The San Diego Padres have had a real bummer of an offseason; at this point, that's common knowledge. Last season's third highest spending team has spent $0 this offseason, despite still having some massive holes in their roster, including but not limited to left field, DH, and two starters. If their goal is to cut down spending, then it would make sense that they're not actively courting free agents, but what about the trade market?
The trade market has been relatively quiet, it's true, but a door might've just opened. The Astros are entertaining check-ins on Framber Valdez, Bob Nightengale reports. They're not actively shopping him and probably wouldn't let go of the only lefty in their rotation without a decent return, but the fact that they are listening should intrigue the Padres.
Padres Rumors: Should San Diego call Houston about a Framber Valdez trade?
Putting aside the millions of dollars that the Padres have freed up from their players that left in free agency, let's just consider the money that they won't have to pay Juan Soto after they dealt him to the Yankees. Soto alone is worth an estimated $29 million in his last year of arbitration eligibility, whereas Valdez, who still has two arb-eligible years, is worth almost $13 million. Even if they still had Blake Snell, Josh Hader, Seth Lugo, and so on, trading Soto alone would be enough to accommodate Valdez on their payroll.
Speaking of Snell, he was the Padres' only lefty starter before he hit free agency, and Valdez would be a more than fine replacement. Although it would be unfair to compare anyone to Snell during his dominant, Cy Young-winning year, Valdez's year was nothing to sniff at. He pitched almost 200 innings and struck out 200 batters for a 3.45 ERA, leveling out a bit after a 201 1/3 inning, 2.82 ERA year but still dominating enough to earn him another All-Star appearance and Cy Young votes.
Simply put, the Padres just need to do something. Even if prying Valdez away from Houston would be a long shot for anyone, even the slightest hint of a possible deal should motivate the Padres to a phone call, at the very least.