San Diego Padres: Position by Position Analysis for the Winter Meetings
The San Diego Padres are set for the future at catcher, the infield corners and the outfield. Thus the Winter Meetings is the moment to acquire some missing pieces.
The team that makes the most trades or collects the biggest names is usually declared victorious at the winter meetings. But as we can attest to as fans of the San Diego Padres, that is not always the case.
From the group of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, Craig Kimbrel, James Shields, Derek Norris, Wil Myers, and Melvin Upton, you’ve got All Stars, Silver Sluggers, Gold Glovers, Rookies of the Year, and other awards.
Those were the players acquired by A.J. Preller on the 2014-15 off season, thus getting national attention as the “Rock Star GM”.
Then, reality struck, precisely when the Padres started playing. They went from 77 wins in 2014 to… 74 the next year, to… 68 last year before finally giving in and trading away most of those players.
The result so far, besides the bad seasons and salary commitments to players that are on other teams, is starting a rebuilding process.
But that’s the past and with the winter meetings now here, A.J. Preller needs to make the correct moves.
“We don’t give away Major League starting opportunities. You’ve got to earn it. Hedges has put himself in a position to earn that job” – A.J. Preller
I don’t want to be a spoiler, but when you tell one of the catchers that he’s going to pitch and then get rid of the other two, you don’t need to be Nostradamus to predict that the job belongs to Austin Hedges.
Wil Myers is the face of the franchise. Preller traded for him and is trying to extend him.
But why not trade him if the right offer is on the table?
There are several teams that are going all out and would surrender their top prospects. The Astros, Rangers, and Mets are among them and lack a first baseman. For example, the Astros have Alex Bregman blocked by Carlos Correa; the Rangers Jurickson Profar by Elvis Andrus; and, the Mets have Gavin Cecchini at AAA and Amed Rosario at AA.
Maybe not a straight up trade, but dealing Myers would represent the future shortstop that San Diego has lacked since Ozzie Smith.
Ryan Schimpf, Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje. The three options are average at best, but considering that there are other more important needs, maybe letting them compete and give the winner a legitimate shot is the best to do for now.
There are rumors that Preller is aggressively trying to trade Yangervis Solarte. He’s arguably the Padres best hitter, plays decent at third base and has some pop. Solarte could hit .290, with 20 HRs and 90 RBI under the right circumstances. Besides, he has several more years of control. Therefore, it would be a shame trading him.
This has been San Diego’s Achilles heel through the years, and is one of the most important positions on the diamond. It’s not a coincidence that this years’ pennant winners have two of the best young shortstops in the game.
The front runner for the job in San Diego is Luis Sardiñas. While he may not be the sexiest option, he is a capable fielder with good speed. Still, his bat is a liability, as it is below average.
So, with the surplus of shortstop prospects, Preller could go all in for Jurickson Profar, the former number one prospect in baseball that he knows well from his Rangers days.
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The Padres are set in the outfield, and they have potential to excel. In Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, Travis Jankowski and Alex Dickerson, they have the right-left balance, speed, power, and good hitting approach. At this point, it is only a matter of letting them grow.
This is a mess, as only Luis Perdomo has a spot secured. But taking into account Preller’s ability, it wouldn’t be surprising if he finds several quality starters among Travis Wood, Rubby De La Rosa, Jeff Locke, Jorge De La Rosa, and others.
Next: Pitching Priority, but not only Goal of Winter Meetings
Signing Fernando Rodney is a no brainer,as he has had succes at Petco, and the cost to get him is low. Along with Ryan Buchter, Kevin Quackenbush, Brad Hand and Brandon Maurer would form the late inning squad. The rest of the bullpen is where Preller starts introducing the talent he has acquired in past trades.