First off, If I Were GM is working on a few renovations including the "Automatic Player Linker" provided by BaseballReference.com, which will attach a link to any MLB or minor league player I put in my article. The other renovations are coming and I will let you know when they are up and ready! Also, I am sorry about the lack of content coming from the website in recent weeks, as I have been on vacation. I have been paying closer attention to the ballclub, even going to a couple games while I was here in San Diego. I was able to see Eric Stults throw a complete game and Sean O'Sullivan hit a double in his Padre debut. I was able to see a win and a loss, so I could see the good and the bad. I will admit, there has been a lot more bad than good of late.
San Diego is in a very interesting position, where we are just as easily able to compete for the division as we are for the number one overall pick in the draft. This has been made possible by our recent cold streak and the inability for anybody in our division to play good baseball. San Diego is 8 games out of the worst record in the league, and 8.5 games out of first in the division. This is a situation where Josh Byrnes has a choice at the deadline can choose one of three options. He can buy, sell, or stay put. He has a chance where he could easily make it to the top or sink down to the bottom if he decides to inject talent or sell the talent he has on the ballclub. The club has talent (Gyorko, Stults, Cashner, Quentin, Headley, Cabrera), but they enjoy getting hurt. Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, Everth Cabrera, Chase Headley, Carlos Quentin,Cameron Maybin, Cory Luebke, Joe Wieland, Casey Kelly, Clayton Richard, and others have all had DL stints. Chase Headley broke his thumb and hasn't been the same since. The team had a very cold streak, a very hot streak, and another very cold streak to start the year. If Byrnes chooses to stand pat and not make any moves, Jason Marquis will not hold up in the rotation. The team would fall hard and probably end up with a 3rd, 4th, or 5th place finish depending on other NL West team moves. A top 10 draft pick could be in order. If Byrnes bought an arm like Bud Norris or Yovani Gallardo, then San Diego could be carried to a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd finish. I do feel like Norris or Gallardo would be the difference maker. The problem with San Diego's deadline potential is that Byrnes has said he isn't going after rentals, which would knock off popular target Matt Garza. Even though Byrnes doesn't want rentals, a deal of Will Venable for Phil Hughes could make sense, if San Diego could extend Hughes. The extra benefit to acquiring one of these players is that Norris, Gallardo, and Hughes all could stick around in future years and provide a veteran presence in a rotation that could include youngsters Casey Kelly, Robbie Erlin, Joe Wieland, Burch Smith, and Andrew Cashner next season.
Realistically, buying isn't the best option if San Diego opens the break to 3 more losses and falls further behind, and the more logical option in that case would be to sell. Send off Edinson Volquez, Eric Stults, Huston Street, Luke Gregerson, Dale Thayer, Will Venable, and others off for prospects. The list of players to ship off DOES NOT include third baseman Chase Headley. Headley's value is way down, and it wouldn't be smart to sell low. San Diego could trade off pieces of the pitching staff, and sign some veterans like Jon Garland and Jamie Moyer to finish the season. In theory, the destruction of the pitching staff would allow the team to perform poorly enough to grab the first overall pick. Unlike the past couple seasons, there is a clear cut player that should be the first overall pick. Southpaw Carlos Rodon out of NC State is like Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg in the fact that he is a clear number one pick. A player of that quality is franchise altering. This brings me back to 2008, where we finished 4 games out of the first overall pick, and we ended up with Donovan Tate instead of Stephen Strasburg. My best advice for Byrnes: Pick one way or the other (buy or sell), and don't be caught in the middle (stay put), because there are benefits to picking either side, but none in the middle!