3. Trade Kennedy and Benoit. For the record, I like Joaquin Benoit. After all, what’s not to like? For the Padres in 2014, he was electric: 11 saves in 12 opportunities after Street was traded, a 1.49 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, and .151 BAA. He was virtually un-hittable.
But here’s why they should trade him anyway:
1. he’s 36 years old, so you never know when his quality is going to decline;
2. after the year he had, his value will never be higher than it is right now;
3. an $8 million reliever is a luxury the Padres don’t need. They already have two closers-in-waiting: Kevin Quackenbush, who converted six of seven save opportunities when Benoit was injured, and R.J. Alvarez (of the Street trade), who showed promise after a September call-up.
For better or for worse, though, it seems that general manager A.J. Preller is inclined to keep Benoit for now.
As for Kennedy, he had a nice bounce-back year, striking out 207 in 201 innings while winning 13 games with a 3.63 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, and .250 BAA.
Both are valuable commodities which a lot of teams would be happy to have. For instance, the Chicago Cubs appear poised to make a run at the playoffs in ’15, and they have three immensely talented young shortstops, which the Padres desperately need after the Everth Cabrera fiasco. The Red Sox could also be interested, and perhaps they might be willing to part with Allen Craig or the young Mookie Betts for the right price. Toronto and Baltimore may be interested as well.
Some have speculated–correctly–that Tyson Ross or Andrew Cashner would fetch more return value than Kennedy. True enough. But they are the building blocks which Preller should build around. Plus, Cashner’s value is down due to injuries which caused him to miss at least 10 starts.
And while Kennedy bounced back, he is a free agent after next season, and his 1.29 WHIP is still a little high, in my opinion. While Kennedy may not be enough by himself to acquire, say, Mookie Betts, perhaps Boston (or another trade partner) would be persuaded if a prospect were included.
Bottom line: The Padres are loaded with pitching, and lacking in offense. Benoit and Kennedy have value, and they are the two most expendable (and traceable) pieces the Padres have this offseason. They will go a long way towards bringing in real talent in areas where the Padres have the greatest needs. Therefore, they should be traded.