Joe Musgrove's recent injury concerns could change Padres' trade deadline approach

The Padres can no longer rely on Joe Musgrove and his balky elbow
New York Yankees v San Diego Padres
New York Yankees v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

A bone spur in the elbow of righty Joe Musgrove has the Padres scrambling for starting pitching. The best-case scenario would put Musgrove back on the mound in San Diego in a month, giving two weeks for the IL stint where he'll be completely shut down and have a two-week ramp-up immediately after.

However, Musgrove's injury could also require arthroscopic surgery depending on the severity of the issue and how his body heals over the next two to three weeks. The uncertainty is a killer for the Friars, who find themselves amid a tight NL Wild Card race where nine teams are separated by just 3.5 games.

Having already been linked to the White Sox and left-handed starter Garrett Crochet, it's probable that AJ Preller will make a move in the next six weeks to address the hole in the rotation created by Musgrove.

The Padres must be aggressive in pursuing Joe Musgrove replacement

It's unclear at this point how much value Preller would be willing to move to acquire a starter. The Sox are likely to ask for the moon for Crochet, who has been stellar so far and has three years of control left before he hits free agency.

Crochet might not command the return that Cease did, but the type of starter the Padres need to replace Musgrove's expected production is going to be costly. A few guys in that vein could be available, between Jesus Luzardo, Justin Verlander, Jack Flaherty, Yusei Kikuchi, or Kevin Gausman, to name a couple.

Cease has been excellent, proving to be worth every bit of prospect capital the Padres paid to get him. However behind Cease, the Padres have struggled. Musgrove joins nominal No. 2 starter Yu Darvish on the IL, both of whom are on the outs for the second time this season.

Right now, the Padres are relying on Adam Mazur and Randy Vasquez to fill the back two spots of their rotation but neither are proven MLB starters.

If Musgrove's injury turns into a long-term issue, an outside addition will be necessary to keep this team in contention down the stretch. We've seen Preller be aggressive at the trade deadline in the past. The Padres will likely need to have a busy couple months if they want to capture one of the NL Wild Card slots this fall.