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  • Trade Deadline Preview: The San Diego Padres


    Matthew Lenz

    The San Diego Padres are nearly a lock to make the playoffs, but they need to add some pieces to compete for their first World Series title in their 53 season history, where they've otherwise been primarily bottom dwellers. Can they strike a deal with the Twins to take the next step?

    What's Their Situation?

    Coming into the season, everyone expected the Padres and Dodgers to be battling it out for the NL Central crown, which the Padres haven't won since they went back-to-back in 2006 and 2007. To almost everyone's surprise, neither team is in first place, as the San Francisco Giants have been baseball's best team over the first 94 games of the season. And even though they find themselves 5.5 games behind the division leader and in third place, FanGraphs has their odds to make the postseason at 92.3-percent, making them the second Wild Card team and likely facing the Dodgers or Giants in the Wild Card round. Currently, the Padres are tied with the Mets with an 8.0-percent chance to win the World Series, which is 5th best in the league.

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    What Do They Need?

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    Like the Dodgers, but even more so, the Padres need starting and relief pitching. The Padres are 23rd in all of baseball in getting innings from their starters, leading them to use their relievers the most in baseball. Aside from Yu Darvish, who is currently on the IL and has struggled since the MLB cracked down on "sticky stuff," they don't have any top-end arms in their rotation or bullpen. That said, they have gotten good production from Joe Musgrove (SP), Emilio Pagan (RP), Pierce Johnson (RP), and Austin Adams (RP). They could also use a right-handed bat as they are a mediocre team against left-handed pitching.

    Which Twins Are The Best Fit?

    It remains to be seen if anyone will be willing to add any of the Twins expiring contracts who are at least partially responsible for the Twins being sellers in 2021. That said, I think the Twins could DFA Alex Colomé, Hansel Robles, J.A. Happ, or Matt Shoemaker on August 1st if they aren't moved the day before. In short, they would likely take anything (PTBNL or cash) as their return on investment rather than just giving up the players for free. Of course, the headliners for the Twins are José Berríos, Taylor Rogers, and Tyler Duffey, but I think Michael Pineda and Caleb Thielbar could be intriguing trade candidates as well. Thielbar is one of the most under-appreciated Twins, and despite being 34-years-old, he still has three years of team control remaining.

    What Could the Twins Get Back?

    The Padres have been very active on the trade market in recent years yet boast one of the best farm systems in baseball. They feature four to five top-100 guys depending on the source and two guys in the top-10. Moreover, many of their top prospects are close to getting their crack at contributing in the Major Leagues. You'll notice that shortstop CJ Abrams, a headliner prospect, isn't on this list because he recently fractured his leg, and I don't see the Padres willing to "sell low" on a player with such a high ceiling. 

    MacKenzie Gore, LHP, 22yo - Gore is one the best prospects in all of baseball and would require a haul to acquire from the Padres if he's even available at all. That said, aside from 101 innings in 2019, he's struggled in the Minors, where he has a 5.85 ERA and is issuing 5.4 walks per nine innings. He fits the current Twins mold, high 90's fastball with a slider, and maybe his struggles have the Padres ready to move on.

    Robert Hassel, OF, 19yo - I'd be remiss if I didn't have Hassel on this list as he's a high-level prospect that would be hard to pass up if he's available, but he is another left-handed hitter of which the Twins are loaded (Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, and Matt Walner). That said, with his upside, it could provide a future replacement if they were unable to extend Byron Buxton, although his defense obviously would be a significant downgrade.

    Ryan Weathers, LHP, 21yo - despite having less than 130 innings in the minors, Weathers has been forced to the Majors, where he has fared pretty well thru 58.2 innings. His xERA (5.29) and FIP (4.54) aren't favorable, but to this point, he has posted a 2.91 ERA and a K/BB of 2.33, which is decent. Like Gore, Weathers has a high-velocity fastball and a slider, although his best secondary pitch is his change-up. He's a step down from the first three prospects mentioned and thus more available and cheaper.

    Reggie Lawson, RHP, 23yo

    Justin Lange, RHP, 19yo

    Anderson Espinoza, RHP, 23yo

    I grouped these guys because they are intriguing, a tier or two below weathers, and have flaws that would make them cheaper. All would be a risk to take on, especially Lawson and Espinoza, who have battled injuries in their time in the Minors. Lawson, who just recently returned to the mound, has a mid-90's fastball with plus offspeed. Espinoza, who hadn't pitched since 2016, has struggled this year to be expected after such a long layoff and was pumping high 90's in spring training. The risk in adding Lange is that he's only 19-years-old who can hit triple digits, making his health and development a bit of a wild card.

