The Sox are once again a contending team in 2018 and could use relief help. Especially when you factor Kimbrel is a free agent at the end of the year for Boston and not a lock to return to the Red Sox. Brad Hand and his counterparts in the bullpen will be shopped by Preller this summer.
Let’s see what he and the Padres could possibly fetch in return:
#3 Boston Red Sox
The San Diego Padres and Boston Red Sox have a working relationship when it comes to deals. The Drew Pomeranz for Anderson Espinoza trade ended with some drama, but both sides should have moved on by now. The bottom line is the Padres, once again, have something the Red Sox covet.
In a quest for third base help, the Padres should inquire about the Red Sox #1 prospect, the #78 in all of baseball, Michael Chavis. The right-handed hitter is currently serving an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. I know, I know, not the best selling point, but the kid has some very nice pop from the right side of the plate. He broke out last year, hitting 31 homers in Double-A, and at the age of 22, seems close to major league-ready.
With Chavis’ history, the Padres could demand a few more lesser-tiered prospects for the services of Brad Hand. Darwinzon Hernandez is an interesting choice for the Padres as the left-handed pitcher has plus stuff. The Red Sox #8 prospect is currently 21 and pitching at the High Single-A level, where he is 2-1 with a 4.84 ERA in seven games started. He has a plus fastball and decent slider. He is capable of throwing a curve and change too and should be able to stick in the rotation long-term. He has control issues that need to be worked out, though, and is not guaranteed success at the higher levels.
Ty Buttrey is an interesting name as the 25-year-old would provide the Padres with a decent arm in the event that they lose Brad Hand in a deal. The reliever has a plus fastball (triple-digit) and a very good change and is currently in Triple-A where he is 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA. He has struck out 27 batters in 16 innings, while walking seven.
This is a decent package for the Padres as Chavis might be a little undervalued presently because of his suspension. The Red Sox’ system is not as deep as in previous years, but the Padres could surely find the right package ff the two teams put their heads together.
#4 Cleveland Indians
The Indians need relief pitching in the worst way. They have a decent group of minor leaguers, so a deal could be possible from these two teams. Adding Brad Hand and Kirby Yates would immediately give Cleveland an edge in the American League Central. Both relievers are under team control for multiple years so this would not be a trade deadline rental. Because of that, the Padres would demand a pretty decent package. Would the Indians pay the price?
Francisco Mejia is the Tribe’s #1 prospect, and the catcher is ranked #13 overall. The 22-year-old would probably not be an option as the Indians value him highly and catching is not a huge need for the Padres. They still have some trust in Austin Hedges, and Austin Allen is tearing it up in Double-A. There are options for the Padres behind the dish.
Cleveland’s #4 prospect is a left-handed-hitting third baseman with decent upside. Nolan Jones is 20 years old and 6-foot-4. He has a very smooth swing and developing power. He is currently at the Single-A level where he is hitting .233 with three homers and 14 RBI in 25 games. He does own a .389 OBP, as he has walked 22 times in 86 at-bats. He has an ability to take a walk, and that bodes well for his future success in the league.
Another interesting option for the Padres is Yu-Cheng Chang. The Triple-A shortstop is the Indians #6 prospect, but has no future with the team. Francisco Lindor is not going anywhere and the Indians have an excess of middle infielders on the roster. Chang is organizational depth at this point and could be attained for the right price. The right-handed hitter is off to a .264/.328/.409 batting line for the Columbus Clippers. He has decent power (24 homers last season), but has trouble making contact from time to time. He is a serviceable fielder and could surprise some as he is still only 22 years old.
Lastly for the package of Yates and Hand, the Padres should take a look at Shane Bieber. The right-handed hurler is also 22 and currently pitching in Triple-A. He has only made two starts for the Clippers after being promoted from Double-A this season. He has a 3-1 record this season with a 1.44 ERA and 0.87 WHIP in seven totals starts between both teams. Bieber has only walked three in 43 innings this season while striking out 39. He has great command and spots his low to mid 90’s fastball well. He has a plus curve and a decent change to go with it. The 6-foot-3 pitcher also throws a slider and is very close to being major league-ready. This trio of players is a high asking price, but they fit needs for the Padres while at the same time make the Indians a World Series favorite.
#5 Minnesota Twins
Another team that is vying for a playoff appearance in 2018, is the Minnesota Twins. With Fernando Rodney currently serving as their closer, there is a need for the team. Adding Minnesota’ native Brad Hand to their bullpen would be amazing for the Twins. The Padres have two-plus years of control over Hand, so they will not take pennies on the dollar for him. The price tag would be hefty, but the Twins have a decent system currently.
Nick Gordon is an interesting player for the Padres to kick the tires on. He is 22, and in Double-A putting up very nice numbers. The left-handed-hitting shortstop has put up a .346/.389/.526 batting line in 35 games and 133 at bats. He was the Twins #1 pick (5th overall) in the 2014 draft out of high school. The son of former major league’ pitcher Tom Gordon has a very nice floor. He doesn’t do anything particularly well, but is solid across the board in his skill set. The Twins have last year’s #1 overall pick, Royce Lewis, in their system, and they also have Wander Javier. They have depth at the position and could view Gordon as expendable for the right offer.
A second huge acquisition in this proposed deal is Stephen Gonsalves. The left-handed pitcher with San Diego ties is the Twins’ #3 prospect and the #74 in all of major league baseball. He is no slouch. The Twins would need some prospects to go with Hand if they were to deal both Gordon and Gonsalves to the Padres. Gonsalves is close to being major league-ready and could add to the Padres’ group of left-handed starters. He sits in the low 90’s with his fastball, but it has nice movement on it. His plus pitch is an effective change which he gets plenty of swings and misses on. He also throws a serviceable curve. The 6-foot-5 pitcher is showing improved command despite his deceptive motion. He is 5-1 this season in seven starts with a 2.72 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP between Double-A and Triple-A. He has recorded 41 strikeouts, while walking 15 in 36.1 innings pitched.
As for the prospects the Padres would have to cough up, that would probably be some lesser talent in the AZL or DSL. The Padres have plenty of young arms and young middle infielders worth tossing into this deal. Gordon and Gonsalves are virtually guaranteed to be major leaguers at one point in their careers.