May 25, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Huston Street (16) throws during the ninth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The Major League Baseball non-waiver trading deadline is 59 days away. The San Diego Padres are in an awkward position; one that has resulted from the creation of a second wild card for postseason participation. A handful of years ago, this article isn’t even being discussed, because the answer would be clear as day. With the Friars only a handful of games out of the last postseason spot, Josh Byrnes and Bud Black have decisions to make regarding the 2014 Padres.
As I wrote last week, ownership should take the decisions out of Byrnes’ and Black’s hands, and send them both packing. Ownership has to determine, if they are indeed going to move in a different direction with their leadership, should they also move in a different direction with their roster? The team has pieces that could fetch some talent in return. This piece will examine some of the parts the Padres need to make a decision on, and whether or not these players will be a part of the future, or are an afterthought in a lost season, and can be moved.
–Huston Street, Closer 2014 Stats: 1.23 ERA, 22 IP, 17 saves, 9.8 K/9
The Padres signed Joaquin Benoit this past off-season, and he has closer’s experience. While Benoit wouldn’t fetch much of a return, Street–who is having a career-year thus far, could. The problem for Street is his ability to stay healthy. While the Friars most likely won’t be contending to win a World Series, there are a couple of teams that could use Street’s elite closing abilities. While some contenders might not be World Series-caliber, they are in a better position to make a run than the Padres currently are. If the Padres dealt Street, Benoit would slide right into the closer’s role.
Possible Destinations: Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, Oakland Athletics
–Chase Headley, Third Baseman 2014 Stats: .201 BA, 5 HR, 19 RBI, .632 OPS, .345 SLG
The middle-of-the-order hot corner occupant, whose break out season was three years ago, has to be dealt. Even with a couple of down years since his banner campaign, Headley will get more in free agency this coming winter than the Padres could or should be willing to pay. It’s hard to invest in a guy that is injury-prone and only has one big season under his belt. His summer rental status will limit his return, but a team that is desperate for offense and someone to man third base might be willing to overpay.
Possible Destinations: New York Yankees, Washington Nationals
–Seth Smith, Outfielder 2014 Stats: .309 BA, 6 home runs, 20 RBI, .967 OPS, .553 SLG
Just like Headley, Smith will walk away at season’s end. It is doubtful the Padres would dare make a qualifying offer to a platoon outfielder. Sure, Smith is having a phenomenal season, and could provide some quality depth to a team looking to get over the top, but he is not the type of impact bat that teams empty their farm system for–even if he is just a summer rental.
Possible Destinations: Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins
–Carlos Quentin, Outfielder 2014 Stats: .313 BA, 2 HR, 6 RBI, .967 OPS, .531 SLG
While Carlos Quentin is under contract through the next two seasons after 2014, it is becoming glaringly obvious that his body is just not built for the rigors of having to play in the National League. He is still one of the most dangerous right-handed hitters in baseball when healthy–yes, when healthy, Quentin would make an ideal designated hitter candidate for a team that can 1. afford to take on some of his contract and 2. have a need for his big bat. If the Padres were able to somehow rid themselves of Quentin’s contract and perhaps get a couple of prospects in return, it would open up an opportunity for Tommy Medica to play left field everyday. It’s not like they are giving up on Yonder Alonso anytime soon.
Possible Destinations: Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles
The moving of any or all of these players could bring back much-needed minor league talent on the offensive side of the baseball. The Padres’ system is loaded with arms, and with the impending arrivals of Matt Wisler and Max Fried, the team could even look to move someone like Ian Kennedy or Tim Stauffer if there were interest. This team needs an overhaul, and a team starts by moving their high-priced, valuable pieces that can help someone NOW, while getting players in return that can help the big league club down the road.