Selling the NL West: San Diego Padres
The Padres were a World Series or bust team going into the season. They sit at 46-51 (.474) and 10 games behind in the NL West. At this point, they have the largest payroll in the division and need to dump some before the trade deadline. However, they still have not officially committed to selling. If they do, here are some ideas.
Josh Hader is a UFA at the end of the season. He is currently on the books for $14 million. He is carrying a 1.00 ERA with 23 saves and 54 strikeouts in 36 innings pitched. He is a top-tier closer and will be in demand come August 1. Returning to the Brewers or heading to Atlanta could be likely, but it will take at least two top prospects.
Starting pitcher Blake Snell is a UFA next season as well. Snell is 6-7 with a 2.71 ERA and 139 strikeouts in 103 innings. Look for the Reds to send a pair of top 10 prospects like RHP Chase Petty or OF Jay Allen (and possibly both). The Orioles could also be in the mix with prospects 3B Coby Mayo and C Samuel Basallo.
Then there is Juan Soto. The Padres traded the Nationals five top-tier prospects for Soto and Josh Bell. With a year of arbitration left and a minimum of $25 million coming in that season, the Padres will need to trade him quickly. They will have to settle for slightly less, but four top-10 prospects will probably get it done this year. The Yankees would be the prime target; they have many options in their farm system. Trey Sweeny, Elisha Dunham, Will Warren, and one more would be fantastic for the Padres.