San Diego Padres Trade Deadline Preview

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: AP Photo

NON-PADRES WHO COULD BE TARGETS

RHP Noah Syndergaard (NYM), 26 years old

-2019 stats: 105.2 IP, 4.68 ERA, 1.78 WHIP, 0.7 WAR
-Contract status: controlled through 2021; arbitration-eligible in ’20
-Likelihood of becoming a Padre: medium

Let me just start this portion of the article by saying that nobody is going to be labeled “high” in terms of likelihood – that would be taking the Padres against the field, which just isn’t realistic. But Syndergaard is about as likely as anyone on this list to become a Padre, for multiple reasons. One, the Mets’ 2019 is not exactly going swimmingly. They find themselves 10 games under .500 in an NL East in which the Braves, Nationals and Phillies are all better teams. Thor’s 2019 isn’t going great, either, which certainly makes him an intriguing buy-low candidate for the Padres as they look to add a controllable starter moving into their contention window of 2020. The 4.68 ERA doesn’t exactly scream “ace”, but his previous career-high in that category is just 3.24, which came in his rookie season. The price will be high, no doubt, but it’s not a price that the Padres can’t or shouldn’t match. He’s 26, has legitimate postseason experience and is controllable through 2021. Pitching coach Darren Balsley has one of the best track records around when it comes to reclamation projects, and with someone who has the stuff and past success that Syndergaard has, this seems like a very good investment. New York will probably ask about Patiño, but if Preller can talk them off that ledge, anything else would appear to be fair game. He can, and has been, an ace at the highest level. At 26 years old, this is a shot you take.

RHP Marcus Stroman (TOR), 28 years old

-2019 stats: 104.2 IP, 3.18 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 2.4 WAR
-Contract status: controlled through 2020; arbitration-eligible in ’20
-Likelihood of becoming a Padre: medium

Stroman is having a far better season than Syndergaard, but probably has just a tad less value on the trade market. He’s older, has less control, and has a more volatile history. “Ace” is a term he’s acquired circumstantially with Toronto, but realistically, he isn’t that. Don’t get me wrong, though; he’s a really good pitcher who can be a strong number-two starter on a postseason team. While not crazy controllable, you would be getting a postseason push plus another season if you were to trade for him, which isn’t horrible. The problem here, and this is really the opposite of Syndergaard, is that his value now is probably higher than it has ever been. So the ceiling and floor of a potential Stroman trade are both much lower. This one is risky, but if the asking price is reasonable, this might be a shot you take too – just with much less confidence.

Credit: AP Photo

LHP Matthew Boyd (DET), 28 years old

-2019 stats: 107 IP, 3.87 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 3.0 WAR
-Contract status: controlled through 2022; arbitration-eligible in ’20
-Likelihood of becoming a Padre: low

Boyd is not getting nearly as much buzz as some of the other starting pitchers on the trade market, and honestly, I’m not sure why. The Tigers have made it clear that they’re going to be open for business at the deadline, and Boyd is having a fantastic year. At 28 with three years of control, he has everything you would want in a prototypical deadline deal as a tweener. Two things make me think this isn’t likely, however – one, a soft-tossing lefty isn’t exactly what San Diego is looking for with Lucchesi, Lauer and possibly Allen in the rotation moving forward, and two, when there’s smoke, there’s usually fire. And there hasn’t been much smoke surrounding Boyd-to-San Diego, so I’m inclined to believe there isn’t a fire.

RHP Max Scherzer (WAS), 34 years old

-2019 stats: 129.1 IP, 2.30 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 5.5 WAR
-Contract status: controlled through 2021; due average annual value of $28M
-Likelihood of becoming a Padre: low

Two months ago, this could’ve been a serious possibility. Then the Nationals clawed their way back into the postseason picture. The dream of bringing the best pitcher in baseball to San Diego isn’t completely dead, though. If these next three weeks turn out to be a disaster in DC and/or they get a strong sense that third baseman Anthony Rendon won’t re-sign with them in the offseason, Washington might feel inclined to sell, rebuild and keep their younger core of Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Patrick Corbin, etc. In this case, considering the haul Scherzer would command, even at age 34, they would have no choice but to listen to calls. Preller might just be one of those calls. Again, not likely, but not impossible.

RHP Stephen Strasburg (WAS), 30 years old

-2019 stats: 116.1 IP, 3.64 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 3.1
-Contract status: controlled through 2023; due average annual value of $25M
-Likelihood of becoming a Padre: low

Mandatory Credit: AP Photo

Take everything I just said about the hypothetical Nationals nightmare and apply it to Strasburg. Without that happening, the conversation ends. If it does happen, though, Strasburg’s market will likely be a big one. The injury concern is first and foremost with the former SDSU Aztec, but when he’s out there, he consistently pitches at a very high level and would be under contract for a long time. But that contract is no joke, and for an injury-prone arm on the wrong side of 30, it creates a significant risk without the certainty that, say, Scherzer would offer. Strasburg coming back home would be a cool story, and he’d likely give the Padres some good years, but there are smarter investments out there.

RHP Trevor Bauer (CLE), 28 years old

-2019 stats: 132.0 IP, 3.61 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 1.9 WAR
-Contract status: controlled through 2020; arbitration-eligible in ’20
-Likelihood of becoming a Padre: low

Forgive me if this is beginning to sound repetitive, but the Indians are in a very similar spot as the Nationals. A bad start sparked trade rumors surrounding just about everybody, including Bauer, but they seem to have been muffled as the team has put themselves right in the thick of contention down the stretch. There’s this, too: Indians owner Paul Dolan made waves this past March when he said the following in regards to superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor’s future in Cleveland: “Enjoy him. We control him for three more years. Enjoy him, and then we’ll see what happens.” That doesn’t sound like someone who is supremely confident in being able to re-sign Lindor either in free agency or before. A trade of Lindor doesn’t appear imminent, but it is certainly something to monitor. And if Lindor is moved, Bauer would logically be next in line.

