Tag: Rymer Liriano

A J Preller, Bud Black, Justin Upton, Derek Norris, Will Middlebrooks, Wil Myers

2015 Preview: San Diego Padres


Between now and Opening Day, HardballTalk will take a look at each of baseball’s 30 teams, asking the key questions, the not-so-key questions, and generally breaking down their chances for the 2015 season. Next up: The San Diego Padres.

The Big Question: Who are these guys and what have they done with the Padres?

A.J. Preller was hired as the Padres general manager last August and he went into the offseason with a plan. Prior to the winter meetings, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Padres were “aggressively looking for hitters who can help them contend for (the) NL West title immediately.” The report drew some laughs, as it seemed incredibly ambitious and even unrealistic for a team which ranked last in pretty much every major offensive category last season while finishing under .500 for the fourth straight year. We quickly learned that he wasn’t messing around.

The biggest changes came in the outfield, with trades for Justin Upton (from the Braves), Matt Kemp (from the division rival Dodgers), and Wil Myers (in a three-team deal with the Rays and Nationals), but Preller also acquired 2014 All-Star catcher Derek Norris from the Athletics. There’s something to be said for not being loyal to the players you inherit from a previous regime. As a new GM, Preller was uniquely positioned for this rapid and unexpected overhaul. The cherry on top of their offseason was signing James Shields to a four-year, $75 million contract in early February. Joaquin Benoit’s $15.5 million deal was the franchise’s previous record guarantee to a free agent, so this is some uncharted territory we’re dealing with here. The Padres also threw money at some low-risk, high-reward types for their rotation with Josh Johnson and Brandon Morrow. Despite all the activity, the Padres’ payroll isn’t going to be much higher than what it was last year. It helps that the Dodgers are paying nearly all of Kemp’s salary for this season.

Pitching was already a strength for the Padres, partially due to their home ballpark, but the addition of Shields makes them even better. He can now slot into the No. 1 spot while Ian Kennedy, Andrew Cashner, and Tyson Ross all move down a peg. Odrisamer Despaigne held his own during his first season in the majors last year and should do fine as a fifth starter if Morrow and/or Johnson don’t pan out. Outfield defense is a concern, particularly in center field with Myers, but the Padres are hoping that what the trio does on offense offsets the deficiencies in the field.

Who knows if this is going to work out. Kemp is an injury risk and maybe all those innings finally catch up to Shields. Maybe Myers doesn’t bounce back and Upton (an impending free agent) becomes a trade candidate by midseason. But the Padres are trying something here and that’s pretty exciting. It’s always fun to be in San Diego, but even more so right now.

What else is going on?

  • It’s pretty remarkable that the Padres were able to make all of these moves and still managed to keep arguably three of their best prospects, right-hander Matt Wisler, outfielder Hunter Renfroe, and catcher Austin Hedges. I guess you could throw Rymer Liriano into that mix, as well. So they didn’t completely sell out their future this winter. You could also say that they still have the flexibility to make another big move if they really want to go for broke. Cole Hamels, perhaps?
  • My goodness, something has to give with these extra outfielders. The Padres dealt Seth Smith to the Mariners over the winter, but they still have basically their projected starting outfield from a couple of years ago — Cameron Maybin, Will Venable, and Carlos Quentin — under contract. Liriano also saw time at the major league level last year. Quentin could get hurt by the time I finish writing this sentence, but one would think we’ll see a trade soon to clear this logjam.
  • While right-handed sluggers Upton, Kemp, and Myers could put up big numbers in that outfield, the infield is another matter altogether. It’s a glaring weakness. Jedd Gyorko showed some potential during his rookie season in 2013, but he’s coming off a down year and he’s surrounded by the likes of Yonder Alonso, Alexi Amarista, Will Middlebrooks, Yangervis Solarte, Tommy Medica, and Clint Barmes. Not the most inspiring group. Perhaps Alonso or Middlebrooks can surprise, but that would require a leap of faith. This infield would be more interesting if they managed to outbid the Dodgers for Hector Olivera, but that ship has sailed.
  • With the additions of Upton, Kemp, Myers, Shields, and Norris, it’s easy to overlook the work that Preller did with his bullpen. Brandon Maurer came over in the Smith deal with the Mariners while Shawn Kelley was acquired from the Yankees for minor league right-hander Johnny Barbato. Both are intriguing potential late-inning arms. Padres manager Bud Black has a handful of interesting alternatives for the closer role if Benoit goes down at some point. I wouldn’t rule that possibility out, as Benoit will be 38 later this year and dealt with some shoulder issues down the stretch last year.
  • Saying “if he can stay healthy” should be obvious with any pitcher, but that’s especially the case with Cashner. The 28-year-old has flashed frontline potential at times, with a 2.96 ERA across 51 career starts, but he was limited to just 19 starts last season with elbow and shoulder issues and has never thrown more than 175 innings in a season before. This rotation has some questions — even Ross was shut down after a career-high 195 2/3 innings last year due to muscle soreness in his right forearm — but if things break right, they could be one of the best groups in the National League.