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    I looked at their system and it isn't a great match.  I think Hassell would be about the only guy I could see them building a package around and it isn't a position of great need.  If they were willing to move on from Abrams that would be worth while but unless we are doing a Berrios trade I don't see that in the cards and I don't think the Twins will move Berrios.  I think the odds the Twins get anything done with the Padres is very slim.

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    Excellent timing Matthew, to bring up the Padres at this point of the teams the twins could trade with.  The padres and Dodgers are two teams that I believe are PRIME trading partners for the Twins.  Now that Nellie Cruz has been shipped to the Rays for two promising AAA pitchers who will BOTH factor into the Twins plans next season (and one of both possibly yet THIS season) it's time to look at a potential Twins--Padres BLOCKBUSTER.

    The Padres have their backs to the wall.  Like the White Sox in the A.L. the Padres were the trendy off season pick to win the N.L.  But they are slipping further and further behind the Dodgers (AND THE GIANTS) in the N.L. West.  Playoffs are still very likely but they need to make an impact move for their rotation.  Here's the deal, based on MLB Trade Values:

     

    Padres Get:  Berrios RHP  40.80   and  Enlow  RHP  4.10

    Twins Get:  Ryan Weathers  LHP (SP) 19.40  (21 years old).

                       Mackenzie Gore  LHP (SP)  17.50  The Twins have needed LH Starting Pitching since Johan Santana.  This gives them TWO.

                      Anderson Espinoza  1.6  RHP  (23 years old)

                     J. Lange  1.7  RHP  (19 years old)

                     MIKE CLEVINGER  RHP  (SP)  6.5  (30 years old)

    Padres get a durable, talented SP in Berrios for the remainder of this season and all of next year.  Plus, a young pitcher in Enlow to put in their pipeline and replace some of what was sent to the Twins.

    The Twins get 2 young LH Starting pitchers, one of whom goes into the starting rotation next year (and for the remainder of this year) in Weathers and Mackenzie Gore, a LH Starting Pitcher with tremendous potential but who needs some fixing and refining.  The padres just can't wait on him to figure it out, they need to win NOW.  This is kind of like when the Tigers traded John Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander.  Alexander went 10-1 for the Tigers and helped them win the AL East in 1987.  It was a good trade for the Tigers at that time.  Smoltz went on to a Hall of Fame Career, but who expected he would be THAT good.  It's the nature of trades.

    Plus, the twins get a couple of other young arms in Lange and Espinoza who will have no immediate impact on the Padres.

    PLUS, the Twins take back Mike Clevinger, a guy we know all too well from his days with the Indians...err...Guardians.

    This is a gamble the twins can afford to take.  Clevinger is 30-years old and once again, the Padres can't WAIT for him to get healthy.  They need the PRIZE of the SP market in Berrios...NOW, so Clevinger is thrown in.  The Twins MIGHT get a guy who is a part of the starting rotation in 2022.  They might get a guy who can't get healthy.  But again. this is a gamble the twins should be willing to take.  

    So now look at pitching options the Twins have for 2022.  Maeda, Weathers, Gore, Ryan, Strotman, Balazovic, Clevinger,

    Dobnak, and maybe Pineda.  That's a LOT better than what we went into 2021 with and there's youth and great potential. 

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    21 minutes ago, Dman said:

    I looked at their system and it isn't a great match.  I think Hassell would be about the only guy I could see them building a package around and it isn't a position of great need.  If they were willing to move on from Abrams that would be worth while but unless we are doing a Berrios trade I don't see that in the cards and I don't think the Twins will move Berrios.  I think the odds the Twins get anything done with the Padres is very slim.

    IDK how the Twins walk away from Berrios for Abrahams and another one of Lange / Thompson.  However, the Padres have not demonstrated a willingness to part with this type of prospect.  They did not trade them for Snell or Darvish.

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    4 minutes ago, Major League Ready said:

    IDK how the Twins walk away from Berrios for Abrahams and another one of Lange / Thompson.  However, the Padres have not demonstrated a willingness to part with this type of prospect.  They did not trade them for Snell or Darvish.

