Padres Faux Winter Meetings: Behind the scenes of lineup construction

PEORIA, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 22: Executive V.P./General Manager A.J. Preller talks to the media at Peoria Stadium on February 22, 2019 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PEORIA, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 22: Executive V.P./General Manager A.J. Preller talks to the media at Peoria Stadium on February 22, 2019 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /
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San Diego Padres
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Finding starting pitching ain’t easy

One thing I learned pretty quickly from our Mock Winter Meetings is that every team is desperate to find a frontline starting pitcher or two.

If our simulation is any indication of how this offseason will take place, the prices for free agent starting pitchers will become ridiculous.

The fist starter up for bid was Dallas Keuchel, and he went for 4 years and $60 million. That’s when I knew finding a frontline starter on the free agent market wasn’t going to be easy.

Cole Hamels got a two-year deal for $36 million!

I didn’t even bother getting into the bidding for Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

The Phillies got Cole for eight years and $289 million, while the Nationals re-signed Strasburg for six years and $198 million.

That’s almost $20 million more than I felt comfortable with the Padres giving him.

I went hard after Madison Bumgarner and Zack Wheeler placing my two-bid max on both of them.

My final bid on MadBum was five years, $100 million. The Angels got him for five years and $120 million.

I was really close to getting Wheeler with a six-year, $140 million bid, but the Angels got him at the last second with a six-year $150 million bid.

Hyun-Jin Ryu went for three years and $79 million, but I didn’t feel comfortable going that far with him given his age and injury history.

And with that, I was out on finding a frontline starting pitcher through free agency for the Padres.

That left the trade market to try and find a frontline starter.

I had brief conversations with the Red Sox for Chris Sale, but they were able to free up money in another move and decided not to trade Sale or David Price.

Corey Kluber went in another trade before I could even get in on the action.

The Rockies Faux GM said he wasn’t trading Jon Gray, so that narrowed down my options to Matthew Boyd, Kenta Maeda, and Jake Arrieta … not great, I know.

I really liked Maeda, but the Dodgers Faux GM never got back to me.

The Tigers wanted Luis Urias for Boyd, and while I’m not opposed to moving Urias in the right deal, I’ve never been that high on Boyd.

That left me with very little choice but to go get Jake Arrieta.

light. Related Story. Faux Winter Meetings: Pads land Arrieta

While I certainly don’t love the move, Arrieta has the potential to be a top of the rotation pitcher and could be a one-year rental.

After acquiring Arrieta, I went back to the free agent market to try and find a cheap veteran to plug in the middle of the rotation.

I went after Julio Teheran but got out-bid. And then I went after Michael Pineda and was able to sign him for 2 years and $12 million.

Looking back, I should have just gone all-in on Wheeler or just done the deal for Pineda.

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