Now that the All-Star Game rosters have been announced we are right in the heart of Major League Baseball trade season. As usual the Padres are expected to be big players as the July 31st deadline approaches.
But does that mean they’ll be buying or selling?
Obviously the Friars have fallen out of playoff contention in 2018 so the Manny Machado idea is out the window (go get him in free agency!). But going out and getting other established big league studs now is not a bad idea if the right guys are targeted.
The Padres are still in the long play here so it’s safe to assume they’re looking for young players that can be part of a 2020 playoff surge. But unlike the moves they made the last few years those young players don’t necessarily have to be low-level minor league prospects.
With that in mind here are three trades the Padres should make … and three trades they should NOT make this month.
MAKE THIS TRADE: Go Get RHP Noah Syndergaard
Let’s go ahead and start this off with one of those “Whatever Togerson” kind of ideas. Noah Syndergaard is a stallion. He has the stuff to be one of those rare true aces in the Major Leagues: an upper-90’s fastball, a wipeout slider, and the kind of mound presence that brings to mind Randy Johnson. Amid rampant rumors to the contrary the Mets have said they’re not keen on trading him or Jacob deGrom. However, New York’s National League team has what most talent evaluators consider as one of the five worst minor league systems in the game. They’re not in contention now. They probably won’t be in contention next year. So the logical thing to do would be to sell off some pieces now and start to restock the system.
The Padres system is stuffed to the gills with talent. Let’s go ahead and establish this, though … asking for Fernando Tatis Jr., MacKenzie Gore, Luis Urias, and all of a sudden Chris Paddack is a non-starter, even for Syndergaard. After that we can talk. The Mets will have plenty of suitors from current contenders that need another starter to get over the hump THIS year. The Padres are looking to NEXT year and beyond. The asking price for the man they call Thor is going to be steep and that’s where San Diego has an advantage. They can offer the best package for the strapping righty and he is absolutely not a rental.
Syndergaard is just 25 years old. He’s not eligible for free agency until 2022. He’s exactly the kind of guy the Padres should be looking to add. It’s rare to have the opportunity to add a talent like this with a contract situation like his. The Mets don’t care if they help anyone reach the post-season they just want more good players. This is not a match that many people will think about but for both sides it makes a whole lot of sense.
DON’T MAKE THIS TRADE: Keep LHP Brad Hand
Just like last year there will a bunch of inquiries about Hand. Sure he’s had a rocky year, especially for a guy with his stuff, but the proof is in the pudding. When he’s on he’s one of the best relief pitchers in the game (and he’s on more often than not) plus he has a manageable contract and he’s loved in the clubhouse. A really good bullpen won’t win you a title but you probably won’t win a title without a really good bullpen so keeping an All-Star-caliber piece from the left side for the coming playoff run is a good call.
MAKE THIS TRADE: Move an INF, Preferably Jose Pirela
I just want to see Luis Urias at Petco Park. However that happens, I don’t care, just get the kid up here after the break. The kid who just turned 21 years old a month ago had two hits in the Triple-A All-Star Game. He’s ready to test himself in the Major Leagues. Plus bringing the Mexico native up is one of the few things that would put a charge into the Padres fan base right now. Pirela is not a good defender and probably never will be and his bat, while good, is not enough to make up for that deficiency with the glove. I don’t even care what comes back at this point, just clear a spot for Urias and let’s get the ball rolling.
DON’T MAKE THIS TRADE: Hang on to LHP Clayton Richard
Eric Lauer and Joey Lucchesi look like legitimate big league starting pitchers and they both credit Richard for their development. That alone would be enough to hold on to the veteran but he’s been better than expected on the mound. Clayton is 4th in the National League with 118.0 inning pitched and for a team with a bullpen that’s thrown the 3rd-most innings in baseball this year he’s been able to provide something resembling a rest every 5th day. Clayton Richard does have trade value and could fetch a decent return but I’m big on leadership and this guy provides it to young pitchers so it would be nice to keep him around.
MAKE THIS TRADE: Deal RHP Tyson Ross
Ross has been a great story. At least through June he was. Signed to a 1-year deal to prove he was recovered from his Thoracic Outlet surgery, Ross got off to a great start but in July he’s made two disastrous starts and the market for him probably cooled a bit. Every pitcher goes through a rough patch at some point. If he can rebound in his next start the Padres can write it off as just that and Ross will have interest from teams looking for rotation depth. If he looks bad again, however, the Friars might not be able to move him for more than spare parts, even in a market that looks to be thin on starters.
DON’T MAKE THIS TRADE: Let Someone Else Acquire OF Adam Jones
I love Adam Jones. I really do. He’s a guy I’d take on my team any time and there have been talks about the Padres bringing the San Diego native home at the deadline. I think, even at the age of 32, he still has a few very effective years remaining but this is one that would be smart to address in free agency instead of trying to get him in a midseason trade. I base that on the fact I think a contender like the Cubs or Indians, two teams in need of outfield help, will make a move on Jones and it would be awesome to see him back in a pennant race again.