    I agree with you.  The Padres need Abrams to back up Short and possibly be used in center as Tatis has short most days.  He is the perfect backup plan for injuries in the infield or outfield.  They won't trade him.  They likely won't trade Gore unless they think there is something wrong with him that cannot be corrected but then why trade for him? Not sure how they feel about Campusano but he looks a little Jeffers like to me so not sure I would build a package around him if I am the Twins.

    Then it is down to Hassle who is a ways a way and San Diego can likely live without if they keep Abrams so that is why I think he is the first guy to build a package around and I am not sure he is someone the Twins really need but, looks to be a very good player in time.  They just don't feel like a good match to me unless they would be willing to part with Abrams which as you said and I agree I don't think they will as he is already in their long term plans.

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    Because I believe no one is going to give the Twins what they demand for Berrios, I expect the best match with the Padres is Pineda.  Could be solid part of their rotation going into the playoffs.  Would expect they would get something similar to what they got for Cruz, maybe not quite as good or as close to being reading to pitch in the major leagues.

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    It's tough to speculate what the Padres would offer for Berrios. They may well be more interested in Maeda because of cost. I'd see the Padres being intrigued by Kepler and Rogers, too. I just have zero faith in the front office to recognize the position the team is in right now. I get the feeling the front office thinks we can compete largely as-is, like back in 2011. The White Sox are likely monsters and Detroit is ready to build. The Indians are better than us this year, too. The Twins are not going to be playing in the weakest division in baseball like they were in 2017-2020. The same talent level will not get the job done in 2022 like it did in 2019 when career years showed up out of the woodwork like the 87 and 91 WS teams.

    Side note, Darvish is not on the IL, and he dominated in the two starts immediately after the sticky stuff change. He then came down with forearm tightness and spent some time on the 10 day IL before coming back and pitching 5.2 innings of 2 run ball on the 20th.

     

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    Pads got Frazier from Pitt today for 3 mediocre prospects IMO. They are not afraid to trade prospects, but might one back. I see Bux and Jose being great fits for them. Their OF is nothing great and a healthy Bux gives them a huge improvement. I want Abrams, but I doubt they will move him in any deal 

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    Abrams would certainly be at the top of any list, but I want to see the Twins add young, Major league ready pitching---Like Weathers.  He's 21 years old and he's having a good season.  Gore is the kind of lottery ticket that the Twins should also be willing to go after.  In my above trade scenario, you could make it a blockbuster by including Abrams and subtracting Clevinger and the Twins adding in Kepler and Rogers and possibly taking back a contract like Will Myers.  I'm not sure how it all adds up, but remember, the Padres have Kim,  who is talented and who backs up Tatis.  Now, with the acquisition of Frazier, Croenworth will probably be moved around a little more.  Abrams COULD be a guy they would now consider in a package.  

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    I have heard Clevinger bandied about in the rumor mill. I like that idea.

    I don't think the Friars will trade both Gore and Weathers in a deal. That's like the Twins trading both Duran and Jordy Blaze in one deal. That has to be for someone better than Berrios. Maybe I'm wrong?

    I would ask for Clev, Weathers, and Gore, but willing to accept Hassel in place of one of the MiLB pitching prospects. 

    The Twins need to throw as many high caliber pitching prospects at the MLB wall as possible thru the rest of this year and next year to make a legit run in 2023.

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    The Padres, as said above, have avoided dealing their best prospects for great players....I can't see the Twins getting any of them back in a deal.

    As much as I wanted the Twins to draft Gore, he hasn't been able to throw strikes for three years now. That is the definition of HIGH RISK for sure, as he still has great stuff. I'm not convinced the Twins can fix him.....

    The only way to get Campusano is to include Garver and Rortverdt in the deal, which might not be a horrible idea....but even then, good luck.

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    It seems increasingly likely that Berrios will be a Padre by the end of the day.  I the Dodgers are trading Ruiz because he is blocked at catcher; perhaps the Padres will consider trading Abrams because they have Tatis as their long-term SS.  
     

     

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    Looking at the baseball trade values site, it seems unlikely that the Padres would trade Abrams; his value is sky high, and so the Twins would need to put together multiple players to get him.  If the Twins are trading Berrios, I think it will clearly be multiple players coming back, as opposed to vice versa.

    A package that might work would be Hasell, Weathers and Gore (and maybe one extra low level prospect) for Berrios and Rogers.  Twins would get more value according to the trade value site, but assuming the Padres are desperate to keep up with the Dodgers, they could do it.

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