Winter Meetings Ramblings

gwynntelligence

Padres Jagoff and Change the Padres exchange thoughts on the Winter Meetings.

Padres Jagoff:

With the start of the Winter Meetings kicking off this week right here in San Diego, I couldn’t be more [less] excited than I am for the upcoming big [middling] moves the Padres will surely [definitely not] make.  The big news coming out of yesterday’s rumors was that perpetually sad AJ Preller met with Ichiro Suzuki, which fits perfectly into the Padres well work strategy of signing over the hill players for the express purpose of marketing them hitting a major career milestone in the twilight of their career; in this case he’s 156 hits shy of 3,000 MLB hits and 236 shy of the all time hits record (combined NPL and MLB hits).  Also, Fangraphs had him at .4 WAR last season and their Steamer projections have him at .3 for 2015.  Marver, are you feeling the Padres fever??!?!?!?!

Change the Padres:

There’s a yellow fever joke there somewhere. Racism aside, though, Ichiro? Why? I really don’t understand a single thing he brings to the Padres except for an excuse for Bud Black to further misplay Rymer Liriano. I actually prefer Will Venable to Ichiro and I’ll flip out if Will Venable is a starter at the beginning of 2015. Let alone someone who has averaged less than 1 win above replacement over the past four seasons, as Ichiro has.

And if Padres ownership thinks fans are gullible enough to fall for the retread gambit again…

Padres Jagoff:

Obviously, besides the BIG Ichiro rumor, the main talk has been Preller’s apparent effort to trade for Matt Kemp.  I think we’ve both gone on record as being bullish on Yasmani Grandal to the point where we both want him locked up long term, Hedges-be-damned.  And yet, AJ seems determined to trade him and acquire an OF that can’t play OF.  I’m confident enough in my softball outfield skills that I think I could match Matt Kemp in an OF fielding competition to the death.  The U-T and padres.com keep trumping up how great it is that the Padres are going hard into the trade market, but I think this rumor is the best example yet that trading is not a net addition of talent, in most cases, you are right back where you started as far as total talent.  I think a lot of Padres fans think every trade is going to be Adam Eaton for A-Gon.

Change the Padres:

Matt Kemp is a bad fielder, statistically, but I just wonder if that’s entirely lack of talent or if that’s some part effort and positioning. For example, if the Padres micromanage outfield shifts but the Dodgers don’t, you could expect his fielding stats to increase in San Diego. I don’t know if that’s the case, but Colletti/Mattingly aren’t known as statheads, so maybe there’s some truth there.

I’d like the Padres to get Kemp; he’d be our best offensive player. But not if the cost is Grandal and financial flexibility. All that does is shuffle a bad deck of cards, while paying for the opportunity to do so.

If they really feel like they can compete for the NL West (lol) and that they have to trade to add a significant bat to the lineup, it should be an arm that they trade, not Grandal. And they should be replacing the arm(s) they deal with an elite arm in free agency.

Padres Jagoff:

I guess I’d thought that the goals the past few seasons has been to build pitching depth.  And to some degree, we have it.  Not really ace potential, but they’ve got Wieland, Erlin, Wisler, Burch Smith, Casey Kelly, etc. sitting ready to join the rotation.  And the team’s best offseason successes have been low cost, pitching retreads on short term contracts looking to build value (Garland, Harang, etc.).  So how did catcher become our biggest position of depth?  Is it a tacit acknowledgement by Preller that those closest to being MLB contributors that would fill in a rotation gap if Ross/Cashner/Kennedy were dealt: Erlin, Wieland and Wisler aren’t going to cut it in a MLB rotation?

Change the Padres:

I fully expect the Padres to give up on all of their young players far too early, so…

Another great way to add depth is to rely on guys with a track record of health. That way, your depth doesn’t get tested every year, as the Padres depth has. Guys with significant injury histories and no track record of throwing a large volume of innings – Cashner, Ross, and Hahn – currently make up 3/5ths of the Padres rotation. Trading Cashner for a Texas Rangers bat and then sliding in Wisler might appear to hurt depth, but probably makes depth less relevant to begin with. Let alone if they signed someone with a long bill of clean health and fastball velocity that isn’t declining, like Max Scherzer.

