You can never count San Diego Padres' GM A.J. Preller out when it comes to shaking up the trade market. As he demonstrated last July, the MLB trade deadline is his playground, shocking the baseball world by pulling off successive blockbusters for Juan Soto and Josh Hader.
And while we don't expect the Padres to stage an encore performance this summer, fans can still dream given the aggressive nature of San Diego's front office. On that note, let's tee up three dream trade targets for the Friars this summer.
1) Luis Robert Jr. would be a dream trade target for the San Diego Padres at the MLB Trade Deadline
The rumors have begun swirling around Juan Soto's future with the Padres, and it seems like a foregone conclusion that Soto will be leaving San Diego no later than the end of 2024, when he becomes a free agent. So the Padres have to replace his talent, right?
Enter Luis Robert Jr. You saw his 2023 Home Run Derby showing, and you had to come away impressed with the White Sox star.
Robert Jr., soon to be 26, is signed through 2025 with team options for 2026 and 2027. But the White Sox aren't exactly going anywhere fast, and are rumored to be sellers this summer. Of course, Chicago would presumably want to keep Robert Jr. around for the long haul, but I can't think of a better replacement on the trade market for Juan Soto.
With 27 home runs and a .909 OPS (144 OPS+) so far in 2023, Luis Robert Jr. would be a dynamic and splashy Soto replacement, and would certainly pave a path for the Padres to move off the latter even as soon as this summer.