MLB Trade Rumors » » San Diego Padres 2018-01-17T04:13:39Z Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres’ Chairman On Hosmer, Team Direction, Mitchell, Galvis]]> 2018-01-17T04:13:39Z 2018-01-17T04:04:05Z The Padres’ pursuit of Eric Hosmer has been one of the more surprising storylines of the 2017-18 offseason, and executive chairman Ron Fowler directly acknowledged his team’s pursuit of the longtime Royals star in an interview on the Mighty 1090 Morning Show in San Diego (link with full audio of the interview).

“We’ve had a lot of dialogue on it — [GM A.J. Preller, manager Andy Green and assistant GM Josh Stein] obviously lead the discussions as it relates to players,” said Fowler. “They talked to me probably six months or so ago when they looked at who the free agents would be for 2018. They like him. They like his makeup, they like his leadership in the clubhouse, and obviously they like him as an athlete. We met with him, and he’s a very impressive individual.”

The Padres are reported to have made a seven-year offer to Hosmer and agent Scott Boras, and while word of that offer came in earlier this month, Fowler didn’t suggest that there’ve been any changes to what has been proposed. Moreover, he implied that he’s not exactly comfortable stretching the deal much further. Asked about concerns of paying for too much of a player’s decline phase, Fowler indicated that Boras may have a hard time selling him on a lengthier deal.

“I think you’re taking my side of the discussions I’ve had with [Green, Preller and Stein],” Fowler replied. “They feel that this guy is so focused, he has all of the exercise stuff, all of the elements in place to take care of himself like few players have. He would be 28 in the first year, obviously 34 would be his last year if it’s seven, but I can’t really get into it more than that. But I think we were pretty creative in the way we put a contract proposal together. We like it. I don’t know if Mr. Boras likes it, but that’s probably another story.”

The pursuit of Hosmer is just one of the many elements of the Padres’ offseason that some feel have clashed with the team’s rebuilding direction. In addition to putting forth a (presumed) nine-figure offer to Hosmer, San Diego has also traded a fairly well-regarded pitching prospect (right-hander Enyel De Los Santos) for a one-year rental of Freddy Galvis and taken on the final year of Chase Headley’s contract as a means of landing Bryan Mitchell from the Yankees. Fowler confirmed that Headley trade was almost entirely about Mitchell and stressed that the team is still focused on the development of young talent.

“We still are looking for the young guys to get up here that we either picked through the draft or signed internationally,” he explained. “But A.J. looked at who the pitchers were out there, and some of the guys were getting three-year contracts … [H]e felt that Bryan Mitchell, the guy we got from the Yankees, was worth taking the last year of the contract for Chase. We’re happy that Chase will be here — we think he’ll be here — but it was really for Mitchell that we paid that money, it wasn’t for Chase.”

Fowler went on to add that the team’s preference was to add players that will remain under control for several seasons. While Galvis, of course, does not match that description — he’ll be a free agent next winter — Fowler revealed that he hopes the switch-hitting shortstop can be retained beyond 2018.

“I’m hoping Galvis will be here for more than a year, take some pressure off some of the young guys coming up,” he stated. “…We’re feeling very good about that trade and what he might be able to do for us over the next few years.”

Of course, Fernando Tatis Jr. is widely expected to be the Padres’ shortstop of the future, though the vaunted top prospect isn’t yet ready for the Majors after spending most of 2017 in A-ball. If the team were able to retain Galvis beyond the upcoming season, it wouldn’t necessarily indicate a change of plans as pertains to Tatis, however; Galvis could provide some reasonably priced insurance and could potentially see time at other positions. That could further a current “problem” the organization is facing, which Fowler described as having “too many people at second and third right now” before noting that the logjam would likely work itself out.

The Padres have already traded Yangervis Solarte to the Blue Jays, but they still have Carlos Asuaje, Cory Spangenberg and Headley as options that figure to be on the 25-man roster come Opening Day, while Allen Cordoba, Tatis and Luis Urias loom in the minors.

The interview with Fowler covers considerably more topics, ranging from the team’s recent hiring of former Fangraphs managing editor Dave Cameron, to the team’s uniforms and their failed pursuit of Shohei Ohtani. (Fowler reveals that Preller began the team’s presentation to Ohtani by speaking in Japanese for the first five minutes or so and expresses immense pride for the work his team put into that pursuit.) The San Diego chairman also weighs in on the stalled free agent market, suggesting a belief that the luxury tax and a number of players whose asking prices are simply “really beyond their value” have combined to grind free agency to a halt.

Suffice it to say, the 16-minute interview is packed with topics that’ll be of interest not only to Padres fans but to baseball and hot stove fans in general. It’s well worth a full listen.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Agent: Yelich’s Relationship With Marlins “Broken”]]> 2018-01-17T00:58:20Z 2018-01-17T00:55:12Z In the latest dose of Marlins-related drama, agent Joe Longo of Paragon Sports International, who represents Christian Yelich, tells ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick that a trade of his client in the next month would be in the best interest of both team and player.

Longo states that he respects the Marlins’ long-term plan for a return to contention, but states that the “…plan shouldn’t include Christian at this point in his career.” Yelich’s relationship with the Marlins has been “irretrievably broken” and has “soured,” according to Longo, who goes on to speak about the disappointment that Yelich has felt in watching the Marlins’ new ownership group gut the roster in trades that have sent Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna elsewhere.

“The new ownership regime needs to get new parts into this plan and move forward, and [Yelich] needs to get on with his career where he’s got a chance to win,” Longo tells Crasnick. The agent goes on to explain that Yelich signed his seven-year, $49.57MM contract extension with the Marlins in a “completely different climate” — that is, one where the organization looked to be making a clear push to win in the short term. Yelich’s deal (which Longo and Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill discussed at length with MLBTR’s Zach Links back in 2015) was agreed upon in the same offseason that saw the Fish sign Stanton to a record-setting $325MM contract. New ownership, however, clearly has no intent of pushing for a division title in 2017 as payroll has been slashed by roughly $50MM.

Longo’s comments, of course, don’t ensure that a trade of Yelich will transpire before or during Spring Training. Such decisions are up to president of baseball operations Michael Hill and his staff, who needn’t feel pressure to move Yelich in the same manner as they did with regard to Stanton, Gordon and Ozuna. The Marlins’ payroll projection is inching closer to its reported target of roughly $90MM, and Yelich’s $7MM salary for the coming season isn’t especially burdensome. Moreover, the fact that Yelich can be controlled for another five years at a total of $58.25MM is a clear indicator that he’ll be an asset with considerable surplus value at virtually any point the Marlins decide to make him available.

Yelich is hardly the only player that is less than enthused about the notion of suiting up for a Miami club that looks destined for the NL East cellar. Catcher J.T. Realmuto’s agents have reportedly informed the Marlins that their client would prefer to be traded, and infielder Starlin Castro (acquired as a financial component in the trade that sent Stanton to the Yankees) is reportedly hoping to be dealt elsewhere before so much as playing a single game for the Marlins.

Per Crasnick, the Blue Jays, Braves, Dodgers, Angels, Padres, D-backs and Phillies are “among” the teams that have reached out to the Marlins to gauge the asking price for Yelich in a trade, though there are assuredly more team that have expressed interest. Toronto GM Ross Atkins recently suggested that virtually every team in the league would have interest in a Yelich trade, and reports have suggested that more than 15 teams have at least kicked the tires on the former Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winner.

Yelich, just 26 years of age, is a career .290/.369/.432 hitter. He’s averaged 20 homers and a dozen steals over the past two seasons and has proven to be a capable center fielder or an elite defender in left field. Crasnick notes that Yelich himself may speak publicly in the coming days, and the column is stuffed with additional quotes from Longo. It’s well worth a full read-through, both for those that have been diligently tracking the Marlins’ offseason roller coaster and those who haven’t been monitoring the situation as closely.

Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Padres Extend Brad Hand]]> 2018-01-15T18:32:15Z 2018-01-15T18:32:15Z MONDAY: Heyman has the full breakdown on Twitter. Hand will receive a $1.75MM signing bonus along with salaries of $3.5MM, $6.5MM, and $7MM in the three guaranteed years of the contract.

SUNDAY: The Padres have officially announced the deal.

SATURDAY, 7:15pm: Hand passed his physical, making the deal official, per Heyman. The club option is worth $10MM and comes with a $1MM buyout, Heyman adds (Twitter link).

9:54am: The Padres have agreed to terms on an extension with left-handed reliever Brad Hand, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It’s a three-year deal that also comes with a club option. Hand, who is represented by Matt Colleran, will be guaranteed $19.75MM, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. The deal is still pending a physical.

At the end of the day yesterday, we noted that Hand’s arbitration case was still unresolved, and obviously we now understand why arbitration filing figures had not been reported. Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports notes in his own tweet that both sides had filed at $3.6MM, indicating that extension talks had almost certainly progressed to a point where both sides were quite confident that a deal would get done.

Sep 18, 2017; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Padres relief pitcher Brad Hand (52) gestures during the ninth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The pact, of course, means that the Padres will not need to worry about the arbitration process with their elite reliever again, as the deal is set to cover his final two arb years while giving the club at least one additional year of team control. The team option will allow the Padres up to four years of team control over the southpaw. As Rosenthal adds, that means he’ll be able to enter free agency prior to his age-32 season — though clearly this deal entailed a significant sacrifice of open-market earning upside in exchange for a life-changing guarantee.

Hand has long been considered a valuable candidate, and his new contract seemingly makes it less likely that he’ll be traded this offseason (though his trade value may have actually increased due to the added team control). A while back, MLBTR profiled his potential trade value, noting that he could warrant a return similar to that which the Yankees received from the Indians for Andrew Miller. Instead, the Padres have found a way to keep him in the fold a bit longer… perhaps even into their next window of contention.

The extension is another indication that a rebuilding Padres club could perhaps be gearing up for a return to contention. Earlier this winter, reports surfaced that the club had already made a seven-year contract offer to Eric Hosmer in the nine-figure range. 

Contention window implications aside, keeping Hand in the fold for an extra season or two will help detract from the workload of a fairly young Padres rotation. Last season, their starters averaged 5 1/3 innings per start during the 2017 season, while Hand ranked 6th in the majors with 79 1/3 innings out of the bullpen. Many things could change over the course of the next two seasons, but retaining Hand amidst a bullpen full of question marks will have at least a small benefit to the pitching staff.

The Marlins selected Hand in the second round of the 2008 draft. He came up through their system as a starter, but never gained much traction. Through the end of the 2015 season, he owned a career 4.71 ERA across 288 2/3 innings split between Miami’s rotation and bullpen. His 5.9 K/9 and 3.7 BB/9 were also indicative of a below-average pitcher.

