Are the San Diego Padres looking to make a trade for an All-Star third baseman? Is the 2019 Opening Day shortstop already on the roster?
Aggressive. That is the word that has been routinely thrown around by San Diego Padres beat writers, national writers, and even Effectively Wild podcasts hosts Ben Lindbergh of The Ringer and Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs (selected the Padres as his pick for a team that will most increase their current World Series odds in 2019). Of course, actions speak louder than words, however, we’re finally starting to hear some big rumors coming from Padres’ camp and they are providing for plenty of discussions among fans.
As the General Managers’ meetings in Carlsbad, California wrap up, it appears that AJ Preller has a number of avenues he will attempt to explore this offseason. Numerous teams appear interested in trading for Franmil Reyes, Hunter Renfroe, Austin Hedges, and others, while names like Manuel Margot and Francisco Mejia aren’t untouchable, but the Padres won’t be actively pursuing any moves with these two.
There has also been the idea of playing Luis Urias at shortstop next season to help bridge the gap to Fernando Tatis Jr. With players like Christian Villanueva, Cory Spangenberg, and the recently claimed Greg Garcia rotating at second base in 2019. This move would make much more sense than throwing a few million dollars at another stopgap, even if the Padres do have the money (sorry Freddy Galvis fans, but if another team like Detriot offers him a multi-year deal, expect him to jump on it).
Will Eugenio Suarez be the Opening Day third baseman for the San Diego Padres?
Now, this is the type of talk fans want to see. Per San Diego Union-Tribune writer Kevin Acee, sources close to the organization say that the team is interested in trading for Cincinnati Reds third baseman Eugenio Saurez. Should they be aggressive with this idea? Yes, yes, and yes.
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Saurez is coming off back-to-back 3.9 fWAR seasons with the Reds, hitting a career-high .283 with a .366 OBP this past season in 143 games. He also set career-highs in home runs (34), RBIs (104), ISO (.243), and wRC+ (135). That’s not all, though. Suarez put the barrel to the ball more often than he ever has before, resulting in an average exit velocity of 91.2 mph on batted balls, one of the higher numbers in all of baseball.
A major contributor to his success came from his improved numbers against offspeed pitches. Suarez hit .267 against offspeed offerings, a 78 point jump from 2017. The All-Star third baseman was also able to maintain a walk rate higher than 10% for a second-straight season and maintained a 23% strikeout rate, something he has been successful at throughout his five-year professional career.
If the offensive output isn’t enough, Suarez is under team-control through 2024 at less than $12 million/year and has a $15 million club-option for 2025. What would the Reds want in return? Pitching and outfield, two things the San Diego Padres have a surplus of (pitching prospects that is).
What do you think it would take to pull Suarez away from Cincinnati? The Reds have two of the top 10 third base prospects in the game but are in dire need of pitching. With either Franmil Reyes or Hunter Renfroe and a pitching prospect like Michel Baez as the centerpieces coming from San Diego, there’s plenty of opportunities for this to be a win-win trade for both franchises. Who would you offer up for the 27-year-old third baseman? Adrian Morejon? Wil Myers and a few pitching prospects (plus eating some of his contract)? It will surely take a lot to acquire Suarez, but this is the fun part of the offseason!