One team that absolutely needs to add a piece to their bullpen is the Washington Nationals.
The Nationals are undoubtedly one of the best teams in baseball as they score more runs than any other team and have a talented starting rotation. However, the Nationals have one of the worst bullpens in all of baseball, and if they want to make a deep playoff run, they will certainly need to add a solid piece to the back end of their staff.
Their aren’t many teams that will say no to a valuable lefty like Brad Hand, knowing that they would have to give up one of their top prospects, potentially, for him. It is unlikely that Preller and the Padres would try and go after someone on the Nationals’ actual roster and more unlikely that the Nats part ways with anyone currently on their team. Victor Robles and Erick Fedde surely aren’t going anywhere, but it is possible that the Nationals may be willing to part ways with some of their other prospects.
I think that Preller would most likely target the shortstop or pitcher position, so Carter Kieboom and Austin Voth could be potential acquisitions for the Padres. Kieboom was the Nationals’ first-round pick last season and needs time to develop, but he hits for power at a position of need for the Padres. Voth is more major league ready, as he has pitched in Triple-A this season and is 24 years old. Both of these players would be beneficial for the Padres’ farm system. If the Nationals are willing to deal them away, the two teams could possibly get a deal done that helps both sides.
Another contending team that will be looking to add a piece to their bullpen, come the trade deadline, is the Chicago Cubs.
While the Cubs had one of the best bullpens in all of baseball last year, the back end of the rotation has been struggling this season for the reigning World Champions. They have a great bullpen ERA, but this is mostly likely attributed to the success of star closer, Wade Davis and long relievers, Mike Montgomery and Carl Edwards Jr. Certain key pieces of the Cubs’ ‘pen have not been good (Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon).
With a struggling rotation thus far, the Cubs are going to need a strong bullpen to make a run at the postseason. Adding Brad Hand may be a great step to fixing their problem. Whether or not Theo Epstein is willing to deal away one of his top-30 prospects will be key for this trade to go down. The Cubs are an interesting trade partner for the Padres simply because their farm system is loaded with talented pitching. Of the team’s top 30 prospects, seventeen of them are pitchers. If the reigning World Champs are willing to make a push for another ring, and add Brad Hand, they will certainly have to deal away one, or potentially two, of their young pitching prospects.
One last team that may try to add a piece to their bullpen by the July trade deadline, is the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers started off cold (mostly due to not having slugger Adrian Beltre), but have started to heat up as of late. They have a talented lineup, but are being held back this season by their pitching. With struggles in both the rotation and the bullpen, the Rangers must make a move to try and get some help in these areas. Padres’ GM, A.J. Preller, used to work with the Rangers, so he is somewhat familiar with the organization and their farm system.
The asking price for Hand has somewhat started to clear up in recent weeks as many Padres’ fans are talking about the team trying to pursue Jurickson Profar, the utility player currently on the Texas Rangers 40-man roster. Profar, once the number one prospect in all of baseball, has not performed as he was expected to at the major league level. A lot of this is due to the fact the Rangers moved him around the field defensively. Profar has also dealt with a ton of injuries in his past. He hasn’t really been able to settle down and play one position, providing many different obstacles for the 24-year-old. If acquired, Profar would play shortstop for the Padres, as that is a position of need for them. He could also see some time in left field, but that is unlikely once Alex Dickerson returns. Many people have written Profar off, but I believe that he can still be a good player at the major league level. He’s still young (24) and still has the talent that he had when he first burst onto the scene. If the Rangers are willing to part with him for Hand, I think the Padres should get the deal done.
While there is a great possibility that Brad Hand may not even be dealt come July, there is also a decent chance that he will be. The lefty brings so much to the table that I don’t see why Preller wouldn’t jump on the opportunity to get some young talent for him. Needless to say, Hand is a phenomenal pitcher, and many teams will certainly call asking about him. The decision will ultimately lie in the hands of Preller and the Padres’ organization, as they will surely make the right decision in regards to Hand.