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Padres could trade from rotation depth to acquire a lefty bat or lefty reliever

Nov 30, 2013, 6:05 PM EDT

Eric Stults AP

With an abundance of arms at the back end of the starting rotation, the Padres could make a deal to acquire a left-handed hitter and/or a left-handed reliever, suggests Bill Center of U-T San Diego. Center writes that Burch Smith, Robbie Erlin, or Eric Stults could be expendable.

Smith and Erlin got their first taste of Major League competition during the 2013 season at the ages of 23 and 22, respectively. As such, they each would have plenty of time under team control going forward. Stults turns 34 years old on December 9 and is eligible for arbitration for the first time in his career after taking home slightly more than $507,000 over the past season.

Currently, the Padres’ bullpen is all right-handed. They aren’t exactly lacking in left-handed bats, with the strictly-lefty Yonder Alonso and Will Venable and the switch-hitting Chase Headley and Everth Cabrera.

  1. tfbuckfutter - Nov 30, 2013 at 6:21 PM

    I’d trade for Eric Stults but only if he brings the Rocky Dennis makeup.

  2. proudlycanadian - Nov 30, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    If they traded a pitcher from the top of the rotation, they would get a lot more in return. I doubt that there is much demand for Stults.

    • greghoadley2003 - Nov 30, 2013 at 7:50 PM

      Robbie Erlin and Burch Smith both showed some good promise in late-season call ups, and definite improvements from when they were called up earlier in the season. Putting one or both together in a package (perhaps with Luke Gregerson) should get a fair return.

  3. greghoadley2003 - Nov 30, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Reblogged this on padrefanmlb and commented:
    The latest on the Padres. Bill Center thinks there is good reason they will make a trade for a left-handed hitter and a lefty reliever. Given that Center is not prone to rumor and gossip, that makes it a pretty safe bet.

    • golddirector - Nov 30, 2013 at 11:48 PM

      Given that Bill Center is not given to being correct, I would throw anything he says out the window.

      Given the teams history with pitching injuries, the Padres are not going to trade Smith or Erlin unless they are getting a top level position player in return and they just are not valuable enough to bring top level talent back.

      The fact that the Padres were 5th in park adjusted offense even WITH the injuries and PED suspensions, anything more than a LH pinch hitter is not likely at this point. Short term LH off the bench to replace Kotsay or a major LH bat under team control for several years.

      • paperlions - Dec 1, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        The Padres were 17th in baseball in wRC+ corrected for park and league effects, which is fine. Their main problem is that they actually sucked at pitching, having the 5th worst ERA- (adjusted for parks and league) and the 2nd worst FIP-.

        I agree that Smith and Erlin are not good enough to bring back much that is useful. Neither profiles as a #3 starter or better, and if you adjust their performances last year for park Smith was horrible (ERA- of 181) and Erlin was only bad (ERA- of 116). Of course, they are young and may improve, but teams aren’t going to give up solid players on the hopes that young pitchers will improve when they can stand pat and hope their own young pitchers improve.

  4. ptfu - Nov 30, 2013 at 8:45 PM

    I’m down with dealing from strength, even if you can never have too much starting pitching. Someone will need pitchers badly enough to trade something useful.

    That said, the Padres don’t have any glaring weaknesses in their lineup. And I don’t know if trading a starter for a reliever or bench player is a great move on the face of it. So maybe they would trade a starter and a position player for a better (LH?) position player?

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