With the San Diego Padres continued mediocrity it seems more and more likely that some big changes will be coming to this team sooner rather than later. The trade deadline is always the perfect time for this kind of change.
Come July, whether they want to be known as buyers or sellers, the Padres should, and most likely, will make at least one or two trades to either strengthen the team or hit the reset button on the offseason rebuild and retool for next year and the future.
There are several Padre players that should have their eyes on both the progress of the team and on AJ Preller— several players have expiring contracts or have worn out their welcome and could see themselves out of San Diego sooner rather than later.
In this article, I am going to look at a few prime trade candidates for the Padres, analyze some trade possibilities and possible matches, and finally estimate the chance of some trade with that player actually occurring.
Option #1: Justin Upton
Justin Upton is probably the most notable of all the Padres free agents to be and is the player who is definitely due for the biggest payday this off-season. With this in mind, Upton definitely will be considered as a trade piece in some capacity. Whether this is a sign of the Padres selling or buying remains to be seen but either way trading Justin Upton could retool the Padres to compete for this season or could mainly be used for a future retool for the years to come. With the Padres still hanging in contention it is perhaps still a little too soon to know whether they will be selling or buying but either way Preller will consider all his options when it comes to trading Justin Upton.
It seems pretty clear that Upton is going to make somewhere north of 200 million in an off-season contract and it is pretty likely that the Padres will not be able to foot this bill. Rather than just accept a compensation pick for him leaving in free agency, the Padres could make trade Upton and perhaps get three or four prospects to help the Padres compete going forward next season and beyond or even some major league talent to help the Padres compete this year.
There is no shortage of teams across the league who find themselves in a window of opportunity for a championship this year should they add one or two more parts such as a Justin Upton type player. Some teams that immediately come to mind are some National League teams such as the Chicago Cubs, who may find themselves contending sooner than expected, the Washington Nationals, who seem to be World Series title or bust, or even some American League teams such as the Mariners or Angels who both find themselves in need of some established offensive help and have plenty of young talent to part with.
The Cubs are a good fit given there surplus of young, tradable talent as well as their lack of production from left fielders this year. They clearly have some talent to give such as Starlin Castro, Addison Russell, Javier Baez, or Kyle Schwarber who are all major league ready but may not have a spot on the roster, and the Cubs could really compete for a title with a player like Justin Upton. The Nationals would be a decent fit because of the injury to Left Fielder Jayson Werth and their win now mentality. The Nationals also have some good young talent such as Michael Taylor that the Padres would not mind getting in return (perhaps the Padres could even get Trea Turner or Joe Ross back). In terms of the Mariners and Angels both teams find themselves floundering offensively in a year where both had World Series aspirations. Both teams would love the boost Upton could bring and should jump at the opportunity.
Chances a Trade Gets Done: 50%
A lot remains to be seen on the Justin Upton trade front. Whether the Padres are in contention or out of contention come Mid-July will go a lot of the way in AJ Preller deciding whether to keep Upton, try to resign him and settle for a compensation pick if he isn’t signed or trade him away now for some top prospects or more major league ready talent.
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