as a testament to Towers’ reputation as a venerable ambassador to the game of baseball, as well as to the love and respect that he fostered in more than three decades as a member of the MLB family. Yahoo’s Tim Brown has penned an especially poignant tribute to Towers, encapsulating the magnetic vigor that drew so many to him.

    Our deepest condolences to his family, loved ones and the countless men and women both in the industry and the media whose lives he impacted over the course of a 35-year career in professional baseball.

    Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Eric Hosmer's Interest From Padres, Royals]]> 2018-01-30T14:49:07Z 2018-01-30T14:49:07Z
  • Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that the Royals’ offer to Hosmer is believed to already be larger than the one made by the Padres, and freeing up some cash in the Moss trade only further benefits the Royals’ chances. The Padres would consider “tweaking” their offer if negotiations came down to a slim margin, he adds, but to date the Friars haven’t shown much of a willingness to substantially increase their bid.
  • With Hahn out of minor league options, he’ll compete for a rotation job this coming spring, Moore told Dodd (in the previously-linked column). The righty has been plagued by injuries throughout his career, but he showed plenty of promise in 2014-15 with the Padres and A’s. He’ll vie for a rotation spot alongside Wily Peralta and Nate Karns (returning from TOS surgery). Danny Duffy and Ian Kennedy are locked into spots, of course, while Hammel (if he’s not traded) and Jake Junis figure to lock down spots as well. Fillmyer and Oaks are also on the 40-man roster, with other 40-man options including Sam Gaviglio, Eric Skoglund, Scott Barlow and Miguel Almonte.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Eric Hosmer]]> 2018-01-25T17:21:06Z 2018-01-25T17:17:48Z There was a fair bit of buzz around Eric Hosmer and the Padres this morning after a photo of Hosmer popped up on the Padres’ Instagram account and the team’s Twitter account tweeted “Stay tuned” and tagged Hosmer. The social media posts were all quickly deleted, but speculation took off in fairly rapid fashion (as one would expect). However, the Padres have issued a statement on the matter, revealing that their social media accounts were “inappropriately accessed.” Moreover, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that there’s nothing imminent between the two sides.

    “The Padres social media accounts were inappropriately accessed last night, and messages that were inaccurate and unauthorized were posted,” the Padres said in their statement. “MLB Cybersecurity is now investigating the matter, and we apologize for any confusion.” (Notably, Lin pointed out in an earlier tweet that while MLB clubs operate their own individual social media profiles, the accounts are technically “assets controlled by MLB Advanced Media.”)

    San Diego and Kansas City have both reportedly made offers of seven years in length to Hosmer, though the precise dollar amount of each deal remains unclear. Lin does note in his report that the Padres did make a nine-figure offer, though, and Padres chairman Ron Fowler has candidly acknowledged that he and his front office have met with Hosmer and made him an offer. Fowler did not explicitly state that the length of the offer was for seven years, though he did reference a seven-year commitment in his comments on Mighty 1090 AM radio in San Diego.

    Beyond this morning’s bit of drama, the Hosmer chatter has been minimal since Fowler’s comments and the reports of a pair of seven-year offers. San Diego and Kansas City still appear to be the two most serious pursuers of the 28-year-old, and there’s been nothing to indicate that the asking price of Hosmer and agent Scott Boras has dropped significantly despite a lack of obvious suitors.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres To Sign Allen Craig]]> 2018-01-23T03:47:09Z 2018-01-23T03:47:09Z The Padres have inked a minors pact with veteran first baseman Allen Craig, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (via Twitter). The contract includes an invitation to MLB Spring Training, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets.

    Craig, 33, will be looking to get his career back on track after a disastrous tenure with the Red Sox. That three-and-a-half-year run mercifully ended when Craig was released over the summer. He had not joined another organization in the interim.

    At the start of the 2014 season, Craig was a star with the Cardinals, carrying a .850 OPS through three full MLB campaigns. Since that time, he has appeared in just 162 games, struggling both before and after the mid-2014 trade that sent him to Boston and posting a cumulative .573 OPS.

    Craig has not seen the majors since 2015. He has also been limited at times by injury. But his struggles have generally continued in the upper minors. Last year, at Triple-A, he managed only a .253/.352/.316 slash through 182 plate appearances before he was cut loose.