RHP Corey Kluber (CLE), 33 years old

-2019 stats: 35.2 IP, 5.80 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, -0.4 WAR
-Contract status: controlled through 2021; due average annual value of $17.7M
-Likelihood of becoming a Padre: low

Same team, same situation for Kluber. Except he’s 33, will be coming off a fractured right forearm and has a pretty hefty contract. Don’t do this. Just don’t.

2B/OF Whit Merrifield (KC), 30 years old

-2019 stats: 414 PA, .306 BA, .850 OPS, 11 HR, 2.4 WAR
-Contract status: controlled through 2023; due average annual value of $5.3M
-Likelihood of becoming a Padre: low

The only non-pitcher on this list, Merrifield can play second base and center field, or as Padre fans know them, the two biggest uncertainties moving forward outside of starting pitching. He’s old-ish for a middle infielder/center fielder, but he has quite possibly the most team-friendly contract in the league, and he’s a fantastic player. On paper, everything the Padres could ever need offensively and defensively is right there, on the market, as the Royals continue to flounder. But, as you might’ve guessed, it’s not that sweet.

Credit: USA Today Sports

While undoubtedly deep, the Padres’ prospect capital isn’t endless, and a player of Merrifield’s caliber on that contract would not be cheap. Assuming the front office’s goal isn’t to drain the majority of the farm system, and there are no indications that it is, a deadline trade in 2019 should be for a starting pitcher. For a team in the middle, having a super loud trade deadline with multiple moves creates risk that doesn’t have to be there. It’s a shame because he would be a perfect fit, but the timing just isn’t right.

RHP Sonny Gray (CIN), 29 years old

-2019 stats: 90.1 IP, 3.59 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 2.1 WAR
-Contract status: controlled through 2023; due average annual value of $10.6M
-Likelihood of becoming a Padre: low

This one isn’t getting much buzz, but it’s actually really interesting. In Oakland, Gray was mostly awesome. Then he was traded to the Yankees, got hit pretty hard, and was picked up by the Reds, essentially left for dead. Now, he’s an All-Star again at just 29 years old on a very team-friendly deal. Not unimportant, by the way, are his home/road splits – in the Bronx in 2018: 6.98 ERA at home in unarguably one of the most hitter-friendly ballparks in league history in Yankee Stadium, 3.17 ERA on the road. And that includes frequenting other AL East hitters’ parks in Baltimore and Boston. This year in Cincinnati, another universally recognized launching pad, his home/road splits have been almost identical. I’m no mathematician, but those numbers figure to play very well in the likes of Petco Park, Dodger Stadium and Oracle Park. Oh, and the Reds are in last place. I like Gray as a sleeper, a lot. Keep an eye on this one.

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Brady Lim
Born and raised in San Diego, CA. Currently living in Eugene, OR as a junior at the University of Oregon. Journalism major, Padre fan, music lover. Attended my first Padre game at the Q in 1998 when I was three months old. Follow me on Twitter: @BradyLim619.

8 thoughts on “San Diego Padres Trade Deadline Preview

  1. Is it just “Ryan now?

    Ok Ryan, not sure why you’re so obsessed with me.
    But that’s cool, I appreciate the hate.

    Werent you the one who was banned from mlbtraderumors.com at least twice for being west coast Ryan by being an annoying douche to everyone who disagreed with you and your
    “Why trade for him when we can sign him in TWO years” comment constantly. You were also red rooster who again, was banned. You denied it, I called you out, and even Steve Adams commented saying you were in fact the same person..as he was able to track your IP address. Even after that awkward revelation, you still talk shit. Nobody likes you Ryan…well maybe Tanned Tom.

    And I prefer to talk baseball, not argue w an 80 yr grumpy asshole/whiny 30 yr old living at home.
    Go play your Xbox. I’m sure you have a ton of friends there.

    In regards to Wil Myers, cool, good job Einstein, you predicted Wil Myers would suck this year. Bravo.

  2. Good job. Love these types of exhaustive views of the market. Probably the Reds are not sellers though. They’re only 4.5 games out of 1st in their division and do have a positive run differential, meaning they might be a better team than their record indicates.
    One of the criteria teams use to evaluate prospects, particularly their own, is coachability. If Urias has still got the big leg kick, and has been hard-headed about changing it, then you are right that he could be moved. It is essential to trade top prospects once you have given up on them, and before other teams come to the same judgment. Coachability was why Renfroe was demoted, and why Gyorko was traded, to pick just two examples.
    And of course the big domino is Myers. Yes it will be like giving birth to an elephant to trade him. But dealing him saves at least some money, and opens up a valuable roster spot for a more useful player, be it Jankowski, France or whomever. Pretty much simply has to be done.

    1. “It is essential to trade top prospects once you have given up on them, and before other teams come to the same judgment.”

      That’s what Josh Byrnes thought when he traded Anthony Rizzo.

      Oh and Hunter Renfroe seems pretty coachable to me.

      1. Still hits for a low BA, a crappy OBP, and strikes out too much. Perhaps you don’t understand what is meant by coachable.

  3. 1. Trading Stammen doesn’t mean they can’t bring him back.
    2. According to who has the organization soured on Urias?

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