June 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Atlanta Braves right fielder Jason Heyward (22) on deck prior to his at bat during the first inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Could Braves buy low in San Diego?

It’s been a rough year for the  San Diego Padres. With a shiny new year in front of them and some core players healthy and ready to prove to the world that they were for realz, there were reasons to be optimistic beginning the 2014 season.  Aside from Seth Smith, their entire offense is underachieving including the highly touted Chase Headley who, as of today, has a .616 OPS. That’s B.J. Upton bad.  Plagued by injuries and the aforementioned season-long offensive slump, the Padres have already made their first move by firing GM Josh Byrnes.  There’s rumor of a fire-sale, so let’s take a look at their 25-man roster:

Padres Active Roster

San Diego Padres Active Roster
# Pitchers B/T Ht Wt DOB
56 Joaquin Benoit R-R 6’3″ 220 Jul 26, 1977
58 Blaine Boyer R-R 6’3″ 225 Jul 11, 1981
40 Odrisamer Despaigne R-R 6’0″ 195 Apr 4, 1987
45 Jesse Hahn R-R 6’5″ 190 Jul 30, 1989
22 Ian Kennedy R-R 6’0″ 190 Dec 19, 1984
59 Kevin Quackenbush R-R 6’4″ 220 Nov 28, 1988
38 Tyson Ross R-R 6’5″ 225 Apr 22, 1987
46 Tim Stauffer R-R 6’1″ 210 Jun 2, 1982
16 Huston Street R-R 6’0″ 195 Aug 2, 1983
53 Eric Stults L-L 6’2″ 220 Dec 9, 1979
33 Dale Thayer R-R 6’0″ 210 Dec 17, 1980
54 Alex Torres L-L 5’10″ 175 Dec 8, 1987
# Catchers B/T Ht Wt DOB
8 Yasmani Grandal S-R 6’2″ 225 Nov 8, 1988
44 Rene Rivera R-R 5’10″ 215 Jul 31, 1983
# Infielders B/T Ht Wt DOB
2 Everth Cabrera S-R 5’10″ 190 Nov 17, 1986
7 Chase Headley S-R 6’2″ 220 May 9, 1984
14 Tommy Medica R-R 6’3″ 205 Apr 9, 1988
3 Jace Peterson L-R 6’0″ 210 May 9, 1990
# Outfielders B/T Ht Wt DOB
5 Alexi Amarista L-R 5’6″ 150 Apr 6, 1989
13 Chris Denorfia R-R 6’0″ 195 Jul 15, 1980
4 Jake Goebbert L-L 6’0″ 205 Sep 24, 1987
24 Cameron Maybin R-R 6’3″ 205 Apr 4, 1987
18 Carlos Quentin R-R 6’1″ 235 Aug 28, 1982
12 Seth Smith L-L 6’3″ 210 Sep 30, 1982
25 Will Venable L-L 6’3″ 205 Oct 29, 198

Braves/Padres Trade: The buy-high candidates

There’s one obvious fit for the Braves here, but I’m quite sure he’d cost more than what we’d be willing to give up….

Seth Smith- Simply destroying the ball, even at home which is known to be the best pitchers’ park in the Majors year-to-year. His contract is up after this year and he’d be a perfect fit in a lineup that is known for it’s inability to hit RHP (he’s OPSing .939 against RHP).  Truth be told, he’d be too expensive as a rental, however as an acquire and extend, it could be worth it. Smith is from Jackson, MS., so the idea of playing in Atlanta is probably enticing.  Once Eli Manning’s backup QB at the University of Mississippi, Smith would provide much needed pop from the LH side of the plate in a platoon with B. J.

Ian Kennedy- It seems unreal that Ian Kennedy is arb-eligible next year, but that is the case.  He has a 6.1 million dollar salary and has pitched decent baseball this year (a 3.90 ERA isn’t great when 1/2 of the starts are at PetCo).  With Teheran, Minor, and Wood the only three starters penciled in for next year, Ian Kennedy could be a good pickup. I list Ian as a buy-high candidate simply because his peripherals suggest he’s gaining the form he once possessed in Arizona, he’s under team-control for one more year, and his track record comes along with his price.

Braves/Padres Trade: The buy-low candidates

Essentially, the rest of the offensive players on their team are buy-low candidates, however, let’s look at the players that could possibly be targets for the Braves:

1. Chase Headley- Having the worst year of his career and has been plagued by nagging injuries, the 30-year old Headley is a switch-hitter but has had more career success from the left side of the plate.  His 10.5 million dollar salary would need to be completely covered by the Padres in order for a trade to work.  This seems highly unlikely.

2. Will Venable- Signed to a 2 year/8.5mm deal this offseason, Venable, up until this year, had been a very steady contributor to the Padre offense, especially against RHP. Advanced metrics tell us that Venable can handle RF or CF defensively.  Venable is signed through next year.

3. Carlos Quentin- Seems a long-shot for the Braves to go after because of his injures, but Quentin is signed for 9.5 million this year and 8 million next year with a mutual option for 2016.  He’s had a hard time staying on the field, but no one can deny his power.  He’s not a good defender and the shift of Justin Upton to RF and Jason Heyward to CF would likely deteriorate what offensive production Quentin could provide.

