Will the San Diego Padres finally make a move for a new shortstop?
“We’ve gotten to a spot where we’ve looked at a lot of options through trades and free agency,” general manager A.J. Preller told Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune on Tuesday night. “Things could come to a head in the next few days to a week.”
Desmond slumped offensively last season in Washington but still has hit 88 homers over the past four years. He would provide the bigger offensive upside and allow the Padres to replace at least a part of the offensive production lost due to the expected departure of free-agent outfielder Justin Upton. Desmond, however, would cost the Padres their second-highest draft selection, while Ramirez comes without any draft-pick compensation.
The 34-year-old Ramirez would be a less-expensive option and could keep the seat warm until prospect Javier Guerra, acquired from Boston in the Craig Kimbrel deal, is ready sometime in 2017. San Diego has another promising shortstop prospect in Jose Rondon, who reached Double-A San Antonio last season.
Another free agent still on the market is California native Jimmy Rollins, but the Padres do not appear to be interested in the 37-year-old who played last season with the Dodgers.
If the Padres decide to pass, Desmond will have limited options at shortstop. He has been mentioned as a left field option for the Tigers, who so far refuse to pay big bucks for Yoenis Cespedes or Upton.
Desmond is just 30, so he might be tempted at some point to sign a one-year deal, restore his value with a big season and re-enter what is expected to be a weak free-agent class next winter.
Our rumors roundup continues with more speculation on the outfield market:
Colorado Rockies: The signing of Gerardo Parra on Tuesday gives the Rockies four left-handed-hitting outfielders, joining Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson. Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post says it is “very unlikely” the Rockies report to spring training with all four players. The Orioles, Tigers and Angels all have been mentioned as trade partners, with the Rockies seeking starting pitching in return.
Los Angeles Angels: The Angels are looking for a left fielder, but Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times hears they have not had “substantive trade conversations” with the Rockies about a deal. There also is no indication the Angels will make a move on Cespedes, Upton or Chris Davis.
Chris Davis: The market for upper-tier free-agent outfielders is being stalled by Davis and the Orioles, suggests Ken Davidoff of the New York Post. If agent Scott Boras finds another suitor for Davis, Davidoff says the Orioles would be ready to make a move on Cespedes or Upton. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Jayson Stark tweets it is Cespedes who may be holding up the market.
Ian Kennedy: The market for starting pitching has thinned considerably following the Marlins’ deal with Wei-Yin Chen. One of the leftovers is Kennedy, who had a 4.28 ERA last season in San Diego. Jon Heyman of MLB Network lists the Royals, Nationals, Astros and Rockies as the “most likely spots” for the 31-year-old right-hander.
Alex Bregman: The Astros made Bregman the second overall pick in the 2015 draft even though they already have a very qualified shortstop in American League Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa. Houston may try Bregman at a different position this year, but that will not happen during spring training, reports Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle.
Juan Nicasio: Nicasio could be a back-of-the-rotation option for the Pirates, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review. General manager Neal Huntington said Nicasio, signed to a one-year deal, will be stretched out as a starter during spring training. Nicasio has 70 career starts but made 52 appearances out of the bullpen last season for the Dodgers. The Pirates will go to camp with Ryan Vogelsong as their fifth starter.