Winter Rumors: Padres and Braves To Tango?
With great power comes great responsibility. The Padres have a glutton of starting pitching, and many other teams do not. In 2014 the Atlanta Braves stayed in contention for most of the season before fading in September for the second time in 3 seasons. The Braves lost 2 starting pitchers in spring training before the season even began when Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy BOTH had to undergo Tommy John Surgery. And the Padres fans complain about Cashner missing a few months.
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The Braves did sign Ervin Santana as a stop-gap to a one-year deal, and with mixed results. Which really should not have been a surprise, as his whole career is pretty maddening and inconsistent. Now he is a free agent again, and will likely draw out the process one more time hoping for more money than he got last year.
So what do the Padres do? They likely aren’t quite ready to make the jump in 2015, but with a focused eye on 2016 to compete in the NL West with the spending Dodgers and Giants who by calendar year should contend again in 2016 for a World Championship. They have the ace in the making Andrew Cashner, who pitched amazing when healthy but missed some time. They have the emerging ace in Tyson Ross, who was one of the absolute best pitchers in the National League last season. They have the reliable 200+ inning Ian Kennedy, and then they have youth. Jesse Hahn, Robbie Erlin, Matt Wisler, and Cuban surprise Odrisamer Despaigne. Throw in the possibility of Josh Johnson trying once again to revive his career, and the depth is there.
The stage is set for a Braves-Padres deal, and this is one scenario that might make sense: The Padres should trade Andrew Cashner and Cameron Maybin for Evan Gattis and Chris Johnson.
Hahn is a little unproven, though impressed at the major league level this season posting a 7-4 record and 3.04 ERA in over 70 innings and 12 starts. The Braves are looking to win this season and beyond with a new stadium on the horizon and both Justin Upton and Jason Heyward in contract years. Maybin here gets a chance to be a corner outfielder and is signed through 2016 with a team option for 2017. He also could supplement the disappointing B.J. Upton in center field. Chris Johnson has been good at 3B but not good enough to sacrifice, and the Padres need a solid third baseman to replace the departed Chase Headley.
Of course the jewels here are Cashner and Gattis. Gattis is a masher, and while there are concerns about his defense in left field AND catcher, he is cheap by being under team control for a few more years but would provide sorely needed offense for the Padres. Cashner is the front-of-the-rotation starter the Braves are looking for. He could provide the win now for the Braves, while Gattis will be around at least a couple of years for the Padres and could prove excellent trade bait down the road to an American League club as a designated hitter.
The tricky part is that the Padres currently already have two catchers in Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera. Rivera hit well by Padres standards this season, but Gattis would be an easy upgrade. Gattis could play left a few games a week though so Rivera could catch more in hopes that Grandal can be moved for some value, as he now has more drug suspensions and long DL stints than good seasons in the major leagues.
What do you think? Does this trade make sense? What can the Padres get for Cashner?