Report: Padres “aggressively looking for hitters” in hopes of contending immediately

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We see a lot of interesting reports at this time of the year, but this one made me chuckle a little bit:

What a concept. It’s easier said than done, of course, especially with the lack of options available on the free agent market. Most of the big bats have already signed — the latest being Nelson Cruz today — which leaves an underwhelming field highlighted by the likes of Chase Headley, Melky Cabrera, Alex Rios, Nick Markakis, Colby Rasmus, Jed Lowrie, Torii Hunter, and Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s not like we’d expect the Padres to spend big money anyway, so the trade market is likely where they’ll turn. The Braves are reportedly dangling Justin Upton and Evan Gattis while the Red Sox appear willing to deal Yoenis Cespedes, so there are options out there.

The Padres were fourth in the majors with a 3.27 ERA this past season, so it’s not hard to imagine them as a sleeper team if they get an infusion of offense. But new general manager A.J. Preller really has his work cut out for him here. The Padres were last in the majors in nearly every major offensive category in 2014. It’s hard to move the needle significantly in one offseason.

A.J. Hinch: “If it was any other time of the year, [José Altuve] wouldn’t be in the lineup.”

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It has been evident throughout the playoffs that Astros second baseman José Altuve’s right knee is bothering him. Altuve battled a right knee issue in July, then banged it up again in Game 2 of the ALDS and it’s been a problem ever since.

Manager A.J. Hinch said that if it were the regular season, he wouldn’t put Altuve in the lineup. Per MLB.com’s Richard Justice, the full quote:

He’s hurt. And if it was any other time of the year, he wouldn’t be in the lineup or wouldn’t be playing. He’d probably be on the DL. … But he’s showing up every day in good spirits, ready to go, giving 100 percent of what he’s got. He should be commended.

Hinch also said of Altuve, “His teammates revere him. The production that he’s doing on one leg is pretty incredible. And he’s trying not to talk about it. And therefore I am.”

During the ALCS, Altuve has hit .250/.368/.313 in 16 at-bats. He has just one extra-base hit but he has racked up three singles and drawn three walks while scoring four runs. Hinch has had Marwin González start at second base Games 3 and 4 and is doing so again on Thursday night in Game 5.