It will take a a prospect or two of quality and some international slot money to get Baez, but he is not an unreal target. The Padres system is incredibly deep. At the MLB level they have Paddock, Richards, Lamet, Lucchesi, and Lauer listed as starters with Quantrill and Bolanos listed as their rotation depth. Above Baez in their system they have Gore, Patino, Morejon, and Weathers. The Padres can deal from a position of strength and the Royals can pick up a pitcher who can immediately slide into their starting rotation.
The problem is the Padres see Baez currently as a relief pitcher. He fits their plans in the pen currently evidenced by 29.2 strong innings out of the Padres pen last year. Baez was called up in late July. I am targeting him as a starter for a weaker rotation.
Baez talent is being wasted in the pen. He has the ability to give you 6.0 solid innings every start and I think his value could be maximized in the rotation. The Royals are rumored to be in the market for a veteran starting pitcher. Veteran starting pitchers cost money but they offer a little more stability. If the Royals trade for Baez, they wont be out contract money making this deal more attractive to the new ownership. The Royals would just be out of a few prospects. It makes sense for a rebuilding team to go for the young guy and slightly more risk instead of wasting some bigger dollars on someone who has limited upside.
I think Baez would be the Royals number three arm in the rotation based on what I saw him do against NWA two years ago. He was the best starter I saw in 2018 in the Texas League. Baez would fit in behind Keller and Duffy. Montgomery can fill in the four spot and Junis can battle for the last spot. If the Royals want to move Singer, Kowar, or Lynch quicker, Duffy and Junis have been rumored to be options for the pen and could just be moved.
GMDM will have to convince the Padres to trade for guys farther away in our system if he wants to keep the big four together. However, a current asset that will be a part of the rotation for the next five years can be a really big deal. Baez has had some trials at the MLB level and his learning curve has already been jump started. We need to get our pitching staff into place because our window of contention should be opening in 2021.
Baez makes the rotation deeper immediately. It makes the depth better. Baez saves the Royals some money and their fans some frustration with a veteran project. He is expendable to the Padres with their depth and could be a big piece in the 2021 playoff run.
Image from East Village Times. No photo credit was given.