    Certainly, expectations will not be high in San Diego, but perhaps a new environment will give Craig some chance at finding his form. His contract is no longer a factor; the Sox are paying him a $1MM buyout on the 2018 option that was included in the deal that he originally signed with the Cards.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Padres May Not Be Fits For Christian Yelich]]> 2018-01-22T00:55:17Z 2018-01-22T00:53:41Z
  • In a reader mailbag piece, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune casts doubt on the Padres’ chances of trading for Christian Yelich.  The team’s pursuit of Eric Hosmer indicates a desire to acquire a younger star player who will still be productive when the Padres return to contention, so Yelich (who is over two years younger than Hosmer) would theoretically fit the bill.  The Marlins, however, are understandably demanding elite prospects in any Yelich deal, and Lin doubts the Padres would part with top minor leaguers like Fernando Tatis Jr., Mackenzie Gore, or Michel Baez when San Diego’s own rebuild is still ongoing.  Lin’s piece is well worth a full read, as he answers several other questions about the Padres roster.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Spoke To Ichiro's Agent, But Match Unlikely]]> 2018-01-19T15:19:15Z 2018-01-19T15:19:15Z Ichiro Suzuki’s agent, John Boggs, tells Barry Bloom of that he’s still holding out hope that the 44-year-old will land an offer from a big league club this offseason rather than return to Japan. Boggs had talks with both the Mariners and Padres, but neither of those now looks likely to come to fruition. He also notes that he’d spoken to the Mets before they signed Jay Bruce, as well as the Reds when they were more heavily exploring the market for Billy Hamilton. Boggs tells Bloom that there are still a half-dozen teams that continue to tell him to check back later in the winter once it’s clearer how the market will play out, but it remains unclear whether Ichiro will have a legitimate opportunity to return for an 18th Major League season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Sign Raffy Lopez, Michael Mariot To Minor League Deals]]> 2018-01-18T18:47:46Z 2018-01-18T18:30:58Z
  • The Padres announced a slew of non-roster invitees, including right-hander Michael Mariot and catcher Raffy Lopez, each of whom has prior Major League experience. Mariot, 29, last saw time in the Majors back in 2016 when he tossed 21 2/3 innings for the Phillies. He’s struggled to a 5.98 ERA with 8.2 K/9 against 5.1 BB/9 in 49 2/3 MLB innings to date, though he has a vastly superior 3.34 ERA with 9.5 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 in 240 innings of Triple-A work. Lopez, meanwhile, picked up a career-high 63 plate appearances with the Blue Jays last season, hitting .222/.306/.463 in that brief time. The 30-year-old is a career .267/.342/.380 hitter in 877 plate appearances at the Triple-A level.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres’ Chairman On Hosmer, Team Direction, Mitchell, Galvis]]> 2018-01-17T04:13:39Z 2018-01-17T04:04:05Z The Padres’ pursuit of Eric Hosmer has been one of the more surprising storylines of the 2017-18 offseason, and executive chairman Ron Fowler directly acknowledged his team’s pursuit of the longtime Royals star in an interview on the Mighty 1090 Morning Show in San Diego (link with full audio of the interview).

    “We’ve had a lot of dialogue on it — [GM A.J. Preller, manager Andy Green and assistant GM Josh Stein] obviously lead the discussions as it relates to players,” said Fowler. “They talked to me probably six months or so ago when they looked at who the free agents would be for 2018. They like him. They like his makeup, they like his leadership in the clubhouse, and obviously they like him as an athlete. We met with him, and he’s a very impressive individual.”

    The Padres are reported to have made a seven-year offer to Hosmer and agent Scott Boras, and while word of that offer came in earlier this month, Fowler didn’t suggest that there’ve been any changes to what has been proposed. Moreover, he implied that he’s not exactly comfortable stretching the deal much further. Asked about concerns of paying for too much of a player’s decline phase, Fowler indicated that Boras may have a hard time selling him on a lengthier deal.

    “I think you’re taking my side of the discussions I’ve had with [Green, Preller and Stein],” Fowler replied. “They feel that this guy is so focused, he has all of the exercise stuff, all of the elements in place to take care of himself like few players have. He would be 28 in the first year, obviously 34 would be his last year if it’s seven, but I can’t really get into it more than that. But I think we were pretty creative in the way we put a contract proposal together. We like it. I don’t know if Mr. Boras likes it, but that’s probably another story.”

    The pursuit of Hosmer is just one of the many elements of the Padres’ offseason that some feel have clashed with the team’s rebuilding direction. In addition to putting forth a (presumed) nine-figure offer to Hosmer, San Diego has also traded a fairly well-regarded pitching prospect (right-hander Enyel De Los Santos) for a one-year rental of Freddy Galvis and taken on the final year of Chase Headley’s contract as a means of landing Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees. Fowler confirmed that Headley trade was almost entirely about Mitchell and stressed that the team is still focused on the development of young talent.

    “We still are looking for the young guys to get up here that we either picked through the draft or signed internationally,” he explained. “But A.J. looked at who the pitchers were out there, and some of the guys were getting three-year contracts … [H]e felt that Bryan Mitchell, the guy we got from the Yankees, was worth taking the last year of the contract for Chase. We’re happy that Chase will be here — we think he’ll be here — but it was really for Mitchell that we paid that money, it wasn’t for Chase.”

    Fowler went on to add that the team’s preference was to add players that will remain under control for several seasons. While Galvis, of course, does not match that description — he’ll be a free agent next winter — Fowler revealed that he hopes the switch-hitting shortstop can be retained beyond 2018.

    “I’m hoping Galvis will be here for more than a year, take some pressure off some of the young guys coming up,” he stated. “…We’re feeling very good about that trade and what he might be able to do for us over the next few years.”

    Of course, Fernando Tatis Jr. is widely expected to be the Padres’ shortstop of the future, though the vaunted top prospect isn’t yet ready for the Majors after spending most of 2017 in A-ball. If the team were able to retain Galvis beyond the upcoming season, it wouldn’t necessarily indicate a change of plans as pertains to Tatis, however; Galvis could provide some reasonably priced insurance and could potentially see time at other positions. That could further a current “problem” the organization is facing, which Fowler described as having “too many people at second and third right now” before noting that the logjam would likely work itself out.

    The Padres have already traded Yangervis Solarte to the Blue Jays, but they still have Carlos Asuaje, Cory Spangenberg and Headley as options that figure to be on the 25-man roster come Opening Day, while Allen Cordoba, Tatis and Luis Urias loom in the minors.

    The interview with Fowler covers considerably more topics, ranging from the team’s recent hiring of former Fangraphs managing editor Dave Cameron, to the team’s uniforms and their failed pursuit of Shohei Ohtani. (Fowler reveals that Preller began the team’s presentation to Ohtani by speaking in Japanese for the first five minutes or so and expresses immense pride for the work his team put into that pursuit.) The San Diego chairman also weighs in on the stalled free agent market, suggesting a belief that the luxury tax and a number of players whose asking prices are simply “really beyond their value” have combined to grind free agency to a halt.