Prediction: I think it’s going to be close with the Giants, but what the heck, I’ll drink the offseason Kool-Aid. Second place, NL West and the second Wild Card spot.

The Padres are still pursuing a trade with the Phillies for Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels

It was reported late last month that the Padres had talked to the Phillies about a trade for ace left-hander Cole Hamels and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman hears that the possibility is “still said to be alive.”

Early speculation was that the Padres would try to center the return package around the recently-acquired Wil Myers, but Heyman reports that trade scenarios recently discussed did not include him. The Phillies are obviously looking for a huge return, so this presumably means that top prospects like Austin Hedges, Hunter Renfroe, Matt Wisler, and Rymer Liriano could be discussed. Nothing is considered imminent, but one executive with another team said the Padres “may be more likely than some others to land Hamels.” As bold as new GM A.J. Preller has been this offseason, it can’t be ruled out.

Hamels, who is from San Diego, posted a career-low 2.46 ERA (151 ERA+) and 198/59 K/BB ratio in 204 2/3 innings across 30 starts last season. The 31-year-old is owed $94 million over the next four seasons and his contract includes a $24 million vesting option (or a $20 million team option with a $6 million buyout) for 2019.

The Red Sox, Cardinals, and Cubs are among the other teams who have been linked to Hamels this winter.

Video: Rymer Liriano slugs his first major league homer

rymer liriano getty

Watch as Padres outfield prospect Rymer Liriano slugs this 0-1 fastball to the third deck of the Western Metal Supply Co. building Wednesday evening in San Diego for his first major league home run

Liriano was batting .291/.362/.473 with 14 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 115 games this season between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A El Paso when the Padres suddenly called him to the bigs on August 11.

Padres outfield prospect Rymer Liriano to miss season following Tommy John surgery

rymer liriano padres

Padres prospect Rymer Liriano, a 21-year-old outfielder who ended last year at Double-A, will miss the entire season following Tommy John elbow surgery, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.

Position players recover faster and more easily from Tommy John surgery than pitchers, certainly, but the year of lost development time might be an even bigger deal for Liriano. According to Brock he’s hoping to swing a bat in six months, at which point he might be cleared to play winter ball.

It’s a tough break, because Liriano was probably a good half-season from potentially being called up to San Diego and ranked as a consensus top-100 prospect after hitting .280 with a .350 on-base percentage and 32 steals in 127 games last year.

Previewing Saturday’s Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League


Bored without some baseball games in your life? Well, I have good news for you. Some of the game’s top prospects will be featured in tonight’s Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League, which will be broadcast live on MLB Network and MLB.com at 8 p.m. ET.

The annual Rising Stars Game has proven to be a stepping stone for prospects since the game’s inception in 2006, as Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com notes that 72.6 percent of participants have gone on to play in the major leagues. Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Derek Norris and Mike Olt are among those who played in the game last year.

If we’re lucky, we might get to see Reds prospect Billy Hamilton run the bases tonight. The speedy 22-year-old set a professional baseball record with 155 stolen bases this year and is currently making the switch from shortstop to center field. Some other notable names to watch tonight include Tigers prospect third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos, Astros prospect first baseman Jonathan Singleton and Mariners prospect infielder Nick Franklin. Nationals prospect third baseman Anthony Rendon is a reserve for the East team while Mariners prospect catcher Mike Zunino, Cardinals prospect infielder Kolten Wong and Marlins prospect outfielder Christian Yelich are on the bench for the West. Cubs prospect shortstop Javier Baez likely would have participated, but he was recently forced to leave the Arizona Fall League due to a fractured thumb.

Jarred Cosart of the Astros is scheduled to start for the East team while Kyle Gibson of the Twins will get the call for the West squad, though they are unlikely to throw more than a couple of innings.

Below are the lineups for tonight’s game:

Rising Stars West: CF – Billy Hamilton (Reds), SS- Hak-Ju Lee (Rays), RF – Rymer Liriano, (Padres), 1B – Hunter Morris, (Brewers), 2B – Nick Franklin (Mariners), 3B- Cody Asche (Phillies), DH – Bryce Brentz (Red Sox), C – Tommy Joseph (Phillies), LF – Brian Fletcher (Royals)

Rising Stars East: LF – Brian Goodwin (Nationals), CF – Gary Brown (Giants), 1B – Jonathan Singleton, (Astros), DH – Nick Castellanos (Tigers), 3B – Kaleb Cowart (Angels), C – Austin Romine (Yankees), RF – Corey Dickerson (Rockies), 2B – David Adams (Yankees), SS – Chris Owings (Diamondbacks)