Possible Trade Partner: San Diego Padres

Sherman: Yankees not in on Upton, wouldn't do two years for Hunter
Cashman doesn't expect any moves during GM Meetings
(Joe Robbins/Getty)

Outside of the fact that they both lost a ton of players to injury in 2012, the Yankees have Padres have very little in common. They play in different style ballparks in different divisions in different leagues on different coasts, and they’re far apart on the roster age and payroll spectrums as well. Those differences also happen to make them pretty compatible trade partners, as each team’s surplus matches up with the other’s need.

Chase Headley is obviously the most desirable player on San Diego’s roster, but you’d be buying high following his monster second half. The time to get him was at the trade deadline, and besides, I don’t think the Yankees even have the pieces to swing a trade for the third baseman anyway. Instead, let’s look at some lesser but still valuable Padres who make sense for New York if the free agent market doesn’t swing their way in the coming weeks.

Will Venable
The 30-year-old Venable is one of those players who was so underrated that he’s actually become overrated. He’s been a consistent .252/.323/.411 (105 wRC+) hitter over the last three years, but his road numbers (120 wRC+) are substantially better than his homr numbers (89 wRC+). Petco Park is brutal on all hitters, but especially left-handed hitters. Venable does have a sizable platoon split (112 vs. 64 wRC+), but he plays strong defense in all three outfield spots and is a threat to steal 25+ bases. Although he will strike out some (20.0 K% in 2012), he deserves a lot of credit for working hard to get the whiffs under control in recent years…

San Diego is locked into big money commitments in left (Carlos Quentin) and center (Cameron Maybin), so right field is the only open spot for Venable, the underrated Chris Denorfia, James Darnell, and down the line, top Double-A prospects Edinson Rincon and Rymer Liriano. Venable is what he is at this point, but move him out of Petco and into Yankee Stadium could turn him into a 15-homer, 25-steal guy if platooned properly. He would be a bit redundant with Brett Gardner (and to a lesser extent Curtis Granderson), but he is a fit. Venable will become a free agent after 2014 and is projected to earn just $2.5M throughout arbitration next year.

(Scott Boehm/Getty)

Nick Hundley
The Padres gave their 29-year-old backstop a three-year, $9M contract last offseason, and he rewarded them by playing so poorly (29 wRC+) that he had to be demoted to Triple-A at midseason. Hundley hit a solid .259/.323/.435 (110 wRC+) from 2009-2011 however, which earned him that contract. Oddly enough, his performance on the road (85 wRC+) was far worse than his performance at home (135 wRC+) during those three years. The various catcher defense rankings (2010, 2011) have rated Hundley anywhere from average to a tick above in recent years, though it’s worth noting that he had minor elbow and knee surgeries in the last 18 months.

Yasmani Grandal posted a 144 wRC+ in 226 plate appearances this year to solidify his place as the team’s catcher of the future, turning Hundley in a pricey ($3M in 2013 and $4M in 2014) backup. If the Yankees (or any team, really) believe Hundley is fixable — ultra-low .196 BABIP and 4.7 HR/FB% in 2012 — he might be the best trade candidate should Russell Martin sign elsewhere. They’d certainly be buying low, that’s for sure.

* * *

Trading for Hundley got a little complicated yesterday because Grandal was suspended for 50 games, meaning the Padres will likely hold onto him for at least the first two months of the season. That doesn’t help the Yankees all that much. Venable still could though, as could the legions of relievers on San Diego’s 40-man roster if they want to expand the trade. The Yankees already claimed one Padres reliever this week, I’m sure there’s another one or two they’re interested in.

Anyway, by all accounts the Padres are seeking starting pitching this offseason, which is odd because usually they look for offense and just turn random arms into league average or better pitchers via their ballpark. The walls are coming though, so finding quality pitching won’t be as easy. The Yankees are short on starters themselves at the moment, but surrendering a Phil Hughes or Ivan Nova or Adam Warren or David Phelps would be easier to swallow if Hiroki Kuroda and/of Andy Pettitte return for another year. There are no indications that these two clubs are talking about a trade involving any of this players — or that the Yankees are talking trades with anyone, for that matter — but they match up fairly well if they want to get together for a deal at some point in the coming weeks.

