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Acee: Padres ‘almost certainly’ out on Cole, Strasburg

Time to temper expectations?

Washington Nationals Victory Parade Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

For those still dizzy from this past weekend’s brown & gold reverie, Union-Tribune scribe/Padres front office lurker Kevin Acee has some cold water to bring you back to sober reality.

According to Acee’s report today, the Padres are unlikely to pursue frontline free agent pitchers Gerrit Cole and Stephen Strasburg.

While Cole never seemed like a realistic shot, given that he may be the first pitcher to command a $218MM+ guarantee, hometown boy Stephen Strasburg had been on the top of many Christmas wish lists.

While that may bring some disappointment to your San Diego yuletide, Acee does emphasize that the club is still looking to acquire frontline pitching, noting that a “four- or five-year commitment, at $16-20 million a year, for 29-year-old free agent Zack Wheeler, is a more likely route for the Padres”.

So, basically: no Cole at $218MM+; no Stras at $180MM+; but maybe Wheeler at 5/$100MM?
While I trust that Acee’s sources are well-placed, it’s worth noting that Strasburg’s receipt of a $180MM contract—which is what, according to Acee’s article, Strasburg’s agent Scott Boras is seeking—would possibly drive Wheeler’s market above $100MM. Trickle-down economics and all that.

Other items of note from Acee’s report:

  • Apparently, per Acee, it has, “become apparent to the Padres that Luis Urias is not the long-term answer at second base.” Interesting that he was included in the uniform unveiling anyway...but maybe they wanted to show off the child-sized models?
  • Preller is also seeking a starting catcher who hits better than Hedges and defends better than Mejia. How many catchers with such a description...exist? Yasmani Grandal, anyone? Maybe a trade for the Cubs’ Willson Contreras?
  • The Padres are still in on a lefty-swinging outfielder. Previously mentioned names like Verdugo, Meadows, and Mazara are referenced. Realistically, only Mazara seems like a legitimate candidate, considering that Verdugo and Meadows are either A) within the division or B) coming off an All-Star season with years of affordable control remaining.