The baseball off-season is here, and with that being said the Padres ended their most recent season on kind of a low note winning about half of their games during the last month of baseball. And while the Padres still have a few moves to make to improve and build to a playoff promising franchise, one way they can improve is by spending money that they have on free agents.
Free agency in baseball is officially underway and has been for a few days now, and while it’s been rather quiet the talent of this year’s free agency class isn’t. Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Ubaldo Jimenez just to name a few. While the Padres’ bats were slightly better, pitching took one giant step back last season. According to the owners, the Padres will have 80 million to spend on players, but we’ve heard lies in the past. Given that statement, who should the Padres target considering their cheapskate owners aren’t willing to unload big bucks on big name players?
Here now are my top 5 players that the Padres might want to have or need that our current owners can “afford”.
5. Franklin Gutierrez, RF: Gutierrez isn’t going to wow you with hitting, he’s a career .256 hitter, or with baserunning as he’s not known for stealing bases. However, Gutierrez is known for his glove as he has won a Gold Glove and is pretty flexible in the outfield playing over 400 in center and over 200 in right field. Adding depth to an injury prone outfield in Quentin, Maybin and Blanks could be helpful if the Padres make a run.
Bat: 2.5/5, Glove: 4.5/5, Cost: 3/5, Impact on team: 2.5/5, Long term impact/potential: 4/5.
4. Jhonny Peralta, SS: While the shortstop position isn’t a need for the Padres, it is worth noting that the Padres’ Cabrera was suspended for 50 games for his part in the PED scandal earlier in the year and while Peralta was involved too. Peralta adds a much needed bat to a team that could use it. He did breakout last year, but as noted earlier he was busted for PED’s. But that’s why his name is on this list, Perelta is a risk which may or may not pay off. Therefore he’ll more likely be inclined to sign rather cheap than normal and this is where it gets interesting. A promising, risky bat at a position that doesn’t need to be fulfilled is certainly worth a chance to a team that is consistently in the back of the pack in team homeruns.
Bat: 4/5, Glove: 3/5, Cost: 3.5/5, Impact on team: 3/5, Long term impact/potential: 4.5/5
3. Paul Maholm, SP: Long time Pirate with a shaky win loss record shouldn’t scare the owners away. Maholm has had consistent stamina in hitting 189, 194 and 206 innings pitched in his career. While Maholm’s career ERA is 4.28, has hit around 3.50 a few times on a season. The reason why he would be a good fit is simply because he’s coming off of a bad year and so singing him could be cheap. He also adds depth to a rotation that will lose Clayton Richard and possibly Jason Marquis as he just recently declared for free agency. This move can save you from calling up your top prospects too early and it’s not like he’ll be your ace or anything, he’ll probably pitch third or fourth in rotation.
Pitching: 3.5/5, Cost: 3.5/5, Impact on team: 4.5/5, Long term impact/potential: 4.5/5.
2. Grant Balfour, RP: Age is only a number, right? At 35, soon to be 36 year long set-up man, Balfour is finally coming into to close games and he’s shown that his time is now. After closing out 24 games in 2012 and 38 last season for the Oakland A’s, Balfour has shown now and in the past he’s a reliable arm coming out of the bullpen, something the Padres lacked last season. Partner him with Gregerson and Street and it could be a nice 1-2-3 punch that could get the Padres far like it did in 2010 with Adams-Gregerson-Bell.
Pitching: 4/5, Cost: 4/5, Impact on team: 5/5, Long term impact/potential: 4.5/5 (age is up there).
1. Josh Johnson, SP: This former ace is probably the most underrated talent in the free agency class this season, and rightfully so. He’s been an injury prone player who has yet to find his past talent, but they key word is yet. Johnson is still young and has played on pretty bad teams in hard divisions. With a career ERA of 3.40 and a proven arm and talent, it would be hard to pass up this risk for the money which will be more than affordable given his injury filled past. Johnson on the bright side pitched over 190 innings in 2012 for the Miami Marlins and was pretty decent striking out 165 and an ERA of 3.81. Johnson and Kennedy, two former ace’s who are looking to find their former potential could be a really great deal and combo if they do scratch back into their potential. And the price would be very cheap.
Pitching: 4/5, Cost: 4/5, Impact on team: 4.5/5, Long term impact/potential: 5/5.