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What the Padres Can Do With Anthony Rizzo

 

Rizzo's future in San Diego is now a bit murky, Image Courtesy of nesn.com

Last week the Padres traded their budding star Pitcher Mat Latos to the Cincinnati Reds for Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, Brad Boxberger, and Yonder Alonso.  Probably the most intriguing player that the Padres picked up in my opinion is Alonso because he plays First Base.  And as most of us have heard from those that do not care for the deal, the Padres have about five guys already on their roster that have the ability to play that specific position.

Now the rumor is that Alonso’s coming to the Padres will likely signal the end of Anthony Rizzo‘s short tenure with the club.  While it might be a bit hasty to unload Rizzo at this point in his short career, trading Rizzo might be in San Diego’s best interest.  Why you may ask?  Well because trading a player like Rizzo could inevitably help to remedy other issues that still exist for the Padres and help improve the organization overall.  So if you’d like to read about some possible landing spots for Rizzo and what the Padres could/should get in return, hit the “Continue Reading” Button and let’s get started.

Two Likely Landing Spots for Rizzo:

Most would agree that there are two franchises that will likely be in the running for Rizzo’s services: the Chicago Cubs and the Seattle Mariners.

As ESPN contributor Dave Cameron explained, the Mariners could benefit by trading for Rizzo because he could help out in the 1B/DH role.  Moreover, Rizzo could provide another solid bat in Seattle’s lineup with Justin Smoak and might even be a better option than Mike Carp is at the moment.

The Cubs option goes without saying and I feel that I don’t need to go into too much detail.  Rizzo would be reunited with the guys that drafted him in the 1st Round in 2007 (Epstein, Hoyer, and McLeod), and Wrigley would provide Rizzo a fresh change of scenery.  In addition, Rizzo could put his power on display because “The Friendly Confines” are a heck of a lot more conducive to Rizzo’s ability to blast the ball than the cavernous Petco Park.  With Carlos Pena‘s future in Chicago not looking bright, Rizzo might finally have his chance to succeed under his old bosses.

But before these teams will even consider looking at Rizzo as a possible addition to their clubs, they have to explore any and all options at the First Base position.  And that will only happen when the Free Agent status of an N.L. super-star is finally settled.

The X-Factor: Prince Fielder and Where He Goes

Prince Fielder will be a factor in not only where Rizzo goes, but how much the Padres can get for him.  It does not take a genius to understand that whichever team does not win out in the “Fielder Sweepstakes” (Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners, etc.), they will inevitably still be on the market for a First Baseman.  Furthermore, their need for a First Base prospect could lead them to San Diego because Rizzo appears as expendable as ever now with Alonso coming to San Diego.

Byrnes will hopefully wait until Fielder signs somewhere before dealing Rizzo, because the teams that are not able to get Prince may indeed be interested in getting a young 1B with good pop and that is just starting his major league career.  Moreover, Rizzo’s price tag should be a bit higher once Fielder is off the market because First Base needy teams will be willing to part with more than they anticipated to fill an area of need.

What the Padres Need:

But what would the Padres get out of dealing Rizzo?  To me there is really one important thing that they need at the moment: Middle Infielders.  Let’s be honest here, the Bartlett and Hudson combination from 2011 was mediocre at best and is really hurting the Padres now.  Bartlett and Hudson had a sub-par years at the plate, both have large contracts in terms of dollars, Hudson is difficult to move apparently because of his attitude, and they are really the only two proven Middle Infielders that are on the Big League roster now (unless you count Everth Cabrera, and I certainly don’t.  Drew Cumberland could be an option, but he is just getting back to baseball.)

Could the Padres be eyeing Franklin?, Image Courtesy of seattletimes.nwsource.com

One guy that I’m intrigued by is Seattle’s highly touted SS prospect named Nick Franklin that Cameron discussed as possible trade bait for Rizzo.  Franklin will be 21 years old in 2012, was one of Seattle’s 1st Round picks in 2009 and can possibly fill an area of important need for the Padres.  In addition, Franklin is a switch-hitter and has been coached by one of the Padres new hitting coaches Alonzo Powell who was the Mariners Minor League hitting coach before coming to San Diego.

With Brendan Ryan and Kyle Seager in front of him at the Major and Minor League levels, Franklin could be seen as expendable for a prospect like Rizzo, and the Padres could sure use a switch-hitting SS.

Whichever team the Padres trade with, if they do decide to part with Rizzo, I earnestly hope will give the Padres something of value at SS and or 2B.  Heck, I would be happy as long as the Padres improved their team, but those positions not only need depth at them, they most importantly need talent.

Conclusion:

As salty as I am that Rizzo will be leaving before really getting to prove himself over an entire season in San Diego, his departure may inevitably help the team as a whole.  The glut of First Basemen can now be used to the Padres advantage, and I’m all for improving the ball club first and foremost.  If it takes moving Rizzo to make the whole team better I’m all in as a Padres fan.

Take the whole Latos trade situation for instance.  I’m still mad that he had to be traded, but with the arms in Double-A (Wieland, Erlin, Kelly) and Luebke, the Padres are on the right track for future success with their starters.  And if you look on the bright side of the trade, the Padres not only got some future depth at Catcher with Grandal, but with Alonso San Diego has the luxury to move a player of Rizzo’s caliber to improve the rest of their roster.  My only wish is that they are able to maximize Rizzo’s trade value as much as possible and can possibly land a solid SS (or 2B) and/or even another starting pitcher to help.

Anyway, those are my ramblings on the situation and I hope that you enjoyed my article.  Let me know what you think.

 

Follow me on Twitter (@DominicDiTolla)

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  • Snate11

    Why does everyone assume that Rizzo is the first baseman that will be traded? Why not flip Alonzo? It’s happened before that a player is only traded temporarily, then re-traded. I think Rizzo has way more upside than Alonzo and if Byrnes gets his way and moves the fences at Petco in the future, Rizzo will be a better keep.

  • ChickenFriars

    @Snate11 Do you think they will actually move the fences? That may be something we end up covering here because I think it’d be a mistake. The way the park plays is an advantage disguised as a weakness. The Padres have done a pretty solid job of building teams specifically designed for Petco. I know this is a bit off track, but I thought I’d jump in. I’ll let Dom respond with his thoughts on Rizzo.