No Gyork Store Reference Here

Jedd Gyorko was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals earlier today (along with $7-ish million) for outfielder Jon Jay. I was so befuddled by the deal that I—get this—I took to Twitter for advice on what to think about it.

I’m still pretty disoriented, but it’s in my Padres Public contract to write about at least one out of three A.J. Preller transactions, so here are some bullet points.

  • Sac Bunt Chris drives the Gyorko bandwagon. I was that guy located by one of the doors, simultaneously swapping Gyorko batted-ball velocity stories while considering jumping out at any moment. Look, I like Gyorko and, given the return, I’d probably have rather held on for at least another year. There’s a power-centered offensive profile that offers plenty of upside. On the other hand, he’s a flawed player who just might not be that good; the approach at the plate is ugly and the lack of defensive versatility limits his usefulness.
  • Jay is … well, he’s okay. There’s only one year and $6.85 million between him and free agency, but if you chalk up his 2015 season to a wrist injury, he’s something like a league average center fielder. That’s not bad.
  • There’s a lot of talk about Gyorko’s contract. He’s owed something like $33 million over the next four years, which feels like a lot until you calibrate your sensors for modern-day baseball. If Gyorko is a replacement level player, sure, that’s a lot of money. But if he’s anywhere near league average, it’s a fine deal—a bargain, really. He’s due $13 million in 2019 … that’s probably about the same amount a 37-year-old Joe Thatcher will get by then. And, shoot, it’s a long time from now.
  • My issue with the deal (and I’m obligated by the internet to have one, by the way) isn’t so much with the players; rather, it’s with the general direction of the Padres. Where are they going? Are they just cutting payroll? Are they trying to compete and rebuild at the same time? Why trade Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit only to turn around and deal Gyorko for a one-year rental? Why not try for a mid-level prospect or something? Why not keep one of Kimbrel/Benoit and then deal Gyorko for Jay?
  • Alotta questions. I suppose it’s best to wait until the entire offseason plan reveals itself, which, knowing Preller, won’t be until sometime in early April. I’ve liked most of the recent moves, but there’s still a concern about the money. The Padres have cleared dough owed to Kimbrel and Benoit and Yonder Alonso and Gyorko, but where are they going to spend it? Better question: Are they going to spend it? And why do they always need to clear money to spend it elsewhere? It’s MLB in 2015 … Wide Receiver Jeff Samardzija just got $90 million. Money is plentiful.

Alotta questions and, not surprisingly, I don’t have many answers. What do you think?

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  • ballybunion

    What do we, the readers, think? you’re supposed to be telling US what we should think! But well, okay. I was struck in the early season when Gyorko wasn’t hitting, before his demotion to AAA, by the comment that he was “very confident” in how his swing was developing. My first thought was, he doesn’t take advice, or he’s a bit bull-headed. That may not be true, but I can’t think of a better reason to send him down last season, except to send him a message he wasn’t heeding by other means.

    But put that aside. My main thought was that Jedd was in the way of lefty hitter Spangenberg who hits for better average, takes walks, and can run and steal bases, but with little power – a better fit for Petco, despite Gyorko’s power potential. Gyorko is too many pounds heavier than college age when he played SS, and switch hitter Solarte provides more flexibility, though neither is the answer at 3B. Bottom line, Gyorko is becoming what the Cardinals plan to use him for, a super-sub infielder, now that he’s proved he can play SS in a pinch, and we need starters.

    Then I thought about the money. They can commit the savings now, or save it for future years. The Padres will have five picks in June in the first 70 or so picks, and the foreign signing period will have several teams hamstrung by going over their allotment last year, giving the Padres a better chance to sign the kind of talent Preller specializes in scouting. He’ll have a chance to supercharge the farm in just a few short months, if he has enough money to spend, and now he does.

    • Plenty of good points here. I guess my only contention would be about the money. Why should shedding Gyorko’s (relatively modest) deal play any part in going all-in on amateur talent?