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Time to fire up the Hot Stove!

The offseason has officially arrived. As teams around the league scan the field for free agents and trade targets, it’s time to survey the state of the Padres’ roster and ponder what the next few months might bring our way.

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres
Expect to see a bunch of this next year.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The World Series is over, which is a bittersweet thing. While the game was thrilling and satisfying in so many ways, it also means that we will have to wait months before we can watch the game we love again. In the meantime, we can turn our attention to the business side of the game. The roster will see significant turnover as it has in recent years. In preparation for this process, here’s a review of the important dates as well as a brief rundown of the players on or near the MLB roster who may be in play this offseason.

A series of significant dates influence the proceedings of the coming months. Thanks to Connor Byrne of MLBTR, here’s a great breakdown of the important dates:

Nov. 3: Beginning at 9 a.m. ET, teams will have an exclusive five-day negotiation window with their impending free agents.

Nov. 7: By 5 p.m. ET, teams must submit qualifying offers to their upcoming free agents. The QO is worth $17.2MM, up from $15.8MM last year. This is also the deadline for clubs to exercise their 2017 options over players whose contracts include them.

Nov. 8-10: General managers’ meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz. While not as active as December’s Winter Meetings, the groundwork for many trades and signings will take place here, and a few moves figure to be completed.

Nov. 8: Free agents become eligible to sign with any team.

Nov. 14: Players must choose to accept or reject qualifying offers by 5 p.m. ET. Those who decline will become free agents.

Dec. 1: The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players’ union expires. Click here for the latest on CBA negotiations.

Dec. 2: Deadline for teams to decide whether to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. The free agent market should expand to some degree on this day, albeit with relatively minor names.

Dec. 4-8: Winter Meetings in National Harbor, Md. This period is among the most chaotic of the year for those who follow trades and free agency — often even more so than the days leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline. MLBTR will provide extensive coverage while the Winter Meetings are in effect. The meetings will conclude with the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 8.

Now that we have the “when”, next we need to know “who” might be involved in discussions this offseason. After DFA’ing three players last week, the current active roster has 45 players including the six on the 60-day disabled list, and that also includes impending free agents. The Rule 5 Draft on December 8th is roster-relevant, since teams need to add eligible players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the draft or clear room should they expect to add from the draft. The players on the Padres roster can be broken down into categories by contract status as follows:

Free Agents: Edwin Jackson, Jon Jay, Brandon Morrow, Clayton Richard, Adam Rosales, Carlos Villanueva. Richard and Rosales both performed very well for the Padres last year and will get strong consideration to fill areas of need for 2017. Jon Jay discussed a mutual interest in a return, but it’s likely that he’ll seek a team with a less crowded outfield picture and a greater chance for a regular starting spot. Morrow and Jackson may get consideration for the 2017 pitching staff as well, but don’t expect Villanueva to receive an offer.

The following players are eligible for arbitration, along with MLBTR’s projected 2017 arbitration salary:

  • Tyson Ross, SP (5.126) – $9.6MM
  • Alexi Amarista, IF/OF (5.040) – $1.6MM
  • Derek Norris, C (4.102) – $4.0MM
  • Hector Sanchez, C (4.018) – $900K
  • Carter Capps, RP (4.007) – $1.0MM
  • Brett Wallace, 1B (4.003) -$1.3MM
  • Wil Myers, 1B (3.104) – $4.7MM
  • Brad Hand, RP (3.092) – $1.4MM
  • Brandon Maurer, RP (3.089) – $1.7MM
  • Christian Friedrich, RP (3.046) – $2.0MM
  • Oswaldo Arcia, OF (3.020) – $1.4MM
  • Yangervis Solarte, 3B (3.000) – $2.7MM.

The team may choose to decline tendering a contract to them if they so choose. Given recent performance and lack of minor league options, the following players may be candidates for non-tender: Alexi Amarista, Oswaldo Arcia, Hector Sanchez, and Brett Wallace. The team could still choose to sign them to minor league contracts at a later time, and all of them could prove useful as AAA depth players, but most if not all of them may choose to pursue a major league contract after being non-tendered.

Remarkably, the team has no long-term financial commitments to currently-rostered players. However, they do owe significant money ($30MM in 2017!) to a bunch of guys who were traded away for various reasons yet are still on the Padres’ payroll.

  • James Shields, SP: Owed $22MM through 2018
  • Matt Kemp, OF: Owed est. $7.5MM through 2019
  • Melvin Upton Jr., OF: Owed $11.45MM in 2017
  • Jedd Gyorko, 2B: Owed $7.5MM through 2019
  • Hector Olivera, OF: Owed $28.5MM through 2020

With a projected payroll of $71.3MM with the current roster candidates (thank you Roster Resource), there’s a bunch of room for movement. Some positions seem to be full past capacity (outfield, catcher, 2B/3B), while the rotation is a mess and shortstop could be a question depending on your assessment of newcomer Luis Sardiñas. The bright side is that there is a refreshing swell of incoming youth, notably Austin Hedges, Travis Jankowski, Hunter Renfroe, Manuel Margot, Carlos Asuaje, and some interesting bullpen arms who will make a push for the 2017 team. At the same time, the team has unprecedented financial flexibility and pockets that should be deep enough to add supporting veterans in the coming years.

This winter, expect to see some savvy moves that won’t make headlines like the 2014-15 offseason, but instead will be crafted to supplement the 2017 roster while building toward a contention window that currently lays just beyond the horizon. We just saw the results of two home-grown rebuilding projects on the grandest stage. Now we get to watch the process begin with a front-row view.