We are officially one week from Opening Day at Wrigley Field, which means that trades (of any significance) at this point in the game are going to be extremely difficult to pull off — and that’s even considering the unique circumstances of the offseason. HOWEVER, these Padres trades rumors just won’t go away, and given how often the Cubs have been involved in these rumors over the last calendar year, we must discuss.
With that said, the latest rumors have a slightly different flavor than just the prospect-selling, cash-saving deals involving Eric Hosmer (though that’s still mentioned). Check out the following from Dennis Lin of The Athletic:
Relatively speaking, the easiest solution could be another trade or two. League sources say the Padres are open to discussing their catchers, with four on their 40-man roster, and some of their starting pitching depth. And with Luke Voit, Profar and Beaty all options at first base, San Diego continues to explore potential trades involving Eric Hosmer.
You can read the full article for greater detail, but in short, the Padres never quite landed the big outfield bat they were seeking all offseason and they’re still unhappy with their outfield mix. So now, in addition to still exploring trades involving Eric Hosmer (they’re still just $6M away from the luxury tax and they do not intend to go over), they’re also seeking more significant help in the outfield, potentially dealing from their catching glut (Austin Nola, Victor Caratini, Jorge Alfaro, Luis Campusano) and pitching depth.
The Cubs have been involved in the Eric Hosmer rumors, specifically, all offseason and at the last trade deadline, though they also have a crowded outfield picture (Ian Happ, Seiya Suzuki, Clint Frazier, Jason Heyward, Michael Hermosillo, and Rafael Ortega), that could potentially line up with San Diego. Andrelton Simmons’ injury and the expanded active roster may have bought the Cubs some time in the outfield, but they could still be forced to squeeze one guy out prematurely.
Rafael Ortega might be the easiest player for the Cubs to move at this point, and he could potentially help at multiple spots across the outfield, but for as much as we like his potential, he’s certainly a lower-tier/riskier bet than the Padres are likely seeking.
Indeed, one report revealed that the Padres have actually engaged in trade talks with the Pirates over All-Star outfielder Bryan Reynolds. And what do you know …
Bryan Reynolds isn’t hitting outside, on the field, with the rest of today’s starters. That’s … a little odd.
— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) March 31, 2022
UPDATE: Kevin Acee did seem to push back on the Reynolds talk being *new* or progressing, but did seem to confirm that the conversation(s) took place.
Now, a deal for Reynolds, 27, who slashed .302/.390/.522 (142 wRC+) last season and isn’t a free agent until after 2025 would cost a LOT more than dealing from catching or pitching depth, but the Padres still do have a lot of cheap, young assets that could interest the Pirates and are clearly in go-for-it mode. And for as close as we are to the regular season, Padres President A.J. Preller did once complete a trade for Craig Kimbrel the day before Opening Day … and that was in a normal offseason environment.
But the bottom line here is the Padres are still active in the trade market, still seeking cash relief via Eric Hosmer, and still want a significant outfield bat. Given the prior Cubs connection, their crowded outfield picture, and their shared-division with the Pirates/Bryan Reynolds, this all bears close monitoring.