The stocking are neatly hung along the Petco Park outfield. The palm trees are wrapped tightly in colorful lights. The Tony Gwynn statue is complete with a shiny red nose. It’s the holiday season in San Diego folks. Josh Byrnes and the Padres may make some more moves, but they may very well be done until after Christmas. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what the Padres have done thus far this winter.
It wasn’t an overly active off-season so far, but the Padres have made some moves, they’ve seen some changes, and they’ve laid some ground work. Let’s start with the obvious:
While the Padres offered him arbitration a while back and had little control over what happened next, Bell’s decision to sign with the Marlins became very big for San Diego. They were given an early Christmas present in the additional salary space and two draft picks in compensation. Here’s the Heath Bell timeline:
The Padres traded a player to be named later for Huston Street. This is a pretty good move until you hear how much Street will make in 2012. $7.5 million. Wait, isn’t that what Heath Bell made in 2011?
Here’s a quick chart of the Padres salary to closer over the last 10 years:
The good news is the trend, if you believe in trend lines (trust statistics, they are your friend), is sloping downward for the salaries the Padres pay their closers. However, Huston Street’s salary would be a straight line over to 2012 with his $7.5 million contract.
Now on to a move most feel was smart:
In a trade with the Marlins, the Padres received catcher John Baker for pitcher Wade LeBlanc. LeBlanc had never developed into what they Padres hoped he would, and Baker makes a nice back-up to Nick Hundley. In addition Baker can hit right-handed pitching. Hundley cannot. All in all, this was a good trade for the Padres.
Now to the most recent, and probably least influential, news:
Rule 5 Draft
The Padres took a shortstop, Michael Wing from the Angels, in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 Draft. Wing will report to Triple-A Tucson. San Diego also lost two player, both in the minor league portion as well. They lost Aaron Poreda, a hold over from the Jake Peavy trade, and Matt Buschmann. Neither figures to be a big loss for the Padres.
Perhaps the most interesting news was the lack of interest in Drew Cumberland. Granted he missed an entire year of baseball and his medical condition is fairly unknown until he plays, but Cumberland was a highly-touted prospect. This bodes well for the Padres who can see how he develops returning from injury.
The Padres certainly weren’t making big moves like the Marlins or shocking moves like the Angels, but they didn’t completely bypass the chance at wheeling and dealing. Beyond the moves made this off-season to date, it’s a safe bet that Josh Byrnes received quite a few offers and plenty of interest in Chase Headley. He can now stick that in his back pocket and work a deal for the Padres if he so chooses, or he can keep Headley knowing how good a player he has at third base.
The team still has some work to do, so we should expect continued action from now through February.