Over the last several months, all the trade talk has centered around San Diego Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. He was the center of a few rumored big deals before the end of 2009 especially during the winter meetings.
But there is one player the Padres may need to part ways with sooner than the trade deadline in July and that's 6'10" right hander Chris Young, the team's supposed ace of the pitching staff.
From 2006 through 2007, Chris Young made 61 combined starts for the Padres and compiled a record of 20-13. But, from 2008 through 2009, that number was almost cut in half making only 32 starts through those two seasons.
He's battled an injured pitching shoulder as well as getting hit in the face with an Albert Pujols line drive.
Going into spring training this past February, pitching coach Darren Balsley commented about Young saying his pitches looked to have more life on them than he's had the past two seasons and he was healthy for the first time since the end of 2006.
Well, that didn't last as Young finds himself back on the disabled list after just one start for the Padres with what the team is calling right shoulder inflammation. Now the question becomes, will Chris Young ever be healthy enough for 30 starts this season.
Well, I have a question that I'll put on top of that one. Is it time to cut bait and trade Chris Young now before these injuries get worse? Is it time to put feelers out there to see what teams are interested and who they might get in return?
It's not going to be a popular idea with Padre fans especially with a lot of them being unhappy with the idea that Adrian Gonzalez will be on his way out before the end of July, though that has more to do with money than anything else.
There's no question that the Padres need Chris Young to lead this rotation but if he's going to be on and off the disabled list all year long, again, then why pay someone who you can't use anyway. It might be time to cut your losses and put the trade feelers out on Young and do it before he goes back on the disabled list again this season.
He's not damaged goods yet and more than likely he'll be able to pass a physical for any team that he would get traded to. Of course teams will have their concerns about his shoulder and whether or not he can be the kind of pitcher he was three and four years ago respectively.
The pitchers the Padres have now were enough to move forward last season and they'll be enough to move forward again this season. With Kevin Correia, Mat Latos, Clayton Richard, Jon Garland, and the incoming Wade LeBlanc, the Padres have youth and experience that can carry this team through the season.
LeBlanc especially showed a ton of promise through spring training and was just called up by the Padres to make this first start of the 2010 season on Sunday afternoon against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Petco Park.
Toward the end of March, against NL West rival Los Angeles Dodgers, LeBlanc retired 14 of the 15 batters he faced in a split squad game, making a solid case for the fifth spot in the rotation a spot that eventually went to Mat Latos.
Now with Chris Young on the disabled list, LeBlanc will get a chance to show that his last start in a Padres uniform almost a month ago was no fluke and he'll try to give his team their first series sweep of the 2010 season.
The rotation, until Young returns, will be aced by former Arizona Diamondback Jon Garland followed by Kevin Correia, Clayton Richard, Mat Latos, and the aforementioned LeBlanc. It's a rotation that is as solid as any in the NL West, maybe just short of the kind of success that the San Francisco Giants are having right now.
With that being known, you have the ability to trade Chris Young and possibly bring in another young minor league starter and maybe another prospect. Is it a deal that the Padres would really not consider? Are they really not secure enough with the starters they have had through last season and this season that they don't think they can move on without Young?
I think it's time to find out if Young has some value on the market and if there's a team that's willing to part with prospects in return. If they can find fair market value for the former Princeton standout, it's something that I think the Padres front office has to consider.
They can't continue the season on just a hope and a prayer that Young will hold up through the remainder of the season when he hasn't proved that he can do exactly that over the previous two.
If the team is really wanting to build for the future then this is a move they need to consider making. They made it with Peavy and it may be time to make it with Young.