San Diego Padres Interested In Miami Marlins’ Christian Yelich
By Dan Fappiano
The San Diego Padres seem to be one of the more aggressive teams during the early portions of free agency. While they haven’t made any major signs, they have already made one major move trading for Chase Headley and Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees.
San Diego has also been attached to some of the most big-name free agents such as Eric Hosmer, Carlos Santana and Zack Cozart. It doesn’t appear as if the Padres will be fielding a playoff level team in 2018, but A.J. Preller is certainly acting like he feels the Friars are ready to compete.
As Preller looks to improve the Padres this season and going forward, he reportedly has his eyes set on one of the best young outfielders in the MLB. Per a report from the San Diego Uninion-Tribune’s Dennis Lin, the Padres are one of the team’s interested in acquiring currently Miami Marlins’ outfielder Christian Yelich.
Following the sale of the team to Derek Jeter and company, the Marlins have begun cutting payroll, moving Giancarlo Stanton, Marcel Ozuna and Dee Gordon.
While some reports say the Marlins wish to keep Yelich, others say that the young outfielder is unhappy after seeing so many of his teammates traded and wishes to be dealt himself. If the Marlins do make Yelich available, he will be a hot commodity on the market.
In five years with the Marlins, Yelich has appeared in 643 games, hitting .290 with 59 home runs, 293 RBIs and 72 stolen bases. Yelich has won both the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award and is a true two-way star who can make an impact with the bat and on the base paths.
As for the Padres’ interest in the Marlins’ superstar, Lin writes:
"The Padres are among the teams that have inquired about Miami’s Christian Yelich, according to an industry source. It’s unclear if the Marlins, already having dealt All-Stars Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna this week, are ready to move Yelich, who is signed to a long-term, team-friendly contract. But current indications point to the 26-year-old welcoming a trade from a franchise that Stanton, now with the New York Yankees, criticized for a perceived lack of direction.If Yelich becomes available, the Marlins would demand a significant return. Yelich, a left-handed hitter with experience in left and center field, has four seasons and a team option remaining on a seven-year, $49.75 million extension. At least 10 clubs reportedly have raised the subject with Miami."
Acquiring Yelich may seem far-fetched to some as the Padres are still considered to be in a rebuild. However with the team having players like Hosmer in their sights it’s clear they feel they’re closer to contending than others believe. With Yelich being under team-control until 2022 in a deal that sees him never earn more than $15 million, he could fit right in with the Padres and along with Wil Myers, be a player to build around.
With the 26 year old Yelich providing an all-around stat-line while on a modest contract, the Marlins are much more likely to ask for a Marcel Ozuna type deal than Giancarlo Staton. Bottom line, if the Padres want Yelich they’re going to have to pay.
Of course if San Diego is truly interested, they have the resources to do so. The Padres currently have seven prospects inside MLB Pipeline’s top 100, including Mackenzie Gore (#25), Cal Quantrill (#38) and Luis Urias (#49).
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While the Marlins’ interests are not yet known, it’s important to note that to acquire Ozuna, the Cardinals had to give up Sandy Alcantara and Magneuris Sierra, their sixth and ninth best prospects last season.
While adding Yelich would be a franchise changing acquisition for the Padres, San Diego has to make sure they don’t blow up too much of the bullpen. Most of the team’s future pitching staff currently sits in the minors and with only Dinelson Lamet looking like a rotation fixture, keeping those top prospects are crucial.
In short, if the Padres would have to pay a big price, but would be gaining a big reward in the form of Yelich.
As for where the outfielder would fit on the team, he would likely function as the Friars’ starting left fielder. However if the team signs Hosmer, then Myers would have to move to one of the corner spots, putting promising young star Hunter Renfroe out of a job.
While too much depth is never a bad thing, it’s interesting the Padres have their eyes set on Yelich. Perhaps they have plans for Renfroe or Manuel Margot, or maybe this is a backup plan for if they can’t land Hosmer, leaving Myers at first base.
Overall, Yelich to the Padres is still entirely in the rumor stage. As Lin notes there are 10 teams currently involved on him. However the Padres certainly have the ammunition to get it done. If the Marlins are looking for a “kings ransom” for their best trade chip remaining, San Diego may be their place to find it.
It’ll come down to if Preller is willing to move some of his prized prospects for Yelich. If he feels that Yelich gets the Padres closer to contention than those prospects do than he could pull the trigger.
If he does, the Padres would be getting an excellent player in Christian Yelich and a player to build around for the next several years.