The MLB non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, leaving teams with clear aspirations as we head into the stretch drive. Some clubs, like the Baltimore Orioles, abandoned their hopes, choosing to ship off serviceable talent for future pieces and a chance at a better draft pick. Others decided to mortgage future assets for a chance to win now.
The San Diego Padres fall into the latter category.
Grand Padre of Pickups
The Padres dealt three of their top four prospects to the Washington Nationals in exchange for the premier player available on the trade market, Juan Soto. Although Soto has fallen off his MVP-caliber metrics from the last couple of seasons, he remains one of the best players in the game and immediately upgrades an already talented Padres lineup.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was this iteration of the Padres. The Friars have spent years cultivating talent, culminating in what they are hoping to be their first successful playoff showing since 1998, when they made a run to the World Series.
San Diego’s Slow Build
The team acquired Fernando Tatis Jr. back in 2016, spending the next few seasons accumulating assets to play with their franchise cornerstone. Manny Machado signed a massive 10-year deal with the club in 2019; Jake Cronenworth was acquired in a trade from the Tampa Bay Rays in the same year before San Diego landed Soto and Josh Bell at this year’s deadline.
Between Tatis Jr., Soto, and Machado, the Padres have three generational talents that could swing with the best of them. However, they feature complementary players on offense and defense, such as Cronenworth, Jurickson Profar, and Trent Grisham, leaving opposing pitchers nowhere to hide and batters nowhere to hit.
All of that is without even considering their top-rated pitching staff, which also got better at the deadline. As was the case with their batting order, the Padres have gathered talent over the past few seasons. Yu Darvish, Joe Musgrove, Blake Snell, Mike Clevinger, and Sean Manaea all arrived via trade within the last few seasons and have come together as one of the best rotations in the bigs. Collectively, the starters have the seventh-best earned run average in the majors, striking out more batters than any other team.
If there was a weakness, the Padres’ brass addressed it by acquiring closer Josh Hader from the Milwaukee Brewers. The three-time Trevor Hoffman Reliever of the Year award winner stabilizes the bullpen, allowing the rest of the relievers to fulfill less demanding roles.
Odds Cut in Half
Bettors have taken notice of the upgraded Padres roster, moving them off their NL Championship and World Series futures prices. San Diego was hovering around the +900 range in the NL Pennant race, plummeting to +450 after the Soto deal. Similarly, their World Series odds dropped from +1800 to +900, the fifth-best odds on the board.
The NL side of the bracket will be a war of attrition. Still, with their latest acquisitions, the Padres have elevated their status to legitimate contender, and that’s reflected in the drop in their futures prices.
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