Trade with Orioles for Santander makes sense for Padres

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The San Diego Padres need offense, and Anthony Santander of the Orioles could be a viable option. If the Padres can meet the asking price of the Orioles. 

Juan Soto is no longer with the San Diego Padres.

Replacing the outfielders’ offensive production will be impossible, but the Padres can soften the loss by adding some talented players this winter. Time is running out, though.

The majority of the talent added to the roster so far this off-season has been to revitalize the pitching staff. The Padres have yet to add any kind of help to the lineup to offset the loss of Soto. And that will be a problem heading into the 2024 season.

There are very few free agents on the current market who make sense for San Diego, so it seems more and more likely that any additions will be made via trade. A.J. Preller and his staff are not shy about making deals, so this should come as no surprise to Padres fans. But who will the Padres trade with?

Currently, the Baltimore Orioles have one of the youngest teams in Major League Baseball. They are also blessed with a farm system that is regarded as one of the best in the game.

The Orioles have several outfielders on the cusp of serious service time in the majors. Colton Cowser and Heston Kjerstad are the team’s No. 2 and No. 3 prospects, and both men are expected to play for Baltimore during the 2024 season, as each debuted in 2023 with some positivity. Jackson Holliday is listed as a middle infielder and is the team’s number-one prospect. He is knocking on the door as well. So is Connor Norby, who spent the entire 2023 season at the Triple-A level. The Orioles have plenty of offensive talent arriving soon.

All this brings us to Anthony Santander, the veteran on the roster and in the final year of his contract with Baltimore. The 29-year-old switch-hitter is a decent bat, and the thoughts are that he could be acquired for the right price. The Orioles will likely not re-sign the first baseman/corner outfielder, and Santander will probably be moved at some point as the youth begins to trickle into Baltimore.

Santander put up a .257/.325/.472 slash line with a .797 OPS last year for the Orioles in 153 games and 591 at-bats. That would be an upgrade for the Padres, considering that they got little to no production last year from their first baseman, and they need to replace Juan Soto in left field as well.

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The two teams, however, do not match up well in a potential trade. The Orioles are looking for pitching, especially proven starting pitching. That is something the Padres are presently lacking. The Orioles may be enticed to trade Santander for a few of the Padres’ pitching prospects, but you get a sense they would want a player who would pay dividends this coming season rather than a player with an unknown value.

The two sides are at a stalemate.

Baltimore is poised for a continuous playoff run. The team’s nucleus is young, and they intend to compete in 2024 and beyond. Anthony Santander represents a veteran leader on the team. In prying him away from the Orioles, the Padres would need to pay a decent price. If the Orioles are satisfied that their young talent is ready for a more prominent role, then the two sides may be able to get a deal done for future prospects. That is a big “if,” though. It will likely take the regular season for the Orioles to make that determination about their young players.

The Padres need offense, and Anthony Santander makes sense. It takes more than just a one-sided fit for a deal to be consummated, though. Both sides must be satisfied, and the Orioles are heading into a very important year for their franchise.

Ultimately, the Padres will probably need to find offensive help elsewhere. Or maybe A.J. Preller can waive a magic wand and entice the Orioles’ front office to covet some of the Padres’ young pitching prospects. Only time will tell. But the Padres do need to do something and add some veteran offensive help to the roster.

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