Who Aren’t the Padres Trading?
So ummm, will the last one here please turn out the lights?
Half a season after a massive overhaul, the supposedly new-look, “let’s contend now and for the future” Padres are limping towards August with a sub-.500 record. At various times in the past week the following players have each been rumored in trade talks:
- Jedd Gyorko
- Justin Upton
- Will Venable
- Andrew Cashner
- Ian Kennedy
- Tyson Ross
- James Shields
- Joaquin Benoit
- Shawn Kelly
- Craig Kimbrel
- Brandon Mauer
If you’re keeping track, that’s more than 40% of the 25 man roster currently on the trading block.
But there are two who should not be on that list. Mr. Preller, here is my unsolicited opinion: Don’t trade Shields. And don’t trade Kimbrel.
Every other person on this list is tradable. The Padres went out and made a big splash this past offseason by signing “Big Game James” and trading away their best minor league pitcher, Matt Wisler, for the best closer in the game in Kimbrel. Of course those weren’t the only moves but those are the 2 I’m talking about here…
The New York Yankees, back in 1996, demonstrated how effective a team can be when you shorten the game. Mariano Rivera (before he became a Hall of Fame closer) shut down the 8th and John Wetteland closed out the 9th. Twenty years later the Padres have Mauer-Benoit-Kimbrel to shorten games. And they’re effective. Kimbrel has only blown 1 save all season (30 save opportunities). Keeping Kimbrel will help the Padres be effective in 2016 and beyond.
James Shields is quietly having a very effective season. James’ ERA is sitting at 3.77 (he’s on pace for 215 innings and 13 wins; not bad for a team with a losing record). His career ERA is 3.72. Sure he’s helped by PETCO but he’s also hurt by the Padres’ awful defense.
In all Preller’s offseason dealings he never acquired a shortstop who could play elite defense. Remember the 2010 Padres that missed the playoffs by 1 game? Their pre-trading deadline roster was filled with players who turned everything that stayed inside the fences into outs. Then Jed Hoyer went out and traded for Miguel Tejada and Ryan Ludwick. On August 25 the Padres went to bed with a 74-51 record which was not only division-leading but the best in all of baseball. They only won 14 games out of their final 37 (less than a 38% winning percentage). We don’t need to get rid of James Shield, we need to put a better-than-average defense behind him.
Additionally, what message are you sending potential free agents when you sign an elite player then trade him away less than a year later? I’ve had experts tell me psychology doesn’t matter. It does. Some guys are willing to take the final shot in a basketball game, some aren’t. People will mock the Padres and Preller if he does an about-face with regards to Shields.
Yes, trade Upton. We can get a lot for the departing free agent. Likewise, Tyson Ross may bring in a king’s ransom. I get it. But Mr. Preller, don’t trade away a player whose only downfall is your own is your failure to put a defense behind him.