When I read the news about the Marlins’ recent acquisition of Placido Polanco I did not think much of the move. The Marlins are currently doing their best “Early ’90s Padres” impression in terms of their recent payroll slashing/”firesale” activities, and they needed somebody to play Third Base during the upcoming season. So with a veteran like Polanco available and on the cheap (1 year, $2.75 Million plus incentives), I was not shocked.
But when I read Jayson Stark’s column on ESPN.com about the players Miami tried to acquire before they ultimately signed the 37 year-old veteran I was happy with one aspect of the signing: Miami was unable to trade for San Diego’s prized Infield prospect Jedd Gyorko.
I am personally relieved that the Friars did not part with a talented player like Gyorko. Although Miami likely tried to lure the Starting Pitching-hungry Padres to give up Gyorko for help in the aforementioned department, San Diego’s Front Office was wise not let their #2 rated prospect (according to MLB.com) go elsewhere.
Although the Padres could definitely use an extra arm or two to bolster their Starting Staff this season, it would have made zero sense for them to unload a player like Gyorko. Although the Padres improved offensively towards the tail end of last season, they still finished 24th in Runs Scored (651 Runs) and 22nd in Team Batting Average (.247) and will need all the help they can get at the plate if they are serious about making postseason pushes beginning around 2014.
Gyorko has been as consistently effective as one can get during his Minor League career at the plate, and had himself quite the fantastic year during his stint with Triple-A Tucson last year. Over 92 Games, Jedd hit .328 (121 for 369) with 24 Doubles, 24 Home Runs, and drove in 83 Runs. What was even more impressive was the fact that the Infielder recorded a .380 On-Base Percentage and put up a stellar .588 Slugging Percentage.
Besides his productivity at the plate, the biggest reason why I am glad that the Padres held on to Gyorko is because figures to be such an important cog in the team’s current rebuilding attempts. If the Padres do indeed decide to keep 2012 Gold Glover and 2012 N.L. RBI Champion Chase Headley as their long-term Third Baseman, the Padres will instantly upgrade the middle of their Infield and the middle of their lineup with a player like Gyorko at their disposal. But if the Friars are instead inclined to trade Headley or let him walk when he becomes a Free Agent after the 2014 season, Gyorko has played Third Base for much of his Minor League career and would likely be given first crack at filling Headley’s shoes if he is traded or leaves via Free Agency.
Am I pleased with the way that San Diego’s Front Office has taken what appears to be a less-than aggressive attitude towards some of the team’s biggest needs (i.e. Starting Pitching)? No, not really. I mean, I hope that Tyson Ross and Jason Marquis can contribute to the Starting Staff in a helpful manner this year. Plus, there is still time for the team to acquire some Starting Pitching over the next two months, no matter how thin the market is now.
But when I read the news that the franchise did not part with Gyorko in a trade with Miami I was nevertheless happy to see that the team had their future in mind with regards to their current “Headley/Middle Infield” situations. Hopefully Gyorko will begin to make some contributions early and often at the Major League level this season, because the Friars could definitely use a hitter like him in the lineup.
Stats & Contract Information Courtesy of: Baseball Reference