After the Padres claimed him off waivers in early April of the following season, they employed him as a reliever full-time and watched him rise to elite status. Over the course of his career in San Diego, Hand has tossed 168 2/3 sterling innings to the tune of a 2.56 ERA with 11.49 K/9 against just 2.99 BB/9. His 6.14 WPA during that time ranks fourth among qualifying relievers in baseball. After the Padres traded Brandon Maurer to the Royals prior to the 2017 trade deadline, the team began to deploy Hand as its closer; he rewarded them by collecting 19 saves across the remaining 2+ months of the season (in addition to the two he’d earned already that year). If he can continue to perform at a similar level, the Padres stand to earn fantastic value from the added year(s) they’ll gain from Hand as a result of this extension.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Padres: Hand, Preller, Infielder]]> 2018-01-14T16:51:47Z 2018-01-14T16:51:47Z
  • The Padres and Brad Hand’s representatives began extension talks about a week ago, the reliever told Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune and other reporters.  Those discussions resulted in the three-year, $19.75MM agreement between the club and the southpaw that Hand described as “a life-changing thing.”  From the Padres’ perspective, general manager AJ Preller said that his team is “trying to build a foundation of guys going forward that fit for us and we feel like are winning pieces.”  It would seem like the extension more or less closes the door on the trade speculation that has circled Hand for the last couple of years, though Preller noted that “you always listen on any player at any time.  You’ve got to be open to all different possibilities.”
  • Preller also said that the Padres are looking for a veteran middle infielder that can provide depth for shortstop Freddy Galvis.  San Diego was checked in on Alcides Escobar earlier this winter, and in my view he would appear to still be an option given the lack of known interest in Escobar’s services.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Players Avoiding Arbitration: National League]]> 2018-01-13T06:28:47Z 2018-01-12T21:10:22Z The deadline for MLB teams to exchange salary arbitration figures with their arbitration-eligible players is today at 1pm ET. As such, there will be a veritable flood of arb agreements piling up in the next few hours — especially in light of a more universal approach to the “file and trial” method for teams. (That is to say, those teams will no longer negotiate one-year deals after arb figures are exchanged and will instead head to a hearing with those players, barring an agreemenr on a multi-year deal.)

    Note that you can keep an eye on all of today’s deals using MLBTR’s 2018 Arbitration Tracker, which can be filtered to show only the results of the team you follow and is also sortable by service time and dollar value of the agreement. All projections that are referenced come from MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz’s annual compilation of projected arbitration salaries.

    Onto today’s landslide of deals…

    National League West

    • The Rockies have agreed to a $2MM salary with righty Chad Bettis, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). That’s a fair sight more than his $1.5MM projection. Bettis surely would have had an opportunity to set a bigger platform for himself, but had to battle through testicular cancer before returning to the hill in 2017. Meanwhile, second baseman DJ LeMahieu has settled for a $8.5MM payday in his final year of arbitration, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. That’s just a hair short of the $8.8MM he was pegged for in MLBTR’s projections.
    • Giants second baseman Joe Panik is slated to earn $3.45MM in his first season of arb eligibility, Devan Fink of SB Nation was first to tweet. That’s just a hair shy of the $3.5MM that MLBTR projected. Lefty Will Smith has settled at $2.5MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). The club has also announced deals with its remaining arb-eligible players, right-handed relievers Sam Dyson ($4.6MM projection), Hunter Strickland ($1.7MM projection), and Cory Gearrin ($1.6MM projection). (H/t John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, on Twitter). Strickland earns $1.55MM, Nightengale tweets.
    • The Padres and Freddy Galvis agreed to a $6.825MM deal for his lone season of team control in San Diego, tweets Robert Murray of FanRag Sports. Galvis, who spent the first several seasons of his career in Philadelphia before being traded this winter, had been projected to make $7.4MM. Infielder Cory Spangenberg settled at $1.7MM, Heyman tweets, falling below a $2.0MM projection. San Diego has also reached agreements with righty Kirby Yates and outfielder Matt Szczur, the team announced. Yates will earn $1,062,500, Heyman tweets, which is just shy of his $1.1MM projection. Szczur, meanwhile, will get $950K, a healthy boost over his $800K projection, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).
    • The Diamondbacks agreed to a $7.75MM deal with center fielder A.J. Pollock, Murray tweets. Pollock was projected to earn $8.4MM in his final year of eligibility before free agency. Murray also notes that Brad Boxberger is set to earn $1.85MM next year (Twitter link). Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic adds that lefty Andrew Chafin ($1.2MM projection) and the D-backs have a $1.195MM deal in place. Third baseman Jake Lamb, meanwhile, agreed to a $4.275MM deal with the Diamondbacks, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Lamb, eligible for arbitration for the first time, was projected to earn $4.7MM. He’s controllable through 2020. And ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick tweets that Chris Herrmann ($1.4MM projection) landed a $1.3MM deal. Righty Taijuan Walker has settled for $4.825MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which is within range but shy of the $5.0MM he projected for. Lefty Robbie Ray has settled at $3.95MM, per Nightengale (Twitter link), which falls short of his $4.2MM projection. Infielder Nick Ahmed will $1.275MM, per Heyman (via Twitter), which tops the projected figure of $1.1MM. Arizona has also announced that Chris Owings and David Peralta have agreed to terms.
    • The Dodgers are in agreement on a $6MM deal with lefty Alex Wood, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). He had projected at $6.4MM. Meanwhile, righty Josh Fields agreed to a $2.2MM deal, tweets Murray. Heyman tweets that Enrique Hernandez will earn $1.6MM. Fields’ projection of $2.2MM was on the money, whereas Hernandez topped his mark by $300K. Fields is controlled through 2019, while Hernandez is controllable through 2020. Southpaw Tony Cingrani gets $2.3MM, Murray tweets, which is just a shade over his $2.2MM projection. Outfielder Joc Pederson has also settled, per J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group (via Twitter), with Beth Harris of the Associated Press reporting a $2.6MM salary that rather handily tops the $2.0MM that MLBTR projected.

    National League Central

    • All three remaining Cardinals arb-eligibles have agreed to deals,’s Jenifer Langosch tweetsMarcell Ozuna will earn $9MM after drawin a much larger $10.9MM projection, Heyman tweets. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained that Ozuna likely wouldn’t quite reach the amount the algorithm suggested, though the actual salary still comes in a bit shy of expectations. Lefty Tyler Lyons ($1.3MM projection) receives $1.2MM, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (via Twitter). The Cards have also reached agreement with Michael Wacha for $5.3MM, per Nightengale (via Twitter); he was projected to earn $5.9MM.
    • The Reds agreed to a $860K salary with Anthony DeSclafani, tweets Murray. DeSclafani missed the 2017 season due to arm troubles and had been projected to earn $1.1MM. He’ll remain under Reds control through 2020. Billy Hamilton and the Reds have settled on a one-year deal worth $4.6MM, tweets Murray. A popular trade candidate this offseason, Hamilton was projected to earn $5MM and comes with another two seasons of team control. Murray also conveys that Michael Lorenzen agreed to a $1.3125MM deal, which lines up fairly well with his $1.4MM projection.
    • The Cubs have struck a deal with lefty Justin Wilson, agreeing to a one-year, $4.25MM pact, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link). Wilson, who had been projected at $4.3MM, will be a free agent next winter. The Cubs alsoagreed to a $950K salary with infielder Tommy La Stella, tweets’s Carrie Muskat. La Stella was projected to make $1MM in his first offseason of arbitration eligiblity and can be controlled through 2020. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks and the Cubs have agreed to a $4.175MM salary, per Nightengale (on Twitter). That sum comes in a fair bit shy of his projected $4.9MM projection as a first-time eligible player. The Cubs control Hendricks through the 2020 season. Chicago also agreed with Addison Russell, per Wittenmyer (Twitter link). The shortstop will receive $3.2MM for the coming season.
    • Nightengale reports (on Twitter) that the Brewers and breakout closer Corey Knebel settled at $3.65MM. As a Super Two player, Knebel can be controlled through the 2021 season and will be arb-eligible thrice more. He was projected at $4.1MM.’s Adam McCalvy tweets that the Brewers and right-hander Jimmy Nelson settled at $3.7MM, which falls $1MM shy of his $4.7MM projection (though some of that discrepancy may be due to Nelson’s shoulder injury). Milwaukee also announced a deal for infielders Jonathan Villar (projected at $3MM) and Hernan Perez (projected at $2.2MM). McCalvy reports that Villar will earn $2.55MM, while terms of Perez’s deal are not yet available.
    • The Pirates have avoided arbitration with shortstop Jordy Mercer by settling on a $6.75MM salary for 2018, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Mercer, who’d been projected to earn $6.5MM, is entering his final year of team control and will be a free agent next winter. Biertempfel also reports that Gerrit Cole will earn that same $6.75MM salary in 2018 — a $3MM raise over last year (Twitter link). He has two years of control remaining and had been projected to earn $7.4MM. Righty George Kontos has also agreed to terms, per Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (via Twitter). He had projected for $2.7MM and will receive a smidge more, at $2,725,000, per Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Twitter link).

    National League East

    • The Braves reached a $3.4MM deal with righty Arodys Vizcaino, per Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). He’d been projected at $3.7MM. The Braves and righty Dan Winkler agreed to a $610K salary for the upcoming season, tweets Mark Bowman of Winkler tossed just 14 1/3 innings in the Majors this year as he made his way back from elbow surgery. He’d projected at $800K.
    • The Marlins and Miguel Rojas agreed to a $1.18MM deal for 2018, Heyman tweets, placing him north of his $1.1MM projection. Rojas should see additional playing time following the Marlins’ wave of trades this offseason. He’s controlled through 2020. Miami also has a deal in place with infielder Derek Dietrich for $2.9MM, Heyman tweets, after projecting at $3.2MM.
    • The Mets were able to settle perhaps their most notable arb case, agreeing to a $7.4MM deal with righty Jacob deGrom, per James Wagner of the New York Times (via Twitter). That’s well shy of his $9.2MM projection, though MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz had explained the formula likely overestimated deGrom’s earning power by quite a wide margin. Fellow top righty Noah Syndergaard gets $2.975MM, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter), which goes a fair sight past the $1.9MM projection for the outstanding young starter, whose 2017 season was limited by injury. And reliever AJ Ramos will take home $9.225MM, according to Wagner (via Twitter). That’s just barely past the $9.2MM projection.  Wilmer Flores has also avoided arbitration with the Mets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports (on Twitter). He’ll receive a $3.4MM salary, which falls within $300K of his projected rate. The Mets control Flores through the 2019 campaign. The Mets and right-hander Matt Harvey agreed to a one-year deal worth $5.625MM, tweets Nightengale. Harvey, who is a free agent next winter, had been projected to earn $5.9MM. Meanwhile, Marc Carig of Newsday tweets that Jeurys Familia will earn $7.925MM for the upcoming year, while Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that catcher Travis d’Arnaud will earn $3.475MM in 2018 (Twitter link). Familia, a free agent next winter, was projected at $7.4MM. The Mets control d’Arnaud through 2019, and his projection was $3.4MM. Righty Hansel Robles gets $900K, Heyman tweets.
    • Also via Nightengale (Twitter link), the Nationals agreed to a $6.475MM salary for 2018 with right-hander Tanner Roark. That falls about $1MM shy of his $7.5MM projection but still represents a noted raise of $4.315MM for Roark, whom the Nats control through 2019. Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post adds that Michael Taylor will earn $2.525MM next year. Taylor is controlled through 2020 and was projected at $2.3MM.
    • The Phillies and Maikel Franco settled on a $2.95MM salary for the 2018 season, reports Jim Salisbury of (Twitter link). Franco, a Super Two player who’d been projected at $3.6MM, remains under club control with the Phils through the 2021 season. Second bagger Cesar Hernandez will earn at a $5.1MM rate in 2018, per’s Todd Zolecki (via Twitter). That beats his $4.7MM projection and wraps up this year’s arb business for the Phillies.
    Tim Dierkes <![CDATA[Dave Cameron Joins Padres; Marlins Hire Bradley Woodrum]]> 2018-01-12T03:31:47Z 2018-01-12T03:16:40Z The Padres and Marlins each made a huge acquisition this week, though not the kind we typically cover here on MLBTR.  Yesterday, FanGraphs stalwart Dave Cameron announced he will be joining the Padres to help build out their Research and Development department.  And this morning, former MLBTR contributor Bradley Woodrum announced he’s joining the Marlins analytics team.  Cameron and Woodrum were among the best sabermetric analysts operating in the public sphere, and we’ll sorely miss reading their work.

