The Editor’s Desk with Billy Brost: If No Yasmany Tomas, Then What?
By Billy Brost
Being a fan of the San Diego Padres, most of the news that has been circulating over the past couple of weeks has been centered on Cuban slugger, Yasmany Tomas. Everything from open letters, begging the team to sign him, to how Tomas could be the centerpiece in which a Wild Card contender could be built as early as this next season.
The good news for the Padres, is that General Manager A.J. Preller has been given ownership’s blessing to spend at his discretion to make the Friars ready to win. Preller’s talent is finding solid international prospects, and Tomas isn’t a stretch in terms of talent. It didn’t take Inspector Gadget to figure out what Tomas could mean to the Padres, and Preller has been so impressed, that he has privately worked out Tomas twice over the past three weeks.
By all indications, Yasmany Tomas will get a $100 million dollar contract from whomever takes the leap of faith, hoping that he is indeed the next Yasiel Puig, Jose Abreu, or Yoenis Cespedes. For Preller and the Padres, he might just be a bit too spendy to put all of their payroll eggs in one basket. The big question should be, if they pass or miss out on Tomas, who is their Plan B? Who are their targets? Who is the impact bat that will make the Padres playoff-ready in 2015?
I’ve spoken of this option before, and I’m going to stick with it. Nelson Cruz on a two-year deal with an option for a third year could get it done. Cruz led the American League in home runs this year, and helped lead the Orioles into the ALCS, where they were swept by the Kansas City Royals. Cruz and Preller have a previous working relationship, and if the Padres are indeed willing to spend for an impact bat, and Tomas is off the table, Nelson Cruz could be a suitable fit.
We’ve also discussed the Padres’ need for an upgrade at first base. The free agent market is somewhat deep, and several players who the team might consider as affordable, could be pursued. Players such as Adam LaRoche, Michael Morse, or even Billy Butler immediately upgrade an offense that has been in dire need of big sticks for quite some time. Morse, although injury-prone, could also play some outfield.
Finally, the Padres have some choices at both third base and behind the plate. Let’s face it, Rene Rivera and Yasmani Grandal are not the answer, and as a friendly reader pointed out on one of my pieces the other day, prospect Austin Hedges is most likely two to three years away, and that’s only if his bat ever develops. Do the Padres want to even consider a Chase Headley reunion? How about 37-year-old Aramis Ramirez? The man when healthy, can flat out rake. Mark Reynolds would love to play every day, and he’s a big bat with a low average.
Behind the plate, I’ve already sung the praises of Russell Martin, but J.P. Arencibia has big power and is under 30. A.J. Pierzynski has risen from the dead to resurrect his career in St. Louis. If he can hit at all, even on a one-year deal, it’s an upgrade. Finally, John Buck or Ryan Doumit, both of whom have had solid seasons with the bat, could be stop gap measures until a better option either develops via the trade market, or Hedges develops faster than expected.
No matter what, if the Padres miss out on Yasmany Tomas, there are suitable, affordable options. Not all is lost if they swing and miss at the $100 million dollar man.