Here are some more names to keep an eye on as the trade deadline gets closer.
Like Brad Hand before him, Yates had never found much success before coming to San Diego early in 2017. He had always induced a large number of swings and misses, frequently posting high strikeout rates, but when batters did make contact, they hit the ball hard. Yates has added a splitter to his repertoire in his short time here and it has helped him to limit hard contact tremendously. Last season he finished with an above average ERA+ of 115, but so far this season he has one of 412, while also surpassing Hand’s record as the fastest Padre to 100 strikeouts. Yates did spend some time on the DL earlier this season with some ankle trouble, but it’s clearly showed no signs of slowing him down as he’s cemented his place in the 8th inning setup role, with Andy Green commenting recently that Yates may even see some more save opportunities coming up in the 9th should the right matchups present themselves.
Stammen is unique in this trio, as he does have a prior history of dominant performances out of the bullpen with the Washington Nationals before injury wiped out his 2015 season. He came to San Diego on a one year deal before the 2017 season as one of many candidates competing for a bullpen job. Despite some early struggles last year, Stammen quickly settled down an established a reputation as guy who could come in and quickly get the team out of jams while leaving runners on base. Stammen did reach the open market after last season, but didn’t seem to receive much interest from other teams as he ultimately signed a new two-year deal that brought him back to San Diego to continue being a steadying veteran presence in the bullpen. At 34, he’s considerably older than Hand and Yates, but his track record and cheap contract ($6.75 million through 2019) should be reassuring to teams shopping for veteran relief help come this July.
The three bullpen arms should all have the same group of likely suitors and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see two of them packaged together to the right team in order to bring back a greater prospect haul.
Potential fits: CLE, LAA, SEA, WSH. ATL
The Padres have two position players who have been getting regular playing time and have shown enough versatility to potentially be attractive to other teams looking for role players or trying to plug some injury holes come July.
Take a quick glance at Padres twitter, and you’ll see that Pirela has probably been the most divisive player on the team so far this season. Throughout his time in the Yankees’ system, both in the minors and limited opportunities on the major league roster, Pirela never showed much to suggest he was anything more than a nice peripheral piece that would be helpful on a good team. Simply put, his bat was never good enough to compensate for his abysmal defense. Pirela seemed to surprise many in by putting up a .288/.347.490 line through 83 games in 2017 and won the starting left field out of spring training this year. But so far through this season the power hasn’t been there as his SLG has dropped to .355 and he has no home runs through 235 at bats. He’s since shifted to second, drawing even more ire from fans as a barely replacement-level player is blocking star prospect Luis Urias from being called up. Pirela has maintained a respectable .272 average up to this point but he’ll have to get on a bit of a hot steak and start hitting for more power over the coming weeks to draw any interest from other clubs.
Potential fits: SEA, NYM
The quick footed, skinny outfielder has been known by Padres fans over the past few seasons for his elite defense and ability to steal bases. As a result of injuries to multiple Padres outfielders, Jankowski has gotten plenty of opportunities to play over the past few weeks and has seemingly made the most of it. After getting rid of his high leg kick during a stint at El Paso to begin the season, Jankowski has found himself leading off for the Padres most games and is currently hitting at a .309/.375/.394 line with 8 stolen bases in 10 attempts and spending time in all 3 outfield positions. It was previously reported that prior to their acquisition of Denard Span from the Rays, the Mariners had reached out to the Padres regarding Jankowski but A.J. Preller didn’t have much interest in Seattle’s system at the time. Jankowski is still only 26 but the Padres already have a very crowded outfield at the major league level with plenty of other options with superior skill sets working their way up through the system, now might be the best time to strike on a trade when teams are a little more desperate to find their last pieces for a World Series run.
Potential fits: PHI, STL, WSH