Last night Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the Padres were “discussing trades for [Padres' catcher Nick] Hundley”. The Padres are one of the very few teams who have opted to carry three catchers on their 25 man roster. Splitting time with Rene Rivera and Yasmani Grandal, Hundley now looks like the odd man out after starting just 4 of the Padres 21 games so far.
Hundley has spent his entire 7 year career with the Padres owning a .238/.297/.393 slash line in 488 games. Last year was his first season as the teams starter. Due to the injury to Grandal, he played in a career high 114 games, 29 more than his previous high. Now that Grandal is healthy and the Padres have enough faith in Rivera as a backup, Hundley has become expendable.
Hundley is in the final year of his contract, but he has a $5 million option for 2015 with no buyout. That is very attractive for teams who are in need of a catcher only for the short term. The Rangers have lost Geovany Soto for the remainder of the season. They could look at Hundley as an adequate replacement. There shouldn’t be a shortage of suitors for Hundley. The Rangers and Dodgers might be top suitors but any number of teams in need of a starter or backup could come up with a competitive offer.
Now the big question is, what can the Padres get for Hundley? If I’m Josh Byrnes I look for a deal similar to the one the Padres got for Ernesto Frieri. In May of 2012 the Padres were able to land utilityman Alexi Amarista and reliever Donn Roach from the Angels. Both are now members of the current roster but were far from sure things at the time of the deal. Amarista was looked as a young utility player, but the big piece was Roach who was thought to be a top relief prospect. If the Padres could mirror that deal it’d be a fair price for Hundley. By landing a major league ready utlitlyman and relief prospect, it would be more than enough for an unneeded catcher.