Should the Padres buy or sell at the trade deadline?

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It is late July, and the MLB Trade Deadline is near. Should the San Diego Padres be sellers or buyers this August? 

The 2023 season has not gone well for the San Diego Padres.

Luckily for the franchise, their season is not done yet. There is still time.

Even though the Padres sit in fourth place in the N.L. West, you get a sense that this team could go on a winning streak. They can get back into the race and earn an N.L. Wild Card spot. It is not a guarantee by any sense of the imagination, but it is conceivable that the Padres will sneak into the playoff race late this summer. Their recent play dictates that things may be turning around for San Diego.

The issues for the 2023 Padres are well-documented. They are failing to do the little things, including driving in runs with runners in scoring position. The team has also failed to win an extra-innings game on the season. And their record in one-run games is atrocious, as the team is failing to come back once they are faced with a deficit in a game. This is not the recipe for a winning ball club. But the Padres are not a bad team; they are just not playing well. There is a difference.

Adding to the current clubhouse with the correct ingredient could catapult the Padres into the playoff race. It could also further cripple the team in a season that once looked so promising.

So what do the Padres do in the next few weeks?

Let’s play a little devil’s advocate and look at both sides of the argument.

Buy, Buy, Buy. There is still time.

It may be far-fetched, but the Padres really can get back into the race. Winning the division is nice, but it is not necessary to go far in the playoff tournament. More often than not, it is the team that ends the regular season playing well who goes on to hoist a World Series title. Getting hot at the right time could carry the Padres into the promised land.

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A.J. Preller is not shy. Contrary to what some believe, the Padres have several prospects who could virtually gain them any player they want on the trade market. Dealing Jackson Merrill may be a tough thing to do, but if it fetches a pivotal player for this season and beyond- then the Padres may be forced to make a decision. A World Series title is the ultimate goal, and if a team is close to that reality, then you do whatever it takes to get the job done.

As long as you are mathematically capable of making the playoffs, then you continue on your mission. There are still over two months left in the season, and anything can happen. If you look at the standings, there are teams currently ahead of the Padres who are already fading fast (Marlins, Diamondbacks) and a few teams playing over their heads (Giants, Reds). This NL playoff race is not over, and if the Padres make the playoffs, they would undoubtedly be a dangerous team. Preller must add to this roster. Go for it all.

Sell, Sell, Sell. This team has failed already.

They may be playing better now, but the Padres cannot continue to hemorrhage money. At some point, they must face reality and re-set with the intention of really competing in 2024 from the beginning of the season to the end. You cannot ignore the failures of this team and expect them to improve overnight. The roster construction needs to be adjusted.

Josh Hader and Blake Snell are pending free agents and would arguably be the best reliever and starting pitcher available on the trade market. The Padres could gain multiple prospects within the top 100 ranked in all of Major League Baseball for these men. Seth Lugo is also a possibility, as the Padres may choose to move the veteran arm. They have assets and could gain some quality talent in the coming weeks.

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The 2023 season is a lesson that winning is not easy at the major league level. It takes more than money to construct a winning team. Ask the Dodgers and Yankees, who have thrown money at their roster for decades with little recent success as far as winning a World Series goes. It is complicated, and the Padres upper management learned some hard lessons this season. Sell what you can and do a better job this winter, bringing in players who want to compete and make the whole roster better.

The Verdict

The next few weeks will really be telling what the Padres do for the rest of the season. If the team falls flat on its face and loses the majority of its games until the trade deadline, expect the Padres to adjust and look into restocking the farm system with relevant young players. The smart money says this team will play above .500 baseball for the rest of the season. The question is if there is enough time for them to dig out of the hole they created.

The Padres will likely be stubborn and continue to add to the roster. Do not expect them to sell the entire minor league roster to upgrade in the last two months of the season, either. Shohei Ohtani would be awesome for the Padres, but the price may be too steep for San Diego. Instead, a few minor additions may be what is needed to get results.

One way or another, the Padres will be active in the next few weeks as they adjust the roster. Anything is possible with A.J. Preller at the helm. It will certainly be busy as usual for the San Diego Padres. One way or another.

1 thought on “Should the Padres buy or sell at the trade deadline?

  1. They should … FIRE … Preller and Melvin, but they won’t.

    They should sell, because this team is not a winner, but they won’t.

    They will make bad trades (Preller will), and set the team back another few years, at a minimum.

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