July 25, 2024

No matter your opinion of the San Diego Padres, it’s undeniable that the team is exciting. They’ve had moments of both surprise and disappointment, placing them in the league’s awkward middle ground for the better part of two seasons.

After making blockbuster trades and lighting up Major League Baseball over the past two years, all eyes are on the Padres as the trade deadline approaches. General manager A.J. Preller is known for his relentless pursuit of top players and will likely be aggressive this year. With San Diego hovering around .500, there are several potential areas for improvement.

With clear expectations to make the playoffs in a competitive National League, what moves do the Padres need to make this trade deadline a success? This is the question Preller faces daily.

Padres Must Bolster the Starting Rotation

Despite adding starting pitching help in the offseason, the rotation still doesn’t look playoff-ready. Fortunately, rumors suggest the Padres are targeting the Chicago White Sox’s Garrett Crochet. Preller appears proactive in his search.

Crochet is an ideal fit for San Diego’s needs. He’s a left-hander, unlike the current rotation members, and possesses top-notch strikeout abilities, complementing the team’s strengths. Moreover, he has three years of team control beyond 2024, making him valuable even if this year turns out to be a bridge year.

However, it’s not certain Chicago will trade Crochet, so Preller needs to explore other options. Whether it’s Jesús Luzardo (despite his injury setbacks), Tyler Anderson, Trevor Williams, or someone else, adding one more arm is crucial. With Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove dealing with injuries this season, a new addition is imperative.

San Diego Could Use One More Big Bat

The Padres appear well-stocked at most positions. All three regular outfielders have performed well, and there’s a logjam in the infield. However, while Fernando Tatís Jr. and Jurickson Profar have been strong, neither is a dominant force. An impact bat could strengthen the lineup.

Three names stand out: Luis Robert Jr., Pete Alonso, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Securing any of these players could drastically improve the Padres’ chances of competing for a Wild Card spot.

This scenario mirrors San Diego’s 2022 deadline move for Juan Soto, which led to a push to the NLCS. If the Padres can manage to add another star, the benefits could outweigh the costs.

Padres Have to Solve the Third Base Conundrum

One major issue this season has been the lack of a healthy, productive Manny Machado at third base. Machado has played 73 games, with just over half as the designated hitter, due to recovering from elbow surgery and a strained hip flexor. His .694 OPS is the worst of his career.

By July 31, the Padres need to determine what Machado can contribute for the rest of the season. If he can handle third base duties full-time, great. If he needs time on the injured list to recover for the stretch run, that’s necessary. Signing Donovan Solano was an insurance move for Machado at third, but adding another option might be beneficial.

While a big move for Ryan McMahon within the division is unlikely, other help is available. Paul DeJong, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, and Amed Rosario are infielders who can play third and multiple other spots, fitting the Padres’ tendency to move shortstops to new positions.

Making strategic moves before the deadline could position the Padres for a strong finish to the season.

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