Busy Trade Deadline Makes the San Diego Padres National League Contenders

Before the trade deadline even came along, the San Diego Padres had been the talk of baseball. An electric, young offense led by Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado have been putting up outstanding numbers, while their starters have flown under the radar with an impressive season. San Diego is currently 22-15, just five games back from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League West.

But the Padres weren’t content with their roster. They made that very clear at this year’s deadline, making numerous moves that could definitely propel them to a deep playoff run. The biggest trade of the lot was acquiring Mike Clevinger from the Cleveland Indians in a nine-player deal. San Diego also received some other pieces, while shipping off the likes of Austin Hedges, Cal Quantrill, and Josh Naylor to the Tribe. In total, General Manager A.J. Preller brought in four relievers and one starter, while also adding four position players, including two catchers.

This tweet was before the Clevinger deal. They also received Greg Allen and relief pitcher Taylor Williams the next day from the Indians and Milwaukee Brewers, respectively. The best part about this busy deadline for San Diego is the fact that they didn’t have to trade away any huge pieces of their farm system. Taylor Trammell was the biggest loss, who the Padres acquired from Cincinnati last year.

Adding Depth in the Bullpen

If there was one area that San Diego needed help, it was in their bullpen. Their relievers have a 5.01 ERA this season, which is 23rd in the big leagues. Trevor Rosenthal will add some depth in the late innings as a hard-throwing righty, as will Dan Altavilla. With Kirby Yates still on the Injured List, Rosenthal will be a solid addition to close out games; they also acquired relievers Taylor Williams and Austin Adams. With four new bullpen arms to choose from, one would only think that San Diego will put together some more quality outings late in games.

Is Clevinger the Piece They Were Missing?

Clevinger is a proven big leaguer who can flat-out pitch. San Diego’s rotation has been good this season (they boast a 3.72 ERA), but they’re young. An experienced ace is what they needed. The 29-year-old has five years of major-league service time under his belt, compiling a 3.20 ERA in that span. Zach Davies and Dinelson Lamet have done a tremendous job this season, leading the rotation with ERAs under three. Chris Paddack and Garrett Richards haven’t fared as well, but they’ve still competed and put together respectable campaigns thus far.

Davies is the only arm in this rotation with playoff experience. Not only will Clevinger slot in as their number one, but he knows how to handle the pressure of postseason baseball. The hard-throwing right-hander also knows what it takes to lead a staff. Without question, this was the most valuable move San Diego made at the trade deadline.

Offense Receives More Help

As if the Padres didn’t already have the best offense in baseball, the acquisitions of Austin Nola, Jason Castro, and Greg Allen have given them even more depth, especially behind the plate. Castro, in particular, is an experienced catcher. They’ve quickly moved on from the loss of Hedges with the addition of these two backstops.

These three position players aren’t electric offensively. But, it’s always nice to have more options to choose from when your starters need a day off. Nonetheless, San Diego’s offense continues to rake, hitting .266 as a team and smacking 67 homers, just second in the majors behind the Dodgers, who have clubbed 68. Machado and Tatis are each hitting over .300, while Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers are enjoying resurgent campaigns.

A Legitimate Threat to the Dodgers

The Padres have been firing on all cylinders. With a young, vibrant roster that’s hungry to compete, they definitely have what it takes in all areas to give the Dodgers a run for their money in the NL. No team in baseball made this type of splash at the deadline, and there’s no question it will pay off for the San Diego Padres as we inch closer to the postseason.

Led by Mike Clevinger on the mound and Fernando Tatis Jr. at the plate, watch out for this team. They’re a legitimate contender this year.

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