What Should Padres Do with Team Options?


The Padres enter the offseason with three team options to decide upon. The players with them are: Joaquin Benoit, Clint Barmes, and Cory Luebke. So what should the Padres do with these three players for the 2016 season? 

More from Padres News

Cory Luebke: $7.5 million, $1.5 million buyout

Luebke was given this contract when hope was highest. His 2011 season was very good as he racked up a 3.29 ERA in 139.2 innings. Luebke’s first five starts in 2012 were even better. But then he went down with an elbow injury that turned into two Tommy John surgeries and another arm operation on top of it.

Luebke has not pitched since that fifth start in 2012. It seems unlikely that Luebke will ever pitch in the Major Leagues again. The matter of whether or not to pick up his option seems rather clear. There is really no way that GM A.J. Preller will pay Luebke an additional $6 million to be on the disabled list.

Conclusion: Don’t pick up the option

Clint Barmes: $2 million, $200,000 buyout

Barnes hit for a .281 on-base with very little power in his 98 games in 2015. He was the first move Preller made during the last off-season. Barmes was brought on more as a backup in the infield and more so as a veteran presence and a good clubhouse guy.

The problem is that, while his defense is above the norm, he will be 37 next year and won’t be any more productive. At this point, he’s taking up a roster spot that needs to be filled with someone else.

All accounts I’ve seen indicate that Barmes is a great guy. But the conclusion is obvious, especially because his buyout is so low.

Conclusion: Don’t pick up the option

Joaquin Benoit: $8 million, $1.5 million buyout

The question here is: Is Benoit worth $6.5 million to keep in the bullpen? Benoit will enter his age 38 season. But in 2015, he had a 2.34 ERA in his 65.1 innings. Some of his peripheries are fabulous and don’t seem to be in decline: .903 WHIP, 5.0 H/9, and 1.8 WAR.

But on the flip side, his walk and home run rates are up: 3.2 BB/9 (2.3 in 2014) and 1.0 HR/9 (.5 in 2014); and his strike out rates are down: 8.7 K/9 (10.6 in 2014). Benoit’s FIP (fielding independent pitching – ERA based on home runs, strike outs, and walks) soared from a fabulous 2.32 in 2014 to 3.75 in 2015.

Benoit has been excellent out of the bullpen over the past two seasons with the Padres. His outings in 2015 seemed to either be a 1-2-3 inning or giving up a run or runs. Feast or famine. His fastball still has good velocity and his forkball is one of the best in baseball.

In a bullpen that actually ranked below the league average in ERA and FIP, Benoit was one of the best.  Beyond Craig Kimbrel and Brandon Maurer (who might transition back to becoming a starter), there really are no arms signed for 2016 that should make the Padres feel good about their bullpen. Shawn Kelley is a free agent. Keven Quackenbush in his age 26 season was not good. In fact, only Jon Edwards shows any hope out of the currently signed Padres. Picking up Benoit’s option becomes imperative through that lens.

Conclusion: Pick it up!

Next: One Writer's Managerial Aspirations