For the past couple of days we have been looking at some teams with whom the Red Sox can deal before the August 31 trade deadline. Even after Wednesday’s win this team is clearly a seller, and if there are trades this summer — the pandemic makes things unclear — they are in a position to take advantage of a seller’s market that comes as a consequence to an expanded playoff field. We have already discussed the Indians and Brewers, both of whom are strong pitching teams who could use offense, and specifically outfield, help. It would make sense that this Red Sox team would focus on trade partners that fit that profile, but they can provide help to some pitching-needy teams.
That brings us to the San Diego Padres, who at first glance wouldn’t seem to be an ideal trade partner for the Red Sox. This doesn’t really have much to do with the current rosters, but rather history between the front offices. If you recall, there was some bad blood between the two sides after Boston acquired Drew Pomeranz from the Padres. Following that deal’s completion, it came out that Padres general manager withheld some medical information on Pomeranz and was subsequently suspended for 30 days. So, there may be some reticence to deal with them again, though they obviously talked about Mookie Betts this past winter.
That said, if there’s a deal there’s a deal, right? Especially since Chaim Bloom wasn’t even around for that, though obviously most of the rest of the front office was. Still, the Padres could be a team the Red Sox can offer some help for the right return. As we sit here Thursday morning, San Diego has a 14-12 record and sit tied for second in a very crowded NL West battle. According to FanGraphs they have a 79 percent chance of making the playoffs, and they are the exact kind of team that should be pushing forward.
The story of their roster is, of course, Fernando Tatís Jr., who has emerged this year as a legitimately elite talent and the face of that franchise. Just generally, they have a good group of position players, ranking 10th in FanGraphs WAR. They also have a good rotation — fifth in FanGraphs WAR — but the bullpen has held them back. Closer Kirby Yates has had a disappointing 2020 and is now on the injured list, leaving them with the aforementioned Pomeranz and not much else in relief. Overall, they rank third-to-last in FanGraphs WAR in the bullpen.
This is where the Red Sox come in. While their offense is likely going to be the main focus of trade talks over the next ten days, Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes could both be intriguing possibilities for other teams as well. The bad news for the Red Sox is that neither of them have been great this year, but they both had strong games on Wednesday and a couple more of those this weekend could get teams’ confidence back up.
Workman is about to be a free agents, while Barnes has another year of control after this, but neither would bring a ton back in trade. They could, however, be part of a package. While the Padres offense has been good, a recent injury to Tommy Pham has put a wrinkle in their lineup. Right now, they are going with a Josh Naylor/Ty France combination at DH. J.D. Martinez could come up in conversation to really put them over the top, though despite their willingness to push in over the last couple years I’m not sure they’d take on that contract. The Red Sox could go smaller, though, potentially offering up Mitch Moreland as a part-time DH option or someone like Kevin Pillar, who could provide some depth on the bench and play a decent role with either Wil Myers or Jurickson Profar moving to DH some days with Pillar getting to work in the outfield.
Again, we’re not talking about a huge return here for some combination of Workman, Barnes, Pillar and Moreland, but this deadline is going to be more about acquiring depth than top-level talent. You’d have to deal Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Christian Vázquez or Alex Verdugo to get big-time prospects and, well, let’s not do that. The good news is that the Padres have a very deep system, though, so it should be easier to get an intriguing prospect that may be blocked by another prospect. They could potentially come in and flourish in a Red Sox system.
While I wouldn’t be expecting a blockbuster, I think there is a mid-level deal that could work for both sides. The Red Sox can add some prospect depth to their system while the Padres could get some much-needed help in their bullpen along with some depth for the offense. It’s at least a conversation worth exploring.