Exploring a Padres’ Midwest trade makeover

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In this finale of a three-piece set, we explore a potential trade for the San Diego Padres to improve in several key areas. 

As previously investigated, San Diego could make a three-team trade with Miami and Pittsburgh or a separate deal with New York and Colorado to improve the Padres’ 2021 version. 

The 2020 Major League Baseball offseason is underway, and A.J. Preller and the San Diego Padres likely have more work to do. 

However, nothing stays the same as inevitable change, and expiring contracts, age, and changing contract value make the job of general manager a never-ending one.

As we’ve explored, the traditional two-team trade often works well, but sometimes teams simply can’t find common ground. 

As the front office contemplates its offseason to-do list, this third and final installment will now shed light on three three-team trades that could make the Padres better. Each trade centers around maximizing the work already done to improve the roster, valuing cost-effective decision-making that can lengthen the championship window, and keeping the farm intact. Each is made with a “win-win” mentality. Each may need minor pieces to consummate a match, but in general, each team involved becomes better due to them.

TRADE #3: Midwest Make-Over


Here’s The Deal:

Cubs get: IF/OF Whit Merrifield (2/$4.125M per season w/1 team option year/FA 2024), SP Kris Bubic (pre-arb/FA 2027)


Padres get: C Willson Contreras (1/$6.2M + arb year/FA 2023), SP Yu Darvish (3/$63M/FA  2024), IF Adalberto Mondesi (1/$2.95 + 2 arb years/FA 2024)


Royals get: IF Jake Cronenworth (pre-arb/FA 2026), 1B Eric Hosmer (5/$81M/FA 2026 w/opt out in 2022), OF Kyle Schwarber (1/$8.16M/FA 2022), SP/RP Michel Baez (pre-arb/FA 2027)


In short, the Royals get Hosmer, a huge win for the club’s new ownership, a couple of flexible pieces with hit tools, and potential back of the pen arm.  A Schwarber extension becomes a legitimate option in Kansas City.  The Cubs cash in some star power and name recognition for youth and salary flexibility.  The Padres get an ace, an All-Star caliber catcher, and a proven middle infield asset who has yet to touch his ceiling.  As with previous deals, each team gives up a lot but gets a lot in return.

 The Padres’ angle?  Contreras, extracted from a position of depth for the Cubs, brings top-shelf talent offensively and defensively to San Diego in lieu of any potential Luis Campusano limbo, allowing Austin Nola to be a wildcard all over the diamond as they share the catching position and the theoretical DH.  Darvish gives the Padres a dominant front of the rotation arm to pair with Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger.  Mondesi, a consistent American League leader in triples and steals, brings Gold Glove-caliber defense to the keystone, and in case Fernando Tatis, Jr. would be injured, he’s a more than competent shortstop.  With CJ Abrams moving up the ranks more quickly than expected, he can be a depth piece, both at the middle infield positions and centerfield.  Wil Myers potentially moves back to first in this scenario. The many options for free-agent first basemen and corner outfielders in the suddenly reasonable market fill out the lineup card.

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Imagine a lineup of Tatis, Jr., Grisham, Machado, Contreras, Myers, Mondesi, Nola as a designated hitter with maybe Pham and a free agent in the corners.  Maybe Jorge Ona takes a spot.  Maybe it’s a dream scenario of adding Michael Brantley with loose purse strings, or maybe it’s Joc Pedersen moving down the 405.  Maybe it’s consistent winner, Carlos Santana, with his switch-hitting, filthy first base/DH profile production. His age limits his contract term and number.  But, if we’re looking for better bang per buck, then bringing back Mitch Moreland on an even more friendly term, a versatile Brad Miller, and/or a Josh Reddick seems appropriate.  Imagine a rotation with Darvish, Lamet, Clevinger, Davies, and Paddack.  

The Cubs get younger, cheaper, and add two high-value targets.  The Royals add a worthy captain from the good ‘ole days at a position of need as well as left-handed offense and versatility.  The Padres gain an even greater chance at glory.

When players are maximized to the best performance and health, all three deals yield a better 2021 team with minimal cost differential.  As mentioned in the first deal, some minor pieces may need to be adjusted, but in concept, each team in each deal comes away with a stronger club.  Which deal would be best?  If any deal occurs, chances are A.J. Preller and the Padres’ front office are way ahead of the guessing game, working to heist a Tatis Jr., Cronenworth, Grisham, or Paddack from some unsuspecting organization.  But, the work remains unfinished until a gleaming trophy rests in San Diego, California, USA.

5 thoughts on “Exploring a Padres’ Midwest trade makeover

  1. I’d sub the Rays in for Cubs and work two separate trades .Padres Trade ,Joey Lucchesi SP , Tucupita Marcano 2B Jorge Ona OF and to the Royals for Salvador Perez C , Josh Staumont RP and Jorge Solar OF . After that Padres trade Jorge Solar OF one of the three Weathers/Patino/Morejon and Francisco Mejia C to Rays for Blake Snell SP and Austin Meadows OF and a much needed Left handed bat to DH or Platoon with Wil Myers .

  2. Please leave the infield alone. Sign Joc Pederson to play the outfield and bring in Marcel Ozuna to be DH. Then we need a number one and a closer. Someone like Bauer and if not Rosenthal, then Hand or Yates. Also a player who is versatile that can play multiple areas to cover for injuries, like La Stella.

  3. I’m really not understanding why in the heck would you even consider dangling our Star Rookie cronenworth and one of the best consistent first baseman to play for the Padres since the Jack Clark , Steve Garvey era ? To me , Hosmer is that Veteran player that knows what it takes to handle the 1st base side and communicate w/the infield Machado and Tatis Jr. It would be a huge mistake and personally would bring back memories of the Fire sale sending Chris Brown packing and destroying a team that was solid.

  4. The Padres would have to give up Cronenworth, Baez, and 2 or 3 other players of worth just to get another team to take Hosmer. I appreciate your creativity in these articles, but when projecting trades you need to be objective. Hosmer has a negative value, yet you seem to think teams are lining up to take on his albatross contract.

  5. Even though these next two years represent the window to trade Hosmer, as he has only limited no trade protection, no team will want him. He has been brutal for the Padres and is owed $20mm/year for the next 2 years before his opt out opportunity.
    Why would any team look to acquire an overpaid, underperforming 1B (an easy to fill position) who is already 30? This article seems to think other teams are looking to do the Padres some favors.
    Hosmer is probably untradeable. But if he were tradeable, there’s no way we are getting back an ace pitcher like Darvish.
    You really can’t be serious about a proposal where a team trades trash for an all star. Otherwise, why not write up a trade proposal where we send Hosmer to Anaheim for Mike Trout, and another where we send Myers to the NYY for Gerrit Cole. Those would make about as much sense as what you’ve written.

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