Apparently not having an actual general manager following the firing of Josh Byrnes isn’t stopping the Padres from making significant moves, as the team announced that they’ve agreed to a two-year, $13 million contract extension with outfielder Seth Smith.
Smith is in the middle of a career-year, hitting .281 with nine homers and an .890 OPS in 72 games, but he’s also 31 years old, batted just .246 with a .738 OPS in 242 games for the A’s over the previous two seasons despite often being held out of the lineup versus left-handed pitchers as part of a platoon, and has hit below .200 versus lefties this season.
It’s not exactly franchise-altering money or anything, but Smith seemed to be a prime trade candidate considering his age, higher than expected production, and the Padres’ struggles. Instead they just signed a good but not great platoon corner outfielder through his age-33 season with a team option for 2017.
The Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.