Padres should swing trade for one of these outfielders immediately

Padres should swing trade for one of these outfielders immediately, East Village Times.

May 4, 2024; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Tommy Pham (28) hits a go-ahead one run single against the St. Louis Cardinals during the tenth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Padres will be without Fernando Tatis Jr. for an extended period of time. They need help in the outfield as soon as possible.

In the immediate aftermath of the euphoria that was the Jurickson Profar walk-off win on Monday night, Padres fans also received bad news. Fernando Tatis Jr. was placed on the 10-day IL before the game with a femoral stress reaction. It appears he will be on the shelf a lot longer than the minimum 10 days, based on his comments after the win.

With the Padres clinging to a Wild Card spot and facing maybe a month or more without one of their stars (not to mention Luis Campusano, Joe Musgrove, Yu Darvish, and Xander Bogaerts all still on the IL as well), the Padres need to act. A.J. Preller has never been afraid to shake things up and react strongly to immediate team needs via trade.

That needs to happen now. The Padres cannot continue with an outfield behind Jackson Merrill and Jurickson Profar being David Peralta and Bryce Johnson.

Two outfielders likely available on the trade market could be of service.

Taylor Ward

Neither of these names will be a sexy, perennial All-Star like Tatis because, well, teams don’t normally want to trade such players. That doesn’t mean the Padres can’t find some value. Taylor Ward has been a steady contributor for the Angels for the better part of three years. Since the start of 2022, he is batting .262 with a .790 OPS and a 119 OPS+. That includes 50 home runs in just over 300 games. Basically, he’s been an above-average hitter with 20-homer power for the Angels.

The Angels are going nowhere this season, at 31-46. They need to sell off some valuable pieces. Ward could command a decent haul, given he is under team control for this season, plus two more after. He is a true corner outfielder who can play both spots. He’s even played center field in a pinch. A plus-hitting outfielder is exactly what the Padres need right now.

This season, he has 13 homers with a .757 OPS (league average is .704). He appears apt at finding the barrel when making contact, with a barrel rate in the 95th percentile and sweet spot rate in the 97th.

On defense, he is a serviceable defender with Outs Above Average in the 65th percentile and arm strength in the 71st. Thus far in 2024, he has 2 Defensive Runs Saved in left field in 63 games.

Given his lengthy team control and above-average production, he likely will be more costly than some. However, given he has no All-Star appearances and is now 30 years old, he wouldn’t require a blockbuster, blue-chip prospect haul.

The Padres could have Ward in their lineup for several seasons. Even if they want to bring Profar back after this year, it could be as a full-time DH and occasional outfielder role.

The Padres likely could acquire Ward without parting with Ethan Salas, Robby Snelling, or Dylan Lesko. The Angels likely want pitching back. Perhaps the Padres pull a package together with Adam Mazur, Jagger Haynes, and a position player such as catcher Lamar King Jr.

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Tommy Pham

This feels like a fairly obvious one. Pham and the Padres engaged in talks before the season started, but nothing materialized into a contract. Pham opted for the White Sox, likely knowing he would be traded to a contender at the deadline. In the meantime, he’s played well for a disastrous White Sox team. At this point, they are likely banking on the fact that they will get something of value in return for Pham.

Pham is familiar with the Padres, having spent two seasons in San Diego in 2020 and 2021. He is batting .274 with a .733 OPS and 109 OPS+ this year. He has played all three outfield spots in Chicago, too. His veteran presence, work ethic, and league-average bat would be a welcome addition to a Padres team desperate for stability with injuries ravaging the team.

Pham definitely comes with some question marks. While teammates seem to like him, he frequently finds himself in the middle of scuffles and has a tough-guy bravado that can be to his detriment. Perhaps this time around, the Padres need some of that fire and edge.

Pham would be a welcome addition to the outfield picture. Even when Tatis returns, Pham is a good depth piece and DH option as well. Plus, given he would be a half-season rental, the cost would be significantly lower. The Padres likely would not have to touch any of their top 10 prospects to acquire Pham. Perhaps even none of their top 15.

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