Despite numerous rumors that A.J. Preller was going to rule the deadline and make numerous trades, he kept all of his players, and actually added a bullpen piece. According to Ken Rosenthal, "Preller believes the team can reach the postseason" and seemingly wants to see what they can accomplish for the rest of the 2015 season. While he might be holding out hope that his team can turn things around, and that the eventual return of a healthy Wil Myers could be a boost, FanGraphs pegs their odds of reaching the post-season at just 1.6 percent as of today.
While it's not impossible that San Diego could make a late push and challenge for a playoff spot, it's incredibly unlikely, and if Preller can improve his team through a waiver-trade in August, it's something he should seriously consider. Whether that's through acquiring prospects, or salary relief, there's more than one way for him to make some upgrades, which could already be in motion.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, James Shields and Matt Kemp have been placed on waivers, and could attract attention before August 31st. Shields would appeal to those teams that missed out on guys like Johnny Cueto, Cole Hamels, and David Price, but are still looking to upgrade their rotation. He's struggled mightily in 2015 in terms of limiting the home run ball, but other than that, his other statistics are in line with his career norms. Shields' walk rate is elevated, but not the point of it being a detriment to his overall success.
It would seem that the main motivation behind trading him would be for salary relief, as he's signed through 2018, and owed $63 million the next three years, plus a buyout worth $2 million for 2019 in lieu of a team option for $16 million. The Yankees could be a team that shows interest in Shields, as they didn't make any notable upgrades before the deadline. They're in first place with a 4.5 game lead over the Blue Jays, but Toronto is currently making a strong push for the lead, and added Troy Tulowitzki and David Price for their playoff push.
The Angels could also be a potential fit for Shields, as C.J. Wilson is out for the rest of the year due to impending surgery on his pitching arm. The Cubs were seen as a potential fit before the deadline, but they added Dan Haren at the last minute, which could rule them out for any talks concerning Shields.
As for Kemp, while he hasn't had the best overall season, he's turned things around since the start of July, and could be of some interest to a team needing an offensive boost. In his last 119 plate appearances, Kemp is hitting .282/.361/.485 with an ISO of .204, a wOBA of .366, and a wRC+ of 139. He'll likely be more difficult to move, as the teams that would be able to take on his salary without a problem seemingly aren't in the market for an outfielder. He's owed $87 million over the next four seasons, however the Dodgers are paying $14 million of that.
It's unclear if the Padres would have to send any more money to complete a deal, or if any teams plan to be active in pursuit of Kemp. While it's not impossible for Preller to trade one, or both players away, it's not going to be easy; especially considering what he reportedly turned down and asked for in trades before the deadline.