Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Minor Additions: Ben Paullus, Alex Dickerson, Devin Jones

Traded Away:


The Padres have made several transactions over the past couple days, due to the looming Rule 5 draft. Rather than lose prospects like Juan Oramas, Donn Roach, and Keyvius Sampson, the Padres added the trio to the 40-man roster and designated several players for assignment. The Padres started their flurry of moves by sending shortstop Dean Anna to the Yankees in exchange for minor league reliever Ben Paullus. They designated Brad Brach, Jaff Decker,  Jose De Paula, and Miles Mikolas for assignment. Three days later, in a span of 15 minutes, Brach was sent to the Orioles in exchange for minor league pitcher Devin Jones, Jaff Decker and Miles Mikolas were acquired by the Pirates for first baseman Alex Dickerson. Here is some analysis of the individual deals and the players involved:

Yankees & Padres Trade:

Padres Acquire:  Ben Paullus
Yankees Acquire: Dean Anna
Grade for Padres: B
Grade for Yankees: B

I don't love this deal but I don't hate it for either side. Anna could have been picked up in the Rule 5 draft, so he was expendable. The Yankees add some middle infield depth in AAA and the Padres picked up Ben Paullus, a young reliever that doesn't need to be protected for a couple more seasons. Paullus could end up doing well in a middle relief role, but is old for his league (24 in A). His age concerns me a bit, but he is an interesting addition.

Pirates & Padres Trade:

Padres Acquire: Alex Dickerson 
Pirates Acquire: Miles Mikolas & Jaff Decker
Grade for Padres: A
Grade for Pirates: B-

This is by far my favorite trade for the Padres out of the bunch. The Padres dealt reliever Miles Mikolas and former 1st round pick Jaff Decker, two players who were not going to make the Padres' opening day roster, in exchange for Poway High School alum Alex Dickerson. Dickerson was a former 3rd rounder who hit 17 home runs and 36 doubles in AA last season. A former player of the year in the Florida State league, Dickerson is viewed as an outfielder by the Padres. Various websites have him ranked between 10 and 15 on the Pirates prospect lists. I really like this addition considering what we gave up.

Orioles & Padres Trade:

Padres Acquire:  Devin Jones
Orioles Acquire: Brad Brach
Grade for Padres: D-
Grade for Orioles: A

Of the three trades made by the Padres, I like this one the least. Brad Brach (27) was a former 42nd round pick who exceeded his label. He posted a 2.34 ERA and saved 118 games in the minors, making it to the majors in 2011. Since then, he has pitched to a 3.70 ERA in 109 major league games. He was an above average option out of the bullpen and had potential as a late inning reliever. The Padres acquired a 23-year old starting pitcher from Baltimore named Devin Jones. The former 9th rounder had a rough year in 2013, posting an ERA of almost 6.00 in AA, and walked 48 in 120 innings, but in 2012 he posted an ERA under 3.00 in A+ ball. Jones profiles as depth and Brach could pitch in the late innings for Baltimore.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why the Padres Need to Sign: Josh Johnson

Former Marlins' ace Josh Johnson has reached out to the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres, letting them know that they were his top choices for where he wanted to land. One major league executive expected him to be the next significant hurler to sign after Tim Hudson's deal with the Giants (Which could take them out of the running for Johnson). His agent Matt Sosnick said that Johnson had narrowed down his choices to three or four teams, including the Pirates. According to MLBTR writer Tim Dierkes, the finalists are National League teams and likely include some on the West Coast. 

The 29-year old is reportedly looking for a one year deal to rebuild his value after a dreadful season in which he went 2-8 with a 6.20 ERA in 16 starts, but also struck out 83 hitters in 81 innings. His batting average on balls in play and home run per fly ball rates were double his career norm, possibly suggesting an outlier. From 2009-2012, Johnson posted a 2.99 ERA in 101 starts, a statline that led the Toronto Blue Jays to acquire him with Jose Reyes in exchange for a package of young talent. A team could look to gamble that he regains his previous form by signing him to an incentive-laden contract. The deal would allow him to regain value and secure a bigger contract next offseason. He currently resides in Las Vegas, and after spending his career in Miami and Toronto, is looking for a team closer to home.

The Padres could potentially have interest in Johnson, if the price is right. I would hope that the Padres at least made the call to inquire about what he would cost. A healthy Josh Johnson could slide into the "ace" role for San Diego, a role he was used to in Miami and wouldn't be able to have in San Francisco or Pittsburgh. He would be an excellent mentor to young pitchers like Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner, and could easily post an ERA under 3.00 in a still spacious PETCO Park.

If I were Josh Byrnes, I'd be pulling the trigger, assuming that he isn't asking for some asinine amount of money. This looks like a possible playoff rotation, if healthy:

SP Josh Johnson
SP Andrew Cashner
SP Tyson Ross

Friday, November 1, 2013

Potential Padres' Trade Target: Mark Trumbo

According to recent reports, the Padres are interested in adding a "big bat" to the line-up, and the Angels are interested in trading hitter Mark Trumbo in exchange for young pitching. Reports have said that the Padres are interested in adding Trumbo and the two teams match up very well for a trade. The Padres have a plethora of young pitching, headed by Matt Wisler, Max Fried, and Burch Smith. Keyvius Sampson, Robbie Erlin, Zach EflinJoseph Ross and several others could also be a part of a trade. According to Baseball America, the Padres have the 3rd best farm system in all of baseball, so there plenty of excellent prospects for the Angels to pick from.

Trumbo, 27, hit 34 home runs and drove in 100 runs last season. The Anaheim native boasts very impressive power that does play at PETCO, as all 19 of the home runs he hit at home would have been home runs in San Diego's cavernous ballpark. This explosive power is exactly what the Padres need to add to their lineup. A core of Carlos Quentin, Chase Headley, Jedd Gyorko, Mark Trumbo, and Everth Cabrera could set the table for a very good offense.

A possible deal for Trumbo would open the door for a potential trade of first baseman Yonder Alonso. A possible suitor could be Tampa Bay, a team that is currently starting James Loney at 1st base. A possible target from the Rays could be former Rookie of the Year Jeremy Hellickson or former CY Young award winner David Price. Price would certainly be the better option, but on the other hand, he makes a significantly larger amount of salary and would require players beyond Alonso.

Mark Trumbo will be arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and is projected to make just under 5 million dollars next season. The Padres' ownership group has said that the Padres 2014 payroll will be in the 80 million dollar range, an increase that would most likely cover the raises to players in arbitration as well as leave a little wiggle room for a move like this. 

A possible trade could look like this:
Joe Ross and Zach Eflin for Mark Trumbo

Even though Mark Trumbo strikes out excessively (184 strike outs last season), his power is too good to pass up. Last season, Jedd Gyorko was the Padres home run leader with 23. Trumbo hit 11 more home runs. A healthy Padres team would look quite a bit better with Mark Trumbo hitting in the clean up spot:

  1. SS Everth Cabrera
  2. 1B Yonder Alonso
  3. LF Carlos Quentin
  4. RF Mark Trumbo
  5. 2B Jedd Gyorko
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. C Yasmani Grandal
  8. CF Cameron Maybin
  9. SP Andrew Cashner