The Padres might be making moves
For a long, long time the Padres have been mired in irrelevance, making a few token playoff appearances here and there but never really being on the map since making the World Series in 1998. That could be changing soon, as the team was connected to two of the biggest names available on Friday. First, they have emerged as players in the mostly-quiet Manny Machado market. The biggest offer we know of to the former Orioles star is an 8/175 contract from the White Sox, which seems much lower than pre-offseason expectations. We’ve also heard plenty of chatter about “mystery teams” being involved, and it seems as though the Padres were one of them. They spent big on Eric Hosmer last year, which was certainly not the brightest move but at least showed some willingness to spend. Now, Machado could join him on the other corner of the infield.
Along with the Machado rumors, there is also word that they are among the favorites to trade for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto. The Dodgers were also mentioned as favorites. Perhaps the best catcher in baseball at this point, Realmuto certainly expected to be moved by now, but the Marlins haven’t budged on their asking price for their best trade chip. It’s unclear what the Padres would be willing to give up for him — presumably top prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. is off limits — but they are hoping to work out an extension with the catcher before officially doing anything. It’s hard to heap too much praise on the Padres before anything actually happens, but they have a young team with a lot of up-and-coming talent. If they are indeed pushing the chips in, they are choosing the right time.
Mets sign Justin Wilson
Another potential cheap reliever target is off the board, and the pickings are getting slim for the Red Sox at this point. The latest to find a new team is Justin Wilson, as the southpaw agreed to a two-year deal with the Mets worth $10 million. Wilson has bounced around the league for most of his career, with his best years coming in a stint with the Tigers over a couple of years. His latest stop with the Cubs, lasting about a year and a half, was mostly disappointing as his control started to fade away. The strikeouts are still there, though, and if the Mets can find a way to get him to throw a few more strikes, they may have found a steal on a cheap two-year deal. The Red Sox could use that kind of pitcher, particularly from the left side.
Athletics sign Marco Estrada
An old division foe is moving out west, as Marco Estrada agreed to a one-year deal worth $4 million with the Athletics. This is a really interesting move for a pitcher that has struggled over the last couple of years and particularly in 2018. The righty was underrated for a couple of years while putting up good numbers in Toronto thanks to a fly ball-oriented approach that limited the hits he allowed. Eventually, that came back to bite him as the league started moving towards fly balls and launching them out of the park. Still, at his best Estrada has the kind of profile that can be frustrating to face. The A’s had some magic with their rotation last year, getting big performances out of guys like Brett Anderson and Edwin Jackson, among others. They have a big park for Estrada’s fly ball strategy to work out better, and there’s a real chance at a quiet bounce-back for the veteran righty.