With the trade deadline looming, speculation about what the Padres may or may not do is heating up.
Will they buy? Sell? What pieces will move? Will this roster look drastically different in a week or will it look fairly similar?
(In other words, it seems half the clubhouse is up for grabs.)
The Padres went 6-3 in their most recent homestand, but after the final game Sunday – a victory – the mood in the clubhouse was more tense than relaxed.
Trade talk. It’s inescapable.
“Realistically, unless you have a no-trade clause, you’re accepting the fact that you play baseball and that your contract could be traded at any time,” said Venable, who’s a free agent at the end of this season. “At the same time, every year, there’s a group of guys who — depending on their service time, pending free agency and their team’s status — end up being grouped into the category of possible trade candidates. That time is kind of coming up for me. But, it doesn’t change anything as far as what I’m focused on, what I’m thinking about, and that’s playing for the Padres, trying to get some wins.”
Venable is about to become a father for the first time. His wife is due in August.
“With a baby coming, it’s a crazy time, and then the idea of you might be a free agent and the possibility of being traded, and then just the grind of baseball…” he paused. “You know, that’s crazy in itself. And to be experiencing them at the same time — We’ll see how it goes.”
He isn’t the only one balancing the uncertainty. Ian Kennedy’s wife is due to give birth to their fourth child on July 31st, the same day of the trade deadline. It’s also the day Kennedy is scheduled to make his next start.
It reminds him of the last time he got moved mid-season: In 2013, from the Diamondbacks to the Padres. He made a start for Arizona on July 30th — the day before the deadline — and gave up three runs over five innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. Before the start, a teammate had said something to him about being traded, and Kennedy admitted it was tough to get those comments out of his mind.
“It was a little weird, because I was like, ‘Am I going to get pulled out of this game?’” he said. “I didn’t do very well that day.”
“I actually didn’t pay attention [to the rumors] until one of my teammates said something to me, which was one of the worst things that could possibly happen,” Kennedy continued. “I never looked at the rumors because you never know. All these rumors could happen, but you could also never go anywhere.”
Like any change, it takes awhile to acclimate once you’re told you’re being moved.
“It took a couple weeks to finally get used to looking down and seeing blue, instead of seeing red or black,” Kennedy said. “It takes a little bit. It’s an adjustment on your family. At that time I had two girls and my wife moving over.
“Moving to San Diego wasn’t too hard though,” he said, smiling. “It was pretty awesome. It’s a great place to be.”
Like so many others, Kennedy can only wait and see if he will still call this “great place” home.
He’ll know soon enough.