Padres' latest trade buzz suggests AJ Preller will treat 2024 team like a contender

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San Diego Padres executive A. J. Preller
San Diego Padres executive A. J. Preller / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

The San Diego Padres are known for making moves at the MLB trade deadline. Perhaps the only baseball executive who's more well-known for wheeling-and-dealing is Seattle Mariners' President of Baseball Operations Jerry Dipoto.

But AJ Preller has been on quite the hot streak of late — throwing caution to the wind and trading a bevy of prospects in order to deal for the likes of Juan Soto, Dylan Cease, Luis Arraez, and Josh Hader. Preller is unafraid to risk it all if it means a chance to make the big league club better.

The Friar faithful have come to expect that type of maverick attitude from Preller over the years, and they shouldn't expect to see him take his foot off the gas this summer. Preller seems determined to get this Padres' club back to the postseason, and the upcoming MLB trade deadline will be an active one in the San Diego front office.

Padres' latest trade buzz suggests AJ Preller will treat 2024 team like a contender

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required) is reporting that the Padres will be looking for a shutdown right-handed reliever at the MLB trade deadline, calling that type of player a "top" priority for the Friars ahead of the July 30 deadline. What do contenders do at the deadline? They look for any and all pitching help, especially in the bullpen.

The Padres have leaned on the lefties Wandy Peralta and Yuki Matsui early and often this season. Those two southpaws have combined for 62 appearances. The Padres have also relied on the 1-2 punch of Jeremiah Estrada and Robert Suarez at the back end of the bullpen, but based on Rosenthal's reporting, Preller wants another reliable reliever to join the mix.

So who might Preller and Padres have their eye on at the trade deadline? Rosenthal mentioned Michael Kopech of the Chicago White Sox. That would be a intriguing addition, and could perhaps be part of package that would also include Garrett Crochet.

If Preller really wanted to swing for the fences, he could make a play for Oakland Athletics' closer Mason Miller. But if Preller makes that call, he better be ready to unload the farm system. Miller won't come cheap.

The bottom line, of course, is that Preller appears unsatisfied with bargain hunting this summer. If the Padres are going to make an addition to the bullpen, it would seem that it'll be a significant upgrade. The MLB trade deadline will be closely monitored by Pads fans this year who are hoping for Preller to make another splash.

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