Hey, another twitter mailbag. Thank you twitter.

In this type of scenario, I’m inclined to just say, hey, Wil Myers is what the overall numbers say he is. So far, in his career, Myers has a 110 wRC+. This year it’s 108. In 2015 and 2016 it was 115. So, he’s like a 110-115 wRC+ guy going forward, which is fine but not great for a first baseman.

However, with Myers, I still hold out some hope for more. And let’s be honest, we all want to be optimists at heart, drinking our water from glasses that are always half full.

Optimist point No. 1: Myers is just 26 years old. A solid player suddenly reaching new heights in his late 20s is far from unheard of; just of the top of my head, there are guys like Jose Bautista and Eric Thames that jump off the page. Bautista, for example, went from a below average hitter to one of the best hitters in the America League for a few years, right at age 29. It’d be silly to count on that from Myers, or anybody, but there’s always a chance things just suddenly click.

Optimist point No. 2: I still think it’d be worth looking into revamping his swing in the offseason. If it was working, fine, go with it. But there’s no good reason his swing has to look like that, especially when he’s hitting at a level below what both he and the Padres probably expect. It might be somewhat risky, but it’s possible that even just a swing tweak could set Myers on the right path.

Short answer: He’s probably something like what we’ve seen, but breakout potential exists. I’ll say he’s able to jump his wRC+ into the 120s or 130s, at least, for a few years here.

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Yesterday I wrote about the perceived trade value of three pitchers the Padres have already traded. Let’s just say it didn’t lock up the Padres Public servers. So, today, I thought I’d take a more conventional approach and discuss the relative trade value of the players still on the Padres roster.

I put everybody into made-up tiers.

Tier 1 is for primo guys. Andrew Miller‘s a tier 1 guy. Brad Hand isn’t, at least not unless he grows out the beard, steals some of Miller’s mojo, and hires Jeff Sullivan as his agent. In fact, the Padres don’t have any tier 1 players. (By the way, I didn’t consider young, unlikely-to-be-traded players like Manuel Margot in this exercise.)

Tier 2 is for good, solid trade chips. These are players that a bunch of teams are genuinely interested in, even if they lack some tier 1 mojo.

Tier 3 is for guys who aren’t good enough for tier 2. There’s some trade value here, but not a whole lot of it.

Tier 4 is for players who have little (or no) trade value.

Here we go.

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When I wrote about the Trevor Cahill trade on Monday night, I didn’t spend too much time on the players the Padres gave up, including The Great Cahill. I did figure, however, that the thinking on their relative value was somewhat of a forgone conclusion. Turns out, reasonable people disagree with me. In the spirit of scraping for things to write about, and discussing the overarching topic of trade value heading into the deadline, I figured I’d collect some thoughts on the issue here.

So—drumroll please—here’s my ranking, in terms of perceived trade value, of the three players the Padres sent to Kansas City.

1. Trevor Cahill

When teams are looking to acquire someone at the trade deadline, they’re often looking for some type of impact player. Cahill is maybe not an impact player, but he’s the closest thing to one out of the three players San Diego gave away. I totally get that he’s a 29-year-old vet with a mostly uninspiring track record. Over the last four or five years, he’s seemingly had more injuries than innings pitched, and prior to this year he had been almost exclusively a reliever since 2014.

Here’s the thing, though: He’s pitching like an impact player. By Baseball Prospectus’s catch-all pitching metric, DRA, Cahill’s 2.64 mark is eighth in all of baseball among starters with 10 innings or more. Eighth. By cFIP, BP’s other ERA estimator, he falls all the way down to ninth overall. If you like plain old strikeout percentage, Cahill’s 27.4 percent ranks 23rd out of 224 starters who’ve reached the 10-inning threshold, in between pitchers like Jacob deGrom, Zack Greinke, and Lance McCullers. There are random 60-inning samples where a pitcher gets lucky on balls in play, or whatever, and posts an undeserving 2-something ERA. Then there are random 60-inning samples where a pitcher kicks ass. This is the latter.

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Earlier today the Padres traded Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer, and Ryan Buchter to the Kansas City Royals for Esteury Ruiz, Matt Strahm, and Travis Wood.

Woo-hoo, a trade!

Trades are hard to write about these days. The more credit we’ve given to teams for getting smarter and smarter, the easier it is to look at a deal and nod along: “yup, yup, makes sense. yup.” It’s really no different with this deal. The Padres had obvious trade candidates like Cahill, picked up for pennies and reconfigured into a legitimate starter, Maurer, a still-pretty-young reliever who’s consistently shown better peripherals and stuff than surface stats, and Buchter, something of a throw-in who offers some value as an always coveted lefty with good strikeout numbers, so they traded them. In return the Padres got back a pair of younger, interesting players and in the process made the major-league team worse for an anticipated, and choreographed, second-half swoon.

