Padres Points: Shortstop, Benoit, Kimbrel

The General Manager meetings occurred this week and the Padres, to no one’s surprise, were quite active. The shortstop situation remains the team’s number one priority. The other notable headline was that the club shed payroll in a deal and added talent to a depleted farm system.

The Padres will explore the idea of signing free agent Ian Desmond this offseason, writes Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. While Desmond is a good fit because of his experience and career numbers, he’s regressed since his only All Star appearance in 2012, when he hit .292/.335/.511.

This last season, he hit just .233/.290/.384. His defense remains a liability and with a club that was already a below average defensive unit last season, Desmond might not be the perfect fit they’re looking for.

Desmond isn’t the only shortstop they are looking at.

Former National League MVP Jimmy Rollins could be a possible fit, writes Jon Heyman. While he’s likely a short-term option, he could theoretically be the club’s shortstop for next season. Like Desmond, he’s coming off a down season, .224/.285/.358 and seemingly lost playing time towards the end of the season. It is worth noting that the Padres had interest in acquiring Rollins from the Phillies last offseason, but he was acquired by the Dodgers instead.

Heyman also notes that the team has interest in Japanese infielder Nobu Matsuda. He’s declared free agency and has power, as evident by the 35 home runs he hit in Japan last season. He has the ability to play second base, third base, and shortstop.

Benoit Traded & Pirela Acquired

As I wrote last week, the trading of Joaquin Benoit would shed payroll and probably net the organization at most two minor league prospects. On Thursday, that happened.

The Padres announced that they have acquired right handed pitcher Enyel De Los Santos and infielder Nelson Ward from the Mariners for Benoit. The biggest victory here is the team opening up some financial flexibility. With this, they will have the potential to go after some of the top free agents in the market to fill needs.

De Los Santos is a power pitcher who has upside to be a fringe impact prospect down the road. Last season, he posted a 4.06 ERA in 37.2 innings. In those innings, he struck out 42 batters. He’s at the minimum three years away from making any type of impact at the major league level.

Ward is listed as a player who can play second base, shortstop, and third base. He hit .278/.365/.436 between Class-A and Class-A Advanced last season. He showed some power, hitting 9 homers across the two different leagues. 

The Padres announced a prior trade to the Benoit deal, acquiring infielder/outfielder Jose Pirela from the Yankees for right-handed pitcher Ronald Herrera.

Pirela saw major league time with the Yankees in 2014 and 2015. Across those two seasons, he hit just .255/.275/.367. There’s some potential to grow as he’s hit at least .300 the past two seasons in the minor leagues. He’s played some shortstop and even some outfield in the past, but he’s seen the majority of his time at second base the last few seasons.

Friar Notes

  • Hitting coach Mark Kotsay has joined the Athletics organization to become the club’s bench coach, the club announced on Thursday
  • The Padres are talking to former major league pitcher Tom Gordon about a possible position in the organization, writes Jon Heyman. He was one of the number of candidates the team interviewed for the managerial opening. He impressed during the interview. 
  • Ron Gardenhire and the club are still talking about the possibility of joining the organization, tweets Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com. It was reported the he was offered a bench coach role, though Morosi notes no formal offer has been made.
  • Rich Hill is someone the Padres are interested in, tweets Jon Morosi. The left-handed pitcher had a strong 2015 finish with the Red Sox. He has the ability to start or work out of the bullpen.  
  • The Astros are looking at the trade market for a closer and Craig Kimbrel could once again be on their radar, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com. He notes that the Padres would need to net a big return if they traded him away. There are reportedly multiple teams on Kimbrel, from the likes of the Yankees to the Tigers.

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