Monday, June 27, 2011

Introducing your 2012 San Diego Padres!

Monday June 27, 2011

Introducing your 2012 San Diego Padres!

A week ago I wrote that trade winds were whipping up in San Diego. Well, GALE force winds are blowing in San Diego today.  The Padres have gone 10-14 for the month of June, including a 6 game losing streak from the 14th to 20th, and after starting out 24-31 their recent play has sealed the fate of many of the veteran player on the team. Most of the veteran players brought in during the 2nd half of 2010 and in the offseason will be blown right out of town.

With the Padres 11 games under .500 and 10.5 games back in the NL West,  it’s a foregone conclusion that 2012 free agents Heath Bell and Ryan Ludwick will be gone before the trading deadline and probably much sooner. Possibly as soon as June 30th

The fact is that players like Bell and Ludwick that are free agents after the season are worth more in trade the longer their new team gets to use their services after the trade. Hoyer is no dummy. They will both be gone before the All Star break.

Reliever Chad Qualls, Brad Hawpe, Orlando Hudson, Jason Bartlett, and Aaron Harang all have big dollar options or guaranteed salaries for 2012 ($6 million option, $6 million option, $5.5 million salary, $5.5 million salary, and $5 million option respectively) and the Padres have serviceable, if not good, internal options.  Those Padres players have a heavy tail wind blowing them out of town as well.

So what WILL the 2012 Padres look like?

I am not sure who will be coming back as part of the trades that will probably blow 5-6 veteran players out of San Diego over the next month, but I can make an educated guess as to who may be called up or be moved into the position from the Padres bench.

  • Heath Bell with Mike Adams – Adams is arbitration eligible but has been groomed as Bell’s replacement and will make much less than the $7++ million Bell would command in free agency.
  •  Ryan Ludwick with Chris Denorfia – Deno has been the only consistent performer in the outfield and deserves a full time spot, at least for the rest of the 2011 season. Venable takes over RF, Maybin in CF and Deno in LF with Kyle Blanks being called up.
  • Chad Qualls with Luis Perdomo, Even Scribner or Brad Brach – Bullpen is an area the Padres are deep in and can replace Qualls with relative ease, either in the trade or from the farm.
  • Brad Hawpe has already been replaced with Anthony Rizzo.  If he returns from the DL before July 31st, a bag of balls or a rosin bag would be a positive replacement.
  • Orlando Hudson with Logan Forsythe – Forsythe did not hit well in his first appearances with San Diego, but is still the only serviceable internal candidate at 2nd base for the remainder of 2011.
  • Jason Bartlett with Everth Cabrera – the 24 year old Cabrera has returned from his injury for AAA Tucson and played extremely well hitting .296/.359 with 13 sb in 31 games. He is the heir apparent at SS.
  • Aaron Harang with Cory Luebke, Wade LeBlanc, Anthony Bass or Casey Kelly or any number of good young arms.

Predicting the 2012 roster is a little more of a crapshoot at this point, but you can count on it being young. Predicting the return the Padres may get on the veterans they ship out is also a crapshoot, but I will give it a shot.
Padres Return On Investment
  • Bell is a highly valuable commodity and will likely get a top 20 type prospect from the Rangers, Phillies, Cardinals, or whoever else gets in the bidding. Possibly Roman Mendez or possibly even Neil Ramirez from the Rangers if the Padres eat a little salary.  Phillipe Aumont + a second lower level prospect  or possibly even  JC Ramirez from the Phillies. Rasmus’ name has been bandied about from the Cardinals.
  • Ludwick is having a real good year away from the unfriendly confines of Petco with a 114 OPS+. He will bring back a decent prospect in return. Seattle has reportedly offered a middle infield prospect. Could it possibly be Carlos Triunfel? His stock has dropped tremendously, but he still has tremendous tools. The Phillies have also reportedly offered a good OF prospect. A power hitting prospect that is very raw and still in high A, but undoubtedly a good prospect.
  • Qualls is in a rebound year that is at least in part attributable to the Petco effect. His ERA away is a pedestrian 3.93. He will not bring back a great prospect, but even a mid-level prospect while not having to pay the cost of buying out his option year is worth trading him.
  • Hawpe will only be valuable to an AL team that has a short RF porch so don’t expect much. Maybe a low level prospect from the Orioles or Yankees.
  • Hudson is on a down year punctuated with injuries and he has an $8 million option for 2013, so he may be the only player the Padres are unable to move. Which is ok by me. Unless they get a middle infielder that is major league ready for Bell or Ludwick, chances are the Padres best replacement for Hudson is Logan Forsythe. Not good enough right now. Plus Hudson  plays decent defense and provides veteran leadership and a motor mouth that is fun.
  • Bartlett is having a decent, but not good year and may prove difficult to move as well. I think teams will be more willing to part with a decent prospect for the 31 yr old Bartlett than the 33 yr old Hudson.
  • Harang is an interesting case. We all knew his era would go down coming to Petco, what was not expected was that he would be going an average of 6.2 innings per start and would have a 7-2 record after 13 starts. With only a $5 million option year, the Padres may just hang onto Harang for 2012. But then I said that about Garland after last season.

I can’t guess at this point about what players the Padres will sign in the offseason, so here goes nothing. 

Your 2012 San Diego Padres

Starting 8 1/2
1B – Anthony Rizzo – 22 (or Kyle Blanks) – Rizzo will be given every chance to hold onto the job for the rest of the 2011 season. If he can rebound to hit even .220-.230 he will likely be the opening day starter at 1B
2B – Orlando Hudson – 34 – I think he is close to untradeable and will return in 2012.
SS – Everth Cabrera – 25 – the 2nd coming of the talented young SS.
3B – Chase Headley – 27 – hitting .300 while playing half your games in Petco is impressive even if you aren’t hitting many home runs.
LF – Kyle Blanks – 25 – Blanks is really a 1B, but if Rizzo wins the job the Padres will be forced to play the talented and powerful young man in LF again in 2012.
CF – Cameron Maybin – 26 – Great defense. Mediocre bat. Occasional power. Perfect fit for Padres.
RF – Will Venable - 29/Chris Denorfia – 31 -
C – Nick Hundley – 27 – With no other real options, Hundley will once again be the number one catcher on the Padres squad.

OF - Venable or Denorfia
MI – ?? I just know that Alberto Gonzalez will not be back. Possibly Jarrett Hoffpauir - 28
IF – Logan Forsythe – 22 or possibly Vince Belnome – 24 – who has been tearing it up with the bat in AA
UT – Guzman – 27 – Good bat, bad defense. Will back up 1B and OF and mostly be a bat off the bench.
C – Another veteran schmoe like Rob Johnson, but probably a different schmoe

Starting Rotation
Mat Latos
Clayton Richard
Tim Stauffer
Dustin Moseley
Wade LeBlanc/Cory Luebke/Casey Kelly/Anthony Bass

CL – Mike Adams – 31- Closer in waiting
SU – Luke Gregerson – 29 -
SU – Ernesto Frieri - 26
Loogy – Joe Thatcher - 30
MR – Luis Perdomo
MR – Evan Scribner/Josh Spence/Brad Brach
LR – Luebke/LeBlanc

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