The San Diego Padres are one of the more active teams on the trade front. The team has already dealt James Shields, Fernando Rodney, Drew Pomeranz, Melvin Upton Jr., Andrew Cashner, and Colin Rea this season and there are likely more transactions to come. The team is in a full on rebuild mode and has collected numerous top-level prospects in return for these veteran players.
Anderson Espinoza, Josh Naylor, Fernando Tatis Jr., Hansel Rodriguez, Chris Paddack, and Luis Castillo help solidify the minor league system. Their additions to the franchise help create a log-jam of talent at the lower minor league levels. I know a ton of fans are complaining, but it is not as though this team was competing with all the veterans that were here.
A.J. Preller is doing a great job and fans should be aware of it. In order for this Padres franchise to come out of obscurity, the team needed to have a solid nucleus of talent. Home grown players that were cultivated in your system of play is the only true way to have a team that competes annually. This will happen. This team will succeed.
The latest group of players to be rumored to be moved are some valuable bullpen arms. Brandon Maurer, Brad Hand and Ryan Buchter have all performed well for the Friars this season. Buchter and Hand have pitched well virtually coming out of nowhere and Maurer has progressed nicely and seems adjusted into his new role as the teams closer. Would A.J. dare break up the bullpen and move any of these three men? For the right price… Yes he most certainly would.
Preller says Hand, Buchter, Maurer “have been asked about a lot” in advance of Deadline. “There’s definitely interest in our pen,” he said.
— AJ Cassavell (@AJCassavell) July 30, 2016
Brandon Maurer would be the toughest to move. He is under team control until 2020 and is still very young. At 25 there are still some who believe he could flourish pitching in the rotation. He has the arsenal to do the job, but has never been given the opportunity during the regular season in a Padres uniform. At the moment Maurer seems happy as the team’s closer, so he will likely remain there unless a team pays the steep asking price for his services.
The Padres are far more inclined to deal Buchter or Hand at this point. The left-handed pitchers were both obtained rather cheaply this season. Hand was claimed off waivers from the Marlins and Buchter was signed before the season as a minor league free agent from the Braves. Preller loves to sell high and both pitchers value has never been higher in their careers.
There are plenty of teams that are looking for relief help. The Washington Nationals, St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, New York Mets and Texas Rangers are all actively looking for relief pitchers. The Nationals are said to be aggressively pursuing Andrew Miller from the Yankees, but if that falls through, Buchter could be an option for the Nats. Preller has already dealt with Nats GM Mike Rizzo so a deal could be possible.
Hand also has much interest throughout the league and could fetch a decent return. The Padres are going to need pitchers for next season so it remains to be seen how many arms the team can deal. Losing Rea in the most recent trade was big in terms of innings for the next few seasons. The team will need someone to step up and fill that role. With Daren Balsley in charge of the pitching staff, it is very likely the team can turn another undervalued pitcher into something special (Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy, Drew Pomeranz). Stay tuned Padres fans, because Preller is still “Prelling”.