The Padres have been one of the most aggressive teams in baseball with A.J. Preller at the helm, to the extent that they may effectively be controlling the entire trade market at this point. Multiple outlets list them among the favorites to land Juan Soto and Ken Rosenthal reported for The Athletic that they “made a run” at Shohei Ohtani, though no one really believes that will come to fruition.
Soto’s pursuit has captivated the league and put a damper on most other big moves, but the Padres still have several other irons in the fire. And we’re not just talking alternatives to acquiring the Nats’ superstar, as some believe they could pull that off while also getting another top-tier talent like Willson Contreras.
Speaking of which, Rosenthal indicated San Diego could be exploring a deal for Contreras, Ian Happ, and David Robertson. This comes not long after Dennis Lin, also of The Athletic, reported that the Padres have discussed the idea of trading for the two All-Stars. That would be a big deal in and of itself, but adding Robertson to the mix to elevate this past blockbuster status and into Netflix territory.
That’s because, even though the contracts Preller would be taking on in this scenario are very short and very reasonable, such a move would probably include a salary dump as well. Enter Eric Hosmer, who is still owed something like $47 million through 2025 and who has been the subject of talks between and about these two teams for at least the last 12 months.
Combine the value of those three Cubs, particularly with Happ’s additional season of control at what figures to be around $10 million, with the need to offset Hosmer’s remaining financial obligation and you’re looking at a huge haul. Heck, the hypothetical Hosmer trade alone would net the Cubs a top prospect. As hard as it is to envision something like this coming together, Preller is both aggressive and creative when it comes to the trade market.
He’s also very familiar with the Cubs and we know these two front offices are willing to work together to a greater extent than most others. That’s an interesting dynamic all on its own, but it really gets intriguing when you get into the 4-D chess of Preller vs. other GMs in a position to upgrade at the deadline. As Rosenthal notes, some teams might try to act fast to block Preller, while what the Padres do could end up setting things in motion for the rest of the league.
This might all be pretty fun if you had no emotional investment in the process.