Trade Possibilities: The San Diego Padres & The Houston Astros

Credit: AP Photo

Players the Padres covet

Kyle Tucker

This toolsy outfielder could very well be untouchable, but the Padres must at least ask about his services, right? His name has been linked in a couple of rumors, but that has been for names like Sonny Gray, who can provide an ace-like pitcher at the top of the rotation. Brad Hand alone will not get the job for Tucker as the outfielder is currently ranked the #27 prospect in all of Major League Baseball by He was the Astros’ first-round selection (5th overall) in 2015 out of high school and is their second-ranked prospect.

The 20-year-old is currently hitting .301 in Double-A with eight homers, 20 RBI and six stolen bases in 36 games. That is after recording a .288/.379/.554 batting line in 48 games at the High A-Ball level. Tucker is a left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, who has a very smooth swing. His quick hands help him generate excellent power presently and he should develop even more power once he fills in his 6′ 4″ frame. Defensively, he has played mostly center field, where he possesses a plus-arm, though some indications are that he will be more of a corner outfielder at the major league level.

To land this young man from the Astros, Brad Hand is a good starting point, but the Friars would need to chip in at least a few more valuable trade commodities. One of the free agent-to-be starting pitchers might help the Astros, but in the end, the Padres would probably have to part with a pretty decent prospect in the deal. The only other possibility is if they can talk the Astros into taking Hand, a starting pitcher, and Yangervis Solarte. The infielder is not helping his trade value at the moment, but could be an enticing piece for the Astros as they look for depth. All in all, this is a complete long-shot as Tucker is very highly touted.

Forrest Whitley

This 19-year-old right-handed pitcher is progressing rather quickly and could be a valuable trade chip for the Astros if they choose to move him. He was drafted by the team in the first round of the 2016 draft (17th overall) out of high school. The 6′ 7″ 240 lb pitcher has excellent size and relies on a high 90’s fastball that has a lot of movement on it. He can cut the pitch also and it creates excellent run for the velocity he gets from it.

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire)

He has the ability to be a #1 type pitcher in the future as he has an excellent four-pitch repertoire. Whitley currently possess a power curve, mid 80’s slider, and an advanced changeup. He has made great strides this year and is currently in High A-Ball, where he is 2-0 with a 0.57 ERA in three starts there. He has struck out 24 batters in 15 innings pitched. This outstanding performance was after going 2-3 with a 2.91 ERA in 12 games at the A-Ball level. He struck out 67 batters there in 46 innings pitched and is surely on the fast track to the majors.

Whitley has a lot of value, and a deal for Hand straight up seems reasonable. Hand is a valuable commodity in his own right and he is a guarantee of sorts while the young pitcher, Whitley, could easily fizzle out. We have seen it before; a prospect with excellent numbers who just can’t make the proper adjustments at the upper minor league levels. It really comes down to how desperate the Astros are to win now. Hand gives them a great commodity now and A.J. Preller will surely get top-dollar for his left-handed pitcher.

Nick Hernandez

With the team’s 8th-round selection in the 2016 draft, the Astros selected this right-handed pitcher out of the University of Houston. The 22-year-old has made some nice progress since being selected last year and looks to be a really decent prospect, though he is a bit under the radar presently. In 2016, he recorded six saves and a 1.73 ERA in 26 innings pitched and 19 games, while striking out 30 batters.

This season he started in High Single-A, where he went 0-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 24 games and 34 innings pitched (48 K’s). He saved nine games while amassing a 0.85 WHIP and earned a promotion to Double-A, where he has only allowed one hit in his first 4.2 innings pitched. The power pitcher throws in the mid-90’s with a hard slider. He is a fly ball pitcher and generally gets his outs via the strikeout or the fly ball. Hernandez is one to keep an eye on as the Padres sniff around the Astros’ minor leagues for talent.

Jandel Gustave

At one time in the spring of 2015, he spent some time in the Padres spring training facility. He has the ability to hit triple digits on the radar gun, and that is very enticing. Gustave made it to the majors this season and threw five innings for the Astros. He struck out seven in that time, but was roughed up a bit to the tune of a 5.40 ERA. He went down in April with an elbow injury and had to undergo TJ surgery.

Credit: AP Photo

I know, I know. A hurt pitcher is not that enticing to a rebuilding club. However, the club does have familiarity with him and the Padres do have depth to allow him to heal properly. The young man is 24 and will miss the entire 2018 season. There is potential here, but there is a long road ahead for this young man. He has an awesome combination of a fastball and a slider, and should be a decent reliever eventually at the highest level. A.J. Preller dealt Will Venable to the Texas Rangers for Marcus Greene Jr. and Jon Edwards. Greene was injured at the time with TJ surgery, so the young GM has no problem taking a prospect with a current injury issue.

Colin Moran

I have already written about this man and the fact he potentially fits well on the Padres. The left-handed hitter has no shot of making the Astros’ Major League roster, as he is blocked by talented players such as Alex Bregman. He tore up the pitching in Triple-A this season, recording a batting line of .308/.370/.545 with 18 homers and 63 RBI in 297 at bats and 78 games.

His bat looks to be legit, but there are some concerns about his glove at third. Moran also has below-average speed, but his power potential makes up for it. He has the ability to play first as well, if his progression at the hot corner does not take place. His arm is above average at the position, he just lacks foot speed and range to properly man the position right now at the major league level everyday.

Moran would be a nice addition and would not be too costly. In a deal for Brad Hand, Moran would be a decent starting point. He was called up this week to the majors after the injury to Carlos Correa. He might get an extended look at third base and Padre fans could get a brief look at this young man. The bat is real. The glove and footwork are a work in progress, but could he can still turn into a decent glove. Moran has a rocket arm and has more than enough strength to make the throw. Moran was hit in the face by a foul tip batting and suffered facial fractures. He is currently on the 10-day D.L. Could Preller swoop in again on another prospect who is undervalued and hurt?

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