For weeks, the San Diego Padres were at the forefront of Major League Baseball’s revolving door of trade rumors. Eyes were on general manager A.J. Preller, who became heralded as a rock star after completing one of the biggest roster overhauls in league history.
However, the dreams of San Diego replicating the success of the 1984 and 1998 Padres teams didn’t come to fruition. At the All Star break, the 2015 Padres were 41-49, good enough for fourth place in the National League West. The last-place Colorado Rockies were nipping at their heels.
The starting pitching has struggled at times. The offense hasn’t been the juggernaut it was expected to be. With Matt Kemp struggling during the first half of the season, Justin Upton carried the offense on his back, something that doesn’t work during a 162-game schedule. Aside from a few spurts of greatness, the team has drastically under-performed.
When the trade chatter was in full swing, most of it was about Preller’s next moves. Some thought he would sell all of pieces and start from scratch, rebuilding the farm system he unloaded to acquire proven talent. Others thought he wouldn’t necessarily sell, but rather rebuild with an emphasis to win in 2016. Finally, some thought ownership wanted to cut payroll, something that was never an actual option the front office had discussed.
As for all of those scenarios and would-be splashes that were being discussed:
- Craig Kimbrel was the subject of a trade with the New York Yankees
- The Chicago Cubs were interested in acquiring a starting pitcher, with James Shields being named as said pitcher
- The Houston Astros were also in on starting pitching, and showed interest in both Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner
- Justin Upton was linked to almost every team in playoff contention. It was later revealed that the New York Mets made a strong pitch for Upton just hours before the trade deadline
- Will Venable and Joaquin Benoit were also involved in trade rumors. Both players’ contracts expire after this season.
When July 31 finally came, all eyes were on Preller and the Padres. However, the talk was about the rumors already discussed. As the hours went by, nothing happened. When the clock struck 4 p.m. EDT, the team was still intact. No big moves were made.
Now what? Preller told various media outlets after the deadline that the returns teams were offering for his players on the trading block didn’t match what he was looking for. He also said that despite how this season has played out, he thinks the team can still make a run at the playoffs.
The Padres are 8.5 games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division lead. They are 6.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants for the second Wild Card spot.
However, they have won 12 of their last 16 games. Once 10 games under .500, they now are only two under that mark. The schedule looks favorable to San Diego in August. The Padres play series’ against the Marlins, Brewers, Phillies, Reds and Rockies, all in that order. Gaining ground on both the teams ahead of them in the standings is well within the realm of possibility.