The Padres remain one of the league’s most interesting edge cases going into deadline day. After tonight’s loss to the Rockies, San Diego sits five games out in the Wild Card picture.
Buster Olney of ESPN tweeted Monday afternoon the Friars are evaluating the market for help in the outfield/designated hitter mix and the bullpen. Meanwhile, Jon Heyman of the New York Post relayed (on Twitter) the Padres’ asking price in talks on Josh Hader is so high that other clubs believe they’re likely to hold him past the deadline.
San Diego brass has been clear they preferred to add for a playoff push rather than tear things down after another aggressive offseason. It seems that remains the case, with last weekend’s sweep of the AL West-leading Rangers perhaps giving the front office the ammunition to buy.
In that case, adding position player depth is a sensible target. The Friars have gotten excellent seasons from Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Ha-Seong Kim, while Manny Machado has been on a tear since a slow start. The bottom half of the lineup has struggled, however. Catcher was a major question mark for a while, although Gary Sánchez has provided a strong power threat there since San Diego nabbed him off waivers.
Jake Cronenworth has had a poor season at first base, while the veteran collection of Matt Carpenter, Nelson Cruz and Rougned Odor off the bench didn’t work. Cruz and Odor have already been released; Carpenter is hitting .166/.296/.302 over 207 trips to the plate.
The bullpen has been solid, even though tonight’s loss dropped them to a staggering 0-10 in extra-inning contests. San Diego relievers entered play Monday ranked ninth in ERA (3.78) and fourth in ground-ball percentage (48.1%). They’re 21st in strikeout rate (23.2%) and 19th in swinging strikes (11.4%), though, so adding some swing-and-miss could be welcome. Getting Robert Suarez back after he missed the first half of the season helps. He and Hader would form an excellent high-leverage duo — assuming the Friars indeed hold onto the latter — but Steven Wilson is the only other San Diego reliever with 10+ innings who’s striking out over a quarter of opponents.