    I first encountered Dave’s work about ten years ago, on U.S.S. Mariner.  More than anyone, Dave was able to do incredibly intelligent baseball analysis in an understandable, easy-to-read way.  Dave is a pioneer in the field of sabermetrics, and I made a point to read just about everything he wrote.  I don’t remember much about the early days of FanGraphs, except that it had more graphs.  When Dave joined, his writing made FanGraphs a must-read as well.  Of course, the site has brought in countless talented writers and analysts since then.  I first reached out to Dave in 2009 in hopes of understanding WAR better.  He’s been gracious with his time over the years when I’ve approached him with many questions and has been a longtime friend of MLBTR. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune spoke to Dave, who has had previous interest from MLB teams, about his decision to accept the Padres’ offer.

    Back in 2015, Bradley Woodrum applied for a project we were launching on MLBTR: an attempt to create a model that predicts the chance of a pitcher having Tommy John surgery (updated last September).  I knew Brad from his stellar work at FanGraphs and The Hardball Times.  The Tommy John project was a daunting undertaking, and I was amazed by Brad’s analytical abilities, professionalism, and perseverance in getting the project to the finish line.  It took the better part of a year, but Brad delivered what I considered to be the best possible TJS prediction model, given the limitations of public data.  I’m proud to have hosted that work on MLBTR.  Armed with the superior data of a Major League club, I expect Brad to do great things.

    MLBTR wishes the best to Dave Cameron and Bradley Woodrum in their new careers!

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[White Sox Acquire Jose Rondon]]> 2018-01-10T19:51:06Z 2018-01-10T19:36:48Z The White Sox have acquired infielder Jose Rondon from the Padres, per a club announcement. Cash considerations are headed to San Diego in return.

    Rondon was designated recently by the Pads. Now, he’ll head to another rebuilding organization where he could challenge Tyler Saladino for a spot on the team as a utility piece or perhaps head to Triple-A for further development. Of course, it’s also possible the Sox will ultimately seek to sneak him through waivers.

    While the Padres have not been settled at short for some time, the team has quite a few young players filtering up at the position and elected to acquire Freddy Galvis to hold things down for the coming season. That left Rondon — who was originally acquired in the Huston Street trade — without much of an opportunity and ultimately without a roster spot.

    The 23-year-old reached the majors briefly in 2016 but has mostly played of late in the upper minors. Last year, he spent most of his time at Double-A and turned in a solid overall .293/.347/.442 output with seven home runs in 347 total minor-league plate appearances. With a high-average bat and good defensive profile, it’s certainly conceivable that Rondon could turn into a useful MLB asset, though he has yet to develop much in the way of power and hasn’t drawn many walks in the upper minors.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Still Open To Trading Infielders]]> 2018-01-07T17:56:52Z 2018-01-07T17:56:52Z A quick look around the National League…

    • The Brewers are arguably in position to spend big on a free agent starting pitcher this offseason, but it’s unlikely to happen “unless prices come down,” Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes. General manager David Stearns claims he’s “comfortable” with the team’s current rotation options – including the newly signed duo of Jhoulys Chacin and Yovani Gallardo. At the same time, he’s still working to improve the Brewers’ pitching and other areas of their roster. “I wouldn’t say we have anything that is imminent,” he told Haudricourt. “But that can always change with one phone call. We are involved on a number of fronts, some of them farther along than others. We’ll see where that takes us.”
    • Outfield prospect Edward Olivares is someone San Diego had “been on for some time” before acquiring him in Saturday’s Yangervis Solarte trade with Toronto, Padres general manager A.J. Preller said (via Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune). Preller went on to reveal that the Padres may not be done trading infielders, even after shipping out Solarte. “We’re still having discussions on the different infielders, and we’ll see how things play out,” stated Preller, who admitted after acquiring third baseman Chase Headley last month that he could flip him. Other teams had also called about Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje at that point.
    • The Mets and reliever Jenrry Mejia avoided arbitration this week, settling on a $1.729MM salary, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag (Twitter link). However, Mejia isn’t in position to collect that money, as Heyman notes. Major League Baseball issued Mejia a lifetime ban in February 2016 after his third positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Poll: Which Of These Players Is Most Likely To Be Traded?]]> 2018-01-07T13:34:25Z 2018-01-07T03:44:42Z We’ve reached January, and the free agent market is still lagging in a big way. The top free agents available seemingly haven’t showed a willingness to lower their asking prices, and with spring training less than two months out, teams may feel a need to complete their offseason shopping lists sooner than later. In some cases, this may cause teams to make stronger pushes for some candidates on the trade market.

    There have certainly been some large scale trades so far this offseason. High-end players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Evan Longoria, Ian Kinsler and Stephen Piscotty have changed hands already, and there are still plenty of practical matches left between MLB teams. We’ve detailed many of these in the 2017-2018 installment of our “Looking For A Match” series; the players featured in those articles are listed below, with our noted potential fits listed in parentheses.

    • Billy Hamilton, Reds CF (Giants, Dodgers, Royals): Hamilton’s talents as a burner on the basepaths and an elite defender in center field are well-known throughout MLB circles, but in truth, that’s about where his usefulness ends. His .299 OBP was the 11th-lowest among qualified hitters in 2017; that number is about consistent with his career mark. The Giants seem to have shown a strong interest in Hamilton, but Reds owner Bob Castellini’s recently-reported hesitancy to part with the speedster could gum up trade negotiations. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Billy Hamilton Trade]
    • Brad Hand, Padres LHRP (Astros, Dodgers, Cardinals, Twins, Braves): Though our evaluation of Hand’s trade market also included the Rays and Rockies, those teams seem like less likely suitors at this point in the offseason; the former decreased their likelihood of contention by shipping Longoria to San Francisco, while the latter has signed three expensive relief pitchers to pad their bullpen. Hand is one of the elite relief pitchers in all of baseball, and he’s certainly one of the best (if not the undisputed best) bullpen options on the trade market. Of course, the caveat is that it would also require a significant prospect haul to convince San Diego to move him. The lefty has two years of team control remaining, and MLBTR projects him to cost just $3.8MM in 2018. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Brad Hand Trade]
    • Jose Abreu, White Sox 1B (Astros, Indians, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies): Though the Cuba native has been a mainstay in the White Sox’ lineup since his MLB debut in 2014, his club is unlikely to contend for a pennant before he reaches free agency after the 2019 season. MLBTR’s arbitration projections have him pegged for a $17.9MM salary in 2018, but his expected offensive output makes him well worth that price tag. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Jose Abreu Trade]
    • Avisail Garcia, White Sox OF (Blue Jays, Indians, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants, Rangers): Like Abreu, Garcia is a South Sider with two years of team control remaining. However, he comes with a lot more risk; Garcia had played below replacement level over the course of his career prior to a breakout this past season. Still, there are many teams who would benefit from adding a lefty-masher to their outfield corps, and his projected 2018 salary is a reasonable $6.7MM. [LINK: Looking For A Match In An Avisail Garcia Trade]
    • Raisel Iglesias, Reds RHRP (Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals, Brewers, Twins, Astros): With three full seasons of team control remaining, Iglesias could prove a valuable long-term asset to either a rebuilding club or a current contender. He’s managed to strike out 10.43 batters per nine innings over the course of his career as a reliever while posting a sterling 2.29 ERA. The Twins have reportedly shown interest in Iglesias this winter, though that was nearly two months ago; there haven’t been any new developments in that story since then. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Raisel Iglesias Trade]
    • J.T. Realmuto, Marlins C (Nationals, Rockies, Diamondbacks): Unlike the other players on this list, Realmuto has gone so far as to request a trade from his current team. While that alone certainly isn’t enough to facilitate a trade, some have taken the stance that Miami ought to trade their catcher (along with fellow Marlin Christian Yelich) at his peak value. Realmuto has accrued more than 7 WAR over the past two seasons alone, but the Marlins don’t feel compelled to trade him unless they’re overwhelmed by an offer. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A J.T. Realmuto Trade]
    • Manny Machado, Orioles 3B (Cardinals, Yankees, Angels, Rockies, Nationals): Rumors surrounding Baltimore’s prized infielder have cooled off a bit recently, but the Orioles could still be prompted to move him for the right offer. They’re reportedly seeking two talented starting pitchers who are controllable for the long term, however, which seems like a sky-high asking price for a player with just one year of team control remaining. Of course, the O’s probably wouldn’t restrict a return to just rotation options. Machado is projected to earn a $17.3MM salary in his final season before hitting the free agent market. [LINK: Trading Manny Machado]

    We’ll open this subject up to reader opinions at this point. Which of the trade candidates we’ve profiled do you think is most likely to be traded before the 2018 season begins? (Link for app users)

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Padres Sign Kazuhisa Makita]]> 2018-01-14T04:37:19Z 2018-01-07T03:02:43Z 9:02 pm: The Padres paid a $500K posting fee to Makita’s Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune tweets.

    7:35 pm: The Padres have announced the signing.

    9:02 am: The Padres have reached a two-year, $3.8MM agreement with Japanese righty Kazuhisa MakitaJon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported the news on Twitter, noting that the team is likely to use him as a bullpen arm.

    Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported likelihood of a signing yesterday, which MLBTR covered here. As we noted at that time, reports that Makita would be posted surfaced around the same time that Shohei Ohtani was posted. The former Pacific League Rookie of the Year owns a career ERA of 2.83 across 921 1/3 innings, though he’s barely struck out one batter for every two innings pitched during that span.

    Notably, Makita’s fastball sits in the low 80’s; he relies more on its movement and some deception in his delivery. He pitches submarine-style, like Brad Ziegler and Peter Moylan. The 33-year-old stands at just 5’10” and weights 181 pounds.

    Makita will add to a thin San Diego bullpen that includes the likes of Brad Hand, Kirby Yates and Phil Maton at the back end. His contributions, along with a hopeful return to health by former phenom Carter Capps, could pave the way for improvements to a bullpen that ranked 24th among MLB teams in ERA last season, and 29th in WAR. That’s good news for a Padres pitching staff whose rotation averaged just over 5 1/3 innings per start in 2017.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Designate Jose Rondon]]> 2018-01-06T22:44:54Z 2018-01-06T22:34:12Z The Padres have designated infielder Jose Rondon for assignment, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Twitter link). Rondon’s spot on the Padres’ 40-man roster will go to reliever Craig Stammen, whose deal with the team is now official.

    Rondon, 23, has been a member of the San Diego organization since it acquired him from the Angels in a trade involving reliever Huston Street in July 2014. At the time, Rondon ranked among the Angels’ top prospects, though he hasn’t yet emerged as a regular major leaguer. During his time with the Padres, the righty-swinging Rondon has accrued just 26 big league plate appearances and hit .120/.154/.120 over that limited sample. Rondon divided last season between the Double-A and Triple-A levels, where he batted .293/.347/.442 in 347 PAs.

    With one option remaining, Rondon could conceivably catch on with another club and continue to serve as minor league depth in 2018.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Acquire Yangervis Solarte]]> 2018-01-06T23:55:11Z 2018-01-06T22:08:52Z The Blue Jays have acquired infielder Yangervis Solarte from the Padres in exchange for two prospects – outfielder Edward Olivares and reliever Jared Carkuff – per announcements from both teams.