Padres Jagoff:

Being the astute observer that I am, I saw you were skulking around the halls of the Grand Hyatt last night.  Did you pick up any Peter King-esque nuggets?  #journalism

Change the Padres:

I schmoozed with some of the big names, and overheard many conversations, but nothing revelatory besides a few tidbits on Matt Kemp not coming to the Padres. Which, at this point, feels like a forgone conclusion anyway. Gary Sheffield wasn’t a dick and Mike Dee winced when I introduced myself. But no, I’m not coming out of the winter meetings as a reporter.

However, on the topic of #journalism, I was given a hearty “good work” by Marty Caswell on my Turd Polishing exposé.

Padres Jagoff:

It’s good to know Martha is a fan, let’s get her on the podcast.  I’m with you in thinking the Matt Kemp thing isn’t going to actually happen.  The other names that keep popping up are Cespedes and Justin Upton, both are in the last year of their contract.  I fully acknowledge Justin Upton is the best player that’s come up, but I don’t see the value in trading for a 1 year piece unless all we are giving up is a 1 year piece (i.e. Kennedy which isn’t enough to get Upton).  I know Twitter fantasizes that if we trade for him, we could extend him, but it makes zero sense for Upton to pass up the MEGA contract he’s going to get in free agency.

Change the Padres:

I’m actually scared and expecting the Padres to do something really stupid just to make a statement, since they know they’ve dragged their feet through two years of ownership. Trading long term pieces for Upton and then not being able to sign him would be pretty stupid, so let’s not dismiss that altogether. Here’s a question: what if the Padres dealt Grandal for Kemp, took on all of Kemp’s salary, but also agreed to take on Zack Greinke (and his entire contract)? From a value standpoint, it’d really stupid. But from an ownership commitment perspective, it would almost be encouraging.

Padres Jagoff:

So we’d get Greinke for one year until he opts out, yes?  So we’d get his Steamer projected 3.2 WAR in 2015, plus Kemp.  It’s not bad, I think we’d be losing the trade, but I agree it would be in many ways very encouraging.  Dee has the belief that his team can “contend to compete”, so maybe he sees it as similar to picking up Kevin Brown in 1998.  And the thought of a Greinke, Ross, Cashner, Kennedy, Hahn rotation makes me fully turgid.  Add Mike Morse at 1B and baby, you got a stew going.

My analysis doesn’t include the drastic increases to the 2015 CAR, Comedy Against Replacement, when taking into account throwing Greinke and Kemp into a clubhouse with noted sulker and fisticuffs champion Carlos Quentin.

Change the Padres:

Right, it’d basically turn into Greinke for one season on top of Kemp’s contract. They’d still need *takes deep breath* a new shortstop, third baseman, and backup catcher if they were being serious. But it’d at least make 2015 interesting, despite losing the trade long term (probably). I’d watch. In theory, the Padres could then deal pitching depth for another bat – a Cashner / Beltre centered deal? – and perhaps sell a ticket or two before Greinke’s arm implodes (the Petco effect) in mid-June with Kemp hitting .220.

Padres Jagoff:

Well now I’ve got Greinke on the brain, and now rumors are that the Dodgers want Grandal AND a top 10 prospect pitcher, so there’s that.  You mentioned 3B, SS and I mentioned 1B, any ideas for those holes? There’s always Spangenberg at 2B, moving Gyorko to 3B which wouldn’t be the worst, but also not the best.

Change the Padres:

If Spangenberg starts, you owe me a burrito, so I’m fine with that. I’d prefer for him to learn centerfield and work there, though, while preserving Gyorko’s value at second. I’d target the Korean shortstop about to be posted as an immediate upgrade at shortstop, and then look at 3rd and 1st on the trade market. Again, signing an elite starter on the market – they won’t, but they should – would give the team the opportunity to deal from its strength to upgrade its lineup while still upgrading the starting pitching staff. It’s almost too obvious, especially if they’re going to try to make the argument that they can’t entice bats to sign here.

Padres Jagoff:

I think we are in agreement that the team’s focus should be to get into a position where they can trade from their strength, their starting pitching depth, for lineup help.  Of course this would require the team to actually sign some free agents to fill the bevy of holes (sexy) on this roster.  Which seems to be as likely as the odds of us getting Wayne Partello on our next podcast.  Let’s just hope and pray that noted bowtie aficionado and Santa’s dwarf Ken Rosenthal’s reporting of Grandal plus top prospect for Kemp is wrong (he’s wrong a lot) and that the Padres brass gets through this week without doing something monumentally stupid.

Change the Padres:

A week without the Padres doing something stupid? Dream on.

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