The Padres have a chance to make or break this trade deadline season. They have a lot of movable pieces, some prominent, like Justin Upton, and some not as notable, like Ian Kennedy.
Regardless of what the Padres decide to do, it will have an impact on teams that will be buying at the deadline, for better or for worse. A lot of reports say that the Padres could be major sellers, and with good reason.
The team is 44-49, in third place in the National League West, and still six games out of the second Wild Card race. An offseason full of spending has turned sour.
But, as of late, the Padres have shown the life that was expected of them after new GM A.J. Preller went out and traded for Matt Kemp, Derek Norris, and Justin Upton and signed James Shields.
The team has won five games in a row, which is the best streak in the National League and tied for the best in baseball. In that time, they have averaged 4.2 runs per game, which is a tick above their season average of 3.9. On the pitching side of the ball, they have a 2.60 ERA, much better than their season mark of 3.89.
The Padres should not buy at the deadline. This isn't the year to do it. They probably won't make the playoffs, as Fangraphs says they have just a 6.1 percent chance of playing October baseball.
But should the Padres have a full blown fire sale?
No. This team can win in the future, but that will only come through reinforcements that A.J. Preller could get in a trade.
How is this possible?
The Padres have six impending free agents at the end of the season: Justin Upton, Ian Kennedy, Will Venable, Shawn Kelley, Brandon Morrow, and Josh Johnson. They could trade these players for 25-man roster talent, as the Red Sox did last season when they dealt Jon Lester to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes and Johnny Gomes.
Sure, outside of perhaps Justin Upton, none of these guys are of Lester-type and probably wouldn't give you the biggest of returns, and might not even get them a 25-man roster guy.
However, if the Padres package Upton with Kennedy (or maybe even Venable), then they have created a very formidable package that teams could seriously have interest in. This could allow the other team to give up controllable Major League talent in return.
Then, in the offseason, the Padres could go out and sign a pitcher, in a class that looks to be especially deep, where options like Jeff Samardzija, Bud Norris, or even a reunion with Mat Latos could make sense. Then, the Padres could be looking at an even better shot to contend in 2016 and beyond.
So, should the Padres really be having a fire sale at the 2015 non-waiver trade deadline?