As the MLB season nears its all-star break, teams are beginning to make projections on where they will end up when the 162nd game is over. In addition to making projections, teams will also start to really focus on the upcoming trade deadline of July 31st. By this date teams must decide if they are buyers or sellers. Buyers usually think they have a chance at the playoffs, while sellers are rebuilding for next year.
The San Diego padres could fit either description, but are more likely sellers this season.
Important Aspects of the Deadline
While the basics of the trade deadline have remained relatively unchanged throughout the years, the teams that participate in deadline deals has. With the addition of the extra wild card team, more teams feel like buyers at the deadline.
Another important aspect is the existence of two deadlines. The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31 and the commissioner’s office must have all trade information by that day in order for the trade to go through. During this time teams may trade whoever they please, for anything they can get in return. Many sellers use this time to move players who will command large contracts the next year. That way they can get prospects and other players in return, if that player were to leave in free agency, the team would only receive a draft pick in return for them leaving.
A common misconception is that there are no trades made after the deadline, this is not true. However, players traded after the July 31 deadline must pass through waivers before joining the new team. When a players is placed on waivers he must be offered to every team, in reverse order of the standings. The catch is that any team who claims that player must pay his entire contract; any team can pick up the player, but they must be committed to using him and paying his contract. Less trades are made during this period, but they are possible.
The Padres as Sellers
The San Diego Padres are an interesting case this year, because of the moves they have already made. The Padres were active this off season bringing in Matt Kemp, Wil Meyers, Derek Norris, and Justin Upton. Additionally, they traded for closer Craig Kimbrel and outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. early this season to try and bolster a lineup that has been sub-par for the last few years.
Even after bringing in bigger name players though, the Padres find themselves struggling to get above 4th place in their division. Complicating the situation further is the Dodgers and Giants, who seem to have a stranglehold at the top of the division. Competing with those two perennial powers in the NL West will require more than just big names, they’ll need players that play to their expectations.
Fortunately, the league is set up for San Diego to make some potentially great moves. With a large number of teams in contention for their division and the wild card, more teams are looking to buy than sell; which puts San Diego in a great position. One thing that is going to be a hot commodity this trade deadline is bats, of which San Diego has a few that could make a difference for a team in a pennant race.
One player that it could make sense to move, is Justin Upton. While Upton has slumped a bit recently, he does bring power and past production for any team needing a bat to stay relevant in the playoff race. Additionally, Upton’s contract is up after this season and the Padres would much rather receive prospects and draft picks, as opposed to the one pick they would get if Upton leaves during free agency.
The padres could also stand to move Will Venable and Yonder Alonso. Alonso leads the team in average and is arbitration eligible two more years before hitting the free agent market. They could take advantage of his hot hitting and net a good return for him. Venable hasn’t produced this year as he has in the past, but either of these players could be good pick-ups for teams that are starving for offense.
Unfortunately, the padres don’t have much in the way of pitching to deal. Ian Kennedy is another player whose contract is up after the season, but due to his production the padres wouldn’t get a lot in return for him. If they are true sellers however, Kennedy could be attractive to a team that needs pitching, and doesn’t mind a bit of a project. While the Padres could make a late run at the postseason, they are more likely sellers this deadline.