The Padres need starting pitching, and with some big names coming off the board, they may need to look at value deals.
With the trade deadline less than 48 hours away, it’s crunch time if the Padres want to acquire starting pitching help, which they desperately need. With Marcus Stroman off the board, it seems the top two pitchers still perceived as available that the Padres would want are Noah Syndergaard and Trevor Bauer.
However, Stroman to the Mets muddies the Thor situation a bit as New York maybe sees themselves as an outside-shot contender still. The Indians are in an even better situation, just two games back of the first-place Twins in the A.L. Central, so they would need to be blown away with an offer for Bauer.
If the Padres are looking to add pitching help and not “mortgage the farm” as it were, Cincinnati Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani may be of service. Acquiring DeSclafani would be a “2020 or bust” move, since he is under control for one more year after this, as opposed to Syndergaard, who will be a free agent after 2021. He will certainly be cheaper than Syndergaard, as he does not have the track record of success.
DeSclafani is having a career year as he is finally healthy. He has only started more than 21 games once in his previous four seasons but currently sits at 20 starts. Great American Ballpark in Cincy is in the top 10 of most offensive categories among ballparks, making it very hitter-friendly and a tough place to find consistent success on the mound. However, DeSclafani has navigated a 4.01 ERA and 113 ERA+ this year, with his home ERA (3.40) actually better than on the road (4.65). His ERA, ERA+, and 1.7 WAR would all be second-best among Padres starters after Chris Paddack. Plus, one would think those numbers would improve if he made Petco Park his home.
The 29-year-old throws a mid-90s fastball coupled with a hard slider while mixing in a curveball and sinker. He struggled with health for the majority of his first few years in the majors, which also is a cause for concern. Injury concerns and just one more year of control make DeSclafani a cheaper option than other, more discussed starting pitchers.
His value will be the highest it has ever been for him, but the Padres could certainly swing a trade for him without losing their top tier prospects.
Add the fact that he will be 30 years old next season, and the Padres should be able to make this happen while still keeping plenty in the chamber for bigger trades. The Friars have a plethora of catching depth, and they could include Austin Allen in a package for DeSclafani. Allen is stuck behind Francisco Mejia and Austin Hedges but is hitting in Triple-A like he’s ready for a long-term look in the big leagues, with a .298 average and .961 OPS in 47 games for Triple-A El Paso this season. Allen is currently the Padres’ 12th-ranked prospect in what is considered the best farm system in baseball.
The Reds’ best catching prospect is Tyler Stephenson, but he only just began playing in Double-A this season and may need at least one more full year of seasoning before he’s big league-ready. Allen could be the Reds’ starting catcher tomorrow if needed.
Most teams covet San Diego’s pitching prospects, and the Reds would likely ask for one arm as well.
Osvaldo Hernandez is one of many left-handed arms the Padres tout down on the farm. The 21-year-old owns a 2.70 ERA in six starts for High-A Lake Elsinore with a 3.94 FIP. If he were in another farm system, the Cuban would be getting more attention. He has a career 2.75 ERA in 42 minor league games since he first started in the summer of 2017.
In the end, the Padres would get an up-start right-handed starting pitcher under control through 2020 who is having a good season in a hitter-friendly ballpark, while only shipping out two positions of surplus in the farm system.