On the Padres side, the team rarely commits to long term deals of this magnitude. The organization knows how special Jake is, and uses what payroll flexibility it does have to reward and build around its home grown star.
-Melly Mel Nieves (12/02/07)
My, how the times have changed.
It used to be that we had to wait till the World Series ended for the hot stove to really heat up, but the Padres have never been ones to play by the rules. I’m not going to bore you by going over what you know already, which is that Jake Peavy is on the block just one year after the team locked him up long term.
There could be any number of reasons as to why Jake is on his way out, whether it’s his penchant for running his mouth or just simply reloading on talent. What is important, though, is what we could get for him. And to the best way to get an idea of what’s going to happen is to look at what already has.
A selection of the biggest trades over the past couple of years, most of which happen to center around pitching, includes deals for CC Sabathia, Johan Santana, Erik Bedard and Dan Haren. What could these trades tell us about an upcoming Jake deal? Let’s find out!
Below are those tradees and the players they brought in return, with their organizational and league-wide prospect rankings according to Baseball America, and their three year era.
Trade for: Matt LaPorta (1 in organization, 23 in league), Michael Brantley, Rob Bryson and Zach Johnson
Trade for: Delois Guerra (2, 35), Carlos Gomez (3, 52) and Phil Humber (7, -)
Traded for: Chris Tillman (3, 67), Adam Jones, Tony Butler, Kameron Mickolio and George Sherrill
[NOTE: Adam Jones was no longer considered a prospect. In 2007, he ranked first in the Mariners organization and 28th in the league]
Traded for: Carlos Gonzalez (1,22), Brett Anderson (3, 36), Aaron Cunningham (7, -), Chris Carter (8, -), Dana Eveland and Greg Smith
Traded for: T.B.A.
I’ve left out the trades for Dontrelle Willis and Josh Beckett, as Willis was a throw-in with Miguel Cabrera and Boston took Mike Lowell with Beckett. Of course, if Khalil gets tossed in with Jake, as has been rumored, we might have to check those out as well.
Looking at these trades, every team got one of the trading partner’s two best prospects, with all but the Brewers getting two of the top three in return. The Athletics really went above and beyond, taking half of Arizona’s top eight. When you consider that all four pitchers either required a contract immediately after joining their new teams, or will file for free agency in the case of CC Sabathia, the Padres hold a very advantageous hand controlling Jake Peavy for years. Peavy has a reasonable contract through 2013, which means the Padres have no immediate need to trade him.
So who could be our Arizona?
The team who jumped to the front of the pack, at least according to the internet, is Atlanta. This is probably because it’s so predictable: they’re in the south near Jake’s hometown and they’ve sucked lately. Any talks with the Braves, it would seem, would have to start with Jordan Schafer (ranked 25th in the league) or Jason Heyward (28th).
Schafer, a five-tool, left-handed centerfielder, has been on the national radar since he was 13. This season, at age 22, he put up a line of .377/.470/.847, most of which came after he returned from a 50 game suspension for H.G.H.
Heyward is three years younger and has likely leapfrogged Schafer on the Braves’ list. While not the fielder Schafer is, Heyward has tremendous power potential and a good eye. Coming out of high school, one of his drawbacks was that he might be too patient. If that isn’t the kind of “problem” the Padres are looking for, I don’t know what is. Hayward is further away than Schafer is, but he might just be worth the wait.
And that’s just the beginning. The Padres are going to want a pitcher in return and the Braves have a good prospect in Tommy Hanson, as well as Jair Jurrjens, who performed to a ERA+ tune of 112 in Atlanta this year at the age of 22.
Recent talk has thrown out the names Yunel Escobar and Kelly Johnson. Escobar, who turns 26 in a couple of weeks, is a shortstop coming into his third season. In 800+ at-bats, he’s got a line of .373/.420/.793. Last season, his slugging percentage was .401, a mark sure to dip in Petco. But he also brings a slick glove and an excitement factor that was drastically lacking this past season. He would likely replace one of the more popular Padres in Greene, but he could become one in his own right.
Johnson will be 27 next season and is coming into his fourth season at second base. In 1358 at-bats, his line is .356/.440/.796. But with the acquisition of Travis Denker, along with last season’s number two prospect Matt Antonelli, Johnson is incredibly unnecessary. I’d like to think he’s not really involved.
Escobar, Hanson, Heyward, Johnson, Jurrjens, Schafer. Ideally, the Padres could get two of this group, and that’s before discussing the kind of deals St. Louis and the Dodgers (the Dodgers?!) could put together.