Padres Should Eye Angels For Solutions


It goes without saying that the Padres have a lot of holes to fill this off-season.

First off, the Padres could try their luck in free agency. While this seems easy enough, it’s a tactic that hasn’t worked in the Padres favor for a number of years. Whether it’s the lack of a winning culture, a ballpark that doesn’t cater to hitters, or budget constraints, the Friars just can’t seem to reel in any big fish. And when San Diego does manage to sign someone worth mentioning, they have struggled to make an impact on the field and in the lineup, if they even play at all (Josh Johnson). Yasmany Tomas talk is abundant, but if history tells us anything, it’s that usually talk is just talk in San Diego.

Secondly, the Padres could build from within. After all, they are consistently ranked in the top 10 for best farm systems in the MLB. But how many of those prospects are ready to be called up? Rymer Liriano struggled in his short time with the team, but that may be due to inconsistent playing time in Bud Black‘s Franken-lineup. He should earn a starting spot before or during spring training with the potential departures of Carlos Quentin and Will Venable. Cory Spangenberg was impressive during his 20 games with the team and could find himself on the squad. Tommy Medica, on the other hand was perhaps a little too inconsistent to get the starting first base job in 2015.  Those three could be upgrades next season, but it’s unlikely that they would bring enough to the table to make the Padres a legitimate contender. 

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The Padres’ farm system has a number of exciting position players waiting in the wings. Unfortunately, Jake Bauers, Trea Turner, and Mallex Smith still have some developing to do (but you can read these player interviews with Bauers and Turner to hold you over).

Lastly, the Padres could make some trades. And they should, too. They have amassed an army of arms that every team in the league should be jealous of. They have the number one catching prospect in all of the Majors. Most importantly, the Padres have motivation. After finishing with a near identical losing record for three straight seasons, the team must do something. To quote the late Owen Hart, “Enough is enough, and it’s time for a change.”

The Padres should have quite a few suitors, including the Los Angeles California Angels of Aneheim (or whatever it is they call themselves these days). The trade history between these two teams is well documented, and that relationship would help to establish a mutually beneficial, budget-conscious trade. Luckily for the Padres, it was reported that the Angels might be shopping some infielders this off-season in the hopes that they could acquire starting pitching in return.

Trade targets:

1. Howie Kendrick, 2B

The 30-year-old second baseman has a career .292 batting average and a career .332 on-base percentage in nine years at the “Big A”. What’s not to like? He’s a plus hitter, a plus fielder, and plus personality in the dugout. With zero off-field issues and a minimal injury history, Kendrick would be an instant upgrade and the Padres would have the best second baseman in the National League West. And at only $9.5 million per year, he’s a steal.

Unfortunately, he’s also in the last year of his contract, so the Padres front office would have to work furiously to lock him up long term. Gyorko could move over to his natural position at third base, or his other natural position, the disabled list. Regardless, if the Padres were to get involved in a deal, the asking price might be less if Kendrick is only on a one-year audition.

2. David Freese, 3B

Freese was the other Halo named in the report about a possible change of scenery this off-season. Only hitting about .260 in his past two seasons, the 31-year-old Freese is a veteran who knows how to win. He was an integral part of the Cardinals’ 2011 World Series championship, earning the 2011  NLCS MVP, World Series MVP, and Babe Ruth award while setting two MLB postseason records with 50 total bases and 21 RBI.

3. C.J. Cron, 1B

C.J. had some value for the Angels last year, with a .256 batting average and 11 home runs in 79 games. The Padres interim GMs failed to acquire Cron in the Huston Street deal which would have been a monster steal in what was already considered to be a lofty return on investment.

The Padres have the way, but do they have the will?