Is a Padres-Cubs deal still possible?

Credit: UT San Diego/ KC Alfred

Credit: UT San Diego/ KC Alfred

Pitching is something the Padres have. The first instinct for the team is to try to move Andrew Cashner. He is in the last year of his contract and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. Cashner has shown no interest in re-signing with the Padres, so it seems inevitable that the team moves on from the right handed pitcher. The former Cubs prospect was dealt to the Padres for Anthony Rizzo when the Padres obtained Yonder Alonso in the Mat Latos trade. A horrible decision and most Padres fans would rather not even think about the choices that were made that offseason.

Cashner would interest the Cubs slightly, but his value is so low right now that he by himself would not even come close to the value the Cubs need for one of those youngsters (Baez, Soler, Schwarber). So cross Cashner off the list for the moment.

Let’s talk about the most logical answer. Tyson Ross is becoming an ace pitcher and the Cubs could surely use him to boost their rotation. There have been multiple reports of the Cubs’ interest in Ross. The Padres have two complete seasons with Ross before he is due for free agency, so it is safe to say his value is at an all-time high. There is a fine line with Ross right now though. Should the club deal him when his value is high, or do you believe he will get even better and thus signing him long-term at a decent team-friendly deal?

This is the type of decision that general managers lose sleep over. Ross has the ability to be great, but in reality he is only one player. If any team is willing to overpay for his services then the Padres will have no choice but to say goodbye to their big right-handed pitcher. Baseball is a business and sometimes you just have to do what is right for the team. Still though, dealing Ross and watching him take his game to the next level is a real possibility. He has that type of stuff, and has yet to reach his maximum abilities. Ross would easily fetch one or two or the Cubs trio of prospects. The Padres are rightfully being very cautious and are weighing out their options with Tyson Ross.

That brings us to James Shields, a player who is loved by Cubs manager Joe Maddon. Shields is due a lot of money and is considered overvalued, as his performance declined in the first year of his long-term contract. He could interest the Cubs, but he by himself would not be enough for any of those Cubs prospects. Shields’ opt-out year is another concern. The Cubs would not want to deal one of those prospects for a one-year rental, and Shields has that capability with the current structure of his contract. It keeps going back to Tyson Ross and that is a scary thing for Padres fans. If the team were to move him, they better get swept off their feet with multiple prospects.

The Cubs could also have some interest in Derek Norris, but the team already has Miguel Montero and David Ross on their roster and Schwarber is also listed as a catcher. Norris would be an upgrade for the Cubs at catcher, but Ross is a clubhouse favorite and Montero is due $28 million over the next two seasons. The Cubs are invested in him and he will play if he is healthy. Again, it keeps coming down to Tyson Ross as the Cubs major interest.

Say the Padres acquire Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber or Jorge Soler for Tyson Ross. Both players would have trouble finding positions to play on the current Padres roster. Schwarber could step in to first base and Wil Myers could immediately go to left field. Soler could play center but Jon Jay and Melvin Upton Jr. would have no place to play left and Jabari Blash would be out of the picture completely. Then there is Baez who could play three infield positions but the Padres have Alexei Ramirez (SS), Yangervis Solarte (3B) and Cory Spangenberg (2B) all set to start the season as the team’s starters in the infield.

Schwarber make sense immediately for the Padres. Having Myers in left field shouldn’t be a horrible thing. But what about Blash and Hunter Renfroe? A mega trade seems unlikely at this point. At least not before the season starts. The Padres have already named Tyson Ross as the opening-day starter. Perhaps A.J. Preller is hoping James Shields can boost his trade value this season. Preller could also be hoping the Cubs become desperate and are forced to move their young talent for pieces that are needed to secure a championship — something that is a reality in Chicago. If they need a key player or two, they will not and should not be shy about trading for them.

A trade between the two teams seems possible but both teams are set to start the season with what they currently have on their roster. At least A.J. Preller would like you to think that. The grind of a season is long and injuries can hit at any time. These two teams match-up well in a potential deal and there has already been multiple reports the two sides have talked within the last year. Where there is smoke, there is fire. There is certainly a fire here. But is it a small little fire or a roaring firestorm? Stay tuned.

A version of this article first appeared at

8 Responses

  1. David_N_Wilson

    I don’t think “most believe” Schwarber is going to play 1st Base or DH… He’s a decent catcher without enough experience, and a passable outfielder who has trimmed down and worked hard over the winter… also, there is no chance that Chicago would sit still for his being traded… Soler is the bargaining chip, if there is one.

    • Sonny Wright

      David,if u notice James Clark writes for the San Diego Pods. So of course he talks down Schwarber and Soler, Cashner is struggling Shields is on the downside of his career. What happens if Rizzo gets hurt you can always make a trade mid June or late July. Hang tough Theo.

  2. nick

    Good article. I just wanted to point out though that Schwarber won’t be moved. He has been reported as “Theo’s Baby” on the score radio station numerous times and his bat has way too much upside for them to consider moving.
    I feel like Baez would have been moved long ago if not for the arrival of Madden. Madden and Hoyer have not agreed on Baez related issues in the past. Madden was a huge believer of Baez and wanted him on the opening day roster last year out of camp and Hoyer wanted him in AAA. Madden said he didn’t want to rock the boat being the new guy and deferred to Hoyer’s judgment.
    It’s not every day you find a player with Baez’s tools at this early of an age. The power for a kid his size is ridiculous and the fact he can play any position is eye opening.
    The Cubs could be holding out another year to see what happens with the potential of the DH being introduced to the National league next season. I think Soler and Baez both will lose a lot of at bats this season due to the unexpected signing of Fowler and the other additions.
    For me as a life long Cubs fan I was looking forward to the kids they all drafted and signed being the one’s that put it all together and won the world series. There are a lot of veterans involved now and I know a mix is needed but to me I was really sold on watching the kids do it!!

    • willycat

      Would much rather see more of Soler and Schwarber than Fowler, who in my opinion is a 4h outfielder.

      • nick

        Yea at this point me too. I was really looking forward to Soler and Schwarber getting 450-500 at bats. Soler figured it out in the postseason and looked like a prime candidate for a huge break out season given the at bats. Maybe they plan on gradually progressing considering there will be a DH next season most likely in the NL but then what about Baez?? Fowler is a good player but I want to see the kids!

      • willycat

        Agee, yet maybe they will relizeut half way through the season that Hayward is much better then Fowler in CF and his bat s not even close to Soler, Schwarber or Baez. Also they could possibly trade him in a package for pitching.

      • BigJonLilJon

        Soler will be counted on next year when Fowler leaves. I love me some Schwarber, but I fear he will never hit above 260. As you stated, Soler figured it out in the post season and has a bright future. I still say leave things alone. At least until the deadline. I think a lot depends on how these guys are doing, injuries, and what evaluations the front office has on the kids in the minors like Almora, Mckinney, and even Vogelbomb.
        In the play offs, all we really need is 3 starters for the most part. If Jake, Lester, and Lackey are healthy and performing, we will be fine.

      • Sonny Wright

        At present they need a lead off man and Fowler is the best man for that. like mentioned b4 he can always be traded late in the yr.They need him to set the table for the big guns.

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