    The 30-year-old Solarte is the second infielder the Blue Jays have landed via trade this winter, joining Aledmys Diaz, whom they acquired from the Cardinals last month. The area was a clear point of emphasis for Jays entering the offseason, given that neither second baseman Devon Travis nor shortstop Troy Tulowitzki have been able to stay consistently healthy during their careers. Solarte may end up as a multiyear piece for Toronto, as he’ll make an affordable $4MM in 2018 before the club will have to decide on options totaling $13.5MM over the next two offseasons.

    [Updated Blue Jays Depth Chart]

    Solarte brings experience at all four infield positions, with the majority of his work having come at third base. He’s unlikely to see much action there next season, however, unless the Jays trade superstar Josh Donaldson between now and the summer or Donaldson misses time with injuries. Solarte spent the majority of last year at second base, where he has posted minus-3 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-1.1 Ultimate Zone Rating across just over 1,000 career innings, and that figures to be his primary position in 2018.

    The switch-hitting Solarte is known mostly for his bat, having slashed a respectable .267/.327/.419 over 2,061 plate appearances since debuting with the Yankees in 2014. Solarte experienced a drop-off in production last year, though, as both his .255/.314/.416 line and .161 ISO underwhelmed. However, he did strike out in just 11.9 percent of PAs (in line with his career rate of 11.5) and belt a personal-high 18 home runs.

    This trade brings an end to a decent tenure in San Diego for Solarte, whom the Padres acquired from the Yankees for third baseman Chase Headley in 2014. Solarte had been an oft-speculated trade piece over the past couple years, and with Headley having returned to the team in a deal with the Yankees this winter and shortstop Freddy Galvis also now in the mix after a swap with the Phillies, the Padres had a glut of infielders. As a result, they’d been shopping Solarte, whose exit leaves the Pads with Headley, Carlos Asuaje, Cory Spangenberg and Christian Villanueva among their current third/second base options (though Headley may be on his way out soon).

    In Olivares, the Padres are getting a soon-to-be 22-year-old whom ranked as the Blue Jays’ 18th-best prospect. The outlet notes that Olivares, a Venezuelan who signed with the Jays as an international free agent in 2014, “began to tap into his above-average raw power” last season, when he batted .277/.330/.500 with 17 homers in 464 Single-A plate trips, and has further potential on that front. He also possesses “well above-average speed” and the ability to play all three outfield positions. That skillset could make Olivares a major league regular down the line, per

    Carkuff, 24, did not rank among Toronto’s top 30 prospects at The right-hander, a 35th-round pick in 2016, is coming off a year in which he pitched to a 3.86 ERA and recorded 7.3 K/9 against 2.1 BB/9 in 63 innings divided among the Single-A, High-A and Triple-A levels.

    Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported that Solarte was headed to the Jays. Robert Murray of FanRag reported the Padres would get Olivares. Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reported the Pads would receive Carkuff (all Twitter links). Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres Re-Sign Craig Stammen]]> 2018-01-06T22:45:41Z 2018-01-06T01:24:32Z The Padres have struck a two-year $4.5MM deal with righty Craig Stammen, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter links). He can earn $100K for ever five appearances between twenty and fifty, with another $150K apiece upon reaching fifty-five and sixty games, per Bob Nightengle of USA Today (via Twitter). The sides were said to be in “serious talks” earlier tonight, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter).

    [RELATED: Updated Padres Depth Chart]

    Stammen, 33, was among the solid relief arms we cited recently as still being available, but he has now joined quite a few of his bullpen brethren in reaching agreement on a multi-year deal. He’ll return to San Diego, where he enjoyed a nice bounceback season in 2017.

    Long a multi-inning staple in the Nationals’ pen, Stammen was severely limited by arm troubles in 2015 and 2016. But he returned to form in a familiar role after earning his way onto the Padres roster after signing a minors pact.

    In 80 1/3 innings over sixty appearances, Stammen worked to a 3.14 ERA with 8.3 K/9, 3.1 BB/9, and a 51.6% groundball rate — as well as a career-worst 1.34 HR/9 home run rate. With his typical ~92 mph fastball combo, paired mostly with a slider and curve, Stammen managed an 11.4% swinging-strike rate that sits comfortably within the range he carried during his prior years as a successful reliever.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Likely To Sign Right-Hander Kazuhisa Makita]]> 2018-01-05T22:36:07Z 2018-01-05T22:28:15Z The Padres have emerged as the favorite to sign Japanese right-hander Kazuhisa Makita, reports Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). The 33-year-old Makita, a submarine reliever, is on his way to San Diego for a physical, according to a report from Yahoo Japan.

    At the time Shohei Ohtani was posted for MLB clubs, it was announced that Makita, too, would be posted for teams by year’s end, though details on his posting were never announced to the public. It’s not clear how many teams placed bids on Makita, but it’s clear that the Padres matched whatever release fee was set by the Seibu Lions and have agreed to a deal with the intriguing veteran right-hander.

    Makita was the Pacific League Rookie of the Year back in 2011, and he owns an excellent 2.83 ERA in 921 1/3 career innings. After moving to the bullpen full time in 2016, he’s posted a minuscule 1.91 ERA in nearly 150 innings.  However, Makita also generates an abnormally low number of strikeouts for a pitcher with his success, averaging just five punchouts per nine innings over the course of his pro career in Japan. To his credit, he’s done a masterful job of limiting walks, issuing  just 19 unintentional free passes over his past 147 1/3 innings, albeit with 13 hit batters in that time as well.

    That said, Makita would hardly be the only reliever in baseball who thrives on weak contact and heavy ground-ball rates despite an abundance of missed bats. Brad Ziegler, another sidearm specialist, has made a career out of that skill set and took home a hefty two-year contract last offseason as a result. Brandon Kintzler throws from a conventional arm angle but stands out as another reliever that has risen to relative prominence despite a lack of strikeouts.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cubs Discussed Javier Baez With Padres]]> 2018-01-05T05:46:35Z 2018-01-05T05:46:35Z
  • Winter Meetings chatter between the Padres and Cubs involving infielder Javier Baez failed to develop, per another Rosenthal report. It’s “likely” that Chicago was looking to pick up “a controllable starter” in any such deal, says Rosenthal, and the San Diego organization was just not interested in dangling Dinelson Lamet or Luis Perdomo. The sides also held some discussions involving Baez and Friars lefty Brad Hand, per Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Precise formulations of potential trade packages are not really clear, but it probably shouldn’t be too surprising to hear that those particular names came up. It seems that ship has sailed at this point, though in theory the sides could always strike up talks again if one or the other has a change of heart. Lin also addresses a few other topics of note; in particular, he says the Pads are likely just about done adding rotation options, so fans looking for a Jake Peavy reunion shouldn’t hold their breath.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Eric Hosmer Has Reportedly Received Multiple 7-Year Offers]]> 2018-01-04T16:02:09Z 2018-01-04T15:43:29Z 9:43am: Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals have not made an offer worth $147MM over seven years to Hosmer, though they remain interested in re-signing him. Mellinger’s report doesn’t specifically refute the length of the offer or that one has been made. Nightengale did stress in yesterday’s report that the length of the offer was confirmed by at least one “high-ranking” member of the Royals, though it’s certainly possible that the overall guarantee has been overstated.

    Jan. 4, 9:20am: Boras dismissed Nightengale’s numbers as “inaccurate” when speaking to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required and highly recommended), though he offered no further detail beyond that point. Rosenthal agrees with Nightengale’s assessment that Hosmer is seeking a larger contract both in length and total guarantee, noting that Hosmer is younger than the bulk of free agents that have received contracts of seven or more years in length.

    Jan. 3, 1:25pm: San Diego’s offer is at seven years but has not reached $140MM, a source tells Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter).

    8:25am: The market for Eric Hosmer appears to be heating up, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. He cites sources “close to Hosmer” that say the first baseman has received nine-figure offers from both the Padres and the Royals.

    San Diego, per the report, has dangled a seven-year deal at a healthy $140MM price tag — about $20MM more than had previously been suggested. But the incumbent Kansas City club is said to have topped that bid with a contract that would include a $147MM guarantee. Notably, Nightengale says he was able to confirm the length of the proposed contract terms with both organizations.

    Entering the offseason, MLBTR predicted that Hosmer would only be able to secure a six-year guarantee at a $132MM price tag. That said, we noted that the 28-year-old was seeking more and could drive bidding northward if he found a few organizations that placed a particularly high value on his services.

    It seems that’s just what has happened, as Hosmer is now evidently sitting on two appealing offers from two small-market teams that aren’t even expected to contend in 2018. The Royals, of course, are quite familiar with the first baseman and obviously feel his value outstrips the assessment of measures such as wins above replacement. And it seems that’s an opinion shared by the Pads, who must see Hosmer as a potential building block for a young roster that’s expected to bloom in the coming seasons.

    For Kansas City, bringing back the team’s core star would not necessarily mean pushing the pedal down for 2018. Rather, the club has indicated throughout the winter that it’ll be drawing back payroll and looking to reload. But such a move would surely impact the team’s overall planning for the coming seasons and might impact its willingness to trade longer-term assets such as Danny Duffy.

    Meanwhile, the Padres — whose interest has long been known — would clearly need to bump Wil Myers back into the outfield to make room for Hosmer. Making this deal might also mean dealing away some other assets to make the roster work, though again a signing wouldn’t necessarily be accompanied by other win-now moves. San Diego did recently pick up a short-term veteran at shortstop in Freddy Galvis, though that move is hardly a committing one and the team has mostly endeavored to fill its gaps with low-cost signings. It’s doubtful the organization would drastically alter its timeline in other areas, though certainly adding such a significant salary to the payroll would have a major impact on the options moving forward.

    Notably, Hosmer is not just assessing which of these two contracts to take at this point. Rather, Nightengale says that Hosmer and his agent, Scott Boras, are “seeking at least an eight-year or nine-year deal.” Whether or not there’s further room for those offers to grow is not immediately clear, and it’s not entirely evident whether any other teams will enter the bidding in earnest. (The Cardinals have recently been suggested as having ongoing interest, though.) Regardless, it seems that Hosmer is in position to secure a massive contract that meets or exceeds most expectations.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Stockpiling Rotation Options]]> 2018-01-05T20:37:30Z 2018-01-04T05:08:10Z
  • The Padres have been stockpiling rotation options for the coming season but are reluctant to commit to much in 2019 and beyond, writes’s AJ Cassavell (hence the decision not to re-sign Jhoulys Chacin). The Friars already have Clayton Richard signed through 2019, with Dinelson Lamet, Luis Perdomo and Bryan Mitchell all representing cost-effective long-term options as well. With that group in place and prospects like Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Joey Lucchesi and Jacob Nix in Double-A (plus Matt Strahm, Colin Rea and Robbie Erlin returning from injury), the Padres indeed are well-stocked with long-term potential. Cassavell notes that the Padres, who’ve also recently agreed to offseason deals with Jordan Lyles (on a big league deal), Tyson Ross (minor league deal) and Chris Young (minor league deal), are weighing a six-man rotation in 2018 and beyond.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres Reportedly Agree To Minors Pact With Tyson Ross]]> 2018-01-03T19:57:26Z 2018-01-03T19:56:25Z JAN. 3: Ross’s base salary would be $1.75MM, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. He can earn up to $4.25MM in incentives, per the report, and has opt-out dates on May 15th and June 15th. Unsurprisingly, the deal includes a spring invite.

    Regarding the incentives, Ross will need to hold down a rotation spot for virtually the entire season to max them out. Beginning with his fifth game started, he’d receive $150K; upon starting his twentieth outing (and ending at his 29th), Ross can earn $200K per start.

    DEC. 29, 8:55pm: Ross would earn between $1MM and $2MM in base salary if he makes the club, tweets Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter), with additional incentives available based upon the number of games he starts.

