NBC 7’s Derek Togerson takes a look at what the Padres might do at the MLB trade deadline in this commentary
Right after the MLB Draft ended Padres General Manager A.J. Preller took time for a lengthy 1-on-1 interview with NBC 7 SportsWrap. Among the topics discussed was the potential for making trades in the seven or so weeks left before the Major League Baseball trade deadline.
“Most teams wait to see where they are at the 60 to 80 game mark,” said Preller. “They kind of see, ‘are we really contenders or not?’ I think we’re no different than anybody else, still evaluating this club. I think a lot of those answers are going to come out in the next couple of weeks to see exactly where we are and whether we’re going to be buyers or sellers.”
Despite their current (as of Wednesday afternoon) 3-game winning streak the Friars sit at 30-42, tied with the Phillies for the third-worst record in the National League. They’re 15.0 games out of first place in the NL West but only 8.5 games out of a Wild Card spot, which doesn’t seem like a lot until you consider they’d have to leapfrog eight teams to get it.
So 72 games in to the season, right in Preller’s window, it appears the Padres are destined to be sellers at the deadline and they are already taking plenty of calls about a bunch of their pieces. Here’s a look at the guys who are going to get the most interest … and the ones who are most likely to be moved.
Jon Jay, OF
Jay is quietly having a really, really good season. He gets on base, he plays solid defense, he’s a good clubhouse guy, and perhaps most applicable here … he’s on the final year of a very affordable contract. Jay would be an immediate upgrade for a team that needs outfield help or a proven leadoff hitter. The Indians and, interestingly, the Cardinals (Jay’s former team) fill that description.
Trade Likelihood: 99%. The Padres want to get their younger outfielders in to the regular rotation so might as well get something for Jay while you can at the deadline instead of waiting for draft compensation.
Drew Pomeranz, LHP
The Marlins are reportedly among the teams who have called about the left-handed starter who is having a breakout season in San Diego. His 1.6 WAR is in the neighborhood of David Price and Max Scherzer. He also has a controllable contract (not eligible for free agency until 2019), which drives up the asking price. However, within the next three starts he will top his career high in inning pitched so nobody really knows what kind of pitcher they’ll be getting in September since there’s no track record. Still, along with the Marlins, the Orioles and Blue Jays are among a bevy of teams in need serious starting pitching help who could put together a package.
Trade Likelihood: 50%. Pomeranz is going to generate interest. The Padres want to keep him but if an offer makes the MLB club and the farm system better they will listen.
Wil Myers, 1B
We’ve already outlined the awesomeness of Myers’ season. He’s 25 years old and will likely have a .280, 30 HR, 90 RBI, 90 Runs season at Petco Park. That is the kind of piece you build around. Other teams will ask about him and Preller will listen to offers but unless the offer is something along the lines of “we’ll give you our #2 starter and our top two prospects” then A.J. will kindly thank them for the inquiry and hang up the phone.
Trade Likelihood: 3%. If he keeps this up for a whole season then does it again for the first half of next year, then he’ll start generating serious trade buzz.
Fernando Rodney, RHP
This guy has been fantastic, and not just for the numbers. He’s also a tremendous presence in the clubhouse and “We just want to rush through the 8th inning with the lead and get him out there,” said Pomeranz after Rodney saved the lefty’s most recent start against the Nationals. Having a reliable option in the back end of the bullpen is something every contender needs, if not for the saves but for the mental impact it has on a club. If, as Pomeranz says, a team knows they can make it an 8-inning game it gives them a leg up and that’s the feeling of invincibility that Rodney is bringing in 2016.
Trade Likelihood: 90%. The Rangers and Nationals are both World Series contenders who are weak in the late innings. Expect one of them to work hard to pry Rodney out of San Diego.
Ryan Buchter, LHP
A left-handed reliever who gets guys out in high leverage situations? Sure, I’ll take one of those. Buchter has figured it out in San Diego, posting a 1.71 ERA and taking the setup duties from Brandon Maurer. He’s not the most well-known name on the market but other general managers know about him.
Trade Likelihood: 45%. The Cubs have stated they want a left-hander who can handle late-inning situations and certainly have pieces to get one. They’re probably going to take a run at one of the Yankees lefties, either Aroldis Chapman or Andrew Miller, but so are about a half-dozen other clubs. Whichever teams do not land one of those big fish will almost certainly look for other options and Buchter has proven he’s a valuable (and affordable) asset.
Matt Kemp, OF
This is the guy the Padres would most like to move. He’s also the hardest piece to move. Kemp can still drive in 100 runs and if you put him in to a lineup where he doesn’t have to be THE GUY he becomes even more valuable. But the way he’s patrolled right field at Petco Park will give teams pause. It doesn’t matter as much if you can drive in 100 runs if you let in 50.
Trade Likelihood: 50%. This will be an interesting chess match between Preller and the rest of MLB. The Indians need OF help in a big way and the Giants could certainly use a right fielder to replace the injured Hunter Pence. But Cleveland doesn’t want to add much payroll (making Jay an attractive option) and the Giants need someone who’s not a train wreck defensively. It will take kicking in cash like they did on the James Shields deal but it’s worth it for the Padres to do that and get guys like Alex Dickerson or Hunter Renfroe in the MLB lineup every day.
Melvin Upton, Jr., OF
He’s having a really solid season and has been better than expected when the Padres acquired him from the Braves in the Craig Kimbrel deal. But much like Kemp his contract is problematic. Upton is superior to Kemp defensively but does not have the same power on offense. Any contending team that trades for Upton is going to do so because they need a veteran who can be a reserve starter and late-inning defensive replacement.
Trade Likelihood: 10%. I just don’t see any team wanting Upton bad enough to take on that contract, especially with numerous other options on the market.
Andrew Cashner, RHP
It’s simply not working in San Diego for Cashner. He’s currently on the 15-day Disabled List with a neck strain but is throwing bullpen sessions again and could return in a couple of weeks, which would give him a couple of “show me” starts for other teams looking at rotation help. Cashner has all the ability in the world but for one reason or another hasn’t been able to have prolonged success in the Majors. He could be one of those guys who benefits from a change in scenery and can hit the reset button.
Trade Likelihood: 49%. If he throws well coming off the DL some team will look at his potential, panic and make an offer.
Yangervis Solarte, INF
Versatility is something a contender will always look for down the stretch. Solarte is a switch-hitter who has been at least capable playing at three different positions on the infield. He also brings a fire to the lineup and his passion is something that can rub off on teammates.
Trade Likelihood: 26%. I don’t anticipate a market developing for Solarte but if a contender loses an infielder or utility guy to injury this is a guy who can step in and contribute.
Derek Norris, C
Norris has not been consistent on offense and there are concerns about his ability to call a game but he’s a veteran who’s been durable and certainly shows the kind of toughness you want from a backstop. The Padres have gotten a nice season from Christian Bethancourt in a reserve role but they really want Austin Hedges to be their guy for the next decade.
Trade Likelihood: 70%. Now that Hedges is healthy and raking at El Paso (he was hitting .342 as of this writing) the Padres are itching to bring him back to the big league club. If Preller can find anyone willing to take Norris my guess is he’ll do it.
Everybody else is either going to generate little to no interest or be a throw-in on another deal. Tyson Ross would have been on the list but his injury situation has scared off other teams for this season. Still, that’s 10 guys who will probably be actively discussed, making the next month or so awfully busy.