After having to trade Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox many were wondering if the Padres would make moves to remain competetive in the NL West or if they would enter a rebuilding phase. Here we will examine the notable free agent signings and trades to date to help us understand the direction of the team.
The Padres gave Dustin a one year contract worth just under a million dollars. His numbers have never been stellar. He is a former first round pick of the Reds (2000) who was pitching for the Yankees (NY & Scranton) last year. This is very much a value signing for the Padres, who expect to put Moseley at the back end of the rotation behind Matt Latos, Clayton Richard, Tim Stauffer & Aaron Harang. Moseley isn't going to change the complexion of the team or offer much more than a number of other free agents. It does give the Pads quality pitching depth at the back end of the rotation and possibly in the long relief spot.
At 2 years and $11.5 million I think this signing is a bit expensive. Last year they paid Eckstein much less for similar offensive production. I do understand that in the 2011 season Hudson will undoubtedly perform better than Eck but the cost difference between the two is tremendous. I assume the Pads gave so much was that (as usual) there were very few viable everyday options at second base in the free agent market.
Hawpe got a one year contract to fill the void at first base left by Gonzalez. Hawpe has never been a regular first baseman and is coming off a sub-par 2010 season in which he logged 298 at bats, hit .245 with 9 home runs and 44 RBI. From '06-'09 he had 4 straight 22+ home run seasons. He hits well against lefties and righties so the team will not need to platoon the position. After the 2011 season there will be a few excellent free agent options at first base so I think this was a good temporary option until they can make a run at a better player.
$4 million for one year of Harang is a pretty good deal. He won't 'wow' anyone but he will throw 100+ innings with a WHIP between .4 & .5. With the young rotation the Pads will be fielding next year they will need a veteran presence to maintain stability. It is a cause for concern that Harang's innings pitched has decreased every season since 2006 (to 111 last year). Still, if he remains healthy he will likely be able to throw 150+ innings.
The Padres traded to get Bartlett from the Rays. He'll play shortstop, sharing the middle infield with Orlando Hudson. Bartlett is a year removed from an amazing season. In 2009 he hit .320 with a .389 OPB. Last year was much different: .254 BA with a .324 OBP. Still, he will be a marked improvement over their revolving door of shortstops last season.
In all, the Padres have improved their rotation (slightly) from last season and are much stronger up the middle. Hawpe won't replace Gonzalez's production but is a servicable option for now. Considering the competetion in the NL West it will be unlikely that the Padres compete for the division title but these acquisitions make it clear that the team intends to do everything possible (with their payroll) to remain competetive.