    5:24pm: The Padres have agreed to terms on a minor-league deal with righty Tyson Ross, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (via Twitter). Presumably, he’ll receive an invitation to MLB Spring Training.

    Ross, 30, found success in his prior tenure with the Padres, compiling 522 innings of 3.16 ERA ball over four seasons. But he was non-tendered after missing virtually all of the 2016 campaign and eventually required thoracic outlet surgery.

    While the hope was that Ross could bounce back after signing a one-year deal with the Rangers, he struggled badly in the 2017 season after a long rehab process. He averaged just 92 mph on his four-seam fastball — two or more clicks below his typical rate — and limped to a 7.71 ERA in 49 innings. Ross walked 37 batters while generating only 36 strikeouts and sported a meager 6.2% swinging-strike rate that was only about half of his typical level in San Diego.

    Should the Padres find a way to get Ross back on track, he could conceivably represent quite a value. But there clearly wasn’t a great deal of optimism around the game, given that Ross had to settle for a non-roster accord just two years removed from a string of successful campaigns.

    The Friars have had some success of late at finding rotation innings at bargain rates. If Ross is to crack the roster, though, he’ll have to earn his way on in camp. Presumably, he’ll compete with pitchers such as the just-acquired Bryan Mitchell and injury returnees Robbie Erlin, Colin Rea, and Matt Strahm.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres Avoid Arbitration With Carter Capps]]> 2018-01-03T19:10:24Z 2018-01-03T19:10:24Z The Padres have avoided arbitration with righty Carter Capps, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). Capps will play at a $1,062,500 rate for the 2018 season.

    That’s a bit less than the $1.3MM payday that MLBTR projected him to earn via arbitration, though Capps did not have a strong case for much of a raise. Last year, in his first season of eligibility, he earned $987,500, but did not pitch much in the ensuing season. He can be controlled for one additional campaign through the arb process.

    Capps, 27, came to the Friars in the complicated 2016 Andrew Cashner deadline swap. At the time, Capps was recovering from Tommy John surgery. He finally made it back to the hill late in the 2017 campaign, though only in time to throw 12 1/3 innings. And his season ended with another procedure, this time to address thoracic outlet syndrome.

    The latest surgery came after Capps showed diminished form in his return to the majors. He managed only seven strikeouts against two walks in his 11 appearances late in 2017. Of greater concern, perhaps, he worked in the 93 mph range with his fastball, over five miles per hour less than his peak.

    Still, the Padres are obviously willing to stake a fairly minor bet on a rebound; the hope, perhaps, is that he can show renewed life after the thoracic outlet procedure. The upside is undeniable: Capps was utterly dominant in a breakout 2015 campaign, when he ran a 25.4% swinging-strike rate, 16.8 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9, and 1.16 ERA over 31 innings.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On Padres, Eric Hosmer]]> 2018-01-03T13:24:34Z 2018-01-02T19:29:31Z In his column today on the molasses-slow free agent market, Bob Nightengale of USA Today drops a few nuggets of information. The Padres’ offer to free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer would promise him seven years, says Nightengale. Meanwhile, top open-market slugger J.D. Martinez is sitting on a five-year offer from the Red Sox. In other chatter, Nightengale suggests the Cubs could be willing to go as high as $110MM over four years to bring back Jake Arrieta. Of course, the teams and players just cited have likely known one another’s positions for some time now, and these stalemates have yet to be resolved. These details also fall in line with what has been reported previously about the respective situations, though they are surely interesting data points as we seek to divine when and how the free agent dam will finally break.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Taking Inventory: San Diego Padres]]> 2018-01-02T18:26:13Z 2018-01-02T18:26:12Z The Padres are in a fairly flexible spot this offseason, as the team entered the winter with fairly low payroll obligations for the 2018 season and a long-term balance sheet that features just one notable commitment. While nobody really expects the team to contend in the coming season, its pursuit of Eric Hosmer shows that the organization would like to begin building toward MLB competitiveness.

    On the whole, there’s no real reason to think the Padres need to trade any particular player. But the organization has one fairly obvious, high-end trade candidate and it also seems reasonaby likely that at least one veteran infielder will end up hitting the road.

    Click here to view the previous entries in this series.

    [Related: San Diego Padres depth chart and Padres payroll outlook; MLBTR 2018 arbitration projections]

    One-Year Rental

    Chase Headley, 3B ($13MM in 2018): The Friars brought back their former star in a deal that was designed mostly to acquire righty Bryan Mitchell, who’ll compete for a rotation spot. Now, it seems likely that Headley will be dangled as a means of trimming some salary. Entering his age-34 season, Headley profiles as a solid average player who could hold down the fort for a year in the right circumstances. But his overall output with the bat has been average or worse over the past four seasons, so despite the limited contractual commitment, it seems likely the Padres will have to keep some of the salary if he ends up on the move.

    Two Years of Control


    Brad Hand, RP (projected $3.8MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2019): This is the one player who stands out as a premium veteran trade asset. With Orioles lefty Zach Britton suffering an offseason injury, and a busy market for free agent relievers, Hand stands out as a highly valuable asset. He has retired more than 11 batters per nine via strikeout in each of the past two seasons and upped his output in 2017, when he ran a 2.16 ERA over 79 1/3 innings and stepped seamlessly into the closer’s role. It’s arguable the Pads ought to cash in on Hand in the near term, rather than risking any injury or performance decline, though we haven’t heard much chatter surrounding him so far this winter.

    Carter Capps, RP (projected $1.3MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2019): It was an open question whether the Padres would tender Capps a contract at all following his tepid return from Tommy John surgery. The 27-year-old managed just seven strikeouts and allowed nine earned runs in his 12 1/3 innings in 2017, while showing a whopping 5+ mph drop in his average fastball velocity and carrying only a 7.8% whiff rate. But the Padres evidently feel that Capps can still build himself back into being a quality reliever, and it’s certainly worth bearing in mind just how dominant he had become before the elbow injury. It seems unlikely he’ll be moved, but it’s certainly possible a roster need could push him out or that another organization may put a slightly higher value on his upside.

    Clayton Richard, SP/RP ($6MM through 2019): The southpaw just inked an extension at the tail end of the 2017 campaign, so it’s quite unlikely the Pads would turn around and deal him before the start of the coming season. Instead, the 34-year-old is likely to hold down a rotation spot and perhaps eventually slide into a swingman role as situations dictate.

    Longer-Term Assets

    Yangervis Solarte, INF ($5.5MM through 2018, including buyout of 2019-20 club options): If the Friars don’t trade Headley, it may be because they find a better deal that involves Solarte. A solid switch-hitting option who can handle third base, second base, and even a bit of time at short, Solarte would fit on a lot of rosters around the game. The flexibility in his contract boosts his value, though surely other organizations won’t be offering up top talent for a player who is coming off of a personal-worst .255/.314/.416 season at the plate.

    Wil Myers, 1B ($78.5MM through 2022, including buyout of club option for 2023): There’s no indication that the Padres have interest in shopping Myers, who had a less-than-inspiring first season under his new contract. Rather, it seems the club is weighing a move for free agent Eric Hosmer, which would bump Myers into a corner outfield spot. But Myers does carry the team’s only large, long-term contract, so he certainly merits mention.

    Cory Spangenberg, UTIL (projected $2.0MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2020): In his most extensive MLB action, a 486 plate appearance run in 2017, Spangenberg turned in a .264/.322/.401 batting line with 13 home runs and 11 steals. That’s a handy batting line for a player who rated as an outstanding overall baserunner and can play just about anywhere on the field. Then again, the output was still below the league average and there are limits to Spangenberg’s defensive function; he graded poorly at third last year and isn’t really an option at short or in center. All told, though, he’s a useful asset who’d draw interest if dangled.

    Kirby Yates, RP (projected $1.1MM arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2020): Though he’ll turn 31 before the start of the 2018 season and has not really thrived in prior attempts at the majors, Yates is an interesting player after a strong 2017 season. Home runs marred his balance sheet in the end, but it’s hard to ignore his 14.0 K/9 strikeout rate and robust 17.3% swinging-strike rate. Odds are the Padres will keep Yates and hope he can produce the results to match those promising peripherals, but his name could also come up in trade talks.

    Matt Szczur, OF (projected $800K arbitration salary; arb-eligible thru 2021): It’s hard to imagine teams lining up for a player who seemingly profiles at best as a solid, right-handed-hitting fourth outfielder. But Szczur did produce at a roughly league-average rate over 237 plate appearances in 2017, most of which came after he moved to the Friars from the Cubs in the middle of the season. Most impressively, Szczur maintained a 14.3% walk rate over the season. He’s also still affordable as a Super Two.

    Austin Hedges, C (pre-arb): In all likelihood, the 25-year-old Hedges is going to continue to take the bulk of the time behind the dish for the Padres in 2018 and beyond. But there’s some uncertainty in his outlook after a marginal .214/.262/.398 output with the bat in 2017, even if he did swat 18 long balls. It’s important to bear in mind that Hedges is considered a high-quality defender; indeed, he was one of the game’s highest-rated pitch framers in his first full season as a big leaguer. There may not be a ton of offensive upside, but the Padres have good reason to continue to allow Hedges to develop as a hitter while he gives a boost to the organization’s pitching staff.

    Of course, the Padres have a variety of other younger players around who could conceivably also be traded. To take a few examples, it isn’t impossible to imagine deals involving outfielder Hunter Renfroe, starter Luis Perdomo, or reliever Phil Maton. But those and others don’t seem particularly likely to be targeted by contending organizations weighing win-now moves, so we needn’t consider them in detail. We’re also going to go ahead and assume that the team intends to utilize the just-acquired Freddy Galvis at shortstop, so there’s no real cause to weigh his trade candidacy.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 12/30/17]]> 2017-12-31T01:21:33Z 2017-12-31T01:21:33Z Some minor moves from around baseball…

    • The Padres released right-hander Jake Smith earlier this month, according to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy.  Originally a 48th-round pick for the Giants in the 2011 draft, Smith has a 3.23 ERA, 11.9 K/9 and 2.86 K/BB rate over 253 2/3 minor league innings, working as a reliever in all but five of his 186 career appearances.  He managed just 26 2/3 IP in 2017, however, with injuries limiting his time on the field.  Smith’s only MLB experience consists of four innings for San Diego in 2016.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres To Sign Chris Young]]> 2017-12-30T19:30:59Z 2017-12-30T19:30:32Z SATURDAY: Young’s incentives begin at five games started and 30 innings pitched, and they can max out at approximately 30 starts and 120 innings, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (Twitter link).

    FRIDAY, 8:58pm: Young can earn a $1MM base salary if he makes the team,’s Jerry Crasnick tweets. The deal also includes as much as $6MM in potential incentives, with games started and innings pitched providing the standard.

    6:50pm: The Padres are adding another former starter on a minors deal after striking agreement with Chris Young, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (via Twitter). The 38-year-old will join a Spring Training rotation battle that now also includes Tyson Ross.

    Young, 38, opened the 2017 campaign with the Royals but was released in late June. He has rested up since, with reports indicating that he intended to ramp back up for another attempt at what would be his 14th MLB campaign.

    At this point, it’s difficult to expect much out of Young, who stumbled to a 6.52 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 4.3 BB/9 in 118 2/3 frames in the majors since the start of 2016. Interestingly, that slippage has occurred even with Young sporting a swinging-strike rate of over 11% — levels he had maintained over a full season only once in his career — by drastically increasing his slider usage. Then again, he has also been touched for 2.7 home runs per nine over the past two seasons.

