1 AL East trade target Padres need to steer clear of in offseason

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 06: General Manager A.J. Preller of the San Diego Padres (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 06: General Manager A.J. Preller of the San Diego Padres (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The San Diego Padres may have two-thirds of their starting outfield locked in thanks to the presence of Juan Soto and Trent Grisham, but the potential loss of Jurickson Profar in free agency might create a hole that A.J. Preller will look to fill in fairly substantial fashion.

Even though there aren’t a ton of outfielders that hall into that Goldilocks zone where they can make a long-term impact without costing a fortune, the relative dearth of corner outfield prospects in the farm system that are close to the majors has made left field a big question mark.

Assuming that they don’t move Fernando Tatis Jr. out to that part of the field, Preller’s trading instincts could lead him to the AL East and the suddenly struggling Boston Red Sox for help. However, that might not be the wisest option he has ever come up with.

Considering the fact that Chaim Bloom is often looking to part with solid players in the name of saving money, Chris Cotillo of MassLive suggested that outfielder Alex Verdugo could be on the move. Outside of his .288 batting average in three seasons, there isn’t much Verdugo offers that could make him an upgrade over Profar.

The San Diego Padres must avoid getting Alex Verdugo.

Verdugo, who was the biggest chip acquired by Boston in the Mookie Betts deal, has an OPS+ of 105 in the last two seasons, launching just 24 home runs despite a hitter-friendly ballpark. While he does have 71 doubles, the lack of power and below-average walk rate are not ideal.

While he has a cannon for an arm, he has posted negative dWAR in consecutive seasons. His six stolen bases show that he is not a threat on the basepaths, and a .244 average in late, close scenarios further attest to the theory that he is not worth giving up top prospects for.

With Grisham, a Gold Glove winner, in center field and the Tatis-less infield remaining one of the best defensive units in the game, Verdugo’s skills in the field might not be enough to move the needle necessarily. If Tatis is staying in the infield, the two most acceptable left field options are bringing Profar back or taking a bigger swing.

Verdugo is not going to be a worthwhile trade addition for the Padres unless the power goes up to a degree where Profar’s pop becomes expendable. That is likely not going to happen over the course of one offseason.