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2016 MLB Trade Deadline Preview: San Diego Padres

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A look at what the Padres could do before the trade deadline next week.

MLB: Miami Marlins at San Diego Padres Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

As we approach August 1, we will preview what each team is projected to do in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. For a complete listing of our previews, click here.
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San Diego Padres: 43-56, 4th in the NL West

The Padres were expected to be a key player at last year’s trade deadline, only to shock the injury but holding onto all of their veteran pieces and standing pat as the clock turned to 4:00 p.m. on July 31. A year later, San Diego has struggled mightily and has shifted focus a bit, with A.J. Preller showing a strong willingness to move pieces to contenders.

San Diego’s sale started last winter, as Joaquin Benoit (Mariners), Craig Kimbrel (Red Sox), Yonder Alonso (Athletics), Jedd Gyorko (Cardinals), Odrisamer Despaigne (Orioles) and Nick Vincent (Mariners) were shipped out of town. Preller is hoping to re-stock the club’s farm system after trading a ton of prospects for Wil Myers, Derek Norris, Matt Kemp, Craig Kimbrel and the Uptons before the 2014 season.

San Diego is expected to hold nothing back in the next week, with everyone (except Myers, most likely) potentially available.

What moves have they made so far?

San Diego has already made three significant moves on the trade market, with James Shields (White Sox), Fernando Rodney (Marlins) and Drew Pomeranz (Red Sox) being shipped out of town. The Padres capitalized on All-Star seasons from Rodney and Pomeranz on a weak trade market, turning those recent acquisitions into long-term assets.

The biggest prospect addition so far for San Diego is righty Anderson Espinoza, who was acquired in a 1-for-1 deal for Pomeranz and is now ranked by MLB.com as the best prospect in the Padres’ system. Four of the team’s other top 16 prospects came in the Kimbrel deal, in Manny Margot (#2), Javier Guerra (#3), Logan Allen (#8) and Carlos Asuaje (#16).

Right-hander Chris Paddack, who the Padres got for Rodney, currently ranks as the club’s 12th-best prospect and is thought of as a high ceiling guy. Erik Johnson and Fernando Tatis, Jr., acquired for Shields, could impact the major-league team in the future as well.

Are they buyers or sellers?

Based on their first three moves, strong sellers. San Diego has already moved three key pieces and is expected to keep looking to make trades on a strong market for sellers.

Out of the club’s veterans, right-hander Andrew Cashner, outfielder Melvin Upton, Jr., and catcher Derek Norris appear to be the most likely trade candidates. San Diego is drawing a ton of interest in those players and is reported to be looking to make deals quickly.

While Myers is likely off the table and projects as a franchise cornerstone for the Padres, the team could look to deal Matt Kemp, Yangervis Solarte, Brad Hand, Matt Thornton and other players before next Monday’s deadline. Preller is open for business.

What moves could they make?

Cashner, Upton and Norris are likely to be dealt soon, and each is drawing strong interest from other clubs.

Cashner, who appears to have made his final start in a Padres’ uniform, has been linked to a bevy of teams, including the Rangers, Orioles, Marlins, Blue Jays, Astros and Tigers. He has struggled so far this season, but some executives see him as a change-of-scenery candidate that may not cost a steep price as a rental.

San Diego was reportedly telling other clubs that they were close to moving Upton last Friday, though no deal has materialized to this point. The Padres were known to be discussing a deal that would send Upton to Baltimore in exchange for Ubaldo Jimenez, though nothing seems to be close at this point. The Blue Jays and Indians have also been in on Upton, though the Giants are not.

A recent report notes that the Padres are also shopping Norris, as a cheaper alternative to Jonathan Lucroy (Brewers) on the trade market for catchers. Sources indicate that the Astros could pursue Norris, and other catching-hungry teams like the Indians and Rangers could look to make a move as well.

Predictions

San Diego will be very active leading up to next Monday, and it would be shocking if any of the Cashner-Upton-Norris trio is still with the club after the deadline. Cashner and Norris have struggled a bit, but still seem to have strong trade value. Upton has upped his value after a strong year and could find himself with a contender soon.

Preller and his staff are finally accepting the defeat of the failed quick rebuild before the 2015 season, when the Padres traded away many key prospects and added Myers, Kemp, the Uptons, Kimbrel, Shields and Norris. In adding high-upside players like Espinoza, Margot and Guerra, the rebuild is off to a strong start in San Diego.