Saturday, February 07, 2009

Trade Possibilities for the Padres

February 7, 2009

Trade Possibilities

Now that it is a pretty sure bet that Jake Peavy will at least be starting the 2009 season in a Padres uniform, we can turn to what other trade possibilities the Padres have to make the 2009 squad stronger.

The 1st one that comes to mind for me is a trade of Kevin Kouzmanoff for a starting pitcher.

The Padres have tremendous depth at 3B with Chase Headley at the major league level and alot of good bats in the farm system.

Kouzmanoff is a young player who will be under team control for 4 more seasons and is emerging as both a very good offensive and defensive player for the Padres.

The only thing that stands in the way of a possible trade is Kouzmanoff's shoulder. He has not returned to full activity after his off season surgery, but he is throwing and looks good so far.

Once Spring Training starts in 2 weeks, other teams will get to see how well he has rehabbed and how he is throwing in game situations.

Then he will be very attractive trade bait.

What are the Padres looking for in return?

The Padres have two areas of serious need and both involve pitching. The Padres are looking for a #2 or #3 starting pitcher and for help in the bullpen.

Behind a great 1-2 punch of Peavy and Chris Young, the Padres have a lot of unproven, mediocre or injury rehab projects vying for 3 starting positions.

Baek, Correia, Geer, LeBlanc, Roeneke, Prior and others will all be trying to lock down a spot in Spring Training. None of them are what would be considered a confidence inspiring starter.

Winning 2 of 5 games is not an option.

The bullpen is even more of a question mark with Bell taking over for Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman at the Closer position, Mike Adams is injured and not expected back until after the All Star break, and Cla Meredith and Justin Hampson are the only other Padres relievers with a full season at the ML level.

We have established what the Padres are offering and their needs.


Who stands in need of a Third Baseman?

- The Minnesota Twins are in dire need. They are so desperate they are looking at Joe Crede.

- The Detroit Tigers have Brandon Inge penciled in at 3B.

- The Toronto Blue Jays have the oft injured, but very expensive, Scott Rolen.

Even the Cardinals need a 3B with Troy Glaus' January shoulder surgery.

The next questions:

Are they looking to trade and who do they have to offer?

Let’s take this team by team starting with the ones I think are most probable.

Minnesota Twins
The Twins are hurting at 3B. Without a FA signing or a trade, the Twins will start the season with Brendan Harris or Brian Buscher at third. Ouch!

So YES they are looking to make a move.

Their options are so grey that they are talking seriously about bringing in Joe Crede, who hasn't started regularly since hurting his back in late 2006, and guaranteeing him more than $5 million per season plus incentives.

Now that we have established that they have the need,
What do they have to offer the Padres?

The Twins have a plethora of good young arms. Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins and Scott Baker are good young starters that are still 3-4 years away from FA.

Phillip Humber is another good starting prospect on their squad. Good enough that the Mets signed him to a 5 year/$4.2 million contract before he ever threw a pitch in the major leagues and he is out of options. He either stays on the 25 man roster of the Twins have to trade him or expose him to waivers.

Of the 6, Slowey and Baker are the control type pitchers the Padres seem to favor.

So what trades make sense for both teams?

How about the Padres send Kouzmanoff and Wade LeBlanc to the Twins for Slowey and Delmon Young? Leblanc competes for the #5 slot in Minnesota and Young takes over in LF for Headley.

Detroit Tigers

The Tigers have Brandon Inge penciled in as their starting 3B in 2009.
Inge, a career .237 batter, hit .205/.303/.369/.672 in 2008. Inge is a slightly above average fielder at 3B with a 1.1 UZR in 51 games at the position in 2008.

His only backup as of today is Mike Holliman. Who? Hollimon was a 26 year old rookie in 2008, who has exactly 2 games at 3B in his professional career (minors and majors). Both games happened in 2008.

I would guess that Cabrera could move back to 3B, but he was moved to 1B because, despite his incredible bat, he is a terrible fielder at 3B.

Now that we have established that they have the need,
What do they have to offer the Padres?

Like the Twins, the Tigers have a number of good young arms. In fact, before the February 4th signing of John Parrish, the Tigers had 7 starting pitchers on their staff to fill 5 slots. Lynn Henning of the Detroit News reported that the Tigers are looking to trade pitching to fill holes in their lineup.

Unlike the Twins, most of the Tigers starting pitchers have 5 or more years of major league service.

The exceptions being the recently added Edwin Jackson, Justin Verlander who is likely untouchable, and Armando Gallaraga.

Jackson has been a disappointment since coming up as a fireballing RH with the Dodgers at 20 yrs old. He has never really lived up to the expectations. Dave Cameron of Fangraphs absolutely hated the trade the Tigers made to get him.

Justin Verlander is another fireball RHP. Unlike Jackson he developed into the ace of the Tigers staff. In 2008 he had a rough year posting a 4.84 ERA and a 4.18 FIP.

Armando Gallaraga (27) is a late blooming starter who had a nice ERA in 2008 but whose FIP was well above league average at 4.88.

Of the 3, I would like to see Verlander in any trade for an everyday player like Kouzmanoff, but he is likely untouchable.

So what do I see as a possible trade?

Kouzmanoff for Jackson and a prospect like Casey Fien or Luis Marte.

Those two teams are the only ones I see as having both a real need right now and the type of pitching the Padres would like back in return for Kouzmanoff.

I have had my say. Now what do you think?

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