    Suffice it to say, the 16-minute interview is packed with topics that’ll be of interest not only to Padres fans but to baseball and hot stove fans in general. It’s well worth a full listen.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Agent: Yelich’s Relationship With Marlins “Broken”]]> 2018-01-17T00:58:20Z 2018-01-17T00:55:12Z In the latest dose of Marlins-related drama, agent Joe Longo of Paragon Sports International, who represents Christian Yelich, tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that a trade of his client in the next month would be in the best interest of both team and player.

    Longo states that he respects the Marlins’ long-term plan for a return to contention, but states that the “…plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career.” Yelich’s relationship with the Marlins has been “irretrievably broken” and has “soured,” according to Longo, who goes on to speak about the disappointment that Yelich has felt in watching the Marlins’ new ownership group gut the roster in trades that have sent Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna elsewhere.

    “The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and [Yelich] needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win,” Longo tells Crasnick. The agent goes on to explain that Yelich signed his seven-year, $49.57MM contract extension with the Marlins in a “completely different climate” — that is, one where the organization looked to be making a clear push to win in the short term. Yelich’s deal (which Longo and Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill discussed at length with MLBTR’s Zach Links back in 2015) was agreed upon in the same offseason that saw the Fish sign Stanton to a record-setting $325MM contract. New ownership, however, clearly has no intent of pushing for a division title in 2017 as payroll has been slashed by roughly $50MM.

    Longo’s comments, of course, don’t ensure that a trade of Yelich will transpire before or during Spring Training. Such decisions are up to president of baseball operations Michael Hill and his staff, who needn’t feel pressure to move Yelich in the same manner as they did with regard to Stanton, Gordon and Ozuna. The Marlins’ payroll projection is inching closer to its reported target of roughly $90MM, and Yelich’s $7MM salary for the coming season isn’t especially burdensome. Moreover, the fact that Yelich can be controlled for another five years at a total of $58.25MM is a clear indicator that he’ll be an asset with considerable surplus value at virtually any point the Marlins decide to make him available.

    Yelich is hardly the only player that is less than enthused about the notion of suiting up for a Miami club that looks destined for the NL East cellar. Catcher J.T. Realmuto’s agents have reportedly informed the Marlins that their client would prefer to be traded, and infielder Starlin Castro (acquired as a financial component in the trade that sent Stanton to the Yankees) is reportedly hoping to be dealt elsewhere before so much as playing a single game for the Marlins.

    Per Crasnick, the Blue Jays, Braves, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, D-backs and Phillies are “among” the teams that have reached out to the Marlins to gauge the asking price for Yelich in a trade, though there are assuredly more team that have expressed interest. Toronto GM Ross Atkins recently suggested that virtually every team in the league would have interest in a Yelich trade, and reports have suggested that more than 15 teams have at least kicked the tires on the former Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner.

    Yelich, just 26 years of age, is a career .290/.369/.432 hitter. He’s averaged 20 homers and a dozen steals over the past two seasons and has proven to be a capable center fielder or an elite defender in left field. Crasnick notes that Yelich himself may speak publicly in the coming days, and the column is stuffed with additional quotes from Longo. It’s well worth a full read-through, both for those that have been diligently tracking the Marlins’ offseason roller coaster and those who haven’t been monitoring the situation as closely.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Padres Extend Brad Hand]]> 2018-01-15T18:32:15Z 2018-01-15T18:32:15Z MONDAY: Heyman has the full breakdown on Twitter. Hand will receive a $1.75MM signing bonus along with salaries of $3.5MM, $6.5MM, and $7MM in the three guaranteed years of the contract.

    SUNDAY: The Padres have officially announced the deal.

    SATURDAY, 7:15pm: Hand passed his physical, making the deal official, per Heyman. The club option is worth $10MM and comes with a $1MM buyout, Heyman adds (Twitter link).

    9:54am: The Padres have agreed to terms on an extension with left-handed reliever Brad Hand, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It’s a three-year deal that also comes with a club option. Hand, who is represented by Matt Colleran, will be guaranteed $19.75MM, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. The deal is still pending a physical.

    At the end of the day yesterday, we noted that Hand’s arbitration case was still unresolved, and obviously we now understand why arbitration filing figures had not been reported. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports notes in his own tweet that both sides had filed at $3.6MM, indicating that extension talks had almost certainly progressed to a point where both sides were quite confident that a deal would get done.

    Sep 18, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Brad Hand (52) gestures during the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    The pact, of course, means that the Padres will not need to worry about the arbitration process with their elite reliever again, as the deal is set to cover his final two arb years while giving the club at least one additional year of team control. The team option will allow the Padres up to four years of team control over the southpaw. As Rosenthal adds, that means he’ll be able to enter free agency prior to his age-32 season — though clearly this deal entailed a significant sacrifice of open-market earning upside in exchange for a life-changing guarantee.

    Hand has long been considered a valuable candidate, and his new contract seemingly makes it less likely that he’ll be traded this offseason (though his trade value may have actually increased due to the added team control). A while back, MLBTR profiled his potential trade value, noting that he could warrant a return similar to that which the Yankees received from the Indians for Andrew Miller. Instead, the Padres have found a way to keep him in the fold a bit longer… perhaps even into their next window of contention.

    The extension is another indication that a rebuilding Padres club could perhaps be gearing up for a return to contention. Earlier this winter, reports surfaced that the club had already made a seven-year contract offer to Eric Hosmer in the nine-figure range. 

