There is no doubt that the San Diego Padres are poised to be a playoff team.
With the talent gathered by A.J. Preller, there is no reason to believe the Padres will not be playing deep into the playoffs. The goal is not just an appearance, though, the priority is to hoist a World Series trophy, and anything less will be considered a losing season.
When you have a roster constructed as the Padres do currently, you need to take chances.
When a player like Bryan Reynolds becomes available- you have to really think about it.
Reynolds is 27 and in the prime of his career. The switch-hitting center fielder is an offensive force and would give the Padres much-needed depth in their lineup. Reynolds owns a career .842 OPS in 1,770 at-bats in the majors. Last year, the outfielder struggled with the bat to begin the season but ended with 27 homers and a .807 OPS.
This winter, Reynolds has made it known he would like to be traded from the team. According to Jon Heyman, contract extension negotiations broke down with the Pirates, and the star outfielder requested a trade from the team. It is not known if the Pirates would honor his request.
In reality, Bryan Reynolds is the team’s best player right now, though the Pirates have some impressive young players. The outfielder is under contract for the next three seasons and is just barely in his arbitration years. Reynolds made $6.75 million last season, and that is a deal compared to the production. Pittsburgh is not a high-spending franchise, so to move their outfielder would take a deal they could not refuse.
The San Diego Padres have the potential players to entice the Pirates, but are the Padres prepared to pay the asking price?
Top prospects Jackson Merrill and Dylan Lesko would get the Pirates’ attention right away, but San Diego would still need to provide talent that is major league ready or close to it. Names like Adrian Morejon, Ryan Weathers, and Luis Campusano make sense to some degree. The Padres definitely do not have flexibility in their starting staff, so dealing Morejon and Weathers could be a setback. However, if you want to secure a talent like Reynolds- you need to pay the price.
The Pirates would welcome starting pitching help immediately, but you get a sense they are looking for more for their starting center fielder. Including Trent Grisham may be possible, but the Padres would miss his defensive abilities. Grisham would fit the Pirates’ requirement for inexpensive talent and he may ease the fan base’s immediate pain from losing Reynolds. The Padres would only make this move if they are convinced Reynolds for Grisham is a huge upgrade.
Ha-Seong Kim would provide tremendous defense and value for the Pirates, but Oneil Cruz is locked at the shortstop position for Pittsburgh. The team could move Cruz off the position and into an outfield spot, but that does not seem likely. Kim could also play second base for the Pirates, but his real value arguably lies at shortstop. Luis Campusano also makes sense for the Pirates as Austin Hedges is the team’s starting catcher right now.
There are players on the Padres roster who could provide what the Pirates need to move on from Reynolds. At this point, they are dealing from a position of strength as Reynolds is a known commodity who is under contract for the next three seasons. There are plenty of teams who are interested, and the bidding war could be fruitful for Pittsburgh.
A.J. Preller and the Padres are interested. If they could secure Reynolds for a package of prospects surrounded by Ryan Weathers and/or Luis Campusano, then they will gladly go above the luxury tax and jump to the next level. But that is a big if.