Padres looking for top line pitching

Monday June 28, 2010

The San Diego Padres have the best pitching staff in baseball. They have been winning on a combination of pitching and defense. Everyone that is anyone says the Padres should go get a bat to ensure they are still in the playoff hunt come September.

So what are the Padres going to do as trade deadline approaches?
From the rumors floating around it appears that the Padres are looking for top line pitchers. Most teams want players in trade that they can control for at least one more season. So what are the Padres brass saying? They want pitchers that will be FA after the season because they believe the FA pitchers will want to resign in San Diego.

Why are they looking at Pitchers?
Jed Hoyer and the Padres brain trust are looking down the road as well as at the remainder of this year. They want to keep their good young pitching core healthy for the long run and bring on board a pitcher to take Young &/or Correia’s place in the rotation next season.

All of theeir good young pitchers are on a tight IP count. The FO staff has been pretty clear that they are not going to overwork Mat Latos, Clayton Richard, Wade LeBlanc.

Chris Young is not expected to be back next season, at least not at anything close to the team option of $8.5 million, and even if he does come back the team cannot count on him for much after these injuries and his age (32) in 2011.

So a pitcher that will be a FA at the end of 2010 is of little value to a losing team, but would help the Padres win now and be a nice signing for 2011 if the Padres can pull the trigger.

Who are they looking at?

Cliff Lee.
Yes Cliff Lee. He is only earning $9 million this season which means the Padres would only be on the hook for about $3.6-4.5 million for the final 2+ months of the season. The Padres believe that they can sign a great pitcher for less than he might sign for elsewhere because he would be pitching in Petco and this would give them 3 months to negotiate a deal before Lee ( or the others listed here) becomes a free agent after the World Series.

Jeremy Guthrie
Guthrie is the lone consistent pitcher on the Orioles staff and has maintained an ERA under 4 in a decided hitters park. Guthrie is only making $3 million this season so the Padres can certainly afford to take on the balance of that contract.

Ted Lilly
The Cubs are strapped with $142 million payroll with several big dollar contracts, like Soriano and Zambrano, that they are not going to be able to shed. Unfortunately for them and fortunately for teams looking for pitching, they are going to have to dump payroll somewhere and Lilly is a FA at the end of the season and could still bring back a decent prospect. The $4.8-6.0 million balance of Lilly’s $12 million contract for 2010 is an affordable addition for the Padres.

In the end I believe the Padres are still going to go out and trade for a decent power bat in the outfield.

But their main focus coming into the deadline seems to be pitching.

– Vic Power

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