If the Padres are Buyers They Must Add Pitching at Trade Deadline

Credit: USA Today Sports

Credit: AP Photo

As the Padres front office evaluates the current state of affairs with less than a month until the July 31st trade deadline, A.J. Preller and company must identify soon whether or not the 2019 Padres have what it takes for a postseason run.

Enacting the posture of ‘buyers’ at the July 31st trade deadline would not only mark the first time a Padres front office would attempt such a feat since the likes of Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Tejada were acquired at the deadline in 2010, but would also signal fulfillment of the promise made by A.J. Preller when he gave the proverbial bird to the concept of ‘service time’ by calling up Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack on opening day.

This bold move, along with a galvanizing pre-season pep talk by the normally mild-mannered Preller has brought intensity, swagger, and most importantly, a winning mentality to the Padres clubhouse for the first time in recent memory.

Although this Padres team has an exciting, high-voltage offense, the clear weakness for the Padres has been their pitching staff.

Starting Pitching

The Padres rotation is too young. While the likes of Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer have been the team’s most consistent innings eaters, the other three spots in the Padres rotation still leaves a lot to be desired.

Although Paddack has amassed impressive numbers while bringing refreshing, Jake Peavy-like intensity to the mound, the way in which the Padres will continue to place strict pitch counts on ‘The Sheriff’ for the remainder of the season.

Also, with Matt Strahm’s recent demotion to the bullpen, the Padres are placing immense pressure on unproven arms such as Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill, each of which have shown flashes of brilliance, but remain inconsistent the major league level.

Dinelson Lamet’s return from Tommy John surgery provides some much-needed firepower to a struggling rotation. However, history shows that pitchers returning from Tommy John sometimes need an entire season in order to make proper adjustments and get back up to major league speed.

Sure, acquiring the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Jacob DeGrom, or Trevor Bauer would add a bonafide ace who eats innings to a rotation who desperately needs one. However, any of these pitchers would come at a hefty price, where prospects such as MacKenzie Gore and Luis Urias may be dealt in exchange.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

While the Padres could go all-in and add an ace, the Padres main need is for starting pitching who can go deep into games. The Padres are currently 17th in MLB in innings pitched by starters, and with a bullpen that has proved to be unreliable beyond Kirby Yates, the Padres would benefit greatly from adding one or established, innings-eating starting pitchers.

One potential option would be short-term rental Zack Wheeler. Wheeler will be a free agent this offseason, and on a Mets team which appears to be out of the playoff picture, Wheeler is the type of piece the Mets may be willing to part with.

With an average fastball velocity that ranks 5th in all of baseball at 96.8mph and a 5-pitch-mix, Wheeler possesses top-of-the-rotation-like stuff. With an unimpressive 4.42 ERA on the season, the Mets might be willing to sell low on Wheeler, as the Padres may have to part with a combination of mid-level prospects such as Anderson Espinosa, Ty France, or Buddy Reed to get a deal done. What’s more, is that the Padres could cash in on an arm that’s in a good run of form. In Wheeler’s last three starts, he’s posted a 1.86 ERA and a .182 opponents batting average.

Another rotation option could be Marcus Stroman. It’s been well documented that the Blue Jays most reliable starter would be an ideal match for San Diego.  Of course, Stroman, his 3.18 ERA, and one year of control beyond this season would come at a higher price than Wheeler. Maybe the Padres could send Canadian natives Cal Quantrill and Josh Naylor along with a higher-level prospect such as Michael Baez, to get Stroman to San Diego.

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Ben Friedl
A recent USD graduate, Ben grew up in San Diego and has been a life-long Padres fan. Currently, Ben is residing in Chicago, IL where he is pursuing his Master's degree in Sports Media Journalism at Northwestern University.

5 thoughts on “If the Padres are Buyers They Must Add Pitching at Trade Deadline

  1. Starting the season with Tatis on the ML roster says they wanted the top 25 on the big leauge team. Your definition of high powered offense is different than mine. The Padres are in the bottom third of the league in 4 of the 6 frequently used categories for 2019. With that being said, I will assume you think they should be buyers but it’s not really clear.

    The message being transmitted through all exterior Padres outlets is they will not mortgage the long term future to chase a 2019 post season run. They are in listen mode and without a clear upgrade to now and the future; they are prepared to continue with the plan of filling needs through their own system . I too share this opinion. Upgrading the pitching mean very little without addressing the C, 2B, and the OF.

    You inadvertently support the positions above by laying out the pitching woes. Cal and Logan will continue to pick up innings and experience the more they are involved. Dinelson will be able to work his way back to his pre TJS self the remainder of the season without the additional pull of post season pipe dreams. Chris Paddack wont have as tight of restrictions in 2020. Assuming Garrett Richards makes it back in Sept, he can get a head start on prepping for a big 2020 spring training and anchoring a legitimate post season run.

    Chasing names like Matz, Stroman, Bumgarner, Vasquez et al would prematurely expend the prospect capital AJ and crew have built over the last 3yrs. For what? An outside shot at a one game playin. Pass. The one guy with control, Neil Huntington said early this week is absolutely not getting traded.

    The bullpen, everyone dead horse at the moment. Perhaps you might want to look inside the system before seeking what they might already have. Andres Munoz and Jose Castillo arent that far away for immediate relief. Both Michel Baez and Adrian Morejon are also coming back from obsticals in Amarillo and will certainly get a crack at some point this season. Pedro Avilia and Miguel Diaz have shown well in small doses and will have an entire offseason to prepare for their spring training push.

    The last thing to consider and you will begin to hear a lot more about is the 40 man roster crunch and protecting assets from the rule 5 draft. There is absolutely zero chance the Padres can protect everyone they want to so the next 3.5 months can be used to prioritize who amongst these names they need to protect. Tyler Higgins, Trevor Megill, Travis Radke, Eric Yardley, Jean Cosme, and Darius Valdez.

    Who knows, a post season appearance isnt completely out of the question if everything absolutely falls in their favor but to go all in 2019 could cause more harm than good.

    Gooood Padres.

    1. Totally agree. I would rather wait another year or two and then go for it all. The young pitching staff (starters) are actually doing a tad better than I expected going into the season. My main concern is 2B, C and CF. In a dream scenario the Yankees would take Myers off our hands for a mid level AA player.

  2. If they hadn’t traded Hand and Cimber the bullpen wouldn’t be such a wreck. As for starters, sure, go ahead and trade for a good one. But don’t count on Howdy Doody knowing how to use him. All these workload-limited starters, and they are always left in until they give up a big inning, or totally run out of gas.

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