    Contention window implications aside, keeping Hand in the fold for an extra season or two will help detract from the workload of a fairly young Padres rotation. Last season, their starters averaged 5 1/3 innings per start during the 2017 season, while Hand ranked 6th in the majors with 79 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. Many things could change over the course of the next two seasons, but retaining Hand amidst a bullpen full of question marks will have at least a small benefit to the pitching staff.

    The Marlins selected Hand in the second round of the 2008 draft. He came up through their system as a starter, but never gained much traction. Through the end of the 2015 season, he owned a career 4.71 ERA across 288 2/3 innings split between Miami’s rotation and bullpen. His 5.9 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 were also indicative of a below-average pitcher.

    After the Padres claimed him off waivers in early April of the following season, they employed him as a reliever full-time and watched him rise to elite status. Over the course of his career in San Diego, Hand has tossed 168 2/3 sterling innings to the tune of a 2.56 ERA with 11.49 K/9 against just 2.99 BB/9. His 6.14 WPA during that time ranks fourth among qualifying relievers in baseball. After the Padres traded Brandon Maurer to the Royals prior to the 2017 trade deadline, the team began to deploy Hand as its closer; he rewarded them by collecting 19 saves across the remaining 2+ months of the season (in addition to the two he’d earned already that year). If he can continue to perform at a similar level, the Padres stand to earn fantastic value from the added year(s) they’ll gain from Hand as a result of this extension.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Padres: Hand, Preller, Infielder]]> 2018-01-14T16:51:47Z 2018-01-14T16:51:47Z
  • The Padres and Brad Hand’s representatives began extension talks about a week ago, the reliever told Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune and other reporters.  Those discussions resulted in the three-year, $19.75MM agreement between the club and the southpaw that Hand described as “a life-changing thing.”  From the Padres’ perspective, general manager AJ Preller said that his team is “trying to build a foundation of guys going forward that fit for us and we feel like are winning pieces.”  It would seem like the extension more or less closes the door on the trade speculation that has circled Hand for the last couple of years, though Preller noted that “you always listen on any player at any time.  You’ve got to be open to all different possibilities.”
  • Preller also said that the Padres are looking for a veteran middle infielder that can provide depth for shortstop Freddy Galvis.  San Diego was checked in on Alcides Escobar earlier this winter, and in my view he would appear to still be an option given the lack of known interest in Escobar’s services.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League]]> 2018-01-13T06:28:47Z 2018-01-12T21:10:22Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salaries.

    Onto today’s landslide of deals…

    National League West

    • The Rockies have agreed to a $2MM salary with righty Chad Bettis, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). That’s a fair sight more than his $1.5MM projection. Bettis surely would have had an opportunity to set a bigger platform for himself, but had to battle through testicular cancer before returning to the hill in 2017. Meanwhile, second baseman DJ LeMahieu has settled for a $8.5MM payday in his final year of arbitration, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. That’s just a hair short of the $8.8MM he was pegged for in MLBTR’s projections.
    • Giants second baseman Joe Panik is slated to earn $3.45MM in his first season of arb eligibility, Devan Fink of SB Nation was first to tweet. That’s just a hair shy of the $3.5MM that MLBTR projected. Lefty Will Smith has settled at $2.5MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The club has also announced deals with its remaining arb-eligible players, right-handed relievers Sam Dyson ($4.6MM projection), Hunter Strickland ($1.7MM projection), and Cory Gearrin ($1.6MM projection). (H/t John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Strickland earns $1.55MM, Nightengale tweets.
    • The Padres and Freddy Galvis agreed to a $6.825MM deal for his lone season of team control in San Diego, tweets Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. Galvis, who spent the first several seasons of his career in Philadelphia before being traded this winter, had been projected to make $7.4MM. Infielder Cory Spangenberg settled at $1.7MM, Heyman tweets, falling below a $2.0MM projection. San Diego has also reached agreements with righty Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur, the team announced. Yates will earn $1,062,500, Heyman tweets, which is just shy of his $1.1MM projection. Szczur, meanwhile, will get $950K, a healthy boost over his $800K projection, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
    • The Diamondbacks agreed to a $7.75MM deal with center fielder A.J. Pollock, Murray tweets. Pollock was projected to earn $8.4MM in his final year of eligibility before free agency. Murray also notes that Brad Boxberger is set to earn $1.85MM next year (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that lefty Andrew Chafin ($1.2MM projection) and the D-backs have a $1.195MM deal in place. Third baseman Jake Lamb, meanwhile, agreed to a $4.275MM deal with the Diamondbacks, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Lamb, eligible for arbitration for the first time, was projected to earn $4.7MM. He’s controllable through 2020. And ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that Chris Herrmann ($1.4MM projection) landed a $1.3MM deal. Righty Taijuan Walker has settled for $4.825MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which is within range but shy of the $5.0MM he projected for. Lefty Robbie Ray has settled at $3.95MM, per Nightengale (Twitter link), which falls short of his $4.2MM projection. Infielder Nick Ahmed will $1.275MM, per Heyman (via Twitter), which tops the projected figure of $1.1MM. Arizona has also announced that Chris Owings and David Peralta have agreed to terms.
    • The Dodgers are in agreement on a $6MM deal with lefty Alex Wood, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He had projected at $6.4MM. Meanwhile, righty Josh Fields agreed to a $2.2MM deal, tweets Murray. Heyman tweets that Enrique Hernandez will earn $1.6MM. Fields’ projection of $2.2MM was on the money, whereas Hernandez topped his mark by $300K. Fields is controlled through 2019, while Hernandez is controllable through 2020. Southpaw Tony Cingrani gets $2.3MM, Murray tweets, which is just a shade over his $2.2MM projection. Outfielder Joc Pederson has also settled, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter), with Beth Harris of the Associated Press reporting a $2.6MM salary that rather handily tops the $2.0MM that MLBTR projected.