    Perhaps, though, Young can still find a way to be effective, particularly after a lengthy layoff. Before boosting his whiff rate, he had actually managed two consecutive seasons with excellent results. In 288 1/3 frames between 2014 and 2015, he worked to a 3.40 ERA. And he has continued to post above-average infield fly rates even as the other tinkering has left him prone to the long ball.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Preller, Green On Acquisition Of Mitchell]]> 2017-12-27T16:40:41Z 2017-12-27T16:40:41Z
  • Padres GM A.J. Preller tells Jeff Sanders of the San Diego Union-Tribune and Baseball America that he’d had his eye on right-hander Bryan Mitchell for quite some time before finally acquiring him from the Yankees earlier this month. “He’s a guy who our scouting group had talked about a lot the last three years,” says Preller. “He has big fastball velocity, and he’s got a really good breaking pitch in there, too.” Preller goes on to state that the upside with Mitchell was more intriguing to the Friars than most of the free-agent market. Manager Andy Green, meanwhile, notes that the Padres feel they’ll be able to give him a more consistent role (presumably in the rotation), which could help the 26-year-old tap into his potential.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Organization Split On Signing Eric Hosmer]]> 2017-12-24T14:39:57Z 2017-12-24T14:39:57Z The Padres have aggressively pursued free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer this offseason, but with the team not ready to contend, the organization is split on whether it would be wise to sign him, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. As of the Winter Meetings, the Padres “were prepared to invest” roughly six years and $120MM in Hosmer, according to executives who spoke with Olney. That would easily surpass Wil Myers’ six-year, $83MM pact as the largest in Padres history, though it would be a questionable investment for a team that could take at least a couple more seasons to return to the playoffs. By then, Hosmer (currently 28) may be out of his prime.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres, Shane Peterson Agree To Minor League Deal]]> 2017-12-23T08:35:19Z 2017-12-23T04:09:21Z
  • The Orioles announced minor league pacts with lefties Jayson Aquino and Andrew Faulkner, right-hander Tim Melville and first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez. Aquino, Faulkner and Rodriguez will be returning to the organization, while Melville will be joining the team for the first time. The 25-year-old Aquino has tossed 15 2/3 innings with the O’s over the past two seasons but struggled to a 6.32 ERA in that time. He does have a 4.02 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in parts of two Triple-A seasons. Faulkner, 25, logged a 2.79 ERA in 38 1/3 Triple-A innings with 8.1 K/9 last season but also averaged 5.6 walks per nine innings. Rodriguez, meanwhile, hit .279/.341/.471 with 22 homers in Double-A this past season, albeit at the age of 25 (older than much of the competition he was facing). The 28-year-old Melville has just 14 2/3 MLB innings on his resume and has been hit hard in that time. However, he also logged a 2.95 ERA with 8.5 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 in 12 starts (13 total appearances) with the Triple-A affiliates for the Twins and Padres last year.
  • Outfielder Shane Peterson has landed with the Padres on a minor league pact, as per the team’s Triple-A broadcaster, Tim Hagerty (on Twitter). A career .254/.319/.359 hitter in 322 MLB plate appearances, Peterson brings an excellent .296/.374/.474 career Triple-A slash to the Padres organization. He’ll turn 30 in February and can handle any outfield spot
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Have Shown Some Interest In Brad Hand]]> 2017-12-22T23:54:05Z 2017-12-22T21:44:57Z
  • While the Blue Jays have been quiet thus far, Heyman says they could be lurking on a few interesting names. In the outfield, J.D. Martinez is a legitimate target, he says, as are Carlos Gonzalez and Lorenzo Cain. The club is also considering quality utility options such as Eduardo Nunez and Howie Kendrick. Meanwhile, Toronto has reached out to the Padres on Brad Hand, who’s a highly valuable relief asset. It remains to be seen whether the Jays will be willing to pony up a lot of cash or prospect assets to make a significant win-now move, but it’s notable that the team is at least exploring some notable possibilities.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[White Sox Claim Jose Ruiz From Padres]]> 2017-12-22T19:10:59Z 2017-12-22T19:10:59Z The Padres announced today that right-hander Jose Ruiz has been claimed off waivers by the White Sox. San Diego had designated the hard-throwing Ruiz for assignment last week to clear a roster spot for trade acquisition Freddy Galvis.

    Ruiz, 23, made the jump from Class-A Advanced to the Majors this season, though he only threw a single inning at the big league level. Ruiz worked as a catcher for the bulk of his pro career with the Padres but began transitioning to the mound in 2016 after batting just .203/.239/.249 in his career as a hitter. He tossed a career-high 49 2/3 innings in 2017 with the Padres’ Class-A Advanced affiliate, struggling to a 5.98 ERA in that time.

    Ruiz, however, sat at 95.3 mph with his heater in his lone MLB appearance this past season and averaged 8.2 K/9 in his first full season as a pitcher in the minors. He also averaged 4.5 BB/9, though, and posted a low 32.5 percent ground-ball rate, which contributed to some trouble in keeping the ball in the park (1.27 HR/9). He’s tossed 16 innings in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason, posting a 3.94 ERA with a 12-to-6 K/BB ratio, a hit batter and a wild pitch.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Dick Enberg Passes Away]]> 2017-12-22T14:02:38Z 2017-12-22T14:02:38Z Legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg, the 2015 Ford C. Frick Award winner and an icon in the broadcasting industry, has passed away at the age of 82, according to Bryce Miller of the San Diego Union Tribune. Enberg’s wife, Barbara, tells Miller that the family believes he suffered a heart attack.

    Enberg’s career in broadcasting spanned well beyond the world of baseball, as he spent six decades also calling NCAA basketball, the NFL, professional tennis, the PGA and the Olympics, among other sporting events. That versatility brought Enberg’s iconic voice into the homes of millions of sports fans, from his humble beginnings calling Indiana Hoosiers football and basketball in the 1950s to the seven seasons he spent as one of the voices of MLB’s San Diego Padres from 2010-16.

    Along the way, Enberg was honored not only by the National Baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick Award, but also by the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, who named him the recipient of their respective Pete Rozelle Award (1999) and Curt Gowdy Award (1995).

    “We are immensely saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg,” the Padres said in a statement issued by chairman Ron Fowler and managing partner Peter Seidler. “Dick was an institution in the industry for 60 years and we were lucky enough to have his iconic voice behind the microphone for Padres games for nearly a decade. On behalf of our entire organization, we send our deepest condolences to his wife, Barbara, and the entire Enberg family.”

    Enberg’s signature “Oh, my!” call was a familiar refrain for multiple generations of sports fans across the country, and the impact that he had on the sportscasting industry is immeasurable. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Enberg, as well as the countless fans whose lives were bettered by his passion, insight and joy over the years.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Release Travis Wood]]> 2017-12-21T01:17:32Z 2017-12-21T01:17:32Z The Padres announced that they’ve released left-hander Travis Wood, whom the team designated for assignment over the weekend to clear roster space for right-hander Jordan Lyles.

    Wood, 30, signed a two-year, $12MM contract with the Royals last winter but struggled enormously both in Kansas City and in San Diego this past season. The former Cubs lefty posted an ERA north of 6.70 with both teams last year, working to an overall 6.80 ERA with 6.2 K/9, 4.3 BB/9 and a 1.8 HR/9 mark in 94 innings. He’s still owed $6.5MM in 2018, but the Royals agreed to pay the entirety of that sum when he was traded to San Diego, so Wood will represent a pure lottery ticket for any club that signs him this offseason.

    As unsightly as his 2017 results were, Wood had success with the Cubs from 2015-16, totaling 161 2/3 innings with a 3.51 ERA, 9.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 between nine starts and 122 relief appearances. Overall, he posted a 3.94 ERA in nearly 700 innings in parts of five seasons in Chicago. Given his experience both in a big league rotation and bullpen, Wood figures to draw interest from clubs looking for depth options in either capacity.

    A low-payroll club like the Marlins, who had interest in Wood as a free agent last offseason, could make sense as a speculative landing spot given their overall need for affordable pitching depth. NL clubs may also be drawn to the fact that Wood has some ability at the plate (relative to his pitching peers, anyhow). In 195 plate appearances over the past five seasons, Wood has connected on eight homers and batted .202/.241/.354.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Padres Sign Jordan Lyles, Designate Travis Wood]]> 2017-12-18T02:17:46Z 2017-12-18T02:10:05Z 8:10pm: Lyles will earn $1MM in guaranteed money from the deal, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (via Twitter), with Heyman adding that the deal breaks down as $750K in salary and $250K as a buyout for the 2019 option.  If Lyles’ 2019 option is picked up, Lin notes that the right-hander can also earn performance bonuses in that extra year.

    7:10pm: The Padres have announced the signing of right-hander Jordan Lyles to a one-year deal with a club option for the 2019 season.  Lyles’ deal is a Major League contract and FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman (Twitter link) reports that the deal is worth $750K.  Lyles is represented by the Ballengee Group.  In a corresponding move, the Padres also announced that lefty Travis Wood has been designated for assignment to create 40-man roster space.

    Lyles signed a minor league deal with San Diego back in August and posted a 9.39 ERA over five starts for the Padres.  That shaky stint underlined an overall rough year for the righty, as Lyles posted a 7.75 ERA over 69 2/3 IP with Colorado and San Diego.  ERA indicators such as xFIP (4.64) and SIERA (4.37) painted a more flattering picture of Lyles’ 2017 performance, as he did suffer from an inflated .352 BABIP and a below-average 61.2% strand rate.  On the other hand, Lyles also saw his home run rate balloon to a whopping 21.1%, an issue that hurt him both in Coors Field and Petco Park.

    [Updated Padres depth chart at Roster Resource]

    It’s worth noting that the Rockies exclusively used Lyles out of the pen over his 33 appearances in 2017 (and for 35 of his 40 games in 2016), while the Padres used Lyles only as a starter.  Lyles’ MLB contract will ensure that he gets a shot at competing for a rotation job in Spring Training, though the Padres may also deploy him as a long man in the bullpen.

    Despite his unimpressive numbers last year, the Padres clearly saw enough in Lyles to give him a big league deal, and it’s a fairly low-risk bet by the team that Lyles still has some untapped potential.  He only just turned 27 in October, and Lyles does carry a pedigree as both a supplemental first-round pick in the 2008 draft and as a top-100 ranked prospect in his days in the Astros’ farm system.

    It was just last February that Wood signed a two-year, $12MM (with an $8MM mutual option for 2019) contract with the Royals, with K.C. looking to reinforce its pitching depth by adding Wood as an option out of the rotation or bullpen.  In either role, however, Wood badly struggled, posting a 6.91 ERA, 6.3 K/9 and 1.45 K/BB rate over 41 2/3 innings in a Royals uniform.  Wood was dealt to the Padres as part of a six-player trade in July and he posted virtually identical numbers over 52 1/3 IP for San Diego, all of which came as a starting pitcher.  Never a hard-thrower or a big strikeout-generator, Wood had traditionally found success by dominating left-handed batters or inducing a large number of infield pop-ups, though both skills seemed to evaporate for him in 2017.

