I hope A.J. Preller has his phone charged. He’s going to be on it a lot.
We are less than two weeks from the Major League Baseball trade deadline and the Padres General Manager is going to be getting a lot of calls on a lot of players. It seems like the entire pitching staff aside from Luis Perdomo and Miguel Diaz is on the block but there are some deals that just make too much sense not to make.
So here are the trades the Padres should pull the trigger on before the 31st:
RHP Trevor Cahill to Cleveland
The Indians have a pair of studs at the top of the rotation and are decent one through three but after that there is a monster drop-off. They have a solid lineup, one of the game’s best bullpens, and serious World Series aspirations. But Cleveland is in an unexpected battle with the Twins in the American League Central and if they got another arm in the rotation they can pull away.
Sonny Gray and Jason Vargas (and maybe Yu Darvish) are the biggest names on the market but since coming off the disabled list Cahill has been really good. His outing on Sunday against the Giants was solid (6.2 IP, 1 ER, 8 K) and he didn’t even have his potentially devastating curve working. Cahill is a cheap addition, too, on just a one year deal. If Preller can pry 19-year-old RHP Triston McKenzie out of Cleveland, which is not too much to ask, this trade is a no-brainer.
INF Yangervis Solarte to Boston
This one hurts. Like, I mean it’s physically painful to write it. I love what Solarte brings to the Padres clubhouse. He’s one of the most likable players in the game and, oh by the way, he’s a heck of a ballplayer.
But the Red Sox need a 3rd baseman and they need one in a bad way. Pablo Sandoval ate his way out of Boston and there is no serviceable replacement on the big league roster. Todd Frazier is off the market, making Solarte the top available infielder capable of playing the corner. The fact Frazier and some effective relievers went to the Yankees puts the Sox in a tough spot.
This, of course, is continguent on Yan coming off the disabled list from his oblique injury in time to put on a quick showcase but he is expected back by the end of the month.
Odds are there is still bad blood between these teams after the Drew Pomeranz trade but when the Red Sox have a chance to win now they go all in. Solarte’s team-friendly contract make him more valuable so a package of prospects including 3B Rafael Devers, a 20-year-old masher who was promoted to Triple-A and went deep twice in his first six games, a good deal for both clubs.
LHP Brad Hand to Houston
One of the very few weak spots for the Astros is the bullpen. That’s why they’ve been asking the Orioles about Zach Britton. But I’m thinking the Dodgers are going to get Britton even though they don’t need him, leaving Hand as the best reliever available.
Houston has been scoring runs at a historic rate but Carlos Correa will be out for a few weeks with a thumb injury so run prevention will have to be a bigger emphasis. Hand has turned in to one of the most reliable and versatile relievers in baseball, able to go multiple innings and get both lefties and righties out. The problem for Houston will be how much they have to part with to get him.
Preller is looking for a big haul for a guy who’s 27 years old and under team control for the next two years so Houston will have to part with a package that includes at least one of their top pitching prospects (Francis Martes, David Paulino and Forrest Whitley are all in the MLB.com Top-100 list) and a big league-ready talent.
The other guys who are possibilities to move are relievers Kirby Yates and Craig Stammen and starting pitcher Jhoulys Chacin but they would not get the same kind of return as the three players mentioned above would.