Risk vs. Reward

Posted by on December 18th, 2014  •  0 Comments  • 

That’s the storyline this morning as the San Diego Padres continue to wheel and deal coming out of the Winter Baseball meetings.
 
The latest, this proposed 11-player trade, involving 3-teams, that ships more young arms out of San Diego, imports another bat, gives the Padres power hitters,  but players also with injury problems.
 
The Padres-Tampa Bay-Washington trade changes alot of things, not just on the Suncoast (Tampa Bay), but also in San Diego (Petco Park).
 
The Padres get power hitting bat outfielder Will Myers, power hitting catcher Ryan Hanigan, and two lower minor league pitchers Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo.  The cost for San Diego?  Good bye hot young pitcher Joe Ross, last year’s first round draft pick shortstop Trea Turner, young slugging lst baseman Jake Bauers, veteran catcher Rene Rivera, and pitcher Burch Smith, coming off an injury season.  Tampa will trade Ross and Turner onto Washington for outfielder Steve Souza and another minor leaguer Travis Ott.
 
The kids jettisoned in this deal, put up good numbers in the minors.  Ross was (10-6) splitting time between AA-A with 106-strikouts in 120-inning.  Turner, the highly regarded draft pick, hit (323) between the Northwest League-Cal League and Midwest League.  Bauers, in just his second season, hit (.296).  Smith was plagued with forearm problems all season and made just a couple of minor league starts, after getting to the majors in 2013. 
 
Lots of things become apparent.  The Padres are preparing to compete for the National League playoffs right now.  Tampa Bay, which traded pitcher David Price last August, and saw manager Joe Maddon opt out for a deal with the Cubs, is beginning a major rebuilding program.  And Washington has a shortstop for the future and another strong arm.
 
General Manager AJ Preller’s second blockbuster deal in a week, shows he is not afraid to make a deal, even if he is dealing for players coming off injuries.
 
The Dodgers-Matt Kemp trade looked like a win for San Diego, but some inside baseball fear the health issues to the ankles and feet of the Dodgers outfielder, mean he might never be the player he used to  be.
 
Myers gets moved to a 3rd team in less than three years, having gone from Kansas City to Tampa and now onto San Diego.  But after a Rookie of the Year campaign in 2013, he spent much of last year on the disabled list, recovering from wrist surgery.  You wonder about the guarantees of his health.
 
If the Red Cross report is positive on Kemp and Myers, then San Diego will present a middle of the batting order that can hit, and hit with power, something we really have not seen here since the days of  Greg Vaughn and Ken Caminiti.
 
Preller also accomplished something he really needed, players he could control.  Kemp has 6-years left on his contract; Myers is controllable for another four years before free agency.  And he made all those deals without surrendering any of his top six starting pitchers, not Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, Jesse Hahn, Robbie Erlin,  nor Odri Despaigne.  
 
Granted though, he has dealt away both catchers, four young pitchers, a budding shortstop, and a powerful rookie minor league lst baseman, but the mandate is to win today, and not worry about tomorrow.. 
 
If the GM is right, he has hit another home run, for he has added the power pop of Kemp-Myers-Hanigan, to a lineup that still has Jed Gyorko and Seth Smith, with the still possible availability of Carlos Quentin.   
 
You always hope you can say it was ‘win-win’ for all the teams in these baseball trades. But for the Padres, at least today, the real words might be ‘risk-vs-reward’.
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