There's a lot riding on how the month of July goes for the San Diego Padres. No pressure or anything inside Petco Park, right?
How the team performs between now and weeks leading up to the August 1 trade deadline will inform the decision to push all their chips in to make a run this season, or if they'll reset in an attempt ro reload for 2024. But regardless of which direction San Diego takes, you can count on something happening, because in the words of Padres' owner Peter Seidler: "You know we’re always open for business."
Let's take the seller's perspective and break down three players the Padres could trade this month while still remaining competitive down the stretch.
1) The San Diego Padres could trade Michael Wacha and remain competitive in 2023
Wacha, 32, has resurrected his career in one of the more positive developments for the Padres this season. With a 2.84 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 15 starts, the veteran right-hander has quickly become a trusted option for manager Bob Melvin before landing on the injured list.
Signed to a one-year contract in the winter, Wacha doesn't necessarily factor into the Padres' 2024 plans as of now. Why do I make mention of this? Well, if San Diego decides to sell, they should trade pieces that are rentals for this season, because the intent would clearly be to retool for another run next season with this star-studded, albeit top-heavy core.
Selling Wacha now would also be capitalizing on his peak value, as the righty's 3.75 FIP indicates he's had some good fortune in San Diego thus far. The full run differential between his ERA and FIP is pointing to clear second half regression. And with Blake Snell pitching well, Joe Musgrove finding a groove and Seth Lugo's return to the rotation, the Padres do have other reliable starters.
If the Padres are willing to eat the bulk of his remaining salary, it's possible they could net a decent piece or two for Wacha given the lack of quality starting pitchers available at this year's deadline.