    National League Central

    • All three remaining Cardinals arb-eligibles have agreed to deals,’s Jenifer Langosch tweetsMarcell Ozuna will earn $9MM after drawin a much larger $10.9MM projection, Heyman tweets. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained that Ozuna likely wouldn’t quite reach the amount the algorithm suggested, though the actual salary still comes in a bit shy of expectations. Lefty Tyler Lyons ($1.3MM projection) receives $1.2MM, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The Cards have also reached agreement with Michael Wacha for $5.3MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter); he was projected to earn $5.9MM.
    • The Reds agreed to a $860K salary with Anthony DeSclafani, tweets Murray. DeSclafani missed the 2017 season due to arm troubles and had been projected to earn $1.1MM. He’ll remain under Reds control through 2020. Billy Hamilton and the Reds have settled on a one-year deal worth $4.6MM, tweets Murray. A popular trade candidate this offseason, Hamilton was projected to earn $5MM and comes with another two seasons of team control. Murray also conveys that Michael Lorenzen agreed to a $1.3125MM deal, which lines up fairly well with his $1.4MM projection.
    • The Cubs have struck a deal with lefty Justin Wilson, agreeing to a one-year, $4.25MM pact, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Wilson, who had been projected at $4.3MM, will be a free agent next winter. The Cubs alsoagreed to a $950K salary with infielder Tommy La Stella, tweets’s Carrie Muskat. La Stella was projected to make $1MM in his first offseason of arbitration eligiblity and can be controlled through 2020. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs have agreed to a $4.175MM salary, per Nightengale (on Twitter). That sum comes in a fair bit shy of his projected $4.9MM projection as a first-time eligible player. The Cubs control Hendricks through the 2020 season. Chicago also agreed with Addison Russell, per Wittenmyer (Twitter link). The shortstop will receive $3.2MM for the coming season.
    • Nightengale reports (on Twitter) that the Brewers and breakout closer Corey Knebel settled at $3.65MM. As a Super Two player, Knebel can be controlled through the 2021 season and will be arb-eligible thrice more. He was projected at $4.1MM.’s Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers and right-hander Jimmy Nelson settled at $3.7MM, which falls $1MM shy of his $4.7MM projection (though some of that discrepancy may be due to Nelson’s shoulder injury). Milwaukee also announced a deal for infielders Jonathan Villar (projected at $3MM) and Hernan Perez (projected at $2.2MM). McCalvy reports that Villar will earn $2.55MM, while terms of Perez’s deal are not yet available.
    • The Pirates have avoided arbitration with shortstop Jordy Mercer by settling on a $6.75MM salary for 2018, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Mercer, who’d been projected to earn $6.5MM, is entering his final year of team control and will be a free agent next winter. Biertempfel also reports that Gerrit Cole will earn that same $6.75MM salary in 2018 — a $3MM raise over last year (Twitter link). He has two years of control remaining and had been projected to earn $7.4MM. Righty George Kontos has also agreed to terms, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). He had projected for $2.7MM and will receive a smidge more, at $2,725,000, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link).

    National League East

    • The Braves reached a $3.4MM deal with righty Arodys Vizcaino, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). He’d been projected at $3.7MM. The Braves and righty Dan Winkler agreed to a $610K salary for the upcoming season, tweets Mark Bowman of Winkler tossed just 14 1/3 innings in the Majors this year as he made his way back from elbow surgery. He’d projected at $800K.
    • The Marlins and Miguel Rojas agreed to a $1.18MM deal for 2018, Heyman tweets, placing him north of his $1.1MM projection. Rojas should see additional playing time following the Marlins’ wave of trades this offseason. He’s controlled through 2020. Miami also has a deal in place with infielder Derek Dietrich for $2.9MM, Heyman tweets, after projecting at $3.2MM.
    • The Mets were able to settle perhaps their most notable arb case, agreeing to a $7.4MM deal with righty Jacob deGrom, per James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter). That’s well shy of his $9.2MM projection, though MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained the formula likely overestimated deGrom’s earning power by quite a wide margin. Fellow top righty Noah Syndergaard gets $2.975MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which goes a fair sight past the $1.9MM projection for the outstanding young starter, whose 2017 season was limited by injury. And reliever AJ Ramos will take home $9.225MM, according to Wagner (via Twitter). That’s just barely past the $9.2MM projection.  Wilmer Flores has also avoided arbitration with the Mets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). He’ll receive a $3.4MM salary, which falls within $300K of his projected rate. The Mets control Flores through the 2019 campaign. The Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.625MM, tweets Nightengale. Harvey, who is a free agent next winter, had been projected to earn $5.9MM. Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets that Jeurys Familia will earn $7.925MM for the upcoming year, while Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that catcher Travis d’Arnaud will earn $3.475MM in 2018 (Twitter link). Familia, a free agent next winter, was projected at $7.4MM. The Mets control d’Arnaud through 2019, and his projection was $3.4MM. Righty Hansel Robles gets $900K, Heyman tweets.
    • Also via Nightengale (Twitter link), the Nationals agreed to a $6.475MM salary for 2018 with right-hander Tanner Roark. That falls about $1MM shy of his $7.5MM projection but still represents a noted raise of $4.315MM for Roark, whom the Nats control through 2019. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that Michael Taylor will earn $2.525MM next year. Taylor is controlled through 2020 and was projected at $2.3MM.
    • The Phillies and Maikel Franco settled on a $2.95MM salary for the 2018 season, reports Jim Salisbury of (Twitter link). Franco, a Super Two player who’d been projected at $3.6MM, remains under club control with the Phils through the 2021 season. Second bagger Cesar Hernandez will earn at a $5.1MM rate in 2018, per’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). That beats his $4.7MM projection and wraps up this year’s arb business for the Phillies.
    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Dave Cameron Joins Padres; Marlins Hire Bradley Woodrum]]> 2018-01-12T03:31:47Z 2018-01-12T03:16:40Z The Padres and Marlins each made a huge acquisition this week, though not the kind we typically cover here on MLBTR.  Yesterday, FanGraphs stalwart Dave Cameron announced he will be joining the Padres to help build out their Research and Development department.  And this morning, former MLBTR contributor Bradley Woodrum announced he’s joining the Marlins analytics team.  Cameron and Woodrum were among the best sabermetric analysts operating in the public sphere, and we’ll sorely miss reading their work.

