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Padres likely to remain youth-driven at Deadline

March 26, 2017

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It wasn't a particularly busy winter for the Padres. For the most part, they stayed put during the offseason after making a flurry of deals before the 2016 non-waiver Trade Deadline.General manager A.J. Preller has fully embraced the club's youth movement. He traded seven veterans -- Matt

PEORIA, Ariz. -- It wasn't a particularly busy winter for the Padres. For the most part, they stayed put during the offseason after making a flurry of deals before the 2016 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
General manager A.J. Preller has fully embraced the club's youth movement. He traded seven veterans -- Matt Kemp, Melvin Upton Jr., Thomas Pomeranz, James Shields, Andrew Cashner, Fernando Rodney and Derek Norris -- who were on the roster at the start of last season.
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With those names off the books, the Padres are undoubtedly a younger team in '17. That said, they could still be active on the trade front. In all likelihood, they will be sellers once again come Deadline day. (Even if they're in contention in June, Preller sees no need to sacrifice a bright future for a short-term boost.)
With that in mind, here's a look at where the Padres could look to add on the trade market:
1. Shortstop
The Padres have spent nearly a decade searching for their shortstop of the future. They couldn't find a young, big league-ready starting shortstop during the offseason, so they settled on veteran Erick Aybar instead. There are a handful of options in the Minor Leagues, but they're all at least a year away, and Preller will still remain active in his search.
2. More prospects
The big names at the top of the system are impressive. But it's the overall depth that solidified the Padres as MLBPipeline's fourth-ranked farm. Despite an investment of around $100 million in amateur international players over the past year, Preller -- who has preached strength in numbers -- is still looking to add.

3. Pitching depth
Sure, the Padres see their future as bright. But there's no denying their pitching prospects are a few steps behind their offensive prospects. Plus, four pitchers in the rotation mix are under contract for only one season. Don't be surprised if the Padres look to get younger on their staff at the Trade Deadline.
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On the flip side, here's a look at what positions the Padres might deal from:
1. Bullpen
The bullpen is undoubtedly one of the Padres' biggest strengths entering the '17 season. Ryan Buchter, Brad Hand, Brandon Maurer and Carter Capps come with a few question marks. But they've all proven themselves capable of pitching in big spots -- and all four have multiple years of team control remaining. Given the increased importance of the bullpen in last year's postseason, all four could certainly be useful pieces on a playoff team.
2. Outfield
The Padres won't be dealing Hunter Renfroe or Manuel Margot any time soon. And while teams called to ask about Travis Jankowski and Alex Dickerson, Preller didn't seem to be particularly eager to part with either of them. Come midseason, however, teams will be calling again. And if Margot and Renfroe are performing, the outfield could be one of San Diego's deepest positions.

3. Rotation
Last year, the Padres traded for Pomeranz during the offseason. After he became an All-Star, the Friars flipped him at the Deadline for top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza. San Diego views Jhoulys Chacin and Trevor Cahill as similar upside arms entering the '17 season.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.