Padres Problems Could Put Cashner On Trading Block

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Jun 7, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner (34) throws the ball in the 1st inning against the Washington Nationals at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Stan Liu-USA TODAY Sports

Since the death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn on Monday, the priorities of the team have rightfully shifted to honoring the greatest Padres’ player in its history. However, it still has not taken away from the problems the team is facing with the lack of offensive production and the season hanging on by the balance.

The passing of Gwynn has put a brief halt on the necessary changes that need to be made by ownership in order to get the team back in the right direction.  Last weekend, both executive chairman Ron Fowler and team president Mike Dee expressed their displeasure with the team’s lack of offensive production. Its led many in the organization to seek immediate changes. The Padres’ .216 team batting average is on track to be the worst since the 1910 Chicago White Sox who posted a .210 average. This disturbing statistic definitely leaves management searching for immediate answers.

It is being reported by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports that if Padres’ decide to keep current GM Josh Byrnes, the club would be open to trading ace pitcher Andrew Cashner. Rosenthal adds,

"“Their trade candidates include not only a number of veterans who could help contenders, but also a starting pitcher with the potential to shake up the entire market — right-hander Andrew Cashner.”"

Though fans will most likely be displeased with the thoughts of  trading of Cashner, both he and Huston Street provide the chance for the Padres’ to get back some really large pieces in return, that can help rejuvenate the team’s offense this year or next.  Cashner is one of the elite pitchers in the game and will be a free agent in the next couple of years. Barring injuries, he will most likely demand a hefty pay increase to stay in San Diego. Cashner gives the Padres’ leverage to demand top tier talent in return.

In addition to Cashner, closer Huston Street will also draw heavy consideration from teams looking for an elite closer at the trading deadline. Street’s definitely excelled to career numbers in 2014, posting an amazing 0.96 ERA with 20 saves. However, with the offense aiming to put up the worst offense in over a 100 years of baseball, Street becomes a non-factor if the team cannot get a lead for him to save.

The Padres are more likely going to shop pitcher Ian Kennedy, third baseman Chase Headley, and outfielder Carlos Quentin if he agrees to waive his no-trade clause. These three will definitely draw interest, but they will not garner the same level of talent in return if the team ponders the idea of Cashner and Street.

Petco Park and pitching coach Darren Balsley are suited to develop talented pitchers and resurrect careers who are seemingly coming to an end. For example, both Jon Garland and Aaron Harang managed to turnaround careers while in San Diego before departing for big paydays elsewhere.

However, as Rosenthal points out, this will all depend on managements decision to retain or fire Byrnes, whose relationship with the organization is deteriorating. 

"“If the owners want Byrnes to continue as GM, they should make their position clear. If not, they should dismiss Byrnes and install a replacement as quickly as possible.“"

Gwynn’s death hit the city and the organization hard, but at the same time, it cannot detract from the major problems growing within the front office and on the field.  Both Cashner and Street give the Padres’ some serious bargaining chips heading into the trade deadline, but with Byrnes most recent signings and trades, does ownership even trust him enough to negotiate a deal for Cashner or Street?

It will most definitely be an interesting next month before July 31st.

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