“Trading Deadline Day
He is bold. He is brazen. He is fearless.
He, is the General Manager of the Padres, AJ Preller, and he lives for days like he had on Monday, and living for Tuesday’s 3pm trading deadline.
He’s been allowed to spend wildly, overpay for free agents and draft picks, and never be held accountable.
And he has done it again, with the 4-for-1 trade that shocked the baseball world, bringing strikeout artist closer Josh Hader, to the Friars.
In typical Preller fashion, he dealt away two more top prospects, in Estuery Ruiz and Robert Gasser, plus two veterans, whose time had run out at Petco Park, closer Taylor Rogers and once promising pitcher Dinelson Lamet.
Since money seems to be no object, Preller inherits the 11M on Hader’s contract this year and the 15M due next year.
It pushes the Padres beyond the luxury tax for a second year in a row, but pay no heed because owner Peter Seidler does not seem to care about a bigger luxury tax bill this off season.
And next year, you can pay Hader with the salary you won’t have to pay (20M) Wil Myers, if you let him go as a free agent.
Of course as the clock ticks towards 3pm-Tuesday, Juan Soto is still on the trade block and the Washington Nationals continue their stance, they wants a 4-for-1 swap that must include top prospects coming to DC.
Keeping score at home, Preller has now moved 33-top prospects in deals over the last 4-years. Some good, some bad transactions, but he keeps making phone calls and keeps making trades.
The Friars still have a plethora of young players that could be used in the next deals..
The Soto price tag could include either Mackenzie Gore or Adrian Morejon from the pitching staff; catcher Luis Campusano; one of the kid shortstops CJ Abrians or hot prospect Jackson Merrill; and an outfielder like Robert Hassell.
Of course that would mean Preller would be taking on a massive financial commitment, some 22M-still guaranteed thru 2023, and then who knows what if they sign him to a massive free agent extension. Can you say 40M per year for one player?
Is Seidler going to sign off on that investment? Stay tuned.
A more moderate acquisition could be Cubs power hitting catcher-DH Will Contreras, who would be a rental for the rest of the season. It would allow you to keep most of the prospects and add another bat to the anemic batting order San Diego has run out there nightly. The goal, World Series games.
Of course the Dodgers are still very much out there, and all you need to remember is that history, deadline deals for Max Scherzer, Mookie Betts, and further back, Manny Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez. It’s the ‘Dodgers Way’
It’s a fun time in San Diego.
Memories and scars of firesales of years gone by are in the rear view mirror.
The spending spree to fix the franchise by getting waves and waves of players, has now become the currency the GM is spending to try and chase down the Dodgers and to play in October.
Petco Park is rocking with 24-sellouts already. Heading to the 3M-attendance mark.
The summer has brought us the rainbow sherbert uniforms, the return to health of ‘Sunshine’ (Mike Clevinger) and the soon to be expected arrival of ‘El Nino’ (Fernando Tatis).
Can the return of the Swagg Chain Summer be far behind?
Preller’s not done. Neither is his team-if he gets his way.