The Padres got back three players. One of them, Travis Wood, is unlike the others. He’s a 30-year-old veteran having an absolutely miserable year. So far in 41 2/3 innings out of the Royals ‘pen, Wood’s posted a gaudy 8.49 DRA, seventh-worst in all of baseball (min. 20 innings.). In fact, among pitchers with at least half their innings in relief, Wood is dead last in the majors. His cFIP, 112, offers some hope for non-disastrous performance going forward, but he’s fallen a long way since masquerading as a league-average starter a few years back with the Cubs.

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I’ve gotta admit, anytime a reliever like Kirby Yates—a 30-year-old righty who hasn’t been able to stick, or succeed, on a big-league roster—comes along, I’m skeptical. For the first 10 good innings, I barely pay much attention. There has to be something wrong with this dude, and it’s going to show up soon, I think to myself. For the next 10 good innings, still skeptical. Give me another 10 good innings, though, and you’ve got my attention. And for good measure, Yates has struck out 17 while walking just two over his last 10 frames.

With San Diego this year, Yates has pitched 31 1/3 innings with a 1.72 ERA, 48 strikeouts (!), nine walks, and three home runs allowed. His 37.7 percent strikeout rate ranks seventh in all of baseball among pitchers with at least 20 innings, just behind Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. In his prior three seasons split between the Rays and Yankees, Yates racked up 97 2/3 innings with a 5.25 ERA, 113 strikeouts, 41 walks, and a whopping 19 home runs, and in just a single inning earlier this year with the Angels, he allowed two more dingers. With the Padres, in an admittedly small sample, Yates has been able to all but eliminate his home run issues, while striking out more and walking fewer batters. That’s the pitcher’s trifecta.

The one thing that jumps out about Yates this season is his fastball whiff percentage. As I wrote about a couple of weeks back, Yates’ FB whiff rate is somehow second in the majors, behind only Craig Kimbrel, at 19.24 percent. There are at least two things that are crazy about that. For one, Kirby friggin’ Yates is second in baseball in fastball whiff rate. Most of the pitchers around Yates are certified studs (Kimbrel, Chris Sale) and/or throw really hard (Pedro Baez). Yates works in ordinary territory, around 94 mph.

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I used to do this Twitter Q&A thing a few years back, so with nothing to write about last night, I decided to reboot the series. Twitter came through.

With Yangervis Solarte currently out with a strained oblique, this question gets a little more complicated. Still, I have a feeling the Padres will end up sticking with Solarte even if he comes back before the deadline (the guys at Gwynntelligence felt the same way on their podcast yesterday). There are some soft factors that make a lot sense there, plus the Tigers didn’t get back a whole bunch for J.D. Martinez in a recent trade. It seems like most teams just aren’t looking to add position players at the deadline, as everyone scrambles for more arms. The Red Sox could make sense for a fit if they want to be patient with their top prospect, third baseman Rafael Devers.

If Solarte stays in San Diego, that means he’ll be getting regular reps at second. That leaves Cory Spangenberg and Carlos Asuaje to duke it out over at third, with both of them likely getting time at second and in the outfield. Ryan Schimpf lurks in El Paso as an obvious candidate for a late-season recall, but it’s not clear that the Padres are too high on him.

I’m not sure if any team would actually trade for Erick Aybar, and I write that with all due respect to the lad. He works as a fine placeholder with the Padres, but I wouldn’t mind them getting “crazy” and putting either Spangenberg or Asuaje there (they could try both, although that’d leave nobody manning third). Sometimes a guy ends up playing better there than you’d think, plus it give you an extra opportunity to get another interesting position player on the field every day. Jose Rondon could also get a look at some point, although he’s currently on the DL at Triple-A El Paso. Aybar’s 33 years old and a replacement level player; I’d like to see the Padres use the second half to audition a few other players at short.

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What’s up with Brad Hand?

Recently, both the Nationals and Yankees acquired multiple relievers in single trades, with Washington picking up Sean Doolittle and Ryan Madson and New York getting David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle (along with third baseman Todd Frazier). Among those two teams, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Washington look for more help. They lost Blake Treinen in the deal, who has a 5.59 ERA on the season but better peripherals and even better stuff. Plus, Madson’s old and Doolittle’s an injury risk, which, combined with the loss of Treinen, makes the Nationals bullpen still relatively thin given their championship aspirations.