4. Cameron Maybin- Signed through 2016 with an option for 2017, Maybin is underachieving for the 2nd straight year. Maybin is a good defender, but I don’t see how he could really contribute unless the Braves decide to completely throw in the towel on B.J. Upton.

In my opinion, the most obvious choice here is Will Venable.  He’s having a very poor year but could immediately be inserted into a platoon with B.J.  His contract is reasonable and the Braves wouldn’t have to part with a whole lot to get him. Chase Headley could be an interesting acquisition due, in large part, to his ability to play 3rd and LF, but he’ll likely cost a whole lot more and isn’t necessarily a part-time player.  He could be used at 3rd against LHP and in LF against RHP.  What do you guys think?


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Tags: B.J. Upton Cameron Maybin Carlos Quentin Chase Headley Ian Kennedy Seth Smith Will Venable

  • fireboss

    I like the Ian Kennedy add and would Alex Torres to may want list. Headley’s disc issue worries me more than his slump so a short term buy even almost free wouldn’t be high up my list. Medica is interesting to back up Freddie and play a little left in a pinch.

    • Ryan Cothran

      I don’t particularly know what the Padres are willing to sell, but the players under team control for the foreseeable future would seemingly cost more. Both Medica and Torres are desirable options, but one would think that Medica might have the leg up on the 1b job for next year and Torres is the only lefty in their ‘pen.

    • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

      MLBTR: “The Padres have received a significant number of trade inquiries on late-inning relievers Huston Street and Joaquin Benoit”.

      That news actually sounds like something that Atlanta might very well be involved in.

      • fireboss

        When you read these thing remember the “unable to take on salary: thing O’Brien reported. Benoit would be a great add but $3M this year, 8 next and 8 option 1.5 buyout the following would hinder things. Street would be fine too and a rental at $3.5M for the remainder of the year as next year is a $7M option – no buyout. Both are more than Braves pay any reliever not named Kimbrel. If they had insurance of Floyd that might be able to recoup $2M or so there but that’s not enough to do either.

        • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

          Point well taken. And they wouldn’t not have insured Floyd, given the 1-yr deal.

  • Brandon_Woodworth

    No place for Headley, Kennedy would be interesting, and Seth Smith is a platoon bat who can’t field very well in LF, so there’s no way he platoons with BJ.

    • Ryan Cothran

      I see what I insinuated there with the BJ platoon, but that’s not what I meant. I do realize that Seth Smith would be an atrocious CF as he’s already bad enough in LF and RF. What I meant was on days when RHP are on the mound, Smith in LF, Heyward in CF, Jupton in RF, and LHP use the setup we currently are in.

      Regarding Headley: While it’s been a while, Headley played the OF, albeit poorly. Headley would be in a platoon state in LF and 3b, and give Freeman a breather. However, I don’t think Headley is a fit either, unless the Braves were to unload CJ, of which I’d be more than happy to see.

      • Nate Dawg

        Yes, Smith would be the platoon with BJ. Doesn’t mean he has to play CF. Part of this whole deal is to get an upgrade at 3B as well, even if that means a platoon situation. Get a rangy guy who can hit righties, remove Chris Johnson’s glove from the defensive equation: problem solved. Smith-Heyward-Upton is in no way a bad defensive OF, but replacing Johnson with an above average glove would negate any poor impact the Upton-Smith downgrade would cause.

  • Nate Dawg

    I’ve been on the Seth Smith bandwagon since before he left Colorado. His 3-year splits go for .351/.458/.809. San Diego’s hitting limbo was already mentioned, but those other 2 years came in Oakland. Career slash vs righties .362/.492/.854, which tacks on his years in Colorado. Simply put, he’s guaranteed .350/.460, and I’m factoring in his age which would offset him going from HEAVY pitchers to neutral Turner Field. Since Heyward’s wretched start he’s off to .364/.424. LaStella’s .368 OBP is on the heels of a minor league career that accounted for .404 OBP. Imagine .360-.360-.370 leading into Freeman-Gattis-J. Upton. Chris Johnson and Andrelton Simmons finish out the batting order in this hypothetical. Seth Smith is a no-brainer and should be more than a rental, given the FA status and unlikelihood of retaining Justin. BJ then gets a slow return to form seeing only LHP.

    Ask for Torres and Smith, offer Parsons and Schafer. Should get it done. Last time we said no to Smith we signed BJ Upton instead. All these other names should be no-goes. All we need at 3B is another Smith-like LH batter that can field and smash righties. San Diego is the team we should be preying upon. Smith and Torres give us stuff we simply don’t have but can totally pay for.

    • Ryan Cothran

      Thanks for your input. Keep it coming!

  • Ryan Cothran

    Scratch Headley. Yesterday’s report about his back did not sound good. Dude needs to do some yoga.

  • http://tomahawktake.com/ carpengui

    The Padres almost need to blow it all up and start over… almost. It seems everything they’ve tried to do has gone to tapioca. Unfortunate, but there’s now about the worst franchise in the sport.