It is that time yet again readers: “Trade Season.” As we near the end of July, franchises and their Front Offices are yet again dividing into the “buyer” and “seller” camps. Unlike most seasons though, because of the new postseason rules (addition of the 2nd Wild Card) there are a far greater amount of “buyers” than sellers as the trading deadline creeps closer. In fact, I would say about Two-Thirds of the teams in the League are jockeying for postseason contention as we speak, if not more. Thus, because of the aforementioned postseason expansion, teams with any shred of postseason hopes and dreams will be more inclined to be “buyers” as opposed to “sellers” come the end of this month. Unfortunately for us Friar faithful, the Padres are not one of these contending teams and have literally been out of the running for a playoff spot since late May if not earlier.
Status as cellar-dwellers aside, San Diego’s all-too-certain status as “sellers” at this point in the season is not necessarily a terrible thing. One could even make the argument that in the event the Friars Front Office decides to become major “sellers” over the next two weeks might be a positive which this franchise could take full advantage of over the coming seasons. With these things in mind, let us take a look at how the Padres might be able to take full advantage of their “seller” status.
Padres Have What Contenders Want at Positions They Need
As it says in the title, the Padres currently have on their roster three players which have and will continue to be hot commodities in the trade market this season: Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin, and Huston Street. And until the trade deadline officially ends, or the Padres do indeed decide to lock-up Quentin and Street long-term, these three will be the most talked about topics of conversation.
Headley is and likely will be the most sought after of any of the Padres’ players. And why shouldn’t he be? Chase is a solid swicth-hitting bat which any lineup on a contending team can always use. In addition, Headley has enjoyed a decent season overall at the plate (.268 Avg., 10 HR’s, 46 RBI’s, 21 2B’s, 51 BB’s, and 91 Hits), and most of all, Headley can play some nice defense from the Third Base position. It also does not hurt that Headley’s offensive numbers away from Petco Park (.299 Avg.) have completely dwarfed his stats over his career in the games he has played the cavernous ballpark (.234 Avg.). The other thing Headley has going for him is the fact that there are a number of contending teams looking for Third Basemen as they ready themselves for a stretch run to the postseason. As Jon Heyman of CBS.Sports.com reported a few weeks ago, numerous teams like the Indians, Orioles, Pirates, Diamondbacks, and Dodgers are interested in Headley, and could be willing to pay a large price for his services over the remainder of the season.
As for Quentin, what contending team would not be interested in a power-hitter to add to the middle of their lineup? Even though Quentin missed almost the first one-third of the regular season, he has still produced when he has been in the lineup, and been San Diego’s only consistent power threat in 2012. In 37 games, Quentin has hit 8 Home Runs, knocked in 21, and has put up an impressive .394 On-Base Percentage. While Quentin’s Batting Average might have dipped a bit over the last month (.268) and his health issues over his career might scare a few teams, a market still exists for him. Yesterday, Scott Miller of CBS.Sports.com discussed how Quentin could be sought after by the Indians, Reds, Pirates, and Marlins, all of whom have recently asked about acquiring him. In addition, I also would not count out a few other American League teams which could view Quentin as a solid Designated Hitter option for the remainder of the season.
Like Quentin, despite the fact that Huston Street was struck by an injury earlier in 2012, he has nevertheless produced for the Padres during his first season with the club. San Diego’s lone All-Star representative, Street has been lights-out so far this year and done a masterful job out of the bullpen. Over 25.1 Innings, Street has logged a 2-0 record, 15 Saves, 34 Strikeouts, and a measly 1.07 ERA, and has peaked the interest in some teams looking for bullpen help according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. While I would like to see that Padres lock Street up long-term, he could be due $9 million dollars next season if the team exercises their option. Last offseason the Padres were unwilling to pay Heath Bell that amount, and might not be willing to invest that much in the Closer position. There is a good chance that this team likely will not crack .500 in 2013, and paying that much money to a guy who would Save 40 out of 75 or less Wins will be something this team has to consider.
If San Diego decides to move any of these players, or all three, I just have one request: gouge the trading partner for talent, and gouge them good. I have no doubt that Brynes and Co. will be able to do this with Headley, simply because of the fact that there are so many teams interested in him. As for Quentin and Street, hopefully the Padres can focus on acquiring some depth and help at positions of need for some hopeful postseason runs in 2014 and beyond. Kevin outlined some of these positions/players in his “wish list,” and if you have not read the post, check it out here.
Wish list aside, San Diego is actually sitting in a favorable position right now. All three guys play important positions which postseason-hopeful teams might be willing to spend a bit extra in exchange to acquire. Moreover, if Headley is moved, it would give a chance to the up-and-coming Jedd Gyorko, a guy that has absolutely destroyed Minor League pitching over his career and has continued to do so at the Triple-A level in 2012. If Headley is not in the Padres’ long-term plans, and Gyorko is, trading Headley now might be the best opportunity for the franchise to receive the most compensation in the event he leaves in Free Agency. As for Quentin and Street, both will be Free Agents at the end of the season (Street has the $9 million team option I discussed above), and in the event that the Padres cannot sign either of them to long-term deals, it would definitely be in the franchise’s best interest to trade them when their values’ are still high.
Even though it might not seem like it now, the next few weeks will be some of the most important in recent memory for this franchise. We are going to find out exactly where this rebuilding process is going and which pieces will be sticking around for the long-haul, and which ones will be used as trading chips for future (hopeful) postseason runs. I for one cannot wait to see what happens, and I hope for this franchise’s sake that whichever decisions are made, they end up working out for the best.