A Blockbuster with the Cubs is Among the Possibilities the Padres Are Still "Exploring"

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A Blockbuster with the Cubs is Among the Possibilities the Padres Are Still “Exploring”

Chicago Cubs

Juan Soto’s shadow stretches out long over everything right now, so you can presume nothing of consequence will happen between the Cubs and Padres until and unless it is certain that Soto is *not* going to the Padres. You should, in my view, be rooting hard for the Nationals to simply declare trade talks over, with no team having been willing to meet their price. Absent that, maybe an AL team jumps in hard. Absent that, maybe the Dodgers step up and make the deal. Otherwise, it’s the Padres or the Cardinals, and neither would make me particularly happy.

The reason the Padres getting Soto wouldn’t make me happy is because it would foreclose the possibility of the Cubs and Padres working out a serious blockbuster. It’s already really unlikely – all blockbusters are – but if the sides could pull it off, the deal might be the Cubs’ best way to REALLY land some impact talent.

It’s still on the table, by the way. Ken Rosenthal writes that, among the Padres’ many current talks, they are still exploring the possibility of a deal with the Cubs for ALL THREE of Willson Contreras, Ian Happ, and David Robertson. (Soto is another possibility, and a deal with the A’s for righty Frankie Montas, catcher Sean Murphy, and outfielder Chad Pinder is another possibility, per Rosenthal’s sources.)

Interestingly, Rosenthal has this in the same section:

Preller has prospects to trade, shortstop C.J. Abrams and outfielder Robert Hassell III for starters, but also two high-ceiling players from the 2021 draft, shortstop Jackson Merrill and outfielder James Wood, both of whom are from Maryland, making them relative locals for the Nationals. Preller also has contracts he would like to move, most notably that of Eric Hosmer, who is owed the balance of his $20 million salary this season and $39 million from 2023 to 2025.

The Padres and Cubs have spoken about different concepts for the last 12 months, including one last summer that would have sent first baseman Hosmer and a top prospect to Chicago for an unspecified return.

It’s not hard to imagine, then, that the Cubs and Padres *could* get together on the absolute biggest version of their deal: Contreras, Happ, and Robertson to the Padres, with the Cubs ALSO taking back Hosmer’s contract (so, in essence, the Cubs are giving up four big pieces). That’s a blockbuster. The return to the Cubs in a deal like that would be massive. There is almost nothing you would have to mentally take off the table as a possibility. Dream big.

But here’s where I’ll pull back on the reins.

If you’re the Padres, would you really want to do that? To so massively reshape your roster in the final two months of the season, *AND* give up multiple top-tier prospects to do it? It’s one thing to pay out the nose to land a singular, generational talent in Juan Soto. It’s another to do it to remake such a big chunk of your roster with lesser players (not bad players! just lesser than Juan Soto!).

It’s A.J. Preller, so you can’t rule anything out. As Rosenthal says, these are concepts that are apparently actually being explored, and we know there’s a clear fit here between the teams.

It starts with Soto, though. None of this is possible if Soto goes to the Padres. Or, I suppose, if the Mets blink first and finally actually step up for Contreras and Robertson, which is clearly what the Mets want to happen.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.