What is the Padres plan? They seem to still be rebuilding, but after all they signed Eric Hosmer last offseason. They also appear to be in on a lot of available players in free agency and on the trade market. No matter what they do though, the strength of this team is still in the minor leagues.
Current States: Rebuilding
Padres Sign SP Garrett Richards
The Padres have signed starting pitcher Garrett Richards to a two year, $15.5 million deal. Richards, 30, will miss the entire 2019 season while undergoing Tommy John surgery. In 16 starts last season, he had a 3.66 ERA with a 1.28 WHIP and a 4.13 FIP. Richards has shown signs of front-line starter potential, as in 2014 he had a 2.61 ERA and in 2015 he pitched over 200 innings and had a 3.65 ERA. San Diego is hoping that after Tommy John surgery, he can finally live up to his potential. Richards struck batters at a career high rate (10.3 K/9), and he induced ground balls at a solid rate, even though he gave up hard contact at a career rate. The high strikeout rate could be a sign of things to come, and Richards could possibly be a better pitcher after the surgery. Still, it’s a gamble on him being better than ever, as San Diego is wasting $7.75 million this year and gambling $7.75 in 2020 on him doing so. It’s a risk, but something the rebuilding, low-spending Padres can do in search for pitching help in 2020, when they likely will start to contend with a young core.
Padres Sign 2B Ian Kinsler
The Padres have signed second baseman Ian Kindler to a two year, $8 million deal with a team option for 2021. Kinsler, struggled to the tune of a .681 OPS with the Angels and the Red Sox. This is Kinsler’s second straight “down” season, as he had a .725 OPS with the Tigers in 2017. Unlike in 2017, the struggles in 2018 can’t be attributed to bad luck, as his hard contact rate was just 29.3%. Kinsler’s contact rate still remained high at 88.8%, but he’s the quality of his contact is low, and he walks at just a 7.5% rate. Therefore, his on base percentage was just .301 last season, which is way too low for someone trying to remain an everyday player. Kinsler is still a terrific defender, with ten defensive runs saved last season, but he is a second baseman only. That’s an issue, as one of San Diego’s young, MLB ready players is second baseman Luis Urias. You could move Urias at shortstop, but that blocks top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. Therefore, this signing blocks one of the two up and coming players, for a 36-year-old that is slowly becoming a liability offensively. This is a confusing acquisition; it blocks young talent while not improving the team. Kinsler’s veteran leadership is useful, but not when giving him a multi-year contract. If San Diego wanted a veteran, they should have gone a cheaper route that made more sense.
Padres Sign SS Manny Machado
Full Analysis: Manny Machado Is Worth $300M, But Padres Aren’t Right Fit
Padres Sign RP Aaron Loup
The Padres have signed left-handed reliever Aaron Loup to a one year contract worth $1.4 million with a club option for 2020. Loup, 31, posted a 4.54 ERA with a 3.61 FIP between the Blue Jays and Phillies last season. He was solid versus lefties last season (2.54 FIP), but righties slugged .550 off him last season. When used in the right role, he’s able to strike batters out at a solid rate (9.98 K/9), and induces ground balls (49.2%). Plus, he induces a lot of soft contact (22.3%), which doesn’t add up to a .376 BABIP opposing hitters had against him this past season. With better luck this season, Loup can be a solid contributor with an ERA around 3.50 and the ability to get lefties out. For an inexperienced Padres bullpen with a lot of uncertainty, that’s definitely valuable, and $1.4 million is a very solid price.
Padres Sign RP Adam Warren
Continuing to bolster their bullpen, the Padres have signed reliever Adam Warren to a one year contract worth $2.5 million with a club option for 2020. Warren, 31, has had back-to back solid seasons, owning a 3.48 FIP in that span. Still, his days of posting numbers like that are likely over. In that span, Warren relied on a lot of luck. A .208 BABIP allowed in 2017 was bound to regress, and even though it did, I’m not sure a .294 BABIP reflects the fact that Warren’s hard contact rate allowed leaped to 36.2%. Plus, his left on base percentage of 84.2% was abnormally high, while his walk rate regressed to 3.48 BB/9. Warren looks to be more of the pitcher that his 4.31 xFIP would suggest than what his ERA would suggest, and though he can pitch multiple innings out of the bullpen, he shouldn’t be trusted heavily out of San Diego’s bullpen. The Padres already had a lot of young depth in the bullpen, so I’m not a huge fan of this signing, even though it was for just $2.5 million.
*Will Be Updated With Every Move The Padres Make