Friday, February 3, 2012

Counterpoint: Ship McClellan to the Padres

Last week rumors circulated the St Louis Cardinals were looking to ship starter/reliever Kyle McClellan out of town. Baltimore, Arizona, and San Diego were mentioned as potential destinations. The rumors prompted this post on the Cardinal/Royal blog I-70 baseball.

You probably missed it. I didn't because I wrote it.

After it published I got some comments, which is unusual. The comments attacked the premise, which is not unusual for comments on my writing. Apparently I'm controversial. Whatever. I answered in brief in the comments because let's face it, who wants to read a diatribe in the comments section? Nobody. However there was more to say, and since I've suddenly got a few minutes I'll say them here.

Why would the Padres show interest in McClellan? Two reasons I can think of. First, although their starting rotation is set for 2012 2/5 of it is coming off a season-ending injury. Moseley's trick shoulder is his non-throwing shoulder but that injury still cost him the second half of last season, and Richard is coming off arm surgery. Adding McClellan to the bullpen would give the club another guy, along with Anthony Bass, who could spot start if either Moseley's or Richard's rehab suffers a setback.

Second, the team lost Bell, Adams, and Qualls from last year's bullpen, meaning they will turn over a lot of innings to inexperienced guys. Getting Huston Street solidifies the back of the pen and does not force the team to place Brad Brach in the closer's role too early or Luke Gregerson in a role he's not shown aptitude for. The Padres still need some guys; getting McClellan, a proven eighth inning guy, would push Gregerson back to the seventh where he excels.

On the Cardinal side it is hard to see who in the Padres system they would be interested in. The team has stated they don't want to take on salary in any McClellan deal. What does San Diego have to offer?

- Padres have a surplus of OF. So does St Louis.
- Padres have a surplus of 1B. Even though St Louis just lost a first baseman of some note they are set at the position for the future.
- St Louis does not have a need at third, their rotation is high-priced and set, and if they are shopping McClellan they clearly suffer from a surplus of bullpen arms.
- The Cardinals are thin at second and short, but so are the Padres so no trade involving those positions is likely.

What does that leave? Catcher. Which was the subject of my article.

Now it should be noted, again, the I-70 article was written from the Cardinal fan's perspective. The Padres would be crazy to trade either Hedges or Grandal straight-up for McClellan. That would be on par with Ray Lankford for Woody Williams.

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