The San Diego Padres have succeeded in being one of the worst teams in the majors thus far in 2012. And, with the Padres payroll at 55.2 million (the lowest in the majors), how can anyone blame them?
Still, the Padres have some gems on the roster, and these players could be targets of playoff-contending teams in July. Many fans are—like always—totally against the Padres' "rebuilding" strategy. But with the current ownership status, selling big names for prospects is regrettably the only real option for the team.
John Moores' selling of the Padres comes at an uncanny time. The sale could affect how the team approaches the trade deadline, in addition to who goes and who stays. We know the Padres will be sellers, we just don't know who could be leaving San Diego.
As we speak, two or three contenders remain in the race for the Padres, a team that's worth up to $458 million, according to Forbes. But in order to become the next owner of the Padres, that entity should be willing to spend more: Moores wants a minimum of $800 million in exchange for his club.
Currently, the O'Malley family—featuring Phil Mickelson—is a finalist for the club. At this point, the identity of the one (or two) other potential buyers is still unknown.
In as little as three weeks, Moores could announce the winners of the bid for the Padres. And following the announcement should be, like always, trade rumors surrounding the big stars on the Padres. Here are a few potential trade candidates.
Huston Street: Street was the great successor to Heath Bell when he signed a contract to leave San Diego for the Miami Marlins. Street, who was originally in Oakland, had played in Colorado beforehand. Coors Field is hardly a pitcher's park, so his move to PETCO Park was a happy one. However, the injury bug bit the veteran closer, and Street found himself on the DL with a shoulder injury.
Huston was recently added back on the 25 man roster, and his apparent future successor Miles Mikolas was optioned to Tucson. Along with Mikolas is the 23 year old Brad Boxberger, who was dealt in the Mat Latos trade. Both are closers for the future.
The Padres are reliever-rich, and Street's $7.5 million contract is a burden. Street has a pricey $9 million option for the 2013 season as well.
Carlos Quentin: Quentin, a San Diego native, was traded to the Padres in the offseason to add some life to a nearly dead lineup. However, with the poor performance of the team, using Quentin as trade bait could net the Padres some excellent prospects. The Tigers today announced their interest, while Cincinnati and Cleveland could also be potential traders.
The Padres would like to resign Quentin for the long term, and a contract extension could be presented before the deadline. That, and the new ownership, could easily change everything.
Nick Hundley: Hundley, 28, has played four major league seasons in San Diego. And when Hundley signed a new deal in the offseason, we though he was here to stay. But the young Yasmani Grandal is one of the best catching prospects in the MLB. He made his debut earlier in June, going 0-1 in a pinch hitting situation. Grandal is another prospect the Padres lured for Mat Latos.
Both Hundley and his backup John Baker have performed poorly. You can blame PETCO Park for the poor hitting numbers, but one thing is for sure: a catcher must be dealt at the deadline to make room for Grandal, who is lighting it up in Tucson.
Chase Headley: Headley, who was the former Texas League Player of the Year, is another potential Padre to be dealt in the near future. Already, the Pittsburgh Pirates have inquires about the third baseman, who has also spent time in left field.
Headley's ability to switch hit is an asset for any team, and the 28-year-old could be a productive hitter in any lineup. While he doesn't hit many homers in San Diego, his .267 average is promising, and he currently has an 11 game hitting streak. The Padres have James Darnell to fill Headley's place should the Pads deal him, and San Diego has a potential star in Jedd Gyorko in the farm system.
The veteran Headley is due $3.45 million this year and is arbitration eligible next year.