Padres agree to terms with seven players

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 7: Andrew Cashner #34 of the San Diego Padres pitches in the game against the Washington Nationals at Petco Park on June 7, 2014 in San Diego, California.

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SAN DIEGO – The San Diego Padres today announced that they have agreed to terms with seven players to avoid arbitration, including right-handed pitchers Andrew Cashner, Shawn Kelley, Ian Kennedy, Tyson Ross and Dale Thayer and infielder Yonder Alonso on one-year contracts through the 2015 season and infielder/outfielder Alexi Amarista on a two-year contract through the 2016 season. Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller made the announcement.

Alonso, 27, hit .240 (64-for-267) last season with 19 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 27 RBI in 84 games played for the Padres in 2014. Since being acquired by the Padres prior to the 2012 season, the Havana, Cuba native has hit .268 (308-for-1150) with 69 doubles, one triple, 22 home runs, 134 RBI and 108 runs scored in 336 games played. The first-round selection (seventh overall) of the Cincinnati Reds in 2008, Alonso has hit .271 (343-for-1267) with 75 doubles, one triple, 27 home runs, 152 RBI and 119 runs scored in 405 games played over parts of five Major League seasons total with Cincinnati (2010-11) and San Diego (2012-14)

Amarista, 25, appeared in a career-high 148 games for the Padres in 2014 and posted career-bests in several offensive categories, including runs (39), hits (101), RBI (40), stolen bases (12) and walks (29). The left-handed hitting utility man has spent time at six different positions over parts of four Major League seasons, including center field (119), second base (110), shortstop (99), left field (52), third base (32) and right field (4). The Barcelona, Venezuela, native started 68 of the Padres final 79 games of the 2014 season at shortstop where he ranked sixth among National League shortstops in zone rating (.822) and seventh in defensive runs saved (7).    

Cashner, 28, posted a 5-7 record with a 2.55 ERA with 93 strikeouts against 29 walks in 19 games, all starts, for the Padres during the 2014 season, allowing two earned runs or fewer on 16 occasions. San Diego’s Opening Night starter last season, the Conroe, Tex., native owned the seventh-lowest ERA in the National League among pitchers with 100.0-or-more innings pitched and currently owns an 18-game streak of allowing two earned runs or fewer at Petco Park, during which he’s pitched to a 6-6 record with a 1.45 ERA (20 ER, 124.1 IP). The 6-6, 220 pound right-hander owns a lifetime 20-26 record with a 3.25 ERA with 331 strikeouts against 129 walks in 143 games, 51 starts, over parts of five Major League seasons with the Chicago Cubs (2010-11) and Padres (2012-14).

Kennedy, 30, pitched to a 13-13 record with a 3.63 ERA (81 ER, 201.0 IP) with a career-high 207 strikeouts against 70 walks over a career-high-tying 33 starts last season. His strikeout total during the 2014 campaign made him the fourth pitcher, and sixth instance, in franchise history to record 200-or-more strikeouts in a single season, joining Kevin Brown in 1998, Jake Peavy from 2005-07 and Clay Kirby in 1971. The Huntington Beach, Calif., native has now made 30-or-more starts in five consecutive seasons and is one of three National League starters to have accomplished this feat, joining Milwaukee’s Yovanni Gallardo and Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels. Kennedy owns a lifetime 66-53 record with a 3.93 ERA with 966 strikeouts against 360 walks in 176 games, 174 starts, over parts of eight Major League seasons with the New York Yankees (2007-09), Arizona Diamondbacks (2010-13) and Padres (2013-14).

Ross, 27, posted career-highs in nearly every category during the 2014 season en route to being named to his first All-Star team, including wins (13), ERA (2.81), starts (31), innings pitched (195.2 IP) and strikeouts (195). A native of Berkeley, Calif., the 6-5, 225 pound right-handed pitcher turned in 15 games of six-or-more innings pitched and two-or-fewer earned runs last season, including a streak of 10 consecutive such games from June 21 to July 24, the third-highest total in Major League baseball. Additionally, Ross posted 14 consecutive quality starts from June 21 to September 7 last season, a new franchise record. The second-round pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2008, Ross owns a lifetime 22-40 record with a 3.70 ERA and 416 strikeouts against 186 walks in 119 games, 68 starts, over parts of five Major League seasons with the A’s (2010-12) and Padres (2013-14). 

Thayer, 34, appeared in a career-high 70 games for San Diego in 2014, also posting career-bests in wins (4), innings pitched (65.1), ERA (2.34) and games finished (25). Since joining San Diego before the 2012 season, the right-handed reliever has appeared in 203 games, the most of any Padres pitcher in that time and the 12th-most of any National League. Thayer owns a lifetime 9-15 record with a 3.36 ERA with 188 strikeouts against 51 walks in 226 appearances over parts of six Major League seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays (2009-10), New York Mets (2011) and Padres (2012-14). 

With today’s announcement, the Padres have no remaining arbitration-eligible players.