MINOR LEAGUE PADRES WHO COULD BE ON THE MOVE
RHP Michel Báez, 23 years old
-2019 stats (Double-A): 23.1 IP, 2.31 ERA, 1.37 WHIP
-Likelihood of being moved: high
As the Padres move into the late stages of their years-long rebuild, they’re going to have to start moving prospects. It’s always a scary proposition to think about potentially giving up on a highly rated prospect before he ever makes his major league debut, but no organization has ever avoided this reality while at the same time contending. It’s a trade-off that has to be made if winning a World Series is the ultimate goal (and it should be, by the way).
Enter Michel Báez, who is good enough to be the primary piece of a package that returns a solid All-Star starting pitcher, which is ultimately what the Padres will covet most this trade deadline. If Preller shoots for the stars with a legitimate, controllable ace, Báez won’t cut it as the headliner but will certainly be sought after as a secondary or tertiary component of the haul. All indications are that the Padres are definitely looking to add at least one controllable starting pitcher in the coming weeks, and it’s tough to see Báez surviving the deadline if that is indeed the case.
LHP Adrian Morejon, 20 years old
-2019 stats (Double-A): 32.0 IP, 4.78 ERA, 1.36 WHIP
-Likelihood of being moved: high
Morejon is right there with Báez in that a trade for a controllable starter likely doesn’t get done without him. In a situation where the Padres deal for a single arm, the Padres would likely give teams their pick between Báez and Morejon – offering both for anything less than an ace probably won’t happen; move a tier higher in the trade market, and they’re both most likely gone. As a side note, if one or both of them do happen to remain in the organization, there’s a growing sentiment that they would slot into the bullpen in late-2019 and possibly into 2020.
2B/SS Luis Urías, 22 years old
-2019 stats (Triple-A): 328 PA, .320 BA, 1.001 OPS, 17 HR
-Likelihood of being moved: medium
The whole Urías storyline this year has been bizarre, to say the least. If you predicted he’d have 328 Triple-A plate appearances at the All-Star break before the season began, you’re a liar. Yet, here we are, in a situation that suddenly reeks of a trade. Urías’ clear path to the major leagues is at second base, but he has been playing almost exclusively shortstop in El Paso. Could that be to showcase to other teams that he can play both middle infield spots? I don’t see what else it could be, because playing shortstop isn’t bringing any value to him as a Padre. Ian Kinsler has been, uh, bad, and Greg Garcia has been good yet unspectacular in a larger role than he probably anticipated this year.
There have been whispers of the Padres being unhappy with the pronounced leg kick that he employs and, for the record, has not ditched in Triple-A. He’s picked up a bit of an unfortunate strikeout habit, but he’s also exhibited some pop that is, at the very least, intriguing. Urías is still regarded very highly in baseball circles (#20 prospect overall, #2 prospect in the Padres’ system, per MLB Pipeline), but all signs point to the organization souring on him a bit. Packaging him with another highly regarded pitching prospect in return for an ace could be the easiest path to circumvent trading Patiño, especially if the organization believes Xavier Edwards or CJ Abrams can be the answer at second base for the future. This one is tough to gauge, so consider it a “high-end of medium” in terms of likelihood of being traded.
RHP Luis Patiño, 19 years old
-2019 stats (High-A): 61.1 IP, 3.38 ERA, 1.21 WHIP
-Likelihood of being moved: low
In many eyes, Patiño has pitched his way into the borderline-untouchable territory – nothing short of an ace is going to pry Patiño away from the Padres, and even then, Preller and company would have to think long and hard about parting ways with him. All of these top-line starters that the team is looking to acquire right now? It’s not hard to imagine Patiño becoming that in very short order. He’s really good, and a trade that sees him on the move would be one of the biggest transactions in Padres history. But that seems to be somewhat of a trend in PadreLand these days, so you never know.
As for the rest of the system, anyone not named MacKenzie Gore could realistically be moved if the deal works, but there are too many variables to predict a trade at this stage responsibly. As a general rule, younger guys (say, CJ Abrams) will likely be held on to while more experienced guys (say, Logan Allen) would be targeted by other teams more heavily. Nobody is theoretically safe here, but they’re not going to be among the first names mentioned in a phone call, either.
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