Braves Rumors: Could the Padres be a potential trade partner for Atlanta?

The San Diego Padres season has not gone as expected. Could their poor performance allow the Braves to pry away some helpful pieces at the trade deadline?

San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies
San Diego Padres v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages
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Most baseball pundits look at this Braves roster and agree this is the best team in baseball. The names in the clubhouse suggest that, and the play on the field certainly suggests that. However, trade deadline season presents the opportunity for other contenders to “catch up” to Atlanta.

Thus all the more reason for AA to decline being stagnant at the deadline and allow other teams to close the gap in talent. The Braves adding a piece or two improves their chances to reach their ultimate goal of winning it all.

Enter the San Diego Padres. Not many teams will actually be selling at the deadlines, and the ones who are certain to don’t have many players that excite the Braves fan base. Lacking exciting talented baseball players is not the case for the friars.

There’s no doubt the Padres are on a short list of most disappointing teams in 2023. The subpar season has San Diego sitting at a 46-51, ten games behind in the NL West, and 6.5 back of Miami for the final wild card spot.

They finish out July with the Tigers, Pirates, and Rangers. Unless they have a really strong week of baseball, you could definitely see San Diego decide to sell at the deadline. If that happens let’s take a look at some players the Braves should have their eye on.

Steven Wilson

In my opinion the Braves should be seeking bullpen pieces more than anything else. Atlanta’s bullpen has actually been among the best in the NL, but when you are looking to add flavor to a Wolfgang Puck entree you need to get creative.

It’s been said before, but you can truly never have enough pitching. The first Padres’ reliever we will look at is Steven Wilson, who isn’t a name that’s even been floated around. However, he has a lot of good qualities the Braves would be happy to add.

On the year Wilson owns a 2.77 ERA, 3.99 FIP, and has been good for 0.6 fWAR. Not numbers that particularly blow you away, but very solid nonetheless. The interesting thing about Wilson is the pitch he does most of his work with.

Wilson throws his sweeper/slider breaking ball pitch 60.2% of the time. That pitch carries a run value of +9 on the season, which is more than Spencer Strider’s slider. He averages over 2600 RPM’s on that pitch, and hitters have a .177 expected batting average on that pitch via baseball savant data.

Unfortunately, the biggest problem with Wilson is his experience. This is just his second season in the big leagues so that means he isn’t arb eligible until 2025, and he doesn’t hit free agency until 2028.

That means the Padres won’t be super motivated to move Wilson, and if they do they should be looking for a bigger haul. So rank this potential trade as unlikely for now.

Blake Snell

Snellzilla has been the hottest pitcher in baseball over the last month. The Padres’ starter is the current NL ERA leader (2.71) and owns a K/9 over 12. He also leads San Diego’s rotation in fWAR at 2.3.

Snell is in the final year of his five-year $50 million contract and is set to hit free agency after the season. Seeking out a rental player is likely the avenue Atlanta takes this trade deadline, as the cost isn’t as much as players that come with control.

The Braves already have a rotation that you feel comfortable matching up with in a playoff series. Fried, Strider, and Morton are plenty enough to take you deep into the playoffs. However, the addition of Snell could really create some fear for potential opposing playoff lineups.

The problem with Snell is the demand of top-tier starting pitching is always at a premium at the deadline. Unfortunately, the Braves simply don’t have the farm to get into a likely bidding war that would ensue for Snell’s services. Once again I have to deem this one as an unlikely one to happen.

Josh Hader

This one is the pipe dream addition of this article. The one every fan wants desperately to happen, but knows deep in their heart the odds aren’t in the Braves favor. I’ve said it before but this is truly like Thanos getting his hands on the last infinity stone.

As we discuss Hader, we already know there’s not much to dislike. He’s now a five-time (5x,5x,5x,5x,5x) All-Star reliever. He has been consistently great since he entered the league, and he is everything you want in a lockdown closer.

Hader has elite stuff and elite numbers to prove it. As of July 19th, his ERA sits at exactly 1.00. He has allowed just four earned runs on the season. He has a WHIP under one, a sub 2.5 FIP, is striking out 13.5 batters per nine innings. His stuff is so good he generates swings that look straight out of my MLB The Show at-bats (see below).

Sadly, with great production comes great cost during the MLB trade deadline. Hader is just a rental player who teams would get for just one postseason run. However, that isn’t going to drop the price down low enough for the Braves to compete for his services in my opinion. Consider this another one of our dream acquisitions that we wrote about yesterday.

Luis Garcia

You might be asking, why am I including a bullpen arm that been worth a negative fWAR on the season? Don’t write me off just yet, and allow me to sell you on this trade.

Firstly, Luis Garcia isn’t having even a decent season in terms of results. Let’s get that out of the way to start it off. He owns a 5.51 ERA and 4.67 FIP. However, there are a lot to things that should intrigue AA when it comes to acquiring Garcia.

To start off, his underlying metrics suggest he’s been a bit unlucky this season. His xFIP is 4.16 on the season, which is actually lower than Steven Wilson’s. If you look at his baseball savant page, you will actually see he ranks in the top 75th percentile or better in: average exit velocity (92nd), xSLG (82nd), whiff% (77th), and average fastball velocity (92nd).

Secondly, Garcia has fixable issues. Right now his sinker has taken a step back in 2023. He still throws it hard as he nearly averages 97 mph on the pitch, but the command with it has been spotty to say the least.

He has an elite slider that has held batters to just a .094 batting average and .169 xSLG to pair with a whiff percentage that is over 50%. Finding his command with the fastball/sinker again and getting into better count leverages can vastly help Garcia.

The next thing Alex Anthopoulos should like is fit. The Braves current bullpens offers a every type of reliever you can think of. Guys who have control, guys who have movement, power arms from the left side, etc.

What Atlanta doesn’t have is a power arm from the right side. Outside of a pumped up Iglesias none of their right-handed relievers can really light up a radar gun. Garcia has no trouble with that, and as we know power pitching in the playoffs is highly important.

Lastly, and probably most importantly for AA is cost. Luis Garcia should not cost a huge prospect haul at the trade deadline. He’s a free agent at seasons end, and is making just $3.5 million this season. Also, he is having a subpar season, and he doesn’t feel like someone the Padres prioritize keeping for their future.

This deal is as low cost/high upside a deal as you can think of. Think 2021 Jorge Soler. I’m not saying Garcia is destined to win World Series MVP by any means. What I am saying is Garcia is a guy who has potential to hit if the baseball starts bouncing his way a little more and he gets a change of scenery.

He’s just one season removed from a 2.83 ERA and 2.60 FIP. It has all the ingredients for a trade AA would be itching to make. A trade that’s not on your radar, but once it happens you go “Ahh yes of course, we trust you AA.” It may not be the most exciting you want to read about, but it is the most likely option the Padres have to offer Atlanta.