The Padres began receiving calls on first base prospect Anthony Rizzo almost immediately after they acquired another young first baseman Yonder Alonso in their widely praised 4-for-1 trade that sent pitcher Mat Latos to the Reds, and the Cubs and Rays are among teams that emerged as being interested in Rizzo.
Rizzo could easily go in in trade, as he was acquired by San Diego by the previous general manager Jed Hoyer and apparently isn’t held in quite the same regard following a rough cameo in San Diego last year. New Padres GM Josh Byrnes, who pulled off the Latos trade, rather candidly said that Alonso is now ahead of Rizzo on San Diego’s depth chart for first base. Hoyer, not coincidentally, is the new GM in Chicago, so it’s no surprise the Cubs are interested. The Rays have been seeking a first baseman, so their involvement isn’t a surprise, either.
Rizzo, only 22, had an up-and-down year with the Padres, looking every bit like the future star they envisioned when they sent superstar Adrian Gonzalez to Boston while at Triple-A Tucson before struggling mightily in his short stint with the Padres. Rizzo hit .331 with 26 home runs and 101 RBI and 1.056 OPS at Triple-A Tucson, then hit just .141 with one home run and nine RBI in 128 at-bats for the Padres. He had a .523 OPS in San Diego, almost exactly half his mark in Tucson. He also struck out 46 times in 128 at-bats, as his stock fell with some. “He has holes in his swing,’’ one N.L. scout said.
However, it was only a short callup, and he still has admirers. The Padres could seek a starting pitcher in trade with either team. Wade Davis, who is available, could be a possibility if they deal with Tampa. The Cubs could also send prospects to the Padres. The Cubs already owe the Padres a prospect or two for their acquisition of Hoyer, Byrnes’ predecessor in San Diego.For more MLB news and rumors from Jon Heyman, follow @JonHeymanCBS.