Just what are the Padres doing?

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The Padres currently have 20 position players on their 40-man roster and all but two of them will be 25 or older as of next July 1.

Of the two younger, one, Jeudy Valdez, is pretty much guaranteed to spend all of next season in the minors. The other, Anthony Rizzo, should take over as the team’s starting first baseman at some point.

That’s 19 players who should be viable candidates for the major league roster come Opening Day or who shouldn’t be on the 40-man in the first place.

Now, obviously the Padres were going to add at least one or two bats this winter. But Mark Kotsay? On Nov. 15? What good is that supposed to do?

The Padres have oodles of fringe guys in Jesus Guzman, Kyle Blanks, Will Venable, James Darnell, Logan Forsythe, Chris Denorfia, Aaron Cunningham and Blake Tekotte. They’re also still carrying Jeremy Hermida, though he’s almost certainly a goner. It seems like a given now that Denorfia and Kotsay will have bench spots, which makes one wonder how Guzman, Blanks and Venable are going to fit in if the Padres can actually bring in a legitimate roster upgrade at some point.

And, make no mistake, the Padres need to bring in a legitimate roster upgrade at some point.

The Kotsay addition is one that lacks any imagination at all. Someone said “we need a veteran presence on our bench” and while Kotsay certainly has plenty of that to offer, it comes at the expense of on-base percentage and power. If he proves his value to the Padres, it will be as a coach, not as a piece on the 25-man roster taking the roster spot of someone 10 years younger and at-bats from more viable players.

Report: Yankees acquire James Paxton from the Mariners

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Yankees have acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners. Corey Brock of The Athletic reports that the Mariners will be receiving three prospects from the Yankees: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a good return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worry about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field. The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.