Padres third baseman Chase Headley will enter his fourth and final year of arbitration going into the 2014 season, after which he would become eligible for free agency. For quite some time, the Padres have been reported as either shopping Headley or guarding him closely with plans to offer him a contract extension. As of now, nothing has happened.
In part due to Headley, the entire Padre infield has been the source of a great deal of production as first baseman Yonder Alonso, second baseman Jedd Gyorko, and shortstop Everth Cabrera are also posting above-average offensive numbers. As a result, Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego suggests the Padres should lock up their entire infield:
The team that has time and again sent its homegrown stars away rather than pay them has in the collective handling of its young talent a chance to change course in a grand way.
Ron Fowler, the Seidlers and the O’Malleys need to allow general manager Josh Byrnes to get underway the process of attempting to lock up Alonso, Jedd Gyorko, Everth Cabrera and, of course, Chase Headley.
All of them.
While having the luxury of writing down an entire infield in permanent marker is appealing, it isn’t necessary. Alonso is pre-arb through 2014 and isn’t eligible for free agency until 2017. Gyorko has all of 205 plate appearances at the Major League level so there is no rush to sign any additional paperwork with him. Cabrera is arb-eligible through 2016. Locking up Headley would be a great first step towards solidifying a great infield, but as it pertains to the other three, the Padres don’t need to worry about that for another year and a half at the earliest.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.