One of the biggest storylines at the Trade Deadline last year was how staggeringly and frustratingly motionless the Padres were. A team that had built itself up the preceding offseason, at great prospect and financial expense, was a total flop. The future looked relatively grim, and a sell-off was clearly in order.
But nothing happened.
No big names were moved, despite all those rumors about Tyson Ross and James Shields and more. Not even rental guys like Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy were dealt. It didn’t make any sense at the time.
In defense of the Padres’ lack of movement, a new report from Joel Sherman, featuring feedback from team executives, indicates that the offers for Padres players last year simply weren’t very good.
Of particular note to Chicago Cubs fans: Sherman reports that the best offer the Padres received for Kennedy, then struggling through a homer-plagued season (but the advanced metrics strongly suggested a rebound was looming), was outfielder Junior Lake. That’s it.
In some ways it’s a little frustrating to learn – if Sherman’s report is accurate – that the Cubs capped their offer at Lake, a player out of options, unlikely to contribute meaningfully in the big leagues, and who ultimately netted the team a rental reliever (Tommy Hunter) who was having his own disappointing season and was terrible after the trade. I was banging the drum pretty loudly for Kennedy as my preferred rental of choice at the time, and Kennedy indeed went on to post a 3.64/3.50/3.28 line after the All-Star break.
As for the Padres, the decision to reject middling offers for Kennedy proved to be the right move, as they made him a qualifying offer, which he declined, and they recouped a draft pick and bonus pool money – much more valuable than Lake – when Kennedy signed a surprisingly large deal with the Royals.