A Trade the Padres Should Think About

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The Padres recent moves have been well documented across FriarsOnBase in recent days and throughout the baseball blogs – but at this moment the Padres have too many roster spots filled up! Clearly AJ Preller has outsmarted most of the baseball world this off-season by making moves no one has seen coming, leading Matt Kemp to say that “This is unbelievable, he’s a rock star right now”. So how will he finish off this roster overhaul?

The easiest options at this point are certainly more trades – and Preller has shown no holding back in trading recently acquired pieces for other pieces (see Ryan Hanigan for Will Middlebrooks) which might where this next action takes place.

Right now literally the only positions Preller HASN’T traded for is SS, 2B and 1B. Which is amazing. Among those he has a second baseman that led rookies in homers just two season ago and signed a contract extension last year in Jedd Gyorko, whose job is safe at this point.

So that leads him to fill SS and 1B, and keeping in mind that of the three outfielders acquired, not a single one is a prototypical lead-off hitter OR center fielder. Alexi Amarista, currently slated to be the teams starting shortstop seems to be the first guess for lead-off based on what’s left of the starters. Another option tossed around would be Corey Spangenberg, who showed promise in September call-up duties last year. Those big bats do no good if no one is on base to be hit in.

I’m okay with first base being decided by a platoon of Yonder Alonso and Tommy Medica, hoping Medica can win the job outright but satisfied with a platoon situation. The outfield is very right-handed, though Seth Smith and Will Venable are left-handed but appear on the short end of the stick so to speak. Yonder would provide another left-handed bat if needed, and others have talked about Seth Smith even playing some first base as well.

So here is my idea:

Trade Smith and Cameron Maybin to the Giants for Brandon Belt.  The Giants get the left-fielder they need after losing Michael Morse AND another outfielder in Maybin who could cover more ground in AT&T Park. Belt won’t be a free agent until 2018 so the Padres keep a few years of eligibility with him and who in 2013 hit 17 homers and .289. Last year he suffered through several injuries which saw his production slip to hitting only .243 with 12 homers in 61 games.

Yet his upside and scouting reports overall seem much higher than Alonso’s and the move would free up Smith’s salary from the books. For the Giants, this would continue to along them to play Buster Posey more at first, and Maybin could be a great fourth outfielder option for the Giants. For the outfield, I like keeping Venable as a left-handed defensive replacement to ease the pain of watching arthritic Kemp and Wil Myers, who likely will struggle some patrolling spacious center field for Petco Park.

The Giants might need something else to sweeten the deal, and if they want Alonso thrown in I don’t really see an issue with that either. Now the Padres would have freed up Alonso’s, Smith’s, and Maybin’s salary while adding an arbitration eligible left-handed hitting first baseman in Belt.

It just might work.