The bottom has fallen out on the Padres, who have lost 10 straight since a solid streak and are now 7½ games out of first place in the NL West. The Padres have some serious work to do if they want to get back into the thick of the playoff race.
Needs (likelihood to deal for position in italics)
Starting Pitching-High: The Padres have one of the worst starters' ERAs in baseball, much of which they owe to a terrible performance by Clayton Richard. They have pitchers that have been both lucky (Jason Marquis) and unlucky (Edinson Volquez). They're trying out Robbie Erlin as a No. 5 starter now, but they need a top of the rotation guy to boost their pitching staff.
Bullpen-Medium: Do the Padres care about peripherals? If they do, their bullpen may scare them. While their ERA shows 3.35, their FIP shows 4.00. That being said, outside of Tyson Ross and Huston Street, it's hard to find an obvious guy to replace.
Closer-Medium: See above. Huston Street has converted almost all of his save opportunities, but he has a big ERA (4.45) and a ridiculously high FIP (7.45).
Catcher-High: Just the other day, Yasmani Grandal went down with an injury that will likely keep him out for the season. If that's the case, the Padres need to look around for help because Nick Hundley is not a great answer.
Right Field-Medium: If someone can tell me what's going on in the Padres outfield, that'd be much appreciated. It looks like right field is currently a platoon between Will Venable (vs RHP) and Chris Denorfia (vs LHP). Venable has been OK vs LHP, but when you do a platoon you expect a guy to do a bit better than a .700ish OPS. If the Padres look for places to upgrade, this is a place that makes sense.
Center Field-High: Cameron Maybin is out for 1-2 months, he's not very good anyway and his replacement, Alexi Amarista, is even worse. They need another option here other than the bad they already have.
Fits on the Cub Roster
If the Padres are looking for a top of the rotation guy, Matt Garza could interest them. If they want a cheap guy, Carlos Villanueva could be their man. The Padres even expressed interest in trading for Jake Arrieta before the Cubs got him, so if the Padres are looking for a non-rental, they could look at him. Kevin Gregg makes a lot of sense for their bullpen problems, as does James Russell (and, to a lesser extent, Pedro Strop and Matt Guerrier). Nate Schierholtz seems like a great fit in right field for the Padres and David DeJesus could help them at both center field and right field. If the Padres feel they can live with Carlos Quentin in right field (doubtful), they could also take a look at Alfonso Soriano. With the injury to Yasmani Grandal, Dioner Navarro seems like a good fit as a band aid at that spot.
What's in it for the Cubs?
Ranked the 3rd- and 14th-best organization for talent by Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, respectively, this farm system has been absolutely crushed by injuries this year. Casey Kelly got a cup of coffee in the big leagues last year, but then blew out his elbow and is missing all this year with Tommy John. When healthy, he's a Top-100 prospect in baseball that throws a good fastball and good curve. Joe Wieland was yet another Padres' Tommy John victim after he got a cup of coffee in the major leagues. All of Wieland's pitches are at least average (his curve is the best of the bunch) and he shows great command that could enable him to be a solid No. 4. Rymer Liriano is a raw, toolsy player who was 21 in Double-A last year and showed flashes of huge power while showing the ability to play a great right field. But he, too, needed Tommy John surgery in the offseason and you never like to see a raw guy miss time.
The above three guys represent three of the Padres' top 7 prospects, so who is left? Austin Hedges is probably the jewel of this farm system, a 20-year-old catcher in High-A who has great defensive skills and projects to have a solid bat. He's walking more this year compared to last year (10.4 BB% vs 6.2 BB%) and he shows an ability to hit to all fields with some power potential. Jedd Gyorko is a guy I'll mention because he was a highly rated prospect coming into the year, but he's now the Padres starting second baseman. It's tough to see the Padres dealing a young starting second baseman with his kind of bat, even though Gyorko is just OK at second and is more of a third baseman. LHP Max Fried should sound like a familiar name and that's because Fried was taken one spot behind Albert Almora last year. Fried has been fairly impressive in Low-A this year, although his walk rate is a little high (4.5 BB/9). Fried has the potential for four above average pitches and he already shows good command.
The Padres do have quite a few pitchers you should keep an eye on, including LHP Robbie Erlin. Erlin is an MLB-ready No. 4 or No. 5 type who shows great control, a deceptive fastball and a good curve and change. Matthew Wisler is throwing very well in Double-A for a 20-year-old, putting together a 3.44 ERA while not walking many batters (2.45 BB/9). Wisler throws a good fastball and has developed a good change and curve that he can now command, making him a possible mid-rotation guy. Zach Eflin was drafted out of high school with the 33rd overall pick and he's done very well at Low-A, posting a 3.30 ERA and showing a good fastball and change. 22-year-old RHP Keyvius Sampson has had a great year at double-A (2.58 ERA) and has missed a lot of bats (9.50 K/9). Sampson has had a tougher go of it at Triple-A (8.03 ERA), but has a good fastball and change with a curve ball that needs work.
The last player I'll mention is OF Reymond Fuentes, who was once a top prospect, now taking Double-A by storm at the age of 22. Peter Gammons mentioned that he may be included in a deal for Matt Garza a couple of weeks ago and it makes sense, as Fuentes was dealt from Epstein's Red Sox to Hoyer's Padres in the Adrian Gonzalez trade. Fuentes is hitting .332/.415/.472, which is a huge jump in batting average & OBP for him.
Who says no?
Matt Garza for Austin Hedges & Matt Wisler
Matt Garza for Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes and Zach Eflin
Carlos Villanueva for Robbie Erlin
Kevin Gregg for Zach Eflin
Dioner Navarro for John Barbato
Sickels on Barbato: "1.84 ERA with 84 strikeouts and 52 hits in 73 innings in Low-A on basis of blistering fastball and good curve. Needs better command (31 walks) but definite closer possibilities."
Nate Schierholtz for Matt Wisler and John Barbato
David DeJesus for Keyvius Sampson
Overall Fit- High
Great fit for the Cubs, as the Padres have a lot of interesting pitching prospects and nearly every player the Cubs have available could interest the Padres. The problem is, the Padres are so far out of it they may not even end up being buyers by the time the trade deadline comes around. This is a system the Cubs' front office should be very familiar with, so the hope is they make another run to put them in contention so that they can be buyers.
Next Up: No one! I enjoyed doing these articles, but I have to say I'm glad they're over, as they became a bit repetitive. Nonetheless, I hope some of you found them interesting and useful. I'll probably continue to write on this site as a trade/acquisition/FA contributor, but obviously at a much slower pace than in the past couple of weeks.