Padres will receive compensation from Cubs for losing Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod

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According to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com, the Padres will receive compensation if (or really, when) general manager Jed Hoyer and assistant general manager Jason McLeod leave to join the new-look Cubs’ front office.

Hoyer, who has served as GM for the past two seasons, is under contract with the Padres through 2013 with a club option for 2014. He is expected to receive a five-year contract with “a significant bump in pay from his current salary” to join his friend Theo Epstein in Chicago. Hoyer previously served as one of Epstein’s top assistants with the Red Sox while McLeod was director of amateur scouting.

Initial reports suggested that the Padres would not demand compensation, but Miller writes that they will likely receive one or two lower-level minor leaguers in return. The good news is that talks between the Cubs and Padres aren’t likely to be as complicated as the Epstein situation, as Dan Hayes of the North County Times notes that Chicago chairman Tom Ricketts and San Diego majority owner Jeff Moorad are close. Josh Byrnes, who is currently the Padres’ vice president of baseball operations, is expected to take over as GM once Hoyer and McLeod leave for Chicago.

James Paxton will “nerd out big-time” to stay healthy next year

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To the surprise of, well, very few, the Mariners didn’t make the cut for the postseason this year. While they threw their hats in the ring for a wild card berth, their pitching staff just couldn’t stay healthy, from the handful of pitchers who contracted season-ending injuries in spring training to Felix Hernandez‘s shoulder bursitis to structural damage in Hisashi Iwakuma‘s right shoulder. Left-hander James Paxton missed 79 days with a lingering head cold, strained left forearm and pectoral strain. Heading into the 2018 season, the lefty told MLB.com’s Greg Johns that he plans to “nerd out big-time” in order to prepare for a healthy, consistent run with the club.

So far, Johns reports, that entails a new diet and workout program, hot yoga sessions and blood testing. “I just think there’s more I can do,” Paxton said. “I haven’t done the blood testing before. Finding out if there’s something I don’t know about myself. It’s just about learning and trying to find what works for me.”

When healthy, the 28-year-old southpaw was lights-out for the Mariners. He helped stabilize the front end of the rotation with a 12-5 record in 24 starts and supplemented his efforts with a 2.98 ERA, 2.4 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 136 innings. Despite taking multiple trips to the disabled list, he built up 4.6 fWAR — the most wins above replacement he’s compiled in any season of his career to date. Had he not been felled by a pectoral injury in mid-August — one that came with a five-week trip to the disabled list — the club might have been been able to make a bigger push for the playoffs.

Of course, even if Paxton manages to stay healthy next season, the Mariners still have the rest of the rotation to worry about. They cycled through 17 starters in 2017 and tied the 2014 Rangers with 40 total pitchers over the course of the season. Per GM Jerry Dipoto, their top four starters (Paxton, Hernandez, Iwakuma, and Tommy John candidate Drew Smyly) only contributed 17% of total innings pitched, just a tad below the 40% average. Finding adequate big league arms and compensating for injured aces (both current and former) will be tough. Still, getting a healthy, dominant Paxton back on the mound for 30+ starts would be a huge get for the team — whether or not the postseason is in their future next year.