The Miami Marlins have been on the lookout for a left-handed outfielder. The free agent market hasn’t appeared to be all that promising with names like Ichiro Suzuki, Nate Schierholtz and Andy Dirks headlining the class, the Marlins may be forced to turn to the trade market. That led them to the Padres and Will Venable. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro reported that Venable has “drawn attention” from the Marlins.
Venable is in his final year of a two-year contract he signed prior to last season that covered his final two years of arbitration. Now that the Padres have rebuilt the outfield with Justin Upton, Wil Myers and Matt Kemp the team has very little use for Venable. Being a year away from free agency and a paltry salary of $4.25 million Venable shouldn’t be very hard to move.
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If the Padres were to move Venable though, it might cause some problems. Venable is one of two-left handed outfielders on the Padres’ 40-man roster alongside Alex Dickerson. Dickerson doesn’t project to make the Opening Day roster or be a factor on the Padres’ season at any point. If Venable goes, the only outfielder who can hit from the left side with a chance to make the roster is the switch-hitting Abraham Almonte. With the roster as it currently stands, it’ll be tough to find a place for Almonte with Cameron Maybin and Carlos Quentin ahead of him on the depth chart.
Also if you believe the Wil Myers for Cole Hamels rumors, Venable would be the perfect in-house replacement for Myers. He’d provide an upgrade defensively and add a left-handed bat as well as some speed to the lineup, two things the current lineup lacks. Even if Myers never heads to Philly, he still might not find himself in the everyday lineup later in the season.
Last season Myers hit .222/.294/.320. Compare that to Venable’s .224/.288/.325. They were practically the same hitter, but the difference comes in the field. Venable was worth 8 Defensive Runs Saved while Myers was worth -7 in fewer games. If Myers doesn’t get his hitting back on track, he may need some time in AAA and the Padres will need someone to step up and play enter and no current Padre would be better suited for the role than Venable.
Right now I think the Padres would be better served trying to move Maybin and Quentin before they try to trade Venable. At least one of those three will have to be moved, and right now Venable is the most valuable to the Padres. That being said, Venable is also the most valuable to any team searching for an outfielder. The Marlins won’t wait around for the Padres to shop around the other two, especially with other options on the free agent market, so while I think they should try to hold on to him for as long as possible, the window to move one of their extra outfielders could be closing quickly.