We have nine days until the MLB trade deadline. This year, unlike the past, it’s a hard line. Gone are the possibilities of August waiver wire deals. This time around it’s trade now or forever hold your pieces.
After 99 games the Padres are 5.0 games out of a National League Wild Card spot, not an insurmountable number. The problem is they would have to jump six teams to get there and that’s a tall order.
It’s certainly not easy but there are ways to improve the roster to try and make a run this year while still getting better for next year and beyond. With that in mind here are a few trade proposals for the Friars … some straightforward and some so crazy they just might work (or be truly horrible ideas):
2B Ian Kinsler to the Cubs for Single-A RHP Paul Richan
This is pretty obvious. Luis Urias is here to stay and Greg Garcia has outplayed the veteran 2nd baseman. Although Kinsler has a lot of pull in that clubhouse (only he and Eric Hosmer have World Series rings) he just doesn’t fit the roster makeup moving forward. While his overall numbers are not good, over May and June Kinsler had a .792 OPS. That’s dipped dramatically in July over just 29 at-bats as he’s basically lost his starting spot. The Cubs are in the market for a veteran 2nd baseman because Addison Russell has been a borderline disaster this season and they need a stabilizing presence.
Kinsler’s 2-year, $8 million contract makes his affordable, another thing Chicago is looking for. Since the Padres would really be looking to free up space for Urias and Garcia they don’t need a huge haul in return. Richan, one of Chicago's Top-30 prospects, is a University of San Diego product who doesn’t have lights out stuff but knows how to pitch. He’s 9-4 with a 3.64 ERA, 82 K and 18 BB over 89.0 innings at High-A Myrtle Beach. Another benefit for the Padres is he was drafted in 2018 so Richan would not need to be placed on the 40-man roster for a few years.
OF Wil Myers, LHP Eric Lauer, Single-A LHP Osvaldo Hernandez to the Indians for RHP Trevor Bauer
Now we're getting a little more ambitious. The Padres will have to eat some (OK, a whole lot) of Myers’ contract but I think they’re willing to do that. The Indians are desperate for corner outfield help with power and Myers seems to me like the kind of guy who is still wildly talented and would benefit from a change of scenery. Cleveland is getting Corey Kluber back from injury and still has a deep rotation with Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber (and hopefully Carlos Carrasco as he battles leukemia) so they won't need another ace in return. Lauer, a former 1st round pick with potential who's been plagued by inconsistency, is only 24 and controllable for several years. Hernandez, a 21-year-old from Cuba, has been climbing prospect rankings of late.
Bauer leads the Major Leagues in innings pitched and is striking out more than 10 hitters a game so he’s basically exactly what the Padres need as their young rotation tries to make it to the end of the season. He has one more year of arbitration before hitting free agency, which he says he'll probably test (the reason the Indians are OK with trading him) so he’d be part of the Padres rotation through 2020 and mayber beyond if they can work out an extension.
Now, most people think Franmil Reyes is the more likely outfielder in a deal with Cleveland. But I have a different idea for that, and it is WAY nuts:
RHP Kirby Yates, LHP Logan Allen, OF Franmil Reyes, Single-A INF Xavier Edwards to the Red Sox for OF Mookie Betts
No, I did not smoke my lunch. Here’s why it could work:
The Red Sox are on the brink of the luxury tax and they’re trying desperately to stay under it. Betts already rejected an 8-year, $200 million extension offer from Boston and says he expects to test free agency after the 2020 season so the Red Sox brass is probably not optimistic it’ll have him around beyond that. They need a closer in a bad way, their starting rotation is getting older, their farm system has only one guy in the Top-100. Plus, they’re looking up at New York and Tampa Bay in the standings, fighting tooth and nail for a Wild Card spot, and will have to find a way to re-sign J.D. Martinez (assuming he uses his opt-out) and potentially Rick Porcello after this off-season.
Yates solves their closer issue, Allen helps the rotation get younger, Reyes would be a MONSTER launching balls over the monster and Edwards, who was leading the Midwest League in batting average before a recent promotion to Lake Elsinore, immediately becomes the top prospect in their system. Edwards is a heck of a ballplayer but he might not have the same ceiling that another middle infielder, 2019 1st round pick C.J. Abrams, has.
The Padres get … well they get Mookie Freaking Betts. The reigning American League MVP has one more year of arbitration. Granted, he’ll make probably around $25 million (he’s getting $20 million this season) for that one season and then will be in line for a free agent deal somewhere between what Bryce Harper and Mike Trout received. Unless they have a license to print money somewhere that we don’t know about the Friars would almost undoubtedly not be able to hang on to Betts beyond next year.
Look at the starting lineup the Padres could then put on the field for the 2020 season, the one where they really think they can contend for a World Series title:
C – Francisco Mejia
1B – Eric Hosmer
2B – Luis Urias
SS – Fernando Tatis Jr.
3B – Manny Machado
LF – Hunter Renfroe
CF – Manuel Margot
RF – Mookie Betts
And they’d have these guys to choose from for their starting rotation and closer:
RHP – Trevor Bauer
RHP – Chris Paddack
LHP – Joey Lucchesi
RHP – Dinelson Lamet
RHP – Garrett Richards
LHP – MacKenzie Gore
LHP – Adrian Morejon
CLOSER – Andres Munoz
That looks to me like a team that can challenge the Dodgers in the National League. Plus putting Betts and Bauer in the mix now might be enough to push them back into the Wild Card race this season and if they get into the tournament, anything can happen.
I know it’s radical. It might even be irresponsible. But if it works it would work insanely well. Plus it would be awfully darn fun, wouldn’t it?