OF Seth Smith - The veteran lefty was the Padres’ best hitter in 2014 and decided to forgo free agency this offseason in order to sign a contract extension with San Diego. However, the club’s acquisition of better or more promising OF bats made him expendable and he was shipped off to Seattle for P Brandon Maurer. Normally a team would miss a player who did as well as Smith did last season, but A.J. Preller capably filled those OF spots. There was also a good chance that Smith could regress as he moved through his 30s.
C Rene Rivera - The team will miss Rivera’s ability to call a game. The pitchers liked him and the stats guys love his pitch framing abilities. That he was able to add 11 HRs last year was seen as just a bonus. Hopefully the Padres make up for his loss in other ways as he was sent to Tampa Bay to help get the promising young Wil Myers.
C/1B Yasmani Grandal - While Grandal had yet to prove that he was going to fulfill all his promise, he was definitely showing signs that he would. His work behind the plate definitely hit a setback when he hurt his knee doing catcherly duties in 2013, but his bat had come around. The Padres could really miss him if he continues to develop with the Dodgers, but perhaps Matt Kemp will make people forget that it was Yasmani who was parted with to get him.
SP Jesse Hahn - Hahn looked like possibly the most promising player on the mediocre 2014 team. He was young and produced as soon as he was called up. The Padres had the potential to to keep him around for the next 6 years and get all the benefits of having a cost controlled above average player. However, A.J. Preller saw an opportunity to acquire a young catcher coming off an All Star season and used Hahn to get him in trade. As good as Hahn’s debut season was, he still has some questions about his durability and dealing him for a surer thing makes a lot of sense.
SS Everth Cabrera - The Nicaraguan shortstop’s days seemed numbered after a run in with the Highway Patrol got him arrested under suspicion of DUI and resisting arrest. This was on top of a number of injuries over the years and a suspension for PEDs in 2013. The Padres didn’t have a ready replacement, but the club felt it needed to part ways with a player it could no longer count on.
SP Eric Stults - The southpaw worked his butt off for the Padres over the last 3 seasons throwing 472 innings for the club, but they weren’t always the most high quality innings. With arbitration forcing his salary higher and the team wanting to give pitchers with more upside a shot, he got his walking papers.
RP Tim Stauffer - 10 seasons after he first debuted for the Padres, Tim Stauffer finally reached free agency. He did yeoman’s work over the last decade and was appreciated by the die-hard Padres crowd. A desire to see if he could earn a starting rotation spot with another club meant that he and the Padres had to mutually part ways.
3B Chase Headley - The Padres and Headley could never find the right time to come to an agreement on a contract extension. The team could have tried to give him one in his early seasons, but ownership and the front office was in flux at the time. Then he was either coming off a down year, a career year or a year too close to free agency to make terms agreeable to both sides. So, in the end the Padres got what they could for him at the last trading deadline before his impending free agency.
RP Huston Street - A high-priced closer is a luxury item when a team isn’t a playoff contender and the Angels offered a sweet package to acquire Street for the stretch run plus a 2015 option. The current team could probably use him more than the prospects they got (although one, R.J. Alvarez, was used to help acquire Derek Norris), but at the time no one was thinking the new GM could turn around the team in one offseason.
OF Chris Denorfia - The Padres traded Deno to the Mariners before the trade deadline last season, but would have seen him leave via free agency this offseason just like the Mariners saw when he signed with the Chicago Cubs. Norf, despite some good seasons in San Diego, was often crowded out of a starting OF spot when he was with the Padres and the OF is more crowded now than it was then, so no remorse to find here.