Sherman: Yankees not in on Upton, wouldn't do two years for Hunter
Cashman doesn't expect any moves during GM Meetings
  • Joe Savoia

    If the Yankees are serious about getting under the 189M salary ceiling, they would have to consider trading Granderson this off season so they have some salary space to sign Cano next year. He should bring back some high end prospects and or a decent starting pitcher.

    • Francesa

      Apparently you don’t know Jack. It’s Mike Axisa you want to reply to.

      • 0-Fur is Murder

        Maybe he was talking to the picture of Jack Curry that is off to the side.

    • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver)

      Fred? Tom? Anyone?

    • Steve (different one)

      This doesn’t really make sense. Granderson is off the 2014 payroll whether or not he is traded this winter.

      Unless you are assuming whatever prospect they net becomes a low priced starting player in 2014, but that seems iffy at best.

      • http://twitter.com/#!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        Yeah, exactly.

      • RetroRob

        Agreed. Unless the Yankees decide to go into collapse mode and into a full rebuild, something they almost never do and haven’t since the early 1990s, then trading Granderson at this point makes little sense. They won’t get enough back in prospects, and they’d weaken their chances of winning in 2013.

        Plus, Granderson might go out and hit .250+, 40HR+ again, and if the Yankees can’t sign Cano, they might decide to resign Granderson after three straight 40 HR seasons. Keeping Granderson keeps their future options open and allows them to win now.

  • http://www.twitter.com/_swarlesbarkley Drew

    I don’t think Hunley is a target now that Grandal is suspended for 50 games.

  • Tim

    Or they could not sign Cano and that alleviates a lot of the problem. Fitting a $20+ mill contract that likely will run for atleast 8 years into the budget doesn’t have to happen. I hope it doesn’t.

    • Winter

      “Or they could not sign Cano” — Where are they going to replace Cano’s production? You can call him lazy, you can say that he’s not worth a monster contract going forward, but he’s far and away the best player on the Yankees and is likely to finish 3rd in MVP voting this year. People complain about how the Yankees played in the postseason. If you want to even be in the post season you need to either keep Cano or find some way to replace his production.

      • Duh Innings

        If the Yanks let go of Cano they’d most likely have a downgrade at 2B, so it’s pointless to discuss who’d replace him offensively.

        Cano is not worth five or more years. He turns 31 next November and history shows HALL OF FAME secondbasemen named Roberto Alomar, Joe Morgan, Ryne Sandberg, Bill Mazeroski, and Rod Carew declined after age 33.

        I say trade him for three or four players and let him get his payday elsewhere. He’s a very good player but he’s not as good as prime Jeter or prime A-Rod, esp. prime A-Rod thus I would not give him superstar money.

        Cano never had a 30 HR and 100 RBI season in his twenties. He has yet to have a true breakout season which to me is minimum .320/.400/.600/1, 35 HR, 120 RBI.

        • Get Phelps Up

          “Cano never had a 30 HR and 100 RBI season in his twenties. He has yet to have a true breakout season which to me is minimum .320/.400/.600/1, 35 HR, 120 RBI.”

          Cherry pick much?

          • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver)

            Don’t bother.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          He has yet to have a true breakout season which to me is minimum .320/.400/.600/1, 35 HR, 120 RBI.

          By that definition Jose Bautista never broke out. No one has hit .320/.400/.600/35/120 in the last two years and only ten players have done it in the last ten years: Pujols (six times), Bonds (three times), Manny (twice), then Cabrera, Votto, Holliday, Ortiz, A-Rod, Derrek Lee, and Sheffield once each

        • Steve (different one)

          How many seasons in the history of baseball has there ever been like thay at 2B? I’d be shocked if it was more than 10.

          Jeff Kent once at the very height of the steroid era. Carew in 1977. Morgan in 1976. Anyone else?

          • Preston

            Well Rogers Hornsby did it 7 times. But that doesn’t really change the point that it’s extremely rare.

            • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver)

              ….then why isn’t Cashman trading for THAT GUY. If Ichiro can have a translator, Hornsby can have a taxidermist and guy to move each limb.

              • Preston

                If we can do it for one we can do it for all.
                C Josh Gibson
                1b Lou Gehrig
                2b Rogers Hornsby (Sorry Captain)
                SS Honus Wagner
                3b Eddie Mathews
                LF Teddy Ballgame (we need a new head)
                CF Joe Dimaggio
                RF Mickey Mantle
                DH Babe Ruth

                Or maybe the weird weather we’re having is a harbinger of the Zombie apocalypse and these guys will be able to move all on their own. Plus since we’ll obviously be paying them in brains, there will be no luxury tax worries.

          • Rogers Hornsby

            I’ve been waiting around for someone to give me a call. Maybe I need to hire this Boras guy.

    • mitch

      Do you really think cano will get a deal of 8+ years? I agree if it comes to that you have to let him walk.

  • Kosmo

    if the Padres are sincere in extending Headley then the player NY might want to trade pitching for is 3B prospect Gyorko. Gyorko is MLB ready and the Padres # 2 prospect.

    • Preston

      They are already planning on playing him at 2b, so they aren’t trading Gyorko either.

    • Jersey Joe

      I like that idea, but I’m not sure the Yankees would acquire such a young prospect with such potential just for a part-time role at third base. If they trade A-Rod, maybe Frannie Cervelli and Adam Warren for Jedd Gyorko?

      • Preston

        Yes a C who wouldn’t be able to be on the MLB roster and a mediocre pitching prospect is going to motivate them to move their number one prospect. Stop it, just stop it.

        • Jersey Joe

          What about Forsythe? Just looked at Gyorko’s numbers.

  • Tarik

    There’s no way they trade Hundley after the Grandal suspension, right?

    • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver)

      If they consider him interchangeable with another catcher, or prefer someone else out there to him, it’s possible.

      Is this guy a tangible upgrade over Martin, though, anger at Martin aside?

      • Preston

        No he’s not an upgrade at all, he’s never caught more than 85 games in a season, had a much worse offesnive season a year ago, and has worse career offensive numbers. The only benefit is that he’s cheaper, but of course he probably has a higher true cost because you have to trade useful pieces to get him.

        • Robinson Tilapia (IS Nate Silver)

          Exactly what I was thinking. Giving up players versus just bringing back Martin seems silly on a guy like this.

    • Jersey Joe

      I think they are keeping Hundley; hopefully we can package Cervelli for extra depth, Adam Warren, and Zolio Almonte for Venable.

  • Kingslayer

    Why would you want to bring mediocre players to the Yanks – don’t we have enough of those already??

    • 0-Fur is Murder

      I don’t think these guys listed are mediocre. Each brings something to the table that the Yankees need. Yes they aren’t superstars but I think we have all seen enough of the Yankees trying to build a team of nothing but superstars.

    • Dave

      Only guys making $10 mil or more can play on the Yankees, right?

  • Leo

    $2.5 MM in arbitration for Will Venable? Yes, please!

  • Preston

    I’m not high on Venable, we’re projecting that he would be better in Yankee Stadium, and I think that’s a hard thing to project. Adrian Gonzalez was supposed to become some kind of super human hitter in Fenway, it didn’t happen. He doesn’t fit our needs because he’s another lefty with a platoon split. The only reason he’s overly attractive is that he’s cheap. Which of course is better than expensive, but it isn’t the greatest reason to acquire a player and we would definitely need a very good RHB 4th OF.

  • MannyGeee

    Ironically, Phil Hughes is the dreamboat SP for the Padres and Petco, and now that he has proven he’s not a pumpkin, has no trade value as his team control is almost up.

    Seriously, Hughes could have been Jake fcking Peavy in that park. Irony, you are a fickle fickle maiden.

  • Wayne

    Nik Turley Jose Ramirez Brett Marshall Mkey O’brien and Rafael Depaula are going to be valuable in terms of what to or not to give up in trades. All in AA except Rafael Depaula and our young pitching is running dry with Nova and Hughes being injury prone! Going to have
    to be very careful what we give up.