Monday, November 4, 2013

Offseason Plan For The San Diego Padres (Part 1)

The Padres suffered through another subpar season in 2013, posting a 76-86 record. The Padres finished the 2012 season with an identical record, so you cannot say the Padres are not consistent. Business as usual will not move the Padres into the upper echelon of the National League, so the Padres will need to make some smart moves to contend in 2014.

The Padres ownership indicated that the Padres will have a payroll in the $80 million range, which would be a franchise record. However, the payroll would still be towards the bottom in baseball and the Padres do not figure to have a whole lot of flexibility.

Padres committed money in 2014(contract info courtesy of Cot's Contracts)

Carlos Quentin: $9 million
Huston Street: $7 million
Cameron Maybin: $5 million
Will Venable: $4.25 million
Nick Hundley: $4 million
Cory Luebke: $3 million
Chris Denorfia: $2.25 million

Total committed dollars: $34.5 million(estimate)

The Padres have $34.5 million committed to seven players. Carlos Quentin is a star, if healthy, which is never. He has a full no-trade clause and the Padres might be wise to see if he will waive it. Quentin is probably better suited to DH at this point in his career. Cameron Maybin's contract starts to get ugly from here: he is owed $7 million in 2015 and $8 million in 2016. The Padres desperately need him to be healthy and productive. 

Padres arbitration eligible players(numbers estimated by MLB Trade Rumors

Chase Headley: $10 million
Ian Kennedy: $5.8 million
Luke Gregerson: $4.9 million 
Eric Stults: $3 million
Andrew Cashner: $2.4 million
Everth Cabrera: $2.2 million
Tyson Ross: $1.3 million
Jesus Guzman: $1.3 million
Tim Stauffer: $1.2 million
Kyle Blanks: $1 million

Total projected dollars: $33.1 million(estimate)

The Padres have a pretty pricey arbitration class, headlined by 3B Chase Headley. The Padres have explored deals for Headley over the past few seasons, but reports say that they are not inclined to move him. Instead, the team could explore an extension. Ian Kennedy came over in a trade with Arizona last July and figures to be featured near the top of the Padres rotation. The Padres would be wise to explore an extension with Andrew Cashner, as he could become very expensive over the next few years. The Padres probably saved a little money, thanks to Cabrera's suspension. Jesus Guzman and Kyle Blanks could be non-tendered, although I think they will be brought back. A trade involving Blanks or Guzman makes sense. 

When you take a look at the dollars, the Padres should have about $12-15 million to spend on payroll. That will not buy a top-tier free agent, but the Padres should be able to acquire a few players who can help.

Team needs: Power hitter(OF or 1B, SP, RP(left-handed).

The Padres are looking for some pop and Josh Byrnes is looking for a left-handed stick. The Padres have been linked to Mark Trumbo(who is right-handed) and there are a few free agents who fit the bill as a left-handed slugger. Personally, I feel the Padres could use another veteran starting pitcher. Finally, the Padres want a left-handed reliever to take the place of Joe Thatcher. 

Potential fits(free agency)

SP Phil Hughes: Philip Hughes is a guy that has always intrigued me. A former top prospect, Hughes has shown flashes of brilliance, but has mostly been mediocre. He is only 27 and hails from Orange County. His fly ball tendencies would play better in Petco Park. A one-year, $6-9 million deal would benefit both parties. 

SP: Josh Johnson: Johnson will be 30 when the season starts and might be out of the Padres price range, even coming off of an injury-riddled season. He went 2-8, with a 6.20 ERA in 16 starts for the Blue Jays in '13. He won the NL ERA title in 2010 and has front-of-the-rotation stuff, when healthy. He might consider San Diego on a one-year deal to rebuild value. 

OF David Murphy: Murphy reminds me a lot of Chris Denorfia. He is best suited for a platoon, but has been a solid offensive player in his career. He struggled in 2013, but slugged .479 in 2012. In my opinion, he is not an ideal fit, since he is essentially a 4th OF. 

OF Jason Kubel: Kubel drilled 30 homers in 2012 with Arizona, but struggled in 2013. He could be a cheap, bounce-back candidate that should not cost more than a few million. 

In the next session, I will explore potential trades that could work for the Padres, in addition to what the Padres will do with their 40-man roster.