Monstrous Moves Put Padres in Position for a Ring

PETCO Park - home of the San Diego Padres - is located in downtown San Diego. PHOTO CREDIT: Aude//Wikimedia Commons

Once the clock struck 4 p.m. on Monday and the MLB trade deadline was over, we knew one team was all-in on a World Series run this year: the San Diego Padres.

Yep, you read that right. For the first time in a decade, the San Diego Padres were buyers at the deadline looking to make a serious run at a ring.

Fans in San Diego must be shitting themselves right now. The team has the second best record in the entire National League at 22-15, and the team’s ownership made the biggest moves at the deadline to chase a ring. 

We all know the Padres can absolutely rake. The team leads the MLB in runs scored, and earlier this year hit 4 grand slams in as many days. Sorry Rangers fans, but we will never forget that. 

With 21-year-old Fernando Tatis Jr. leading the way, the Padres are the real deal. Tatis Jr., Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer are all hitting over .300. They have a real Rookie of the Year candidate in Jake Cronenworth and pieces around them like Wil Meyers can absolutely rake. 

So, what more do they need? The Padres went out and improved the one slacking offensive position they had. All they had to do was trade for catchers Austin Nola and Jason Castro

Nola from the Seattle Mariners is only in his second season at age 30, but he’s hitting .306 in almost 100 at bats. He may be a late bloomer, and if Nola continues his hot hitting throughout the season, he could be a guy the Padres lock up for a few years. 

The Padres also added veteran catcher Castro from the L.A. Angels. San Diego will be Castro’s 4th stop around the league. Even if he doesn’t improve on his .192 average, Castro is a great defensive catcher that will be valuable in the clubhouse as a veteran leader. However, the Padres made their biggest moves at the deadline on the mound.

The Padres also grabbed veteran slugger Mitch Moreland from the Red Sox. Moreland is having the best season of his career, batting .328 with 8 homers in just 22 games. With the National League adopting the designated hitter this year, Moreland is another great bat the Padres will surely find a place for.

If there’s anything evident from last year’s playoffs, it’s that you need pitching. The Padres shored up their starting rotation and made a deal with the Indians for right hander Mike Clevinger. The 29 year old is in his 5th big league season, never finishing with an E.R.A over 3.20 except for his rookie year. This year for the Tribe, Clevinger was 1-1 in 4 games on the hill posting a 3.18 E.R.A. Add Clevinger to a rotation that already has Zach Davies (2.61 E.R.A.), Dinelson Lamet (2.35 E.R.A.) and last year’s rookie phenom Chris Paddack (4.43 E.R.A.), and the Padres have a real chance to make a run in October.

San Diego also added four more arms to their bullpen, but none of the additions necessarily moved the needle. The guy they acquired with the highest upside is Kansas City’s Trevor Rosenthal

Rosenthal was absolutely filth in St. Louis’ bullpen from 2012-17 before he got injured. The team traded him to Detroit where he struggled to stay in the bigs. Rosenthal may be back posting a 3.29 E.R.A. in 13.2 innings for the Royals this year, but it’s been a while since Rosenthal has completed a year in the bigs.

Although the other three relievers the Padres acquired before the deadline have E.R.A.s over 5, any reliever you can add to your bullpen could be helpful down the stretch as teams play a shortened schedule with few days off.

The Padres made the most moves of any team bringing in 9 new players. But they had to give up 16 players to do it. They notably got rid of Taylor Trammell, the No. 59 ranked prospect in all of baseball, according to MLB.com

Tramell was involved in the deal that brought Austin Nola to San Diego along with two relievers. In fact, the Padres did a mini overhaul of their farm system, parting ways with their 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, 16th, 19th and 22nd ranked prospects. It may have been a lot, but the Padres definitely improved their already potent offense. They also added a legit starter that has a chance to bring them deep into the playoffs. 

Only time will tell if the 2020 trade deadline paid off for the Padres, but this is great for a franchise that desperately needed a sign of life since signing Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer

The last time they were “buyers” at the deadline was in 2010. They traded for a 36-year-old Miguel Tejada who was having his worst season in 12 years. The Padres would go on to lose 10 consecutive games in September that year and miss the playoffs by 2 games. Fast forward 10 years and the Padres are all-in, grabbing some real talent that can elevate their team to a postseason run.

If the Padres clinch a spot in the playoffs, which should be easy with over half the league making it this year, it would be the first time since 2006. Even more embarrassing, it would be only the Padres 6th playoff berth in team history. They’ve been around since 1969! 

After the Chargers left town, San Diego is desperate for some positive sports news. The Padres may be able to answer the call. 

You may think it’s a shortened season and any World Series will come with an asterisk, but don’t tell the people of San Diego. The team made real moves to try and bring its fans a ring for the first time in the franchise’s 51 year history. 

Elsewhere in the MLB:

Very few big names were on the block this year. But there were still deals that sent guys on the move. Below are some of my winners and losers from the deadline:

Toronto Blue Jays – Winner

The Blue Jays, like the Padres, can hit the living shit out of a baseball. So, the Jays went out and added some nice pieces to their rotation. 

Robbie Ray from the Diamondbacks struggles with command, but his stuff is untouchable when he’s on. Ray had a career best 2.89 E.R.A. in 2017, but has seen that E.R.A. grow each year since. 

Ross Stripling came over from the Dodgers. He may want to get comfortable in Toronto because I could see the Jays locking him up long term. The 2020 season hasn’t gone his way, but every year prior Stripling had an E.R.A. below 3 for L.A. 

The Blue Jays added a third starter to their rotation in Taijuan Walker. Walker comes to Toronto from Seattle, and he’s been a solid starter ever since he entered the league in 2013. Walker has had recent injury problems. But if he can stay healthy, he’s a nice addition for a Toronto team desperate for starting pitching. 

Colorado Rockies – Loser

Kevin Pillar is a decent addition from the Red Sox. But it’s nothing that jumps off the page or adds significant win totals to your team. Pillar will come in for defense late in games, but his bat is just average. 

Mychal Givens will also make his way from Baltimore to Colorado. This is the addition that Rockies fans are probably hyped about. The reliever has a 1.38 E.R.A. in 13 innings, but this is the first time in a few years he’s showing promise out of the bullpen. It could just be a hot start for Givens, and moving to the Denver elevation will do no favors for his E.R.A. 

These might be solid moves, but the real reason I have the Rockies as losers is because of what they gave up. Colorado let go of its No. 7 ranked prospect in shortstop Terrin Vavra and its 14th best prospect with corner infielder Tyler Nevin. Two players to be named later will also depart from the Rockies system. The team would barely be in the playoffs if they were to start today. Although they have real star power at the plate, they desperately need more help pitching. Givens just won’t get it done. As an MLB team, the more you commit to being a buyer or seller the better. The Rockies looked to be a buyer, but this didn’t move the needle for me. Colorado is still a handful of pieces away from making a real run. 

To see all the moves teams made at the trade deadlines, click on the spreadsheet below:

A.Scott, Deputy Editor for The Challenge. Lifelong Jets, Mets, Nuggets and Flyers fan still looking to celebrate his first pro sports championship. Retired degenerate sports gambler who likes to come out of retirement. Learned how to count cards at the age of 18, but has yet to put the skill to good use. Primarily writes about the MLB, but will dip his toes into the NFL, NBA, college basketball and UFC. When I’m not writing for The Challenge or for a local news station in Syracuse, you can catch me either on the golf course or pounding brews with bros. “Don’t worry, be happy!” R.I.P. Mac Miller

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