You do not need a degree in statistics to know that the Padres offense has been awful. With each abysmal performance leading to series loss after series loss it becomes more and more obvious that something needs to be done. That something will not be trading for reinforcements. The offense is too far gone for that. The risk reward is not worth it. The logical option is to blow it up.
Now, many times blowing it up because of a lost season can mean just trading away the players that are about to be free agents. We can start there, but I will make the argument that is not enough. Here are the players that you would put on the trade block to start:
- 3B Chase Headley
- OF Chris Denorfia
- OF Seth Smith
Chase Headley's name has been on the lips of many involved in repeating trade rumors and with good reason. It's debatable as to what sort of return the club could even get at this point, but holding onto him during a losing season is likely worse than any return. Denorfia does not get nearly as much press as an impending free agent, but he is one nonetheless. Any return the club can get is more than what they would receive by letting him walk in November. Losing Seth Smith would remove what has been the teeth of the offense this season, but his success is the perfect reason to trade him as some team might actually give something up to get a bat down the stretch.
Back to what I was saying about this not being enough. Looking ahead to 2015, the offense is still in a sorry state. You lose those 3 and have virtually nothing to replace them with. The team will have some money freed up, but no amount of spending can fix all the problems. If the club is serious about trying to fix things it is best to just tear as much down as possible. I would argue that at minimum it requires trading anyone that is a free agent after the 2015 season as well. And you have to be open to trading those that will be free agents after 2016. Why? Because the 2015 offense is a lost cause and at best the 2016 is just the beginning of the new hope. If you can get good value from a guy that only projects to help the new hope offense for one then it should be considered.
Here are the guys that will be free agents after 2015:
- OF Carlos Quentin (option for 2016, no trade clause)
- OF Will Venable
And the guys that will be free agents after 2016:
- SS Everth Cabrera
- OF Cameron Maybin (option for 2017)
What is going to be left after this exodus? Not much. Yonder Alonso, an injured Jedd Gyorko, Tommy Medica, Alexi Amarista, Jace Peterson, Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera. Perhaps a couple of players coming back in some of these trades would be able to start right away, but at best will probably be too raw to quickly make an impact. The minor leagues are not ready to produce replacements. Things will get bad, really bad. All of it in the hopes that any prospects coming back, plus any already in the pipeline will produce in 2016 and beyond. A lot of money will be freed up, but the best you can hope for is that it can be used to acquire some complimentary pieces.
So far I have ignored the pitching. Maybe I should not have. Tim Stauffer is the only man on the staff becoming a free agent next offseason, but Huston Street and Ian Kennedy are set to becomes ones after 2015. And if you add on one more year then Joaquin Benoit, Andrew Cashner and Eric Stults become the names you see. A blow up in an effort to rebuild into a contender could mean most of these names end up on the trading block.
A blow up sounds really painful, but after 4 consecutive years of mediocrity and no end to it in sight anything less might be condemning the team to many more years of the same.
I do not want to come off as the head advocate for this path, but I thought it was worth presenting for your perusal.