    I first encountered Dave’s work about ten years ago, on U.S.S. Mariner.  More than anyone, Dave was able to do incredibly intelligent baseball analysis in an understandable, easy-to-read way.  Dave is a pioneer in the field of sabermetrics, and I made a point to read just about everything he wrote.  I don’t remember much about the early days of FanGraphs, except that it had more graphs.  When Dave joined, his writing made FanGraphs a must-read as well.  Of course, the site has brought in countless talented writers and analysts since then.  I first reached out to Dave in 2009 in hopes of understanding WAR better.  He’s been gracious with his time over the years when I’ve approached him with many questions and has been a longtime friend of MLBTR. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune spoke to Dave, who has had previous interest from MLB teams, about his decision to accept the Padres’ offer.

    Back in 2015, Bradley Woodrum applied for a project we were launching on MLBTR: an attempt to create a model that predicts the chance of a pitcher having Tommy John surgery (updated last September).  I knew Brad from his stellar work at FanGraphs and The Hardball Times.  The Tommy John project was a daunting undertaking, and I was amazed by Brad’s analytical abilities, professionalism, and perseverance in getting the project to the finish line.  It took the better part of a year, but Brad delivered what I considered to be the best possible TJS prediction model, given the limitations of public data.  I’m proud to have hosted that work on MLBTR.  Armed with the superior data of a Major League club, I expect Brad to do great things.

    MLBTR wishes the best to Dave Cameron and Bradley Woodrum in their new careers!

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[White Sox Acquire Jose Rondon]]> 2018-01-10T19:51:06Z 2018-01-10T19:36:48Z The White Sox have acquired infielder Jose Rondon from the Padres, per a club announcement. Cash considerations are headed to San Diego in return.

    Rondon was designated recently by the Pads. Now, he’ll head to another rebuilding organization where he could challenge Tyler Saladino for a spot on the team as a utility piece or perhaps head to Triple-A for further development. Of course, it’s also possible the Sox will ultimately seek to sneak him through waivers.

    While the Padres have not been settled at short for some time, the team has quite a few young players filtering up at the position and elected to acquire Freddy Galvis to hold things down for the coming season. That left Rondon — who was originally acquired in the Huston Street trade — without much of an opportunity and ultimately without a roster spot.

    The 23-year-old reached the majors briefly in 2016 but has mostly played of late in the upper minors. Last year, he spent most of his time at Double-A and turned in a solid overall .293/.347/.442 output with seven home runs in 347 total minor-league plate appearances. With a high-average bat and good defensive profile, it’s certainly conceivable that Rondon could turn into a useful MLB asset, though he has yet to develop much in the way of power and hasn’t drawn many walks in the upper minors.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Still Open To Trading Infielders]]> 2018-01-07T17:56:52Z 2018-01-07T17:56:52Z A quick look around the National League…

    • The Brewers are arguably in position to spend big on a free agent starting pitcher this offseason, but it’s unlikely to happen “unless prices come down,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. General manager David Stearns claims he’s “comfortable” with the team’s current rotation options – including the newly signed duo of Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo. At the same time, he’s still working to improve the Brewers’ pitching and other areas of their roster. “I wouldn’t say we have anything that is imminent,” he told Haudricourt. “But that can always change with one phone call. We are involved on a number of fronts, some of them farther along than others. We’ll see where that takes us.”
    • Outfield prospect Edward Olivares is someone San Diego had “been on for some time” before acquiring him in Saturday’s Yangervis Solarte trade with Toronto, Padres general manager A.J. Preller said (via Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune). Preller went on to reveal that the Padres may not be done trading infielders, even after shipping out Solarte. “We’re still having discussions on the different infielders, and we’ll see how things play out,” stated Preller, who admitted after acquiring third baseman Chase Headley last month that he could flip him. Other teams had also called about Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje at that point.
    • The Mets and reliever Jenrry Mejia avoided arbitration this week, settling on a $1.729MM salary, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). However, Mejia isn’t in position to collect that money, as Heyman notes. Major League Baseball issued Mejia a lifetime ban in February 2016 after his third positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Poll: Which Of These Players Is Most Likely To Be Traded?]]> 2018-01-07T13:34:25Z 2018-01-07T03:44:42Z We’ve reached January, and the free agent market is still lagging in a big way. The top free agents available seemingly haven’t showed a willingness to lower their asking prices, and with spring training less than two months out, teams may feel a need to complete their offseason shopping lists sooner than later. In some cases, this may cause teams to make stronger pushes for some candidates on the trade market.

