Earlier this offseason it was reported that the San Diego Padres and Chicago Cubs were having talks involving a “young controllable shortstop”. With prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. on the way, it was assumed that that player would be able to play multiple positions.
When the “multiple position” caveat was thrown around, most thought the obvious connection was Javier Baez. Baez has been in the MLB for the past four seasons, hitting .255 with 47 home runs, 158 RBIs and 28 stolen bases. More importantly he has spent time all over the infield, playing second and third base as well as short stop.
Baez would’ve been an amazing get for the Padres as he is a young, controllable player who could succeed at the MLB level. Along with Wil Myers, he would’ve joined the team’s core at the major league level.
However, while the Padres and Cubs were reportedly talking, no one knew if Baez truly was the target, or what San Diego was offering. Thanks to two new reports, we have a better idea of both team’s thinking.
Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic, subscription needed, reported that the Cubs and Padres did indeed have talks over Baez. He went on to report that Chicago wanted a player like Luis Perdomo or Dinelson Lamet in return.
Perdomo has been in the MLB for the past two seasons, appearing in 64 games and pitching to a 17-21 record with a 5.16 ERA and a 223/111 K/BB ratio. While those numbers may not be incredibly tantalizing, but he was the Padres’ 9th best prospect in 2015 according to MLB Pipeline. The site wrote:
"Perdomo struggled when he first reached full-season ball the year before. He credits his success to raising his arm slot and doing a better job of repeating it. He now delivers all three of his pitches from the same angle and controls and commands them better than he did in the past.Perdomo possessed an 86-88 mph fastball when he signed, but he has gotten much stronger and now works at 93-95 mph and touches 97. He has a hard breaking ball that’s more of a slider than a curveball and can climb into the mid 80s. He also has feel for throwing a changeup, enhancing his chances of remaining a starter as he advances."
Perdomo also has a ground ball rate of 66%, one of the highest in the MLB. If there is a better infield defense around him, a luxury the Cubs could provide, there’s a high likelihood his numbers would improve. Jeff Zimmerman of FanGraphs has called Perdomo, “Dallas Keuchel-lite”.
The right-hander is under team control until 2022, making him a valuable target for the Chicago Cubs.
Lamet made his debut in 2017, pitching to a 7-8 record with a 4.57 ERA and a 139/54 K/BB ratio over 21 games. Much like Perdomo, Lamet was a top prospect prior to making his MLB debut, coming in at #18 in 2016. MLB Pipeline wrote:
"Lamet already can reach the mid 90s with his fastball, which stands out as much for its late movement as it does velocity, and he has quite a bit of projection remaining in his 6-foot-4 frame. His second-best pitch is a slider that lacks consistency but shows potential as an above-average offering, while his changeup is still in its nascent stages.Lamet’s ability to develop a third pitch and improve his control and command will determine whether he advances as a starter or reliever. He’s athletic and has little effort in his delivery, so the Padres are optimistic he’ll turn into a rotation candidate. But should that not pan out, there’s little doubt that he could become an impact late-inning arm at the highest level."
Much like Perdomo, the Padres haven’t allowed Lamet to shine. During a stretch in September, San Diego lost four starts in a row by Lamet by the scores of 4-1, 2-1, 1-0 and 3-1.
He held opponents to a .210 batting average against, while his 1.24 WHIP would’ve ranked 25th best in the MLB. Lamet has shown a lot of promise and with a better offense and defense behind him, his numbers would’ve shined in 2017.
He is under team control until 2022, making him a strong target for the Cubs.
Perdomo and Lamet are both building blocks of the rotation and a huge part of the Padres in 2018. However to get a guy like Baez, it would cost much more. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune chimed in on what that more may actually be.
Hand is arguably the best relief pitcher on the trade market. If the Padres do make him available, it’s no shock the Cubs would have interest. Currently their closer is Brandon Morrow, who is a veteran with experience, yet only 12 saves to his name.
In Hand’s two years with the Padres, he has compiled a 2.56 ERA with a 215/56 K/BB ratio and 22 saves. Hand was voted to his first All-Star team in 2017.
Hand is undoubtedly the Padres most valuable pitcher. He’s arguably the best left-handed reliever in all of baseball and he has proven he can close as well as pitch multiple innings. Any team acquiring him would likely have to pay a king’s ransom.
Which makes this deal a bit confusing…
It’s no surprise that the Padres and Cubs were unable to come to an agreement on a Baez traded. Moving one of Lamet and Perdomo is one thing, but having to tie Hand to that is far too much. While it’s likely the Cubs were offering prospects as well, the deal becomes too complicated for the rebuilding Padres.
Javier Baez would’ve been an amazing get for San Diego, who knows maybe they’re still interested. But having to move one of your rising stars and then your best trade piece to acquire him is far too pricey.
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San Diego has traded for Freddy Galvis at a much cheaper price and has Fernando Tatis Jr. waiting in the wings. While it’s unknown if either will hit Baez level – Galvis unlikely, Tatis expected – the Padres were able to save their resources.
Yes the team is trying to make a splash by trying to sign Eric Hosmer, but they are still not ready to compete. It makes no sense to sell your best trade piece/the farm for any player at this stage, even one with multiple years of control.
Javier Baez would’ve looked great in a Padres’ uniform and would’ve been a cornerstone of the franchise for years to come. But when you see exactly what Chicago was asking for, it makes sense as to why the two teams couldn’t match on a deal.