Saturday, December 10, 2011

Winter buzz

Mat Latos isn't untouchable, Chase Headley is available and John Moores still has high-ranking admirers within major league baseball. Those are Padres tidbits told this blog by baseball people who were at the winter meetings.

The Padres are not shopping Latos, their homegrown ace who only two seasons ago was one of the elite starting pitchers in the National League. But, somewhat surprisingly to this blog, other clubs seem to think he's not cemented to future Padres rosters. Put another way, other clubs don't expect the Padres to lock up Latos the way the Rays just secured 22-year-old pitcher Matt Moore, who received a $14-million contract on Friday. It could be that new Padres GM Josh Byrnes has come into the job with an open mind about which players are part of San Diego's long-term core. After talking to the Padres, one club began gathering information on Latos, who turned 24 on Friday.

It's not surprising that the Padres are open to moving Headley, which doesn't necessarily mean he'll be dealt before the team falls out of playoff contention next season. Headley will be getting expensive for the low-payroll Padres, in part because the Alderson Gang promoted him too soon, which allowed him to qualify for Super Two arbitration. For his sake, I hope Headley ends up in the National League Central. It's conducive to hitting. Headley faced many unusual obstacles early in his career, a few of them not of his doing. He toughed it out, made adjustments and had a pretty good season in 2011.

Higher-ups at the meetings praised Moores, the Padres' majority owner since December 1994. No surprise, that. Moores is close to Bud Selig. He's also a sharp businessman who advocated for smaller-revenue clubs leading up to three collective bargaining agreements. By the next winter meetings, Moores may no longer be the Padres' majority owner. Entering this offseason, he had sold 49 percent of the club to Jeff Moorad's group as part of a five-year sales plan announced in March 2009.


  1. As much as I like his fire, I think that Latos would probably serve the Padres better as trade bait. Same with Headley. I do not expect the Padres to contend in the next year or two, and if the Padres can get some top prospects in exchange for these guys, may as well do it. It may not be the popular view, but sometimes you need to take the big-picture view and plan long term.

  2. I think that's probably a good point: is it likely that Latos is part of the next truly good Padres team, at least 2 years away?

    I can't see him resigning once he hits FA, so he probably won't be around more than a year or two once their prospects start to show up.

    SP is the deepest position in the minors with good depth from AA on down.

    If he brings back a top SS prospect, think Profar of Texas or similar, why wouldn't you make that move?

  3. Mark, most teams that had a guy of Matt Latos talent whose career had been off to such a great start (better then Peavy), would lock him up like teams have done with Cahill, Romero, Gallardo, Buchholz, Lester, etc.

    Personally, I think if the Padres go into next season without signing him long-term, it's going to be a costly mistep, a move that could limit his career length in San Diego.

    Latos as far as rookie pitchers calling Petco home, is about as consistent as can be. His lines against in the various scenarios are very good:

    Home: 635 OPS
    Away: .637 OPS
    vs RHB: .612 OPS
    vs LHB: .659 OPS

    Using Cahill's contract as a basis - 5/30m contract with 2 options - for Latos would be a route I think they should be going. His deal bought out 3 FA years, while only having to guarantee him one of them. Doing the same for Latos now would have him under the Padres control through the 2018 season.

    Getting a stud SS would be awesome, but removing our best picher in the majors or minors, kind of defeats the purpose. Using Headley to bring a future long-term SS that is near or ready, now that I think is a better use of resources, along with signing Latos of course.

    It might take 50-60m to get him to sign after 2012 if he has his best season yet, and with the way he ended 2011 I'm expecting as much. Do it now while the risk is still manageable. Please.

  4. Interesting comments on this thread, although I'm disappointed that none of the local tattoo artists have weighed in.