For the first time in three decades, the Winter Meetings return to America’s Finest City, San Diego from December 7th until the 11th. The Padres biggest move of the off-season could happen during this year’s meetings. According to a tweet from Buster Olney of ESPN.com, the Padres are aggressively looking for hitters who can help them compete with the Dodgers and World Series Champion Giants for the National League West Title. The big move the fan base has wanted for years could very well happen in the next seven days. Let’s take a look at the latest news and rumors that are around the club:
1) Padres & Dodgers Trade Rumors: The Padres and Dodgers continue to have active discussions about a possible trade involving Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, according to a tweet by Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com. A player that could possibly be involved in a deal is catcher Yasmani Grandal, a backstop that is highly thought of for his offensive upside. Rosenthal also said that the Padres would receive cash considerations in a potential deal. Buster Olney says that the Padres have gotten more aggressive in shopping Grandal. The Dodgers also have interest in top catching prospect Austin Hedges, according to a report by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Though the two seem to be the most unlikely of trade partners, the Padres have a surplus of what the Dodgers are looking for. It seemed as though it a trade wasn’t ever going to happen – it’s moved closer to 50/50 based off the dialogue that has picked up involving Matt Kemp. There is still a possibility that the Dodgers won’t move him, according to a tweet by Jayson Stark of ESPN.com. Based on multiple media reports the Padres aren’t the only ones involved in trade discussions with the Dodgers – add the Orioles, Mariners, and Rangers as possible suitors.
2) Justin Upton: The Padres are interested in Braves outfielder Justin Upton, according to a tweet by Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com. This is the first report of the Padres being interested in the slugger. The big difference between Upton and Kemp is years of control. Upton is set to enter the free agent market next season. It could be difficult to lock Upton up on a long-term deal and it’s unknown if he would even want to stay in San Diego long-term. Meanwhile, Kemp is signed through the 2019 season and the Padres would be able to control him for a longer period of time. Either way, there would need to be a decent haul of players for getting either slugger. Morosi says that the Rangers and Orioles are also interested in Upton. The Athletics have had some interest in Upton as well, according to a tweet by John Hickey of the Bay Area News Group. However, it looks as though talks between the Braves and Athletics have quieted down.
3) Free Agents David Ross & Tim Stauffer: The Padres have had some level of interest for both veteran backstop David Ross and pitcher Tim Stauffer, according to tweets by Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Sanders of U-T San Diego. The interest in Ross indicates that the team is it least looking at alternatives if they do in fact trade away Grandal. Ross, known more for his leadership and defensive skills behind the plate, isn’t much of a offensive threat anymore. With the Red Sox, he hit just .184/.260/.368 with seven home runs. According to Rosenthal, Ross has also had interest from the Cubs, Red Sox, and Braves. Stauffer, the longest tenured Padre (drafted by the club in 2003) became a free agent after this last season. He pitched 64.1 innings, posting a solid 3.50 ERA (3.02 FIP), mostly coming out of the bullpen. Stauffer and the Padres looked as though they would go in different directions after the season. He wants to return to starting, while the Padres view him as more of a long reliever and spot starter, according to Dennis Lin of U-T San Diego. The Padres have it least checked in on Stauffer, who should gain interest from teams looking for a back-end starter.
4) Kim Kwang-Hyun: Kwang-Hyun left for San Diego in order to speed negotiations, according to a report by The Chosen Ilbo of South Korea. The report states a deal could happen within the next week, so it could be finalized during the Winter Meetings. He projects as a back-end starter or middle relief pitcher.
5) Everth Cabrera: Cabrera pleaded not guilty for a misdemeanor account of resisting arrest, the San Diego County District Attorney spokesman said on Friday. Earlier in the week, he was the only player to be non-tendered by the Padres. The Padres are looking to go in a different direction, according to a tweet by Dennis Lin. Cabrera, an All-Star in 2013, should gain interest from plenty of teams in what is a rather thin middle infield market. The Dodgers and Athletics seem to make to most sense at the moment. The Mets are not interested in Cabrera, according to a report by Adam Rubin of ESPN.com.
6) Clint Barmes: The Padres officially announced the signing of the veteran infielder Clint Barmes. He’ll earn $1.3 million in 2015 and will have a club option in 2016 with a $200 thousand buyout, according to a tweet by Corey Brock of MLB.com. Barnes played primarily as a utility infielder for the Pirates in 2014, hitting .245/.328/.294 in 116 plate appearances. His most productive year came back in 2009, when he hit only .245/.294/.440, but did launch 23 home runs for the Rockies. He’ll play all around the infield, giving guys rest when needed, according to a tweet by Corey Brock. I noted early in the week that a platoon situation could work at shortstop with Alexi Amarista. Barmes is a career .269/.328/.439 against left-handed pitching.