With the 2017 season in the rearview mirror, the GM Meetings (which wrapped up on Wednesday) officially start the hot stove of the offseason for the San Diego Padres and the rest of baseball. Although little came out of the meetings in the way of trades or free-agent signings, discussions have begun in anticipation of the Winter Meetings, which will convene on December 10.
As is his way, Padres’ general manager A.J. Preller has already asked about multiple free agents at this week’s meetings, including Eric Hosmer, first baseman for the Kansas City Royals for seven seasons. Since the Padres already have a first baseman and team-anointed face of the franchise in Wil Myers, this rumor certainly raised eyebrows.
The big names being discussed throughout baseball, Giancarlo Stanton and Shohei Otani, would be the longest of long shots for the Padres. Marlins’ outfielder Stanton hit 59 homers and drove in 132 runs but comes with a $295 million price tag. Otani has been called the Japanese Babe Ruth, a right-handed pitcher and left-handed hitter. Although he’d receive a maximum paycheck of $545,000, his team in Japan has set his posting fee at $20 million.
The Padres will need yet another shortstop to fill the void until 18-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr., who is rocketing through the minor leagues, receives a call-up to the big leagues. Although he might be ready to make that leap sometime next year, the front office may decide to delay his debut in order to save money down the road. In an interview on The Mighty 1090, Executive Chairman Ron Fowler recently expressed frustration and disappointment with the inability of the Padres to successfully fill the shortstop position.
Zack Cozart tops the list of free agent shortstops but will probably receive a multi-year deal. Alcides Escobar may re-sign with the Kansas City Royals but could provide solid defense as the Padres wait for Tatis’ arrival.
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Other teams have reportedly expressed varying degrees of interest in infielders Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje. Christian Villanueva made his debut at third base in September, and minor league second baseman Luis Urias may do so next year at some point. Preller has talked repeatedly about the importance of depth throughout the system, which, in this case, makes it possible to move at least one infielder.
The Padres signed Clayton Richard to a two-year contract, and starting pitchers Dinelson Lamet and Luis Perdomo will return. The Padres would be wise to resign Jhoulys Chacin to a team-friendly deal. According to mlbtraderumors.com, prospects Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Logan Allen, Joey Lucchesi and Jacob Nix all have some chance of making their big league debuts next season.
With Preller as the Padres general manager, local fans have learned just about anything can happen during the hot stove.