Twenty-nine year old right-hander Edinson Volquez will reach free agency for the first time in his career after the 2013 season. Having been traded twice in his career and now a part of his third organization, Volquez is hoping to remain with the San Diego Padres, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union Tribune, and would like to work out an extension with the franchise before he hits the open market.
Volquez has been tough to predict throughout his career. He’d thrown 80.0 innings across 20 appearances with the Texas Rangers over the 2005-2007 seasons, posting a 3-11 record and 7.20 ERA. He hadn’t done much to impress against Major League hitters, but there was still enough talent there for some interest to develop across the league. Texas dealt Volquez after the 2007 season, along with Danny Herrera, to the Cincinnati Reds for Josh Hamilton.
2008 proved to be a banner year for Volquez. He made 32 starts for the Reds, going 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA over 196.0 IP. He added a 1.327 WHIP, 9.5 K/9, an All Star Game appearance, and finished 4th in the National League Rookie of the Year voting. Expectations were high, but Volquez wasn’t able to sustain that performance. He was limited to just 9 starts the following year and then missed 50 games in 2010 while serving a suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy. Following another subpar season in 2011 the Reds included Volquez in a package – with Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger – that they sent to the Padres for Mat Latos.
Volquez seemingly found himself once again this past season with San Diego. He made 32 starts, pitching 182.2 innings. He went 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA and 1.451 WHIP on the year. He was reliable and consistent, but did lead the league by allowing 105 walks (5.2 BB/9). Volquez and the team reached an agreement on a $5.275 Million deal for the 2013 season, avoiding arbitration. He’s projected to be the team’s number one starter and could get the nod on Opening Day.
It’s tough to gauge what the Padres may want to do beyond this season. The team has operated within very stringent financial territory in recent years, seemingly reluctant to spend in order to retain some of their players. Volquez could be a player the team might have interest in re-signing, but he’ll need to show another solid season with some improvements in his command before a multi year deal is likely to be put on the table. His inconsistent history is enough to justify waiting until the season ends. Even with a strong showing in 2013 it still may be a surprise if Volquez ends up getting a deal beyond three years and more than $20 Million.
I hope I don’t get to the free agent market. I’d like to stay a Padre. I think they know that. I love it here. I see a future with the Padres and I like everything about San Diego, the food, the weather, the community.
Volquez is saying the right things. He’s also reportedly helping counsel Grandal on how to handle his upcoming suspension. Now he just needs to perform on the mound for the team to want to re-sign him at year’s end.