    There have certainly been some large scale trades so far this offseason. High-end players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Evan Longoria, Ian Kinsler and Stephen Piscotty have changed hands already, and there are still plenty of practical matches left between MLB teams. We’ve detailed many of these in the 2017-2018 installment of our “Looking For A Match” series; the players featured in those articles are listed below, with our noted potential fits listed in parentheses.

    • Billy Hamilton, Reds CF (Giants, Dodgers, Royals): Hamilton’s talents as a burner on the basepaths and an elite defender in center field are well-known throughout MLB circles, but in truth, that’s about where his usefulness ends. His .299 OBP was the 11th-lowest among qualified hitters in 2017; that number is about consistent with his career mark. The Giants seem to have shown a strong interest in Hamilton, but Reds owner Bob Castellini’s recently-reported hesitancy to part with the speedster could gum up trade negotiations. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Billy Hamilton Trade]
    • Brad Hand, Padres LHRP (Astros, Dodgers, Cardinals, Twins, Braves): Though our evaluation of Hand’s trade market also included the Rays and Rockies, those teams seem like less likely suitors at this point in the offseason; the former decreased their likelihood of contention by shipping Longoria to San Francisco, while the latter has signed three expensive relief pitchers to pad their bullpen. Hand is one of the elite relief pitchers in all of baseball, and he’s certainly one of the best (if not the undisputed best) bullpen options on the trade market. Of course, the caveat is that it would also require a significant prospect haul to convince San Diego to move him. The lefty has two years of team control remaining, and MLBTR projects him to cost just $3.8MM in 2018. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Brad Hand Trade]
    • Jose Abreu, White Sox 1B (Astros, Indians, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies): Though the Cuba native has been a mainstay in the White Sox’ lineup since his MLB debut in 2014, his club is unlikely to contend for a pennant before he reaches free agency after the 2019 season. MLBTR’s arbitration projections have him pegged for a $17.9MM salary in 2018, but his expected offensive output makes him well worth that price tag. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Jose Abreu Trade]
    • Avisail Garcia, White Sox OF (Blue Jays, Indians, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants, Rangers): Like Abreu, Garcia is a South Sider with two years of team control remaining. However, he comes with a lot more risk; Garcia had played below replacement level over the course of his career prior to a breakout this past season. Still, there are many teams who would benefit from adding a lefty-masher to their outfield corps, and his projected 2018 salary is a reasonable $6.7MM. [LINK: Looking For A Match In An Avisail Garcia Trade]
    • Raisel Iglesias, Reds RHRP (Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals, Brewers, Twins, Astros): With three full seasons of team control remaining, Iglesias could prove a valuable long-term asset to either a rebuilding club or a current contender. He’s managed to strike out 10.43 batters per nine innings over the course of his career as a reliever while posting a sterling 2.29 ERA. The Twins have reportedly shown interest in Iglesias this winter, though that was nearly two months ago; there haven’t been any new developments in that story since then. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Raisel Iglesias Trade]
    • J.T. Realmuto, Marlins C (Nationals, Rockies, Diamondbacks): Unlike the other players on this list, Realmuto has gone so far as to request a trade from his current team. While that alone certainly isn’t enough to facilitate a trade, some have taken the stance that Miami ought to trade their catcher (along with fellow Marlin Christian Yelich) at his peak value. Realmuto has accrued more than 7 WAR over the past two seasons alone, but the Marlins don’t feel compelled to trade him unless they’re overwhelmed by an offer. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A J.T. Realmuto Trade]
    • Manny Machado, Orioles 3B (Cardinals, Yankees, Angels, Rockies, Nationals): Rumors surrounding Baltimore’s prized infielder have cooled off a bit recently, but the Orioles could still be prompted to move him for the right offer. They’re reportedly seeking two talented starting pitchers who are controllable for the long term, however, which seems like a sky-high asking price for a player with just one year of team control remaining. Of course, the O’s probably wouldn’t restrict a return to just rotation options. Machado is projected to earn a $17.3MM salary in his final season before hitting the free agent market. [LINK: Trading Manny Machado]

    We’ll open this subject up to reader opinions at this point. Which of the trade candidates we’ve profiled do you think is most likely to be traded before the 2018 season begins? (Link for app users)

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Padres Sign Kazuhisa Makita]]> 2018-01-14T04:37:19Z 2018-01-07T03:02:43Z 9:02 pm: The Padres paid a $500K posting fee to Makita’s Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets.

    7:35 pm: The Padres have announced the signing.

    9:02 am: The Padres have reached a two-year, $3.8MM agreement with Japanese righty Kazuhisa MakitaJon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the news on Twitter, noting that the team is likely to use him as a bullpen arm.

    Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported likelihood of a signing yesterday, which MLBTR covered here. As we noted at that time, reports that Makita would be posted surfaced around the same time that Shohei Ohtani was posted. The former Pacific League Rookie of the Year owns a career ERA of 2.83 across 921 1/3 innings, though he’s barely struck out one batter for every two innings pitched during that span.

    Notably, Makita’s fastball sits in the low 80’s; he relies more on its movement and some deception in his delivery. He pitches submarine-style, like Brad Ziegler and Peter Moylan. The 33-year-old stands at just 5’10” and weights 181 pounds.

