The Padres are expected have a busy offseason as the team tries to figure out the proper mixture for a contender. Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune breaks down the Padres position-by-position as they look ahead to 2020, and the common refrain from many inside the organization is that perhaps only seven players (Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Chris Paddack, Eric Hosmer, Garrett Richards, Andres Munoz, and Kirby Yates) look like sure bets to be with the organization next season. Everyone else, even from seeming building blocks like Dinelson Lamet or Hunter Renfroe, could potentially be traded for more proven talents.
“They have roster problems. They have to move people,” one rival executive tells Acee, which gets to the heart of the challenge facing the Padres. The team still doesn’t totally know what they have in some players who have been inconsistent at the Major League level, yet a wave of prospects coming up and the organization increasingly impatient for a winning season, some tough choices may have to be made about who stays and who becomes a trade chip.
Some items from around the NL West…
- Nick Ahmed enjoys playing for the Diamondbacks, but when it comes to the possibility of a contract extension, the shortstop tells Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic that “I want to sign a fair deal. I’ve played long enough to realize that. I want to be able to take advantage of what I’ve got to this point in my career.” A September slump has dropped Ahmed’s slash line to .255/.318/.442 over 621 PA this season, though his 93 wRC+ still represents the best offensive production of his six-year career, and his glovework has continued to be excellent. Ahmed has one year of arbitration remaining before he hits free agency in the 2020-21 offseason, and he’ll be 31 on Opening Day 2021. It makes for something of a tricky extension case, as Piecoro notes, since there aren’t many shortstop comps that would serve as a model for a potential multi-year contract. There also hasn’t been any word from the D’Backs if they’d be interested in extending Ahmed, though Piecoro observes that GM Mike Hazen “does not speculate on such topics.”
- There hasn’t yet been word about Andrew Friedman’s status with the Dodgers, as the president of baseball operations will reach the end of his contract when the Dodgers’ season ends. The involved parties didn’t provide any details about negotiations, though there seems to be general optimism that a deal will be reached, Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times writes. Friedman said he wants to return, while team president Stan Kasten said he is “pretty confident” Friedman will be back, and “expect him to be here for a long time.” Manager Dave Roberts also feels Friedman will remain in L.A., saying “everything I hear is [a new contract] is imminent, that it will get done.”
- Raimel Tapia projects as an everyday left fielder for the Rockies in 2020, Nick Groke of the Athletic (subscription required) writes, which should help a player who seemed to get better with more regular playing time this season. As a highly-regarded prospect coming out of Colorado’s farm system, Tapia received only 239 MLB plate appearances from 2016-18 before getting more of an extended look this season. While Tapia has only a .276/.310/.418 slash line (74 wRC+) over 442 PA, he has also battled injuries and didn’t get many consistent starts until late July, Groke noted. Sticking with Tapia as the mostly everyday left fielder would reduce Ian Desmond to a backup role, though the highly-paid veteran hasn’t done enough to merit more at-bats over three disappointing years in Colorado. There’s also the possibility, however, that the Rockies could trade Tapia in the offseason to address other roster needs.
- Tim Wallach is leaving his job as the Marlins’ bench coach to be closer to his family in California, though one rival executive tells Ken Rosenthal (in his latest FOX Sports video) that Wallach could be a possible candidate for the Padres’ managerial opening. It wouldn’t be the first time that Wallach has been linked to San Diego, as he interviewed for the last managerial vacancy before the club went with Andy Green. Wallach has over 12 years of MLB coaching experience and has also managed at the Triple-A level in the Dodgers’ organization, though he hasn’t been a big league skipper. In the wake of Green’s firing, Rosenthal wonders if the Padres could prefer someone with Major League managing experience rather hire than another first-timer.