If the Padres are Buyers They Must Add Pitching at Trade Deadline

Credit: USA Today Sports

Credit: AP Photo

As the Padres front office evaluates the current state of affairs with less than a month until the July 31st trade deadline, A.J. Preller and company must identify soon whether or not the 2019 Padres have what it takes for a postseason run.

Enacting the posture of ‘buyers’ at the July 31st trade deadline would not only mark the first time a Padres front office would attempt such a feat since the likes of Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Tejada were acquired at the deadline in 2010, but would also signal fulfillment of the promise made by A.J. Preller when he gave the proverbial bird to the concept of ‘service time’ by calling up Fernando Tatis Jr. and Chris Paddack on opening day.

This bold move, along with a galvanizing pre-season pep talk by the normally mild-mannered Preller has brought intensity, swagger, and most importantly, a winning mentality to the Padres clubhouse for the first time in recent memory.

Although this Padres team has an exciting, high-voltage offense, the clear weakness for the Padres has been their pitching staff.

Starting Pitching

The Padres rotation is too young. While the likes of Joey Lucchesi and Eric Lauer have been the team’s most consistent innings eaters, the other three spots in the Padres rotation still leaves a lot to be desired.

Although Paddack has amassed impressive numbers while bringing refreshing, Jake Peavy-like intensity to the mound, the way in which the Padres will continue to place strict pitch counts on ‘The Sheriff’ for the remainder of the season.

Also, with Matt Strahm’s recent demotion to the bullpen, the Padres are placing immense pressure on unproven arms such as Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill, each of which have shown flashes of brilliance, but remain inconsistent the major league level.

Dinelson Lamet’s return from Tommy John surgery provides some much-needed firepower to a struggling rotation. However, history shows that pitchers returning from Tommy John sometimes need an entire season in order to make proper adjustments and get back up to major league speed.

Sure, acquiring the likes of Madison Bumgarner, Jacob DeGrom, or Trevor Bauer would add a bonafide ace who eats innings to a rotation who desperately needs one. However, any of these pitchers would come at a hefty price, where prospects such as MacKenzie Gore and Luis Urias may be dealt in exchange.

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

While the Padres could go all-in and add an ace, the Padres main need is for starting pitching who can go deep into games. The Padres are currently 17th in MLB in innings pitched by starters, and with a bullpen that has proved to be unreliable beyond Kirby Yates, the Padres would benefit greatly from adding one or established, innings-eating starting pitchers.

One potential option would be short-term rental Zack Wheeler. Wheeler will be a free agent this offseason, and on a Mets team which appears to be out of the playoff picture, Wheeler is the type of piece the Mets may be willing to part with.

With an average fastball velocity that ranks 5th in all of baseball at 96.8mph and a 5-pitch-mix, Wheeler possesses top-of-the-rotation-like stuff. With an unimpressive 4.42 ERA on the season, the Mets might be willing to sell low on Wheeler, as the Padres may have to part with a combination of mid-level prospects such as Anderson Espinosa, Ty France, or Buddy Reed to get a deal done. What’s more, is that the Padres could cash in on an arm that’s in a good run of form. In Wheeler’s last three starts, he’s posted a 1.86 ERA and a .182 opponents batting average.

Another rotation option could be Marcus Stroman. It’s been well documented that the Blue Jays most reliable starter would be an ideal match for San Diego.  Of course, Stroman, his 3.18 ERA, and one year of control beyond this season would come at a higher price than Wheeler. Maybe the Padres could send Canadian natives Cal Quantrill and Josh Naylor along with a higher-level prospect such as Michael Baez, to get Stroman to San Diego.

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Ben Friedl
A recent USD graduate, Ben grew up in San Diego and has been a life-long Padres fan. Currently, Ben is residing in Chicago, IL where he is pursuing his Master's degree in Sports Media Journalism at Northwestern University.
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Alan Alan Steve
Alan Alan Steve
2 years ago

Starting the season with Tatis on the ML roster says they wanted the top 25 on the big leauge team. Your definition of high powered offense is different than mine. The Padres are in the bottom third of the league in 4 of the 6 frequently used categories for 2019. With that being said, I will assume you think they should be buyers but it’s not really clear. The message being transmitted through all exterior Padres outlets is they will not mortgage the long term future to chase a 2019 post season run. They are in listen mode and without… Read more »

Tracey
Tracey
2 years ago

Totally agree. I would rather wait another year or two and then go for it all. The young pitching staff (starters) are actually doing a tad better than I expected going into the season. My main concern is 2B, C and CF. In a dream scenario the Yankees would take Myers off our hands for a mid level AA player.

Padre Pete
Padre Pete
2 years ago

PSA: No one is trading a good pitcher for Wil Myers

Tanned Tom
Tanned Tom
2 years ago

If they hadn’t traded Hand and Cimber the bullpen wouldn’t be such a wreck. As for starters, sure, go ahead and trade for a good one. But don’t count on Howdy Doody knowing how to use him. All these workload-limited starters, and they are always left in until they give up a big inning, or totally run out of gas.

Buddy
Buddy
2 years ago

Quantrill, Naylor, and Baez for Stroman is insane. Way too much. Better options all over.

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