Padres Flurry of Trades Strengthens Team for Playoffs
Normally each year, the San Diego Padres are known as sellers around baseball's trade deadline. Over the last five years, the team has traded away some of their better talent and in exchange, they have stockpiled young prospects. The 2020 Padres are not the same team they have been in recent time. This club is loaded with young talent, since many of those prospects acquired over the years have blossomed into young stars. Fernando Tatis Jr and Chris Paddock are two of the young franchise players on this team. Add in vets like Many Machado, Eric Hosmer, and Will Myers and San Diego is primed to make a run in the 2020 expanded postseason.
Over the weekend, general manager A.J. Preller swung a total of four different trades for his ballclub to Boston, Kansas City, the Angels, and Seattle.
He landed a perfect fit at Designated Hitter and backup first baseman in Mitch Moreland, a closer in Trevor Rosenthal, and two upgrades at catcher in Jason Castro and Austin Nola. All four deals included prospects traded away by the Padres, although only one (Taylor Trammell) is considered a true Top 20 talent. The seven player deal with the Mariners was the most costly for Preller, since former Chihuahuas star Tyler France was part of the return for Seattle. Young reliever Andres Munoz has registered 104 mph on the radar gun before he needed Tommy John surgery. In time, Trammell, France, and Munoz can also become valuable players for a Mariners team that is still rebuilding. Although Seattle sold high on Nola, the Padres felt they got a steal, since the 30-year old late bloomer can play a variety of positions on the field, including catcher, first, or second base.
MLB's trade deadline was 2 p.m. today and nobody expected Preller's dealing to be finished before then. Late this morning and right on cue, he landed his biggest acquisition of the group, Cleveland Indians ace Mike Clevinger as part of an eight-player mega deal. The Pads also receive outfielder Greg Allen and a player to be named later in exchange for Cal Quantrill, Josh Naylor and Austin Hedges, along with minor league prospects Gabriel Arias, Joey Cantillo and Owen Miller. The trade sent more shockwaves on social media.
One interesting thing to note is that most of the El Paso Chihuahuas' best players over the last few seasons have all been traded away by San Diego. Reliever Javy Guerra is the lone player on the Padres roster to have spent any significant time in El Paso, and that was while he was playing shortstop and not relief pitcher (the ballclub converted him prior to the 2019 season).
The Padres now have added a top starting pitcher to go along with Chris Paddack and Dinelson Lamet. They have also solidified their bullpen with Rosenthal, Austin Adams, and Dan Altavilla, and they now have another potent bat in the lineup with Moreland. Catching was their weakest position this season, since Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia have given San Diego zero offensive production. That changes now with Castro and Nola, while young prospect Luis Campusano remains the team's backstop of the future. Most important, Preller did not mortgage any of his top prospects in any deal as The Athletic's Keith Law writes in his latest column. Thanks to all of these moves from Preller, the Padres are poised to make a run in the 2020 MLB Postseason, something this ballclub has not been able to do in a very long time.