Padres Points: Benoit, Coaching Notes, Alonso

As the official first week of the 2015 offseason is in full gear, the Padres stayed busy in what will be another important time period for a club that played far below the expectations fans and pundits ever thought. The moves that will happen over the next few months will determine which direction the ball club plans to go. All indications are they will retool and attempt to be in contention in 2016.

The first roster moves were made and here is the rundow on what effects each will have on the potential 2016 roster:

1) Joaquin Benoit club option for the 2016 season was exercised (Link). 

Benoit is projected to be the set-up man for Craig Kimbrel and continue to dominate the back end of the bullpen, something the Padres bullpen was able to do successfully over the course of last season. The club could go the route to trade either Benoit or Kimbrel. They’d get more for Kimbrel than Benoit. Trading either would open up payroll space that is already tight heading into the offseason. Given Benoit‘s age, he’s an injury concern and a candidate for regression. A bullpen-needy team may be willing to send a pair of prospects for him. If not, he and Kimbrel could make one of the top 8th and 9th inning duos in the National League.

2) Clint Barmes club option for the 2016 season was declined (Link). 

Barmes was a great addition last season to the team because of his veteran presence and leadership skills, but the decision here to not pick up his option comes as no surprise. Given other infielders on the roster, there was realistically no room for him on next year’s roster. This is also a clear indication that next year’s starting shortstop is currently not on the roster as the team looks to acquire one for next season. A reunion here on even a cheaper deal is about as unlikely as it can get given the circumstances.

3) Cory Luebke club option for the 2016 season was declined (Link).

Luebke, whose career has unfortunately been ravaged by injuries, is a player that could come back on a small, incentive-laden deal. According to Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union Tribune, there’s mutual interest of possibly working out a deal. Given the lack of left-handed pitching in the upper-levels of the organization, a flier on Luebke might not be a bad idea. He could be a left-handed reliever coming out of the bullpen and then the front office can see what he can do from there.

Coaching Notes

  • New manager Andy Green‘s deal with the club is believed to be three years, tweets Dennis Lin. He’ll be under contract through at least the 2018 season.
  • Pitching coach Darren Balsley will return to the club next season, tweets Corey Brock of He’s been with the coaching staff since 2003.
  • Bench coach Dave Roberts is not expected back next season given other opportunities he’s pursuing, tweets Scott Miller of According to multiple reports, he’s interviewed for the Dodgers managerial opening.
  • Third base coach Glenn Hoffman, who also works with the club’s infielders, will return next season, tweets Corey Brock.
  • The Padres offered their bench coach duties to former Twins’ manager Ron Gardenhire and former Dodgers bench coach Tim Wallach, tweets Dennis Lin. Gardenhire seems to have the desire to manage again so the idea of him becoming the bench coach is unlikely. On the other hand, Wallach could rejoin Don Mattingly’s staff with the Marlins. One trend that these two picks show – the Padres want experience on the bench to help first-time manager Andy Green. 

Friar Notes

  • There is already interest in the trade market for setup man Joaquin Benoit, tweets Buster Olney of The possible scenarios of a Benoit‘s future are written above.
  • The Padres will make a qualifying offer to Justin Upton and are leaning towards doing the same with Ian Kennedy, writes Corey Brock. Upton is not expected to be re-signed, so they’ll recoup a draft pick, though the idea of Kennedy re-signing if he rejects the qualifying offer is a possibility. Inside The Friars profiled free agent Ian Kennedy recently.
  • Yonder Alonso‘s medical reports are positive, tweets Dennis Lin. Lin notes that his name should come up in trade talks this winter. His future with the club will be determined by where they decide to play Wil Myers. Upgrading at first base with either Myers or someone else that has the ability to hit for power and drive in runs is likely on a the team’s wish list.
  • The club hired Duane Shaffer, who was the scouting director of the White Sox at one time in his career, tweets Corey Brock. He was most recently with the Mariners.

Friar Moves

  • The team announced that they outrighted left-handed pitcher Corey Luebke to Triple-A El Paso. He rejected his outright assignment and has officially became a free agent.
  • Also, the team announced that they have outrighted infielder Cody Decker to Triple-A El Paso. Right handed pitcher Cory Mazzoni and Yonder Alonso were both activated off the 60 day disabled list.
  • According to the club’s transaction page, the Padres signed the following players: left handed pitcher Omar Fernandez, outfielder Danny Tovar, and outfielder Alam Martinez.

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