It appears that we are finally down to the wire and the Padres have gotten to a point where they are prepared to acquire a shortstop. General Manager A.J. Preller indicated that the team has been looking at numerous options and is prepared to make a move.
Preller indicated that within the next few days to a week something should come to a head. Most Padres fans have been patiently awaiting an acquisition for weeks. Preller certainly took a methodical approach to finding a potential captain on the infield.
The are certainly many options for the team, but let’s explore who the Padres could be acquiring within the next few days. This list is long as the team has been linked to just about every shortstop available on the trade market. They also have been linked to many free agents. Ian Desmond and Alexei Ramirez have been linked to the team and it is widely known the Padres have interest in each to a certain degree.
After refusing an extension prior to the 2013 season in excess of $100 million, Desmond’s numbers have plummeted. He has a ton of power in a traditionally weak position, but he has shown a steady decline in both average and on-base percentage while his strikeout totals have skyrocketed. Desmond has that rare power-speed combination to his game and is only 30, so it’s hard to see him take a deal at much of a discounted rate. The Padres’ most-likely scenario is signing Desmond. It really does seem like the inevitable move for the team. The question is if Desmond would take a friendly enough deal for the Padres.
The more inexpensive alternative to Desmond on the free agent market is Alexei Ramirez. He is, however, 35 and his defensive range has been in question for the last few seasons. He is not an on-base guy by any means, but he does put the ball in play and has decent speed. He could be an option for the team on a short-term deal. His price would be right, but the Padres are certainly concerned about his play and his age. There is one more option on the free agent market at shortstop, but I don’t believe the Padres are interested in Jimmy Rollins in any degree. The team could however pull off a trade for a shortstop and there are a few scenarios which are intriguing. The first being the Texas Rangers and their surplus of shortstops.
The Texas Rangers would love to get out of the contract of Elvis Andrus. He is due $103 million through the 2022 season and even has a vesting option for the 2023 season at $15 million. To take on his salary, the Rangers would need to take on Melvin Upton Jr. and James Shields or Matt Kemp. Not exactly a winning proposition for the Padres at this time. Losing Upton’s contract would be nice, but Andrus isn’t exactly an offensive force at short. He is average at best defensively also, so the likelihood of this happening is slim to none.
AJ Preller: “We’ve gotten to a spot where we’ve looked at a lot of SS options. Things could come to a head in the next few days to a week.”
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) January 13, 2016
A second interesting option at shortstop from the Rangers is Jurickson Profar. The former #1 prospect in the whole game of baseball has had a bum shoulder for the last two seasons. He is still only 22 years old so to say he’s washed up, is foolish. His shoulder injury is definitely concerning for any team wanting to acquire this phenom. He was tearing it up in the Arizona Fall League in November/December, but failed to log any playing time on the field. The Padres could be players, but they need to be sure he is able to play the position. The Padres have no plan B. In fact, they have no plan A right now. So taking on an issue risk is a scary thing.
A Hawaiian vacation threw a big monkey wrench into the Rockies offseason plans. Reyes was arrested in December for a domestic dispute with his wife while on vacation on the island. The Rockies shortstop’s value had already taken a hit due to injuries and lack of production. Throw this into the mix and the Rockies have a problem. Reyes is due $44 million for the next two seasons and has a $4-million dollar buyout for the 2018 season. The Padres could use a leadoff hitter that plays shortstop but Reyes is far from being productive. This new drama has all but assured he will not be dealt. Nobody would want to take a chance on him at the moment.
This Tigers right-handed hitting shortstop brings an excellent bat and great defensive numbers. Well, at least depending on what you view as great defense. He does not make many errors, but does not have great range either. Think of him as a slightly better offensive Chris Gomez. Steady is a way to describe him, but not flashy by any means. The Tigers could move him as they have JaCoby Jones in the minors who is almost ready for major league service.
This has been long rumored but nothing has come to fruition. That leads me to believe that the two clubs have moved on from each other and a deal is not likely. Still, Baez is available. In fact, recent rumors have the Tampa Bay Rays interested in the young infielder. He brings unreal power but strikes out a ton and has some defensive questions. Not a great fit for the Padres and what they are trying to accomplish. Perhaps that’s why nothing has happened between these two teams.
The Indians backup shortstop has no place to play. At the age of 23, Ramirez has a bright future but when Francisco Lindor is ahead of you on the depth charts it’s time to move on. The switch-hitting shortstop has some defensive question marks but still could be a quality defender if he works hard. He has little power but that could develop with time. He does put the ball in play and has pretty decent plate discipline. The Indians need help in the outfield so perhaps a deal for someone like Rymer Liriano would make sense.
The Milwaukee Brewers have some depth as their best prospect Orlando Arcia is just about major league ready. That makes Segura a reasonable option for the Padres. He is still young at 25 that he could develop even more in the right situation. Factor in that Segura is already a four-year veteran and holds a .266 career batting average. When he is on he can be good offensively and is very steady defensively. He is under team control until the 2019 season and the Brewers would not give him up cheaply. He makes sense for the Padres but their have been virtually no reports of these two teams talking.
The Twins have three shortstops in Danny Santana, Eduardo Escobar and Eduardo Nunez. All three could see time at the position for the Twins, but none of them are a particular great option. Santana might be the best of the bunch as he has a decent 2014 season but struggled last season getting demoted by the Twins. He is still 25 and a switch hitter. His defensive is a big question mark and at this point he probably is not a good option for the Padres looking to improve on their defense.
The 24-year-old right handed hitter has become expendable after the Mets signing of Asdrubal Cabrera. He has some power as he hit 16 homers last season in 483 at bats. Flores is most commonly known for crying on the field after thinking he was being traded by the Mets last July. The price tag on Flores would be reasonable but it remains to be seen if the Padres are exploring him as an option.
One way or another the drama is about to finally come to an end. The smart money is on Ian Desmond followed by Allexei Ramirez, but the Padres could have a trick up their sleeve. You never really know when A.J. Preller is at the helm.