The best part of covering the San Diego Padres? Never knowing what AJ Preller might pull out of his hat on any given day. Earlier this week, there was speculation (totally unconfirmed to this point) that Preller might have another blockbuster in the works.
So far, nothing has come of it. But most of the speculation centered around Josh Hader, who has long been considered a potential trade target for the team. It makes sense. While San Diego has an incredibly deep bullpen, Hader is definitely on another level. Very few arms in the game match up with what the southpaw has to offer.
But, again, there is no confirmation the deal had or has anything to do with the Milwaukee Brewers closer. So I started thinking about other alternatives. And while, I admit, it’s a short list – there are some other guys who could, at least in theory, be on the block.
Padres could add yet another middle-of-the-order bat in Kris Bryant
First up? Former University of San Diego standout Kris Bryant. The Cubs slugger is coming off a brutal showing in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and is in the final year of his contract. He recently praised the Padres’ approach this offseason and seemed to voice displeasure with the direction Chicago is taking in regards to its roster.
It would almost undoubtedly require San Diego to move money in return – but adding a former National League MVP to the mix would make this already-dangerous lineup even more lethal. From 2015 to 2019, Bryant turned in a .901 OPS and 137 OPS+. While he wouldn’t be able to play third base for the Padres, he is perfectly capable of handling an outfield spot – something he’s done regularly during his time in Chicago.
More to the point, Preller knows the Cubs and vice versa after completing the Yu Darvish trade earlier this winter. Could we see these teams hook up again on a league-altering move?