Last winter, new Padres GM A.J. Preller was tasked with building a winner in San Diego. He made more trades than I do in a typical fantasy season….well, not really, but you get the point. Here is a rundown of all of his offseason moves, courtesy of Chris Cotillo from SB Nation's MLB Daily Dish:
- Acquired Matt Kemp, Tim Federowicz and cash from the Dodgers for Yasmani Grandal, Joe Wieland and Zach Eflin
- Acquired Wil Myers, Ryan Hanigan, Gerardo Reyes and Jose Castillo in a three-way deal that sends Rene Rivera, Burch Smith and Jake Bauers to the Rays, and Joe Ross and Trea Turner to the Nationals
- Acquired Derek Norris and Seth Streich from the Athletics for Jesse Hahn and R.J. Alvarez
- Acquired Justin Upton and Aaron Northcraft from the Braves for Max Fried, Jace Peterson, Dustin Peterson, Mallex Smith, and an international bonus slot
- Agreed to acquire Will Middlebrooks from the Red Sox for Ryan Hanigan
- Traded Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Matt Wisler, two minor leaguers for Craig Kimbrel and Melvin Upton, Jr.
- Signed free-agent Brandon Morrow to a one-year deal
- Signed free-agent Clint Barmes to a one-year deal
So, he made six trades, losing the Kemp trade, losing the Myers trade, losing the Kimbrel trade, breaking even on the Norris deal, and winning the Upton trade with the Braves and the Middlebrooks trade with the Red Sox. That's not a good winning percentage and not a good way to build a winner.
Hey, he gave it a shot though, right?
The Padres currently sit in fourth place in the National League West, 8.5 games behind the division leading Dodgers, and that could reach 9.5 games with the Padres losing to the Pirates tonight, and a Dodgers win with Clayton Kershaw on the mound vs the Phillies. The loss this evening is their fifth straight, and could push Preller to begin taking calls on anyone and everyone on his roster.
His most marketable players are a few of the players he received in trades just a few months ago: outfielder Justin Upton, closer Craig Kimbrel, catcher Derek Norris, and outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. Upton Jr. will be difficult to deal due to his contract, so Preller may be stuck with him, but Justin would garner plenty of trade offers, as would Kimbrel.
With rumors out that the Phillies are not going to deal Jonathan Papelbon by the trade deadline, Kimbrel should be at the top of the list of teams looking for a closer.
Who needs an outfielder and a closer?
There will be a long list of teams looking for a right-handed power bat that Upton possesses, including the Mets, Yankees, Royals, Blue Jays and Twins. The Blue Jays need an experienced closer as well, so they match up as a very good trade partner with the Padres.
Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopolous was quoted today saying that he is open to trading off of his major league roster. I am not sure if he means his 25 man or 40 man roster, but if he meant his 40 man roster, he could dangle pitching prospect Daniel Norris and former closer Miguel Castro in a package deal. Norris pitching in Petco Park should increase his value among fantasy owners for sure.
The Yankees also have several prospects (notably Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird) they could trade for Upton, but I imagine with all of the questions they have with their starting rotation, from the decline of C.C. Sabathia to the injury risk that is Masahiro Tanaka, that they will focus on adding a starting pitcher by the trade deadline.
The Yankees crosstown rivals, the Mets, have a huge need to bolster their inept offense. Could they offer Steven Matz and other prospects for Upton and Kimbrel? That would make a lot of sense for both teams. The Mets rank 28th in runs scored this season, and 24th in home runs, so adding Upton would be a slam dunk move. I understand trading six years of Matz for a few months of Upton is a steal for the Padres, but if those few months convince Upton to sign a long term deal with the Mets, would it be worth it for the Mets? I think so, especially with David Wright out indefinitely with back issues.
Or, the Mets could offer Preller pitching prospect Casey Meisner and one of first base prospect Dominic Smith or shortstop prospect Amed Rosario for Upton. The Mets have plenty of options as they have a real need to bolster their lineup with all that great pitching in their rotation. They are only three games behind the Nationals at this point, and a few games behind the Pirates and Cubs in the NL Wild Card race.
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