Money Makes the Seth Smith Trade Make Sense


There were some mixed reactions when the Padres traded Seth Smith last week for a power pitcher with a MLB ERA over 5.

Yet, as Jeff Sanders writes for the San Diego Union Tribune, when you look at the money it makes a lot of sense. You see, it is not saying that the deal mad last year extending Smith was a bad one. Not at all. It’s just that the deal in the new-look Padres doesn’t make sense anymore. Last year Seth Smith was a surprising offensive force in the Padres outfield that was full of disappointments. Wil Venable was the Padres 2013 MVP before a disastrous 2014. Carlos Quentin once again played in less than half of the Padres games and hit under .200. Cameron Maybin? You get the picture. In that world the deal made sense. Now though, you add Matt Kemp, Wil Myers, and Justin Upton and paying a left-handed bench player $13M over two seasons doesn’t make sense.

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Of course, there are questions about the trade return in Brandon Maurer. Is another right-handed arm really what the Padres needed? What about shortstop? What about a lead-off hitter? Only time will tell however how that will work out.

I do know that when Smith was first acquired for fan favorite Luke Gregorson many were bemoaning that deal, so we might have to leave room for the benefit of the doubt.

What is also interesting to note is that by moving Smith, and after all the other moves the Padres have made so far, their current payroll projects at just a little higher than last season’s payroll. Which is great news and also shows the thinking that Preller has put into all of this so far.

He didn’t go into the off-season planning on moving Seth Smith. He also probably didn’t plan on getting players the caliber of Kemp, Upton, and Myers. When he did – he wasn’t too skiddish to trade away the Padres best outfielder of 2014. These are all good signs.

My only caveat to this whole deal is this: Justin Upton. As of right now, Justin Upton’s contract ends at the end of 2015. To me of the three outfielders acquired he was the most curious because of his contract status. On the one hand, it shows a bold move to win THIS YEAR. On the other – let’s say that the Padres come out of the gate slow at the end of June are 20 games back from any playoff spot. At that point, you HAVE to trade Upton right? Otherwise you will likely lose him in free agency and now you gave up some quality prospects for nothing. Now, you give up Upton after trading away Seth Smith who was guaranteed money through 2016. Now, for 2016 instead of the “extra” outfielders we keep hearing about we’re back to filling left field with a combination of Rymer Liriano and Will Venable. Not good. Giving away Seth Smith shows once again that AJ Preller is making the bold decisions to instill in this team that winning now and performing are his only requirements. Can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.