San Diego Padres Set to Outplay Their Contract in 2013

Kevin Goldberg@kevin_goldbergCorrespondent IMarch 22, 2013

San Diego Padres Set to Outplay Their Contract in 2013

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    Cheap, frugal, stingy, fiscally conservative or whatever term you’d like to use, the San Diego Padres spend their money wisely.

    As a small-market team, they often can’t “ball out” and sign the hot free agents. Don’t expect the Padres to make a push to sign Robinson Cano when he becomes a free agent after this season. However, a number of players on the current roster have extremely team-friendly contracts.

    There's speculation (some here from Peter Gammons of MLB Network) that Chase Headley could be traded near the deadline. His contract certainly makes him an appealing option. After leading the NL in RBI and placing fifth in the NL MVP race, Headley is still only making $8.575 million this season, and that’s after arbitration.

    So here are the underpaid players who will outplay their contracts…

    All statistics from Baseball-Reference; All salary info from San Diego Union-Tribune.

Jedd Gyorko

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    An easy pick to begin the slideshow, Jedd Gyorko is still under his rookie contract and is set to make $490,000 this season.

    Despite his low pay, Gyorko has become a popular pick to win the NL Rookie of the Year. The highly-touted prospect will likely get his chance to start Opening Day following the unfortunate news of Chase Headley injuring his thumb.

    If he can keep a hot bat, he could become a permanent fixture at second base even after Headley returns. Gyorko has been a streaky hitter during spring training, pumping out a few home runs early but then running into a cold streak. Everyday playing time should give him the confidence to become a consistent hitter and a staple in the middle of the Padres’ lineup.

Chase Headley

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    As I mentioned earlier, Headley is set to make $8.575 million this season after he got a little pay bump following his arbitration. Amazingly low pay considering his career year and absolutely dominating second half of 2012.

    While Headley will likely regress closer to his career averages, his play still merits higher pay.

    Thinking about the terrible contracts this year, ARod, Crawford, Wells, etc., Headley is one of the few elite players retained at a tremendous bargain. Granted, nothing can beat the price of Mike Trout. Buzzfeed reports that Trout made $2,637 per hit in 2012, while ARod made $232,558. 

Yasmani Grandal

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    Yasmani Grandal will have to prove himself when he returns from his PED-related 50-game suspension. However, at a measly $490,000, Grandal ties Gyorko as the lowest paid starter on the Padres' roster.

    Last year, Grandal had eight home runs and 36 RBI while maintaining a .287 batting average. Though seemingly underwhelming, he accumulated these stats in only 60 games. If extrapolated to a 162-game season, this would come out to 22 home runs and 97 RBI.

    Pretty impressive rookie campaign; $490,000 well spent. 

Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross

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    Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross, both set to make a little over $500K, may be on many of your fantasy baseball sleeper lists this year.

    I lump these two together because both are in strong contention to be the Padres fifth starter.

    Cashner is a fire-throwing righty who the Padres acquired from the Cubs in the Anthony Rizzo trade. Despite having a mediocre outing in a brief MLB stint in 2012, everyone in the organization has high hopes and see his tremendous potential. That is, if he can manage to not have another unfortunate hunting accident.

    Ross came over to the Padres from the A’s this offseason. I didn’t think he was in serious contention for a rotation role, but his performance this spring has showed the front office otherwise. MLB’s Corey  Brock think he has already solidified his starter status.

    What do you think? Who should have been included on the list?