Many of us in the San Diego Padres community feel Kyle Blanks never got a fair shake. Whether it was because of injury or lack of playing time, Blanks was moved around the field, split time between the Majors and minors, and never could cash in on his potential. Now, he may be on his way out. Along with Jesus Guzman, the Padres appear willing to move some of their depth in order to build a better roster now.
Corey Brock of MLB.com says San Diego is still "in" on Joaquin Benoit, but the team also has other options on the trade market. In fact, general manager Josh Byrnes said the moves outside of Benoit would likely be trades as opposed to free agent signings. To make some of those trades happen, the Padres are willing to trade players who are on the fringes of the 25-man roster. Here's what Brock had to say:
Byrnes also talked about "shuffling out depth," which could mean the team could part with players who are projected to be on the 25-man roster or on the bubble of making the Opening Day roster.
That could mean that players like outfielder/first baseman Kyle Blanks and Jesus Guzman could be trade chips -- either on a singular basis or part of a larger deal.
Quiz: Padres Gold Glove winners
Ten players have won at least one Rawlings Gold Glove Award as a member of the San Diego Padres. How many can you name in two minutes?
That being said, it does not look like San Diego has any impending deals that would include either Blanks or Guzman. But the willingness to deal these players should not come as a shock. At this point, trade rumors accompany Blanks every winter, and sometimes they follow him in-season. As for Guzman, his one big half-year led many to think he could be a potential trade chip. He still is, but his value probably isn't terribly high.
Blanks is 27 years old and has played in parts of five Major League seasons. Despite the tenure, year wise, Blanks has only accumulated 796 plate appearances. The lack of consistent playing time has made him a difficult player to evaluate. He played the most games of his career in 2013 (88) and hit just .245/.305/.379, but the 10 home run, .868 OPS season of 2009 still lingers, giving us all hope for something great. Perhaps that hope can be parsed into a decent trade package.
Guzman is 29 years old, but until he was traded to San Diego, he had been a career minor leaguer. Guzman has played in parts of 4 Major League seasons, but he has played in parts of 8 minor league seasons. Last year, Guzman also set a career-high in games-played. He saw action in 126 games and hit .226/.297/.378 with nine home runs. Much of the excitement surrounding Guzman has worn off after he put up impressive second-half numbers with San Diego in 2011. That year, he hit .312/.369/.378 in just 76 games.
The fact is, neither of these players will be the future of the franchise. They provide important levels of depth, but at some point San Diego will need to rely more on primary player contribution than the hope of having enough depth. Last year proved the importance of depth, but can the team be successful simply relying on that depth? Probably not. If a trade comes across Byrnes' desk and it involves Blanks or Guzman or both, the GM has already indicated it would have to be for a difference-making player. Should that difference-maker come around, Blanks and Guzman would be a small loss...