    Makita will add to a thin San Diego bullpen that includes the likes of Brad Hand, Kirby Yates and Phil Maton at the back end. His contributions, along with a hopeful return to health by former phenom Carter Capps, could pave the way for improvements to a bullpen that ranked 24th among MLB teams in ERA last season, and 29th in WAR. That’s good news for a Padres pitching staff whose rotation averaged just over 5 1/3 innings per start in 2017.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Designate Jose Rondon]]> 2018-01-06T22:44:54Z 2018-01-06T22:34:12Z The Padres have designated infielder Jose Rondon for assignment, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Twitter link). Rondon’s spot on the Padres’ 40-man roster will go to reliever Craig Stammen, whose deal with the team is now official.

    Rondon, 23, has been a member of the San Diego organization since it acquired him from the Angels in a trade involving reliever Huston Street in July 2014. At the time, Rondon ranked among the Angels’ top prospects, though he hasn’t yet emerged as a regular major leaguer. During his time with the Padres, the righty-swinging Rondon has accrued just 26 big league plate appearances and hit .120/.154/.120 over that limited sample. Rondon divided last season between the Double-A and Triple-A levels, where he batted .293/.347/.442 in 347 PAs.

    With one option remaining, Rondon could conceivably catch on with another club and continue to serve as minor league depth in 2018.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Acquire Yangervis Solarte]]> 2018-01-06T23:55:11Z 2018-01-06T22:08:52Z The Blue Jays have acquired infielder Yangervis Solarte from the Padres in exchange for two prospects – outfielder Edward Olivares and reliever Jared Carkuff – per announcements from both teams.


    The 30-year-old Solarte is the second infielder the Blue Jays have landed via trade this winter, joining Aledmys Diaz, whom they acquired from the Cardinals last month. The area was a clear point of emphasis for Jays entering the offseason, given that neither second baseman Devon Travis nor shortstop Troy Tulowitzki have been able to stay consistently healthy during their careers. Solarte may end up as a multiyear piece for Toronto, as he’ll make an affordable $4MM in 2018 before the club will have to decide on options totaling $13.5MM over the next two offseasons.

    [Updated Blue Jays Depth Chart]

    Solarte brings experience at all four infield positions, with the majority of his work having come at third base. He’s unlikely to see much action there next season, however, unless the Jays trade superstar Josh Donaldson between now and the summer or Donaldson misses time with injuries. Solarte spent the majority of last year at second base, where he has posted minus-3 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-1.1 Ultimate Zone Rating across just over 1,000 career innings, and that figures to be his primary position in 2018.

    The switch-hitting Solarte is known mostly for his bat, having slashed a respectable .267/.327/.419 over 2,061 plate appearances since debuting with the Yankees in 2014. Solarte experienced a drop-off in production last year, though, as both his .255/.314/.416 line and .161 ISO underwhelmed. However, he did strike out in just 11.9 percent of PAs (in line with his career rate of 11.5) and belt a personal-high 18 home runs.

    This trade brings an end to a decent tenure in San Diego for Solarte, whom the Padres acquired from the Yankees for third baseman Chase Headley in 2014. Solarte had been an oft-speculated trade piece over the past couple years, and with Headley having returned to the team in a deal with the Yankees this winter and shortstop Freddy Galvis also now in the mix after a swap with the Phillies, the Padres had a glut of infielders. As a result, they’d been shopping Solarte, whose exit leaves the Pads with Headley, Carlos Asuaje, Cory Spangenberg and Christian Villanueva among their current third/second base options (though Headley may be on his way out soon).

    In Olivares, the Padres are getting a soon-to-be 22-year-old whom ranked as the Blue Jays’ 18th-best prospect. The outlet notes that Olivares, a Venezuelan who signed with the Jays as an international free agent in 2014, “began to tap into his above-average raw power” last season, when he batted .277/.330/.500 with 17 homers in 464 Single-A plate trips, and has further potential on that front. He also possesses “well above-average speed” and the ability to play all three outfield positions. That skillset could make Olivares a major league regular down the line, per

    Carkuff, 24, did not rank among Toronto’s top 30 prospects at The right-hander, a 35th-round pick in 2016, is coming off a year in which he pitched to a 3.86 ERA and recorded 7.3 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 in 63 innings divided among the Single-A, High-A and Triple-A levels.

    Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that Solarte was headed to the Jays. Robert Murray of FanRag reported the Padres would get Olivares. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the Pads would receive Carkuff (all Twitter links). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres Re-Sign Craig Stammen]]> 2018-01-06T22:45:41Z 2018-01-06T01:24:32Z The Padres have struck a two-year $4.5MM deal with righty Craig Stammen, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). He can earn $100K for ever five appearances between twenty and fifty, with another $150K apiece upon reaching fifty-five and sixty games, per Bob Nightengle of USA Today (via Twitter). The sides were said to be in “serious talks” earlier tonight, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter).

    [RELATED: Updated Padres Depth Chart]

    Stammen, 33, was among the solid relief arms we cited recently as still being available, but he has now joined quite a few of his bullpen brethren in reaching agreement on a multi-year deal. He’ll return to San Diego, where he enjoyed a nice bounceback season in 2017.

    Long a multi-inning staple in the Nationals’ pen, Stammen was severely limited by arm troubles in 2015 and 2016. But he returned to form in a familiar role after earning his way onto the Padres roster after signing a minors pact.

    In 80 1/3 innings over sixty appearances, Stammen worked to a 3.14 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and a 51.6% groundball rate — as well as a career-worst 1.34 HR/9 home run rate. With his typical ~92 mph fastball combo, paired mostly with a slider and curve, Stammen managed an 11.4% swinging-strike rate that sits comfortably within the range he carried during his prior years as a successful reliever.