A.J. Preller will do anything to improve the San Diego Padres.
Fernando Tatis Jr. took batting practice this week in Detroit and looks to be a week or two away from being ready for action. The addition of Tatis will boost the anemic Padres offense, but you get a sense that A.J. Preller and his staff will add more players to the roster.
Juan Soto is of serious interest to the Padres, but the Friars may elect to make multiple additions on offense instead of grouping all their popular young players together. Soto is a fantastic talent, but the asking price would be hefty. San Diego may choose to keep their prized young players and instead cherry-pick which prospects to trade off before the deadline.
In recent weeks, the Boston Red Sox fell from second place in the AL East and ten games above the .500 mark to last place in the division and hoovering at 49-49. Four teams within their division have better records, and it may be time for Boston to throw in the towel and re-set for next year.
The Padres and Red Sox match well, as Boston has a few outfielders on the roster who could be of interest to the Padres.
Enrique (Kike) Hernandez and Alex Verdugo are both former Dodgers, and that in itself has value to San Diego. It looks like a trip to the World Series will go through L.A., and it may be beneficial to have a former Dodger on the roster. JD Martinez is in the last year of his contract, and he may be of interest to San Diego as well, as he is a perennial offensive force.
Hernandez is versatile and in the last year of his contract. The asking price would not be too lofty as the right-handed hitter could be had for a few mid-to-lower level prospects. Eguy Rosario and Reiss Knehr make sense to some degree. The Padres possess depth in certain areas (starting pitchers and infielders), and both players could blossom in Boston.
Verdugo is still 26 and under team control for 2 1/2 years. The left-handed hitter is in the middle of a bad season where he has produced a career-low OPS of .680 so far. Verdugo is an on-base type player with average power. There is some belief that we have yet to see him play at his potential. Boston may be hesitant to deal Verdugo, especially if his value is down.
Martinez is an offensive stud but a full-time DH at this point in his career. The Padres already have Luke Voit in that spot, but the slugger is able to play first base if the team could get out of Eric Hosmer‘s contract. Martinez is capable of playing corner outfield, but San Diego would not want him out there daily. His asking price will be high as there will be plenty of teams interested in adding him come playoff time.
Hernandez is a much better defender than Verdugo, and that could be a huge deciding factor besides the asking price in itself. The right-handed thrower can play every infield position but has played center field for the Red Sox this season. Hernandez has shown a propensity to be clutch during the playoffs, which could also be helpful for the Padres. The main issue for Hernandez is that he is currently on the IL with a hip issue. That is a risk, but as a role player, he may hold value for the Padres. San Diego will need to examine if Hernandez is capable of contributing this season at full strength.
Martinez is the prize catch here, but San Diego would need to do some roster re-shuffling to accommodate the 34-year-old right-handed hitter. Preller is creative, and the Padres could easily meet the Red Sox’s asking price. If Boston wants instant value, Ryan Weathers could get a deal done, or the Padres could flaunt some of their young players deep down on the farm like Samuel Zavala or Victor Acosta. The asking price is not the problem here. It would be making room for Martinez on the roster and giving him the lion’s share of the starts at DH.
If Boston continues to fall out of the playoff race in the next seven days, look for the Padres to step in and initiate discussions. Martinez and Hernandez make perfect sense for the Padres as they are rentals. The Padres are at their max in terms of payroll and will need to get creative in shedding salaries to make any major additions like this. It is possible, though. A.J. Preller has the prospect capital to get deals done.
Trade season is here. Speculation is all around. Will the Padres and Red Sox pull off a trade in the coming weeks? Only time will tell. They certainly match well on paper, and sometimes, that is all it takes to get a deal done.