There are a lot of factors at play here for the Padres this year.
The following prospects are currently in the top 30 of most rankings that need to be on the 40-man roster before the end of the year to avoid the Rule 5 draft: Luis Urias, Austin Allen, Chris Paddack, Anderson Espinoza, Jacob Nix, Trey Wingenter and Pedro Avila. There are a number of other interesting names just outside of that group that are in jeopardy as well but the fact is, the Padres will have some tough decisions as they attempt to keep the talent acquired over the past four years and could lead to an interesting next two months, as they search for 40-man spots.
Since A.J. Preller took over the job of General Manager in 2014, he has been no stranger to acquiring talent of all shapes and sizes. This season will prove this to an even greater extent because as the Padres approach the non-waiver trade deadline, the Padres may be in a position to be both buyers and sellers.
Preller is not a stranger to both acquiring Major League talent and selling it, so let’s look at possible returns for the Major League Talent currently on the Padres 40-man roster and rather than focus on particular players, we will go by position and dissect some ideas that could possibly benefit the team now and down the road.
This is arguably the strongest depth for the Padres at the upper levels with players like Wil Myers, Manuel Margot, Franchy Cordero, Hunter Renfroe, Travis Jankowski, and Franmil Reyes all contributing at the Major League level at some point this year.
In the past, Preller has moved outfielders to acquire all-stars, veterans, up-and-coming talent, prospects and minor league depth. With this group, excluding Myers, Margot or Cordero for the moment, a return like he got from the Melvin Upton trade is not out of the realm of possibilities, especially for a guy like Jankowski. Although Hansel Rodriguez is not in our top 30 prospects, he was 19th at the time of the deal for the Blue Jays and has potential to pitch in San Diego. Jankowski has shown an ability to hit lead-off while playing a great outfield at all three spots, similar to what Upton did for the Padres. This move would open up one spot for the 40-man roster.
As for Reyes and Renfroe, they will be discussed a little further down.
Doing some late night homework, found this video of Hansel Rodriguez from when he was a Blue Jay prospect.
— Patrick Cusick (@TheProfessorPQ) June 14, 2018
For this group, Preller’s best course of action should be something similar to the Yangervis Solarte trade. Solarte, was under control for multiple years and though Freddy Galvis is a free agent at the end of the year, Jose Pirela is under contract through the 2022 season.
In return, the Padres could receive a younger, talented, high upside prospect like they did when they got outfielder Edward Olivares who immediately moved into the top 30 rankings. Galvis and Pirela could get a return like this, especially for teams in the play-off hunt looking for veteran players, who can play at a high level at multiple positions.
For the Padres, the bullpen has been a wonderful surprise this year. Guys like Craig Stammen, Brad Hand and Kirby Yates were not a big surprise due to past representations but some of the younger guys like Phil Maton, Adam Cimber and Matt Strahm have performed tremendously in big situations. Any of the six of them should produce a big return if the Padres go seeking it.
All of the players mentioned above are long term assets for the Padres which only increases the return that the Padres should get here. Nobody wants to trade an asset like above but the Padres have the fortunate ability to trade from depth here. In the past, Preller has done a good job of trading relief pitchers for value here – Fernando Rodney, Joaquin Benoit, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer to name a few – and he most certainly will do it again here. Before the deadline last year most were shocked when Buchter and Maurer were moved, so fans should not be blown away when Preller makes a move in the coming months. A trade here will benefit both the now and the future as the Padres look to free a 40-man spot.
Tyson Ross is a name from the past that was not expected to make the team at the start of Spring Training, yet here he is, arguably our best starter as the season progresses. It would be a shocking development if he is still a Padre come August. The value for Ross right now is at its peak and the veteran right-hander is a must get for any team looking to make a run.
The return for Ross could get something back like the return in the James Shields trade. At the time, Tatis was not even ranked in the top 100 prospects but the Padres saw the potential. The fact is, had the White Sox known they had a potential top ten prospect, he probably would not have been moved in that deal, but Preller made the move hoping the upside would pan out. A move like that for Ross is not out of the question. The prospect returned may not be a glowing prospect now but look for the Padres to find a young high ceiling prospect here.