Meanwhile, Hand’s in San Diego, but there are still 12 days until the deadline. Here are some disjointed thoughts on possibly the best reliever left on the market.

How much does the 2.5 years of control add to Hand’s trade value?

Hand has a favorable contract, signed for $1.375 million this year and still arbitration-eligible through 2019. Here’s the thing with relievers, though: they’re relievers. You rarely hear about major-league teams building around a relief pitcher, especially if the player isn’t Craig Kimbrel or Andrew Miller or Kenley Jansen. Relievers are too volatile to really project two or three years down the road. I’d guess that a team looking to acquire Hand would view his arb-eligible 2018 season as a legit bonus. An additional year of control in 2019, though, would hardly register much extra value. Hand will be 29 then, more expensive, and carrying a heavy workload on his left arm.

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Last night, this tweet appeared on my timeline:

Jedd Gyorko does indeed rank second in baseball in Defensive Runs Saved, at +13, behind only Nolan Arenado, and five whole runs ahead of Evan Longoria in third place. Last year, in a full season, only three third baseman (Arenado, Adrian Beltre, and Kyle Seager) contributed more positive value by DRS than 2017 Gyorko has racked up in half the playing time, and Beltre and Seager nipped him by just two runs a piece.

Either Gyorko, once a so-so second baseman in San Diego, has transformed himself into one of the best third baseman in the league in St. Louis, or something fishy is going on here. Let’s take a step back.

Today’s two most frequently cited fielding stats, DRS and UZR, both use batted-ball data and fielding zones to determine how well defenders are performing. Where offensive stats are somewhat concrete—a home run is a home run and a double is a double, for the most part—fielding stats are essentially estimates based on various assumptions, like how hard a ball was hit and where a fielder was initially standing. In an era where the exact data on how hard a ball was hit and where a fielder was initially standing exists, somewhere, thanks to Statcast, today’s advanced fielding metrics feel a tad archaic.

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Prior to the season, there was a lot of discussion about what kind of weird, outside-the-box ideas the Padres could unveil on the field in 2017. So far, outside of carrying three Rule 5 players through the middle of July and shifting frequently, none of them have really come to fruition. There’s a vast gravitational pull that draws major-league teams back toward the ordinary, and these Padres haven’t yet found the antidote to its force.

It got me thinking, though. What kind of weird, outside-the-box ideas could the Padres try off the field for the rest of the season? After all, it is only July, so there’s still time left for a change of pace. After racking my brain a bit, I had one thing I really wanted to write about. There were other ideas that I considered (lowering concessions, coming up with better giveaways), but they’re super obvious, and others here at this site and across the Padres blogosphere could write about them with more familiarity than I could. So I decided to just write about that one thing.

That one thing is Giants Outsiders, a “live 30-minute multi-platform and fan-interactive show” recently created by NBC Sports Bay Area. It airs on NBC Sports Bay Area at 11 PM after every 7 PM Giants game, and it features longtime baseball writer Grant Brisbee and Therese Viñal. I’ve only caught a couple of shows, including one last Friday after a Padres-Giants game, but it’s really good. It’s kind of a more casual postgame show with a bunch of fan interaction through social media, but it also features the sort of off-beat analysis that you can only get from someone like Brisbee.

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On Monday I wrote about Phil Maton, and how he’s using his high-spin fastball up in the zone, mostly to solid early success. In the process I found some interesting factoids on a few other Padres relievers.

Brad Hand—Speaking of spin rate, Hand actually has a higher four-seam fastball spin rate than Maton this season at 2,532 rpm, 10th-best in the league. He doesn’t have the same success as Maton with the heater, however, as he’s given up a .342 wOBA against so far this season on four-seamers. Part of those moderate struggles could be attributable to Hand’s release point. His release point extension is just south of five feet, the second-lowest figure in the league among pitchers with at least 100 fastballs thrown this year, behind only Jharel Cotton. That brings Hand’s perceived velocity from 93 mph down to 90.59 mph, which could explain part of the reason why hitters have found some success.

Of course, Hand’s been tremendous overall this season, in part because he’s thrown his filthy slider nearly 45 percent of the time. Hand gets a whiff on 20 percent of his sliders, twice the rate of his four-seamer. He’s also allowed a paltry 0.058 opponents ISO on the slider. With the most innings pitched among relievers since the start of last season, and two and a half years of team control left, Hand is expected to command a solid return at (or before) the oncoming trade deadline.

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