The interesting thing about words are their ability to mask true meaning, to disguise intent, and to convey what you want the receiver to take away without actually being totally truthful. All that being said, I have no reason to believe the San Diego Padres are purposefully being misleading about Huston Street. Yet, in saying the team wasn't looking to trade Street, they did not explicitly rule out the possibility according to MLB.com's Corey Brock.
In case you're wondering, the #Padres aren't actively looking to move closer Huston Street following the acquisition of Joaquin Benoit.— Corey Brock (@FollowThePadres) December 19, 2013
Actively looking to move Street would mean placing calls and asking what they could get in return. Passively looking would be examining the rosters of all Major League clubs, determining who could use closer help, and evaluating potential return players if a trade was made. San Diego may not be even passively looking to trade Street, but there's little doubt in my mind that they are more than happy to listen to offers if someone calls on him. If the Padres were 100 percent committed to Street with no chance of a trade, the response from the front office likely would have been more something like this: "Huston isn't going anywhere. He's our guy."
There's no problem with the way the team answered the question. Let me be clear about that. I just don't want people to take that away and think Street is a lock as the club's closer come Opening Day. I think he'll be there, but there's the possibility that a team makes a decent trade offer. With Benoit now on the team, San Diego has a little more flexibility in considering a trade for Street. In fact, the Padres could consider a trade in the offseason and during the 2014 season. So, while Street may be on the roster now, and he may be on the roster on Opening Day, there's no telling whether he will finish the season in a Padres uniform.
Street is signed through the 2014 season with a team option for 2015. If the Padres pick up the 2015 option, they will pay Street another $7 million. They will already have Benoit on the books for $7.25 million in 2015. Therefore, it's easy to see how the desire to make a trade could creep up on San Diego quickly. However, the combination of Street and Benoit is stronger than the probable return the team would get for Street. Having a shut-down back end of the bullpen is important. Successful teams aren't successful without that.
For now, let's not worry too much about payroll. Let's not worry about the trades that can happen in the future. Instead, let's enjoy the fact that San Diego is putting together a nice team. Just don't get too comfortable with the current make-up just yet. That all can change on a dime.