The San Diego Padres are in a good old fashioned rebuild. The only top level professional sports team left in San Diego (there is a minor league hockey team) had a rather blah year, as they never looked like they ever had a shot, but weren’t abhorrently bad. As they move into the 2017-18 offseason, the question is will they move proven assets to collect more prospects? Or will they trust the prices with the crop of young players they currently have?
What Happened Last Year?
The Padres finished with a 71-91 record, good for 4th in the heavyweight National League West. They also were the 5th team from the bottom in the whole National League table. They did plenty of roster shuffling, with only 3 hitters and 3 pitchers qualifying. On offense, Wil Myers led the power department, smashing 30 homers. He also added 20 steals, but only batted .243. Manuel Margot, arguably the Padres’ best young player, led the qualifiers with just a .263 batting average. Catcher Austin Hedges didn’t qualify, though he still knocked 18 dongs.
On the mound, Jhoulys Chacin was their best starter. Pitching to a 13-10 record, Chacin kept his ERA under 4, which was by far the best from a qualified starter in SD. Clayton Richard, or Discount Rich Hill, threw 197.1 innings, by far the most, but was touched up for 240 hits to the tune of a .305 batting average against. In the bullpen, Brad Hand was an All-Star who the Padres failed to find a trade partner for at the deadline. He went 21/26 in save chances, appearing in 72 total games. A WHIP of 0.93 makes him a top reliever in MLB.
What Do They Need?
When Jhoulys Chacin is your ace, you need to address your starting pitching. And he is free agent who could head elsewhere if he chose. There are plenty of mid-level stating pitchers on the free agent market. Perhaps one of Trevor Cahill, who they traded to Kansas City last year, or Andrew Cashner would be interested in a reunion with the Friars. You do want to develop your young players like Richard and Luis Perdomo, but that doesn’t mean they have to be top line starters when there are options to help you.
Rumors still float around Brad Hand and his trade value. A deal involving the 27-year-old left hander cannot be ruled out, but based on the deadline talk last year, the asking price needs to be dropped. Talks have surfaced about moving one of Yangervis Solarte, Corey Spangenberg, and Carlos Asuaje to alleviate logjams at 2nd and 3rd base. Solarte and Spangenberg in particular may garner some serious attention from teams around the league.
Prospect To Watch
Luis Urias, 2B/SS, AA
The Mexican middle infielder is a reliable bat that the Major League team desperately needs. He batted .296 at Double-A San Antonio last year. Only 20, he projects to be a large part of the Padres’ future. Though he won’t break camp with the Major League club, expect him to be up possibly by May if he performs in AAA, and stay up if he hits well in the Majors.