As the MLB non-waiver trade deadline came and went, the San Diego Padres were expected to be pretty active and were conceived to be a safe bet to pull off at least one trade involving their major league roster.
Quite the contrary occurred, however, as the Padres decided to stand pat at the deadline and not deal anyone on their big league roster.
While the Padres weren’t entirely quiet this trade season, their only significant move came over a week before the deadline when they traded Brad Hand and Adam Cimber to the Indians for the top catching prospect in all of baseball, Francisco Mejia.
Since the Padres decided to hold on to their major league pieces, they’ll now be faced with a difficult task this offseason in regards to their 40-man roster. It’s no secret that San Diego has the deepest farm system in all of baseball, and with that slew of prospects comes the need to add nearly a dozen players to the 40-man roster or subject them to the uncertainty of the Rule 5 Draft, where they can be picked up by another team.
There are a handful of prospects that are virtual locks to make the 40-man this offseason (Luis Urias, Chris Paddack, and Anderson Espinoza, to name a few), but there’s another group whose futures with the club aren’t as certain. Players like Michael Gettys, Walker Lockett, and Trey Wingenter are all potential candidates of being exposed to the Rule 5 Draft.
The likely signs of just how many players general manager A.J. Preller wants to add to the roster will probably be determined by the number of players on the current roster that are either traded or designated for assignment. As of right now, the Padres could still pull the trigger on a number of trades for players such as Tyson Ross, Craig Stammen, or Kirby Yates but they would have to pass through waivers.
Pair that with the fact that only three players will be free agents this offseason (Ross, Freddy Galvis, and A.J. Ellis), and the Padres have some work to do this winter. They can accomplish this in a number of ways:
- DFA/Non-Tender Candidates: There’s no shortage of DFA candidates on the current 40-man roster, with Bryan Mitchell, Jose Pirela, Raffy Lopez, and potentially another pitcher being the most likely. The Padres could also consider non-tendering the contract of Cory Spangenberg, which would bypass his arbitration and make him a free agent. With the amount of depth that the Padres have coming (on the mound and behind the plate especially), it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a number of players designated for assignment.
- Trading Major League Players: While the trade deadline has passed, the Padres could still trade players through waivers, as well as in this upcoming offseason. It’s likely that a team could come calling in need of bullpen help, or a starting pitcher, which is why the Padres could still pull the trigger on a deal involving Stammen, Yates, or Ross. They could also consider trading one of a number of outfielders, which would help with the current logjam. Hunter Renfroe or Travis Jankowski would be the likeliest to be moved if a deal was struck.
- Trade Prospects: The team tried to strike a deal for a young, controllable starting pitcher this past week as they were linked most notably to Chris Archer. While it will be more difficult to pull off a trade in August, the Padres could still entertain the possibility of trading for a Noah Syndergaard or Jacob de Grom-caliber pitcher who can help lead the young arms that are on the way. However, the price tag will likely remain steep, so the Padres would have to weigh their options and trust their farm system to pull through even if it takes a hit.
No matter how someone looks at the upcoming situation, transactions will certainly take place. The future is starting to slowly make its way towards the big league roster and additions to the 40-man roster are usually the first step towards that. Pair that with impending free agents this winter, and it should make for an exciting offseason for the San Diego Padres.