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