    The Royals are on the hook for Wood’s $6.5MM salary in 2018, and the $1.5MM buyout of his option will be split between the Royals and whichever team may next acquire his services.  While his advanced metrics didn’t always reflect his on-field results, Wood posted good numbers out of the Cubs’ bullpen in 2015-16, so it seems like that teams in search of southpaw bullpen help will certainly consider him as a rebound candidate.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Could Have Interest In Adrian Gonzalez]]> 2017-12-17T03:22:38Z 2017-12-17T03:22:38Z
  • The Padres will consider a reunion with Gonzalez if they’re unable to reel in free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, Bob Nightengale of USA Today suggests (Twitter link). Gonzalez was a franchise player in San Diego from 2006-10, slashing .288/.374/.514 with 161 home runs in 3,425 plate appearances and earning three All-Star nods.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Designate Jose Ruiz For Assignment]]> 2017-12-15T18:20:57Z 2017-12-15T18:15:37Z The Padres announced that they’ve designated right-hander Jose Ruiz for assignment. His spot on the 40-man roster will go to shortstop Freddy Galvis, whose trade to San Diego has now been officially announced by both the Padres and Phillies.

    Ruiz, 23, made the considerable jump from Class-A Advanced to the Majors this season, though he only threw a single inning at the big league level. The Venezuelan-born Ruiz worked as a catcher for the bulk of his pro career with the Padres but began transitioning to the mound in 2016. He tossed a career-high 49 2/3 innings in 2017 with the team’s Class-A Advanced affiliate, struggling to a 5.98 ERA in that time.

    Ruiz, however, sat at 95.3 mph with his heater in his lone MLB appearance this past season and averaged 8.2 K/9 in his first full season as a pitcher in the minors. He also averaged 4.5 BB/9, though, and posted a low 32.5 percent ground-ball rate, which contributed to some trouble in keeping the ball in the park (1.27 HR/9). He’s tossed 16 innings in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason, posting a 3.94 ERA with a 12-to-6 K/BB ratio, a hit batter and a wild pitch.

    In 1005 plate appearances throughout his minor league career, Ruiz is a .203/.239/.249 hitter, so it seems unlikely that he’ll return to the catching position anytime soon.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Padres Acquire Freddy Galvis]]> 2017-12-15T18:11:19Z 2017-12-15T18:10:34Z 12:10pm: The two teams have announced the trade.

    11:15am: The Padres look to have found their shortstop for the 2018 season, as they’ve reportedly reached a tentative agreement to acquire switch-hitting Freddy Galvis from the Phillies in exchange for minor league right-hander Enyel De Los Santos. The teams have yet to announce the trade.

    Freddy Galvis | Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Galvis, who turned 28 last month, is a free agent following the 2018 season but will provide the Padres with a strong defender to serve as stopgap while ballhyhooed prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. continues developing in Triple-A El Paso. It’s been suggested in the past that Tatis could debut late in the 2018 season, so a one-year placeholder may be all the Friars truly need at the position. MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz projects Galvis to earn $7.4MM in 2018 after his final trip through the arbitration process.

    In Galvis, they’ll acquire an OBP-challenged defensive specialist that has significantly increased his power output over the past two seasons. Galvis hit a combined 20 homer from his rookie season in 2012 through the end of the 2015 campaign. However, he popped 20 long balls in 2016 and 12 this past season while batting a collective .248/.292/.390 in those two seasons.

    Defensively, Galvis ranks sixth among MLB shortstops in terms of Ultimate Zone Rating over the past two seasons. Defensive Runs Saved is less enthusiastic about his work, pegging him as an average defender and ranking him 12th among big league shortstops. Regardless of one’s preferred defensive metric, it’s clear that Galvis will represent a mammoth upgrade on the defensive side of the game for a Padres club that ranks dead last in shortstop DRS (-38) and UZR (-38.4) across the past two seasons.

    For the Phillies, Galvis was on the verge of becoming expendable with top infield prospects J.P. Crawford and Scott Kingery on the cusp of MLB readiness. Dealing him to San Diego will allow the Phils to deploy Crawford at shortstop from the get-go in 2018, assuming he looks ready to be tested against MLB pitching on a full-time basis in Spring Training. He’ll line up between Maikel Franco at third base and Cesar Hernandez at second base, assuming Hernandez (another trade candidate) isn’t moved prior to Opening Day as well. That trio will be joined by breakout slugger Rhys Hoskins at first base.

    De Los Santos, who will turn 21 on Dec. 25, was the 13th-ranked prospect in a strong Padres system, per Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of He fell shy of Baseball America’s offseason list of the Padres’ top 10 prospects, though BA’s Kyle Glaser tweets that De Los Santos would be a top 10 name in many systems throughout the league. Glaser tweets that De Los Santos sits 94-98 mph with a heater that he commands to both sides in the lower portion of the strike zone. Callis and Mayo note that he already has an average curveball and a changeup that flashes above-average at times.

    The 2017 season was a strong one for De Los Santos, who logged 150 innings over the life of 26 appearances (24 starts) and averaged 8.3 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 with a 44.2 percent ground-ball rate en route to a 3.78 ERA. It’s not clear where the Phils intend to start him in 2018, but he’ll likely either return to Double-A and be in line for a quick bump to Triple-A early in the season or just open the year in Triple-A right out of the gate.

    Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller first reported that the two sides were in serious negotiations (Twitter link). AJ Cassavell of tweeted that the two sides were close and that a pitcher would go back to Philadelphia in the deal. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported that the agreement had been reached and that De Los Santos would be sent to the Phillies in return (Twitter links).

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Padres “Clear-Cut Favorites” For Eric Hosmer]]> 2017-12-14T17:36:31Z 2017-12-14T13:04:46Z Following two face-to-face meetings, the Padres seem to be the clear-cut favorites to sign free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nightengale also notes that the Red Sox are still “lurking”.

    The Padres have been frequently linked to Hosmer this offseason, but multiple face-to-face meetings could mean that talks have reached a more advanced stage. Indeed, Nightengale’s use of the phrase “clear-cut” seems to imply that teams have at least made someone detailed pitches by now, and that the Padres are far ahead of their competition.

    Hosmer is coming fresh off a career year and is just 28 years of age. He hit .318/.385/.498 with 25 homers in 671 plate appearances. The durable Hosmer played in all 162 games and added a Gold Glove to his list of accomplishments for the 2017 season. Hosmer ranked third among free agents in terms of earning potential on MLBTR’s Top 50 Free Agents With Predictions piece.

    The Royals free agent rejected a qualifying offer, so if the Padres were to sign him, they’d have to give up their third-highest pick in the 2018 draft (in the case of the Padres, who have a pick in Competitive Balance Round A, that’d be a second-round selection). Since Hosmer will almost certainly sign a deal for more than $50MM, the Royals would stand to gain a compensatory draft pick after the first round.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Rumors: Hosmer, Shortstops]]> 2017-12-14T05:49:15Z 2017-12-14T05:49:15Z Surprisingly, the Padres have been among the most aggressive suitors for free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer this offseason. While the rebuilding Padres likely wouldn’t be near-term contenders even with Hosmer, they regard the longtime Royal as enough of a culture-changing player to justify their attempt to sign him, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. But Hosmer’s still seeking a contract in the $200MM range, according to Lin, who doubts San Diego likes him enough to bid that much (Twitter link).

    Elsewhere, the Padres seem to be making some headway in their efforts to add a shortstop, Lin tweets. GM A.J. Preller says the club has at least narrowed the list of possibilities to a handful or so. They’ve been connected to the likes of Freddy Galvis, Zack Cozart and Alcides Escobar (Hosmer’s teammate in Kansas City) recently.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Trade Chatter: Nats, Rays, Fulmer, Reds, Jays, Braves, Giants, Yelich, Phils]]> 2017-12-14T03:45:12Z 2017-12-14T03:44:39Z Looking to improve an already enviable rotation, the Nationals have Rays right-handers Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi on their radar, Jon Heyman of FanRag reports (via Twitter). Either would cost far less in terms of salary than free agent Jake Arrieta will, and Heyman notes that the Nats are unsure if they’d be able to afford Arrieta. Heyman also points to Diamondbacks righty Zack Greinke as a possibility for the Nats; however, he’s not exactly cheap, with $138.5MM coming his way through 2021.

    More on the trade front:

    • The Tigers “will only entertain lopsided offers” for righty Michael Fulmer, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (Twitter link). A trade involving the highly coveted 24-year-old doesn’t look likely, then.
    • The Blue Jays are interested in Reds outfielders Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall, per reports from Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet (via Twitter) and Jays Journal. The Braves also have interest in the 29-year-old Duvall, tweets Heyman. Duvall, a 30-home run hitter in each of the previous two seasons, is controllable for the next four years. He won’t be arbitration eligible until next winter.
    • The Giants’ own interest in Hamilton continues, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the chatter with the Reds has “faded significantly” of late. Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer adds on Twitter that the Giants are the most serious suitors for Hamilton, but they’re “at a bit of a standoff” with the Reds. San Francisco still has interest in free agent Jay Bruce, per Rosenthal, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that Bruce is the top name on San Francisco’s “wish list.” Still, the club has not made him an offer to this point.
    • It’s up in the air whether the Marlins will trade center fielder Christian Yelich. Either way, the Phillies will continue to monitor his availability, Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays. Meanwhile, they’ve “been aggressive” in shopping shortstop Freddy Galvis, according to Salisbury, who adds (via Twitter) that the Angels “really liked” second baseman Cesar Hernandez before they acquired Ian Kinsler. The Halos didn’t want to meet the Phillies’ asking price for Hernandez, however.
    • The Red Sox asked about Marcell Ozuna before the Cardinals acquired him, but they did not have the sort of pitching assets the Marlins were for, Dombrowski told reporters including the Globe’s Peter Abraham (Twitter link.) The Indians also inquired about Ozuna, Paul Hoynes of writes.
    • In addition to Chase Headley, the Padres are dangling infielder Yangervis Solarte in chatter with rival organizations, Heyman reports on Twitter. Solarte, 30, is controllable for the next three years at affordable costs (a guaranteed $4MM in 2018 and then club options totaling $13.5MM for 2019-20).
    • The Blue Jays were another team with interest in Kinsler before Wednesday’s trade, Nicholson-Smith tweets. Toronto was on Kinsler’s 10-team no-trade list, so it’s unclear how open he’d have been to going there.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Angels Close To Acquiring Third Baseman, Interested In Chase Headley]]> 2017-12-14T02:50:57Z 2017-12-14T02:50:57Z 8:50pm: San Diego’s “working very hard” to trade Headley, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, though he doesn’t specify whether the Angels are involved (Twitter link).

    7:56pm: The Angels are close to acquiring a third baseman, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (Twitter link). They have “strong interest” in new Padres third baseman Chase Headley, Nightengale adds.

    Headley was already part of one trade this week, going from the Yankees to the Padres on Tuesday in what amounted to a salary dump for New York. For now, the Padres are on the hook for $12.5MM of Headley’s $13MM in 2018, the last year of his contract. Given that the Angels are positioning themselves to contend in 2018 and the Padres are still amid a rebuild, the 33-year-old Headley would make more sense on Anaheim’s roster.

    Headley has an important fan in Angels general manager Billy Eppler, Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes (Twitter link). Eppler was in the Yankees’ front office when they acquired Headley from his current team, San Diego, in 2014.

    Along with Headley, the Angels have shown interest in free agent third basemen Mike Moustakas and Todd Frazier, who was teammates with Headley in New York last season, this week.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Padres Notes: Preller, Headley, Cozart, Galvis]]> 2017-12-12T22:34:43Z 2017-12-12T22:34:43Z Padres GM A.J. Preller discussed his team’s surprising acquisition of Chase Headley with reporters (including’s AJ Cassavell), and the possibility exists that Headley will be flipped before Opening Day.  “I talked to Chase this morning and explained to him that we’re going to look at the situation and figure out if there’s space for everybody, was very honest, telling him we’re going to talk to other clubs as well,” Preller said.  Headley’s addition has also created a glut within San Diego’s infield, and Preller said that he has already received calls from teams about Yangervis Solarte, Cory Spangenberg, and Carlos Asuaje.

