It’s a good thing the San Diego Padres mascot is the Swinging Friar because being a Padres fan takes a leap and a prayer as the trade deadline passes.
Just when you think you know what the Padres are going to do, they surprise you. The San Diego Padres shocked everyone at the trade deadline by not making any late trades, least of all their All-Star closer Brad Hand.
In a year where the San Diego Padres could have held a huge fire sale, trading their big names for young talent to help on their rebuilding quest, the Padres stayed quiet. The only transaction from the Padres was the Trevor Cahill, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer deal with the Royals for a talented, young outfielder named Esteury Ruiz and pitchers Matt Strahm and Travis Wood.
Dealing for Ruiz is a classic Padres rebuilding move, as the team has its sights set on unleashing its young talent around 2019 and launching a campaign to be a contender for a World Series by 2020.
It’s that rebuilding plan that has so many Padres fans trying to figure out what general manager AJ Preller is thinking. Hand was an obvious trade candidate, and Preller admits that he got quite a few calls from teams interested in Hand but nothing that stood out enough to lose someone with Hand’s immeasurable talent.
“I think there was no rush for us to reach out and do anything. If we got to a point that I was able to go to ownership and go to our fan base and find a player or a group of players that definitely bring more value than an All-Star caliber reliever then that’s something we’re going to examine. But anything short of that, from our standpoint we’re very content moving forward with Brad.”
Preller’s commitment to keep Hand instead of dealing him for a handful (pun very much intended) of young prospects indicates that as much as the team wants to focus on the future, a guy like Hand is worth keeping around even though the team is floundering in fourth place in the NL West.
Now that the trade deadline has passed without shaking up the Padres roster too much, Brad Hand can settle in for a while longer and Padres fans can go back to getting ready for a World Series title in a few years. We gotta keep the faith, right?