The July 31st trade deadline came and went with a lot of inaction from the San Diego Padres. Many trades were expected with only one coming to fruition. As the calendar has turned from July to August, the possibilities of trades still hover over A.J. Preller’s head.
With the waiver wire deadline coming at the end of August, the Padres have quite a few options to correct the mistakes made at the trade deadline. Over the weekend, the first moves were made when both Matt Kemp and James Shields were both placed on waivers and cleared waivers. The Padres are now free to discuss trades for both of these players with any team. With that in mind, the Padres have a few other players who may be better options for an August waiver wire trade.
The most logical player that comes to mind in terms of a August trade for the Padres is Shawn Kelley. Kelley was the player who infamously gave up a game winning home run in Los Angeles on opening day against the Dodgers.
He struggled the first month or so of the season before finally getting it together. Since his initial struggles, Kelley has been one of the best relief pitchers in the Padres bullpen and has arguably been one of the best relief pitchers in the entire league.
So far on the year Kelley has pitched to the tune of a 2.85 ERA with a 2.83 FIP with forty-five strikeouts in only forty-one innings pitched. In his forty-one appearances, Kelley has given up runs in only eight appearances. Since returning from injury on May 12th, following his struggles the first three weeks of the season, Kelley has a 1.77 ERA with only seven runs given up in 35.2 innings pitched. Since the beginning of June Kelley has been even better with a 1.23 ERA in 27.1 innings pitched. Kelley has given up only one run so far in August and has given up only one run in his last fourteen appearances.
To say Kelley has been lights out over the last few months is an understatement. Kelley has been the most consistent Padres reliever outside of Craig Kimbrel and Brandon Maurer all season, and seems to be the player who would draw the most interest on the waiver wire. Kelley is also in the final year of his contract and would therefore be a smart player for the Padres to attempt to trade through waivers. Kelley would be a great addition for many different teams with playoff aspirations that need an extra bullpen arm.
Beyond Shawn Kelley, the Padres have a few other impending free agents that could find themselves on the waiver wire in Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy, and Will Venable. All three of this guys have some value, along with Matt Kemp and James Shields, but it seems clear that the Padres have the most value in Shawn Kelley. If the Padres do not wish to bring back Shawn Kelley long term, although it seems like it would be worth the investment if they did, it makes the most sense for them to pull the trigger now and place him on waivers.