The Padres have been rumored to be targeting starting pitching this offseason, but it would behoove the team to look into bullpen arms. Jeremy Jeffress would be an intriguing option for the Padres.
Jeffress was designated for assignment a few days ago by the Royals, so he must be traded, waived, or sent to AAA in the next ten days. Jeffress was a 1st round pick by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2006 and was sent to Kansas City in the Zack Greinke deal. He has struggled to produce at the big-league level, but is still just 25.
In 2012, Jeffress spent most of the year at AAA Omaha, where he posted a 4.97 ERA in 37 appearances. He has a fastball that can hit the upper 90′s, and in his limited big-league action, he has averaged 95.5 MPH on his fastball. Walks have been a huge problem for him, but he could be worth taking a flier on.
As much talent as Jeffress possesses, he does not come without baggage. In 2009, he was suspended for 100 games for testing positive for marijuana for a third time. There was also talk of a lifetime ban if he tested positive again. He has been able to stay out of trouble, but one more positive drug test could end a promising career.
Acquiring Jeffress would give the Padres a powerful young arm who has started and relieved in his professional career and the cost should not be too great. I believe it would be a solid under-the-radar acquisition for San Diego.