The San Diego Padres’ roster looks completely different than it did just one month ago. When I say different I mean respectable as General Manager A.J Preller has turned the lackluster Friars into potential contenders. That’s what happens when you acquire Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, Justin Upton, Derek Norris and Will Middlebrooks in the span of one week. Safe to say Preller and the Padres have garnered some significant attention which means many people are wondering what the team’s next move will be.
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It’s no secret the Padres are looking for a first baseman. Yonder Alonso has proved to be an unreliable option at the very best and Preller doesn’t seem to like the idea of having question marks on the roster. He’s displayed a willingness to trade off young prospects and he could potentially make yet another trade to acquire a first baseman. But, not every option is expensive as there are a few first baseman that could come at a relatively low price. There’s one player that I see as a great fit for San Diego. I’m calling it. The Padres’ next move will be Nick Swisher of the Cleveland Indians.
Nick Swisher offers the Padres versatility as he can play first base and right field if needed. He’s a well respected clubhouse guy who brings World Series experience from his days with the New York Yankees. He has decent power that, while it would likely take a dip in the cavernous Petco Park, would still be a nice compliment to the more feared hitters like Kemp, Myers and Upton. For the younger players on the club, Swisher would be a welcomed presence having been both a star (While in New York) and more or less an albatross (While in Chicago and to some extent Cleveland) throughout his career. Of course his excitable and enthusiastic personality keeps teammates loose which is beneficial to a team over the course of a long season.
What would the Indians want for Swisher? Well, he’s owed $30 million dollars through the 2016 season (With a $14 million dollar vesting option for 2017) and as always, his bad contract lowers his value. Since the Indians acquired first baseman Brandon Moss from the Oakland Athletics, Swisher is now in a state of limbo as two knee surgeries cast doubt on whether or not he can play right field anymore. The Indians would probably be grasping if they asked for anything m0re than a package of maybe Yangervis Solarte and Abraham Almonte, both of whom would be of use for the Indians.
The Indians could use some infield depth and Solarte is able to play third, second as well as shortstop and even some corner outfield. A switch-hitter with a decent bat, he’d be a nice addition to Cleveland’s roster which could use some support in a few areas. The same goes for Almonte, who is one of the 87 or so outfielders on the Padres’ roster. Almonte does not figure to come close to factoring into the Friars’ season so trading him makes sense. The Indians ran into a bit of trouble last season when Michael Bourn lost most of his season due to injury. They struggled to find a replacement, shuffling through guys like Nyjer Morgan and Chris Dickerson. Almonte would add outfield depth, which goes quite a long way these days. A deal like this makes a lot of sense for the Tribe.
Think of Preller as a big game hunter. He’s brought in the best of the bunch. Stars like Kemp, Upton and Myers aren’t too abundant and he’s managed to wrangle them all in together. I doubt Swisher would be his first choice for a first baseman. Someone like the Phillies’ Ryan Howard may be more attractive to him. But Swisher is not a bad option if he can’t grab a bigger name. The Padres aren’t done and it’ll definitely be interesting to see who he hauls in next.