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Yankees potential trade partner: San Diego Padres

Blake Snell and Josh Hader are in the middle of contract seasons and could be available if the Dads can’t turn their season around.

Los Angeles Angels v San Diego Padres Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The San Diego Padres entered the 2023 season much like the Yankees, looking not only for a division title, but also to compete for the World Series. And for as disappointing as the Yankees have been, the Friars have been quite worse, entering play on Friday night with a 41-46 record.

The Padres are about as close to the last-place Rockies as they are to the first-place Diamondbacks, and with a somewhat depleted farm system, at least in comparison to where it was this time last season, GM A.J. Preller has to consider every possibility. A Juan Soto trade would be the most drastic route and is pretty difficult to imagine, to say the least. Nevertheless, even if we remove him from the equation, San Diego does carry interesting pending free agents on its roster.

Potentially, with a bad run between now and the end of the month, they could in theory replenish some of its farm by selling a couple of players. We’re not here to foresee different potential outcomes, but should it come to that point the Padres will be one of the most called on teams in the league with good reason — they have some expiring contracts that should draw plenty of attention.

SP - Blake Snell

The former AL Cy Young winner is in the middle of his finest season in California, pitching to the tune of a 3.03 ERA. And yet, as an illustration of how poor the Padres season has gone, Snell has a losing record in 2023 (5-7). Snell is no stranger to the Yankees, having started his career in the AL East with the Tampa Bay Rays, and he’d easily be one of the better arms in the market, with his contract up at the end of the season.

The Friars need to save up funds for the negotiations with Soto, not to mention already having a plethora of long-term deals in place with the likes of Manny Machado, Fernando Tatis Jr., Joe Musgrove, and Yu Darvish under contract already. It is not far-fetched to foresee a scenario in which San Diego decides to shop Snell at the deadline. This move would signal hedging a little bit when it comes to their future success, as the southpaw would net a nice return, and might very well not be in the team’s plans.

RP - Josh Hader

With Edwin Díaz on the shelf and Emmanuel Clase not having the best season of his career, Hader might just be the top closer and overall relief arm in the sport. However, despite his elite efforts in 2023 — he boasts a 1.11 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 32.1 innings of work — a reliever can only do so much to impact his team’s outcome over the course of a season. The inverse of that is it wouldn’t cost as much to acquire him as it would a top shelf starter, and we’ve already seen one back-end reliever move this season with Aroldis Chapman going to the Rangers for a pair of lottery tickets near and far from the majors respectively. There’s a lot of baggage that makes Chapman’s market different than Hader’s, but now is certainly not the reliever market that Chapman was moved in way back in 2016 anymore.

Like Snell, Hader will also reach free agency at the end of the season, and his trade would help the Padres get some prospects back without waving the white flag on this season.

The primary goal of this deadline is to add offensive firepower. Nevertheless, one mustn’t preemptively close the door to any potential opportunities. Luis Severino is far from looking like his usual self, and without the ability to rely on him one could easily argue the Yankees would be best served in adding another impact starter, even if it isn’t urgent by any means. The bullpen is strong, but an arm like Josh Hader is a potential game-changer in the postseason. Ideally, these rental adds would come for the offense, but the Padres just don’t have that to offer.

Okay, fine — let’s consider Soto here for a second. After a bit of a down second half, to his standards, following the deadline trade last season, Soto has turned it up a notch in 2023. The Padres' struggles do not go through him, as the former Nat carries a .916 OPS into the All-Star break. Controllable through the end of next season, any potential package would still be absurd, and knowing at worst, the Padres will retool for next year, his trade is very unlikely. Still, keep an eye on Pinstripe Alley for a deeper dive on Soto when our individual trade target series begins next week.