    • The Padres’ rather surprising pursuit of Hosmer has drawn headlines, though Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller tweets that San Diego is more focused on either signing Zack Cozart or acquiring Freddy Galvis from the Phillies during the Winter Meetings.  Either infielder would address a more pressing need at shortstop.  Preller said (hat tip to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune) that the Padres have a list of eight or nine shortstop options that they feel could be acquired.  Lin also hears from some rival officials that the Padres would possibly be open to dealing a young pitcher in exchange for a shortstop.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Position Player Rumblings: Padres, Moose, Walker, Napoli, Cards, D-Backs]]> 2017-12-12T21:40:03Z 2017-12-12T18:49:37Z The Padres could play a major role in the market over the next few days, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports writes on Twitter. Indeed, the organization has already made one interesting move today. San Diego is looking around for a controllable shortstop and could conceivably match up with the Cubs, Passan suggests. (From an outside perspective, it seems ace reliever Brad Hand would be the most likely Padres piece to pique Chicago’s interest, but that’s just speculation.) Also, the team’s interest in free agent first baseman Eric Hosmer is seemingly increasingly serious. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets that the Friars are “strongly in [the] mix” for Hosmer, while Passan says the sides have gained “traction” in discussions.

    Here’s more from the position-player side of the market:

    • At this point, at least, the Braves are not engaged on the market for third baseman Mike Moustakas, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio (via Twitter). Atlanta does have interest in improving at the hot corner, but it seems that new GM Alex Anthopoulos is not all that intrigued by the powerful but OBP-challenged Moustakas. Of course, there’s still time for the market to develop.
    • Free agent second baseman Neil Walker is still looking for a four-year deal, according to Heyman (via Twitter). That seems like a lofty ask, though, for a 32-year-old player on a market full of possibilities at second. Walker has been a steady producer, to be sure, and finished with a strong .267/.409/.433 run with the Brewers, but with so many other options out there it seems more likely he’ll end up settling for a two or three-year guarantee.
    • The Mets have some interest in free agent Mike Napoli, per the New York Post’s Joel Sherman. Indeed, the club’s new skipper, Mickey Callaway, has reached out to Napoli to discuss the possibility. (The two share a connection from the Indians.) Presumably, Napoli would share time with Dominic Smith at first base, with the organization arranging a natural platoon pairing and then allowing things to play out based upon performance.
    • As the Cardinals continue to seek ways to upgrade after missing on Giancarlo Stanton, they have been scanning the market for alternatives. The team’s preference, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes, is to “turn two of their excess outfielders into one newcomer.” That would seemingly represent a fairly clean way to improve the roster, though of course it will likely also require a rather particular trade partner. It is not difficult to imagine such a team also wishing to receive a sweetener in exchange for giving up a premium asset for volume. There are plenty more details and quotes from the Cards front office in the post.
    • The Diamondbacks have been contacted by other organizations about the availability of their middle infielders, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). Arizona certainly has quite some volume of MLB-level options up the middle, though it’s also not entirely clear at this point just which players (if any) have firmly secured places in the club’s long-term plans. It’s possible that market demand could help dictate the decisonmaking process, too, as the organization seeks ways to navigate a tricky payroll situation. Though none of the team’s top middle infielders are very costly, that very feature might allow the D-Backs to bring back equally affordable pieces that meet needs or perhaps structure a package deal to shed other salary. Chris Owings ($3.8MM arb projection) has only two years of control left, while Nick Ahmed ($1.1MM) has three and Daniel Descalso will hit the open market after earning $2MM in 2018. Ketel Marte and Brandon Drury are still shy of arbitration.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rays Acquire Ryan Schimpf]]> 2017-12-12T18:43:02Z 2017-12-12T18:29:56Z The Rays have acquired infielder Ryan Schimpf from the Padres, per a club announcement. Minor-league infielder Deion Tansel is headed to San Diego in return.

    Most immediately, the move opens a roster spot for the Padres to complete their just-announced deal with the Yankees. But San Diego is also somewhat overloaded with options at second and third, leaving the team without space to carry Schimpf on its 40-man roster.

    It’s an interesting swap for the Rays, who have yet to make their intentions fully clear. The left-handed-hitting Schimpf could enter some kind of timeshare in the infield, replace the more expensive Brad Miller if he’s traded, or fill in if the club pursues larger trades.

    Schimpf, 29, has just 527 MLB plate appearances in his career, but he has launched 34 home runs in that span. Of course, he has also racked up 175 strikeouts and overseen a .195 batting average, though that’s partially offset by a healthy 13.1% walk rate.

    Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Tansel has yet to advance past the low-A level since being taken in the 32nd round of the 2016 draft. Last year, playing in the New York-Pennsylvania League, he slashed .277/.336/.403 over 211 plate appearances.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres Acquire Chase Headley, Bryan Mitchell]]> 2017-12-12T19:49:38Z 2017-12-12T18:26:39Z 12:26pm: The deal is official. Indications were that the Pads were taking the full salary of Headley, but the Yankees announced that some amount of cash will be included in the deal as well.’s Mark Feinsand tweets that $500K will go to San Diego, though Jon Heyman of Fan Rag notes on Twitter that the cash will represent payment of half of Headley’s $1MM assignment bonus, which the clubs agreed to split.

    10:13am: The Padres have reached agreement with the Yankees on a swap that will bring third baseman Chase Headley back to San Diego along with righty Bryan Mitchell, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Jabari Blash is going to the Yanks in the deal, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). It’s far from clear that Blash will have any chance of holding a 40-man spot with New York, so this seems to make clear the move is intended almost entirely to shed Headley’s salary and free up some roster space.

    Sep 14, 2017; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Chase Headley (12) watches his RBI single against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

    There are several interesting dimensions to this deal at first glance. Headley’s shocking return to San Diego is surely among them; he went through a lengthy trade saga with the Friars before being sent to the Yanks. Ultimately, the veteran third baseman re-upped with the Yankees on a contract that has one year and $13MM remaining on it.

    In taking on that money, the Padres get a solid veteran player but also add an interesting and controllable arm in Mitchell. The 26-year-old has mostly worked in a relief role during sporadic MLB action over the past four years, pitching to a middling 4.94 ERA with 5.9 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9. But he has also shown greater promise at times in the minors. In 2017, Mitchell posted a 3.25 ERA with 9.3 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 over 63 2/3 frames at Triple-A.

    Things really get interesting when one considers the potential fallout. On the San Diego side, plugging Headley in at third would likely mean that Yangervis Solarte will end up on the move, though perhaps there are still some arrangements where both could coexist. Headley himself could end up moving on to another team; he ought to hold some appeal after a late-season hot streak boosted his overall 2017 batting output to a .273/.352/.406 slash that lands in range of league average. While he’s probably not worth his full contract value, the Padres ought to be able to find a taker for a not-insignificant portion.

    For the Yankees, this swap — combined with the decision to include Starlin Castro in the Giancarlo Stanton deal — leaves the team without clear options at both second and third base. With added payroll flexibility, though, there are any number of possibilities that could be pursued, including a potential reunion with Todd Frazier, who was acquired to upgrade over Headley at the 2017 trade deadline. The Yanks have a variety of intriguing young players, too, led by top prospect Gleyber Torres, so that remains an option at either spot. And, of course, the Yankees are said to be perusing the trade market for starters, with free agency also now seemingly a possibility as well.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Rangers, Padres, Rockies Join Indians, Others In Pursuit Of Carlos Santana]]> 2017-12-12T13:43:16Z 2017-12-12T13:42:36Z TUESDAY, 7:42am: Santana and his representatives are weighing offers from several teams, Hoynes reports, though it isn’t certain if he is close to accepting a deal.

    MONDAY, 5:04pm: The Padres have indeed discussed Santana, but “it seems they’re still focused on” Hosmer, according to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune (Twitter link).

    1:51pm: The Rockies are also showing some interest in Santana, Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post tweets. Colorado has a clear opening at first base, though the team has indicated its top priorities lie elsewhere.

    10:27am: Cleveland’s top extension offer to Santana was three years and $36MM, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets, and the organization would “likely go higher” now that he’s on the open market.

    SUNDAY, 9:00pm: The Indians made Santana a contract offer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes reports.  While the offer wasn’t taken, the Tribe have been informed that they will get a chance to counter any offer Santana receives from another team that he considered acceptable.

    6:32pm: Carlos Santana is already drawing quite a bit of interest this offseason, and Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer adds the Rangers and Padres to the list of other teams (including the Phillies, Red Sox, and Mariners) already linked to Santana on the rumor mill.

    Texas is known to be focusing on adding pitching this winter, though the team’s offense also lacked some of the well-rounded attack of past years.  Santana would clearly be a big upgrade in the first base/DH hole left behind by free agent Mike Napoli, who struggled last year in a sub-replacement level season.  Santana’s arrival would bolster the Rangers’ lineup against the possible departure of Adrian Beltre after the 2018 season.

    Installing Santana at first base would have a ripple effect throughout the Rangers’ lineup.  Joey Gallo would have to return to left field, with Nomar Mazara shifting to right and Shin-Soo Choo being limited to DH duties.  Top prospect Willie Calhoun had been mentioned as a possible candidate for regular DH or corner outfield duty, though Texas might want to give him a bit more seasoning rather than expect Calhoun to immediately contribute to a team that hopes to contend.

    Previous reports seemed to downplay San Diego’s possible interest in Santana, though it could be that the Padres have since considered Santana for what seems to be an increasing desire to sign a first baseman.  The Padres have also had interest in Eric Hosmer, with the logic being that the 28-year-old Hosmer is young enough to still be productive in a few years when San Diego is theoretically finished with its rebuild.  Santana, by contrast, turns 32 in April, and while the slugger hasn’t shown many signs of slowing down, he wouldn’t have the luxury of the occasional DH rest day while playing for a National League team.

    Adding a first baseman would necessitate shifting Wil Myers into a corner outfield role, though the Padres may see that as an acceptable tradeoff for adding offense.  The Padres finished at or near the bottom of most major offensive categories last year, so a proven above-average hitter like Santana (who hit .259/.363/.455 with 23 homers over 667 PA last year and has posted a 123 wRC+ over his career) would add some much-needed pop to the lineup.

    Santana rejected the Indians’ qualifying offer, and thus the Rangers and Padres would each need to surrender some compensation to sign the first baseman.  Texas would give up their second-highest draft pick and $500K of international signing bonus money, while San Diego would only have to surrender its third-highest draft pick.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Padres Remain Interested In Re-Signing Jhoulys Chacin]]> 2017-12-12T02:41:58Z 2017-12-12T02:35:29Z
  • The Padres “remain in constant communication” with free agent righty Jhoulys Chacin’s camp, GM A.J. Preller revealed (Twitter link via AJ Cassavell of A deal is not imminent, though, Cassavell adds. Chacin turned in a quality year with the Padres last season and should earn a nice contract as a result.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres Interested In Zack Cozart, Cesar Hernandez]]> 2017-12-11T18:40:15Z 2017-12-11T18:24:40Z The Padres are one of the only teams in baseball with a clear need at shortstop, and they appear to be shopping around the potential market. Per Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer, via Twitter, San Diego has “real interest” in free agent Zack Cozart. He’ll surely command a fairly significant contract, though there may also be an opportunity to realize value given the lack of demand at short. The Friars are also looking into Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis, Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweets. Galvis is projected to earn a healthy $7.4MM in his final season of arbitration eligibility, so he’d likely be available for a reasonable price — so long as the Phils decide it’s time to move on.