This weekend brought a bit of clarity to our understanding of AJ Preller’s offseason thinking. According to a report from Kevin Acee, the Padres are still in the hunt for starting pitching—just don’t expect Chris Paddack, Mackenzie Gore, or (probably) Luis Patiño to be a part of any trade package for such pitching.
That ‘probably’ is worth exploration.
The report specifically said that Patiño is “just slightly more available than” Paddack and Gore. How we read into that description is crucial.
As far as I understand it, there is no real category called “slightly untouchable”. When you are negotiating something, you have lines that, if crossed, will prompt you to walk away. On the other hand, there are lines on which you might be willing to compromise.
Let’s think of it this way: Next month, my car lease is set to expire. I plan on returning the car to my Toyota dealer, where I expect to enter into a series of negotiations. My options, essentially, will be to either A) buy a new Toyota, B) lease another Toyota, C) buy my old leased car, or D) pay some fees to simply deposit the old lease on their laps and walk away unfettered.
The negotiations project to be long, and tiresome, and will probably take up the length of an afternoon.
Now, if the car salesman tries, say, to offer me a Corolla for $40,000, I’m walking away. $40,000 is an untouchable asset for me in negotiations for a friggin’ Corolla. But would I think about buying a Corolla for, say, $25,000? Sure.
What I wouldn’t do is characterize $25000 as a “slightly more available” asset than the original $40000 number—unless, of course, I was just posturing with intentions to get the price closer to $20000. $40000 is my “That’s laughable, I’m walking away” number; at $25000, I’m still in the room.
Similarly, the clearest reading of this report shows that Patiño is, in fact, available...for the right price.
Question is: Should he be?
Readers eager to see the Padres acquire a viable starter like David Price, Mike Minor, or Jon Gray may be happy to help young Luis pack his bags. There’s certainly merit to the thought of finally cashing in one of our prospect trade chips.
However, it’s worth remembering that Patiño is a 20-year-old who reached Double-A last year as a 19-year-old. He holds a 2.35 cumulative ERA across his 48 starts for his career. Adam McInturff, a scout with San Diego, noted the righty’s “double-plus velocity”, saying that Patino is a “rare teenager who could pitch at ML level right now w/ his heater”.
McInturff also described Patiño’s slider as being ML quality right now, with a curve that projects to become an above-average breaking pitch.
Taken together, does that sound like the makeup of someone who should be slightly less than untouchable?
To be clear, I’m not advocating against making a trade involving this young arm. But what kind of trade could possible make such a sacrifice worthwhile?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Should Luis Patiño be untouchable?
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