Padres Should Act as Buyers and Sellers
Maybe it was only a matter of time. The Padres are officially free-falling down the National League playoff race, hurting what was shaping up to be an impressive run from such a young team. However, their season-long negative run differential indicated that they were bound for this.
After a 2-4 record last week, the Padres sit at 49-56 with a -45 run differential and seven games out of the NL’s second wild-card spot. A 7-15 record in July has hurt them (4-11 since the All-Star Break), effectively rendering their impressive series win against the Dodgers heading into the break useless.
And with the trade deadline just around the corner, just how should San Diego approach it?
The easy answer would be to sell, sell, and sell, but the Padres aren’t your ordinary “bad team.” They’re not the losing team that needs to move their trade chips to set themselves up for the future.
Depending on who you ask, they have either the best, or second-best farm system in the game, along with highly-touted rookies and a newly-signed superstar already on the 25-man roster.
There is young talent all over, and as the case is with most youth, there are flaws. But flaws are routine with rebuilding teams; it’s why they have growing pains.
The Padres are at the part of the rebuild where they are trending upward and need to be patient. There’s not much rebuilding left to do. They’ve already collected a tremendous amount of assets to stock up the farm system, and don’t need anymore.
It’s all about waiting for rookies and prospects such as Fernando Tatis Jr., Chris Paddack, Luis Urias, MacKenzie Gore, and Luis Patino to continue along in their development, while the front office adds Major League-ready talent where needed, as they did with Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer.
So does that mean to buy or sell? How about both?
Sell assets while proactively buying for the future. It means flipping some of your talent that is of surplus or doesn’t fit your timeline into players that do.
It would involve listening in on offers for their light-out 32-year-old closer Kirby Yates, who will be a free agent after the 2020 season.
It’s a seller’s market with many teams desperate to add relief help but not too many options out there. Combined with his value being at an all-time high, it could help the Padres receive the “overwhelming offer” they want.
San Diego also has young power-hitting outfielders in Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe that could be dealt. They are both virtually the same: lots of power, a healthy amount of strikeouts, minimal on-base skills, and multiple years of cheap team control. The only real differences are that Reyes is 24 while Renfroe is 27, and Renfroe is a staunch defender, while Reyes is subpar.
Or maybe they can find a buyer for Wil Myers; one who believes that he still has the talent he displayed as a rookie back in 2013 and has simply been held back by Petco Park’s pitcher-friendly confines. But to get players for him would mean eating most, if not all, of his contract.
And depending on what you get for them, you can either flip those assets or pull from your own pool for a trade involving Noah Syndergaard of the New York Mets.
It’s no secret that the Padres have been linked with him, and with the Mets acquiring starting pitcher Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays in a surprise deal, rumors have ramped up even more.
Speculation is that the Mets’ primary focus now is to move Syndergaard over anyone else, and in turn hope to acquire Major League-ready talent, per Ken Rosenthal.
Thus, the discussions with the Padres, who appear to be unwilling to move any of their best young players. But they do have centerfielder Manuel Margot that has reportedly caught the eye of New York, per ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Margot’s overall season numbers aren’t impressive by any stretch, but he does have an OPS over .900 in July, even with his three for 24 stretch over the last seven games. And the young centerfielder is known for his speed, defense, and athleticism, over anything else- areas the Mets can stand to improve upon. And he’s young enough where he still has lots of time to improve his hitting.
If the Padres do deal these guys- particularly Yates- maybe it would be easier for them to part with someone like infielder Luis Urias because of the incoming assets they would have. Perhaps the incoming assets could be just what the Mets want. Or maybe Renfroe/Reyes can be a part of the deal for the righty.
Even with his struggles this season, acquiring Syndergaard would be a move to help stabilize the rotation and help the franchise contend as soon as next year. He would be the ace to help front such a young rotation.
The Padres have options; it’s just how they decide to proceed. They can always ride it out this season and see just how close they can get to the playoffs. Or they can be proactive and act as a buyer and seller to set themselves up for the immediate future.
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Featured Image via Arturo Pardavila III