Manny Machado is just one piece

Today, Manny Machado signed with the San Diego Padres for 10 years and $300m.

He will slot right into third base and fill a gaping hole the Padres have been struggling to sort since the Wil Myers third base experience last season. Disappointing news in the short term for Ty France, but there’s still a chance he slots in as a utility guy instead of Jose Pirela.

Does that bump the Padres into a winning team now? Odds at the book makers have reduced from 150/1 to 50/1. A significant drop, but still not a World Series winning team just yet. PECOTA have made their adjustments. The addition of Machado takes the Padres from a 75/76 win team to a 78 win team, just one win behind the Cubs. So what else do the Padres need to do to get themselves over .500? An achievement the organisation has only achieved in 14 seasons of their 50 year existence.

Outfield

The depth chart currently has Wil Myers in left, Manuel Margot in centre and Hunter Renfroe in right. Names that don’t exactly fill you with excitement when you see them listed.

After his 3.5 fWAR season in 2016, Myers hasn’t been all that good. Especially when it comes to defence, hence him returning to the OF. Despite only playing approximately half the games in 2018 than he did in 2017, he accumulated more fWAR than the previous year. An upturn in fortunes for the man who divides the fan base?

Manny Margot played the most games in his Padres career last year, accumulating 141 in total. Unfortunately it was also the worst season (out of the two full seasons he’s had) in terms of fWAR. His big stumbling block last year was offence, slashing just .245/.292/.384 with a wRC+ of 81. Defensively he’s good, but not great, not the ideal situation when you’re looking to go big and take the NL West.

Hunter Renfroe is a home-run hitter, he’s also distinctly average at defence. He’s the sort of guy you would love on your roster as a DH/OF type until he’s too old to run around. Unfortunately there is no DH in the NL, so it’s not happening in San Diego anytime soon. In the last two years, he’s hit exactly 26 home runs each time. If he can be more patient at the plate and try to draw some more walks, there’s a chance for him to be a really dangerous power hitter.

Verdict: If Franmil Reyes is for real, he could slot into left and move Myers over to replace Renfroe. Reyes’s power is phenomenal, but he’s not very good in the field. This still leaves the Padres a little short in the outfield, but not as much as the area I’ll look at next.

Rotation

Behind Joey Lucchesi, the Padres rotation is looking pretty vulnerable. According to PECOTA Lucchesi is set to generate 1.8 bWAR. The rest of the rotation (Eric Lauer, Robbie Erlin, Jacob Nix, Matt Strahm) are tagged for 1.4 bWAR combined. On the plus side the Padres have some seriously good pitching prospects who are due to make the big league roster in 2019 or very early 2020. Logan Allen, Cal Quantrill and the man most people are talking about — Chris Paddack — who is causing prospect writers to salivate.

Chris Paddack had a 35% K rate and a 2.4% Bb rate (8 walks to 120 Ks in 90 innings) in 2018 I haven’t seen a single player with a K% >30% or a Bb% < 3% in past 11 seasons, all levels of the minors who threw 90 or more innings. Is Chris Paddack an ace in the making? #Padres — Ralph Lifshitz (@ProspectJesus) February 8, 2019

There is still work to be done to sort the rotation out, the front office cannot believe they are going to be able to compete with this current staff. If the Padres do wish to compete this year, they have to add an ace like Corey Kluber or a couple of 2/3 3/4 guys like Dallas Keuchel (who wants “ace” money) or Marcus Stroman. Hell, at this stage I’d be happy for the Padres to take a punt on Clay Buchholz and keep their fingers crossed they can get 100IP out of him, in the hope thats enough time for the prospects to mature.

Manny Machado is a fantastic addition for the Padres, despite concerns over the length of the deal and having all that money locked up. He isn’t going to jump this team into contention (this isn’t the NBA), but he is going to generate a lot of hype, excitement and ticket sales for this franchise that so desperately deserves a super star.

Finally, this lineup (including Tatis when he comes up) is under team control for the next four years. That’s pretty special in this modern day of baseball and even more important when this CBA is due to expire on 1st December 2021.

Padres fans should rejoice, it’s a great step in the right direction. However, they should temper their expectations in thinking this year will be the year they finally topple the Dodgers.

Photo courtesy of NBC Sports

6 comments

  1. Cheers Tom! I enjoyed the article, and after 8 seasons of losing, it’s great to be optimistic and feel excited about Padres baseball again! Certainly not expecting to win the NL West this year, but the foundations have been put in place and I look forward just to watching the Friars being competitive!! Hoping Manny can be a mentor to Tatis Jr and Urias and it’s great to surround those young prospects with an impact player such as Machado. Would love to see Dallas Keuchel signing as well, to add an effective veteran arm to the up and coming rotation, but I’ll not get too greedy! Keep up the good work and Go Padres!

  2. Certainly some exciting times ahead. It will be interesting to see if they stick with this rotation or still try to make the moves required.

    Thank you so much for reading! Stay tuned for more posts in the coming weeks.

  3. Hi, enjoyed this and really glad to have you sharing your thoughts on the Padres. I disagree with alot of it but you have as good of a chance to be correct as I do.

    For me, I thought Margot suffered under Matt Stairs approach. I think he will rebound bigly. Was glad to see Stairs let go. Renfroe improves a ton in plate discipline after he returned from AAA and Cordero was really exciting before he was injured. I hope that is our outfield and we trade Myers for six magic beans.

    Pitchers I cant wait to see – Paddack and Strahm. Lucchesi and Lauer both gained valuable experience. If we can trade for a Syndegard at the deadline, great but I am fine with letting those four take their lumps and learn on the job in ‘19 if we need to, even if it costs us the playoffs. When we get Lamet and Richards back, look out!

    We have a bad-ass infield once Tatis gets here and as mlb.com reported, all of our starters plus Mejia and Franchy are under 4 years control. Bravo AJ Preller. I think we will come out of the gates slow and fans need to chill until June / July and not expect anything more than a young team learning how to win this year. That said, I think we win 86 games.

  4. Loving this new sub-site and the podcast! Very cool that our little team has fans in the UK, and you were in before the Machado bandwagon.

    In recent radio interviews I’ve heard Padres players fired up in a way I just haven’t heard before. Hedges was positively giddy and basically admitted that they knew in recent years there was no hope of competing but that’s all changed now. Guys know they have to step it up. I expect a big year out of Myers if they just leave him in left field and he can stay healthy. I agree with Michael, I think Stairs screwed up Margot, or at least wasn’t proactive. Stairs even said he let Margot fail in the early part of the season until Margot came to him for help. When Margot is on his game he’s a dynamic slashing line drive hitter, but like a lot of young hitters he needs some guidance to keep him out of bad habits.

    I expect we’ll see a trade for a starting pitcher, either a Stroman or at least an innings eating veteran. Gio is a possibility and I’d take a flier on Bucholz at the right price. Guys like Naylor and Potts are blocked for years to come, it would make sense to cash them in for a steady rotation piece. I expect we’ll see some growth from Lucchesi and Lauer, and Strahm is primed for a breakout as a starter. This team will contend for a Wild Card, believe it!

    1. Thanks for the comments Anthony! Glad to have another listener/reader on board.

      Wild Card contention eh? It’s a bold statement and if we can get some rotation pieces, I’m with you!

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