Friars pull a fast one with early departures
SAN DIEGO -- It was quite a moment Wednesday when both Padres starting pitcher Tyson Ross and left fielder Justin Upton -- the target of recent trade talks -- left San Diego's 7-3 victory over the Mets before the final pitch had been thrown.
A sign one or both were on their way out of town? Actually, as it turned out, neither was true.
Ross' hip tightened up after fielding a comebacker and Upton -- who hit his 17th home run of the season and knocked in three runs -- was pulled for reasons other than rest.
"Give you guys something to think about," said Padres interim manager Pat Murphy, joking.
Such is life for the Padres, who have several intriguing and interesting players on their 25-man roster who could be headed elsewhere between now and Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, which is set for 1 p.m. PT.
While several other teams have decided not to wait until the last minute before making trades to upgrade their roster -- or move pieces for help in the future -- San Diego hasn't moved a single player -- yet.
The Padres -- who have gotten hits on several players, mainly players who will be free agents following the season -- haven't been moved to make a deal because nothing compelling has been offered yet, a source said Wednesday.
San Diego still could move players off its 25-man roster -- such as Upton, starting pitcher Ian Kennedy, reliever Joaquin Benoit, shortstop Clint Barmes and outfielder Will Venable -- but the team might not be as active as many pegged.
Even after Wednesday's victory, the Padres are still eight games back of the National League West lead and eight games back of the NL Wild Card race. Reports that San Diego was in full-sell mode, however, seem overstated.
"We're still in the discussion stage, and there's been a lot of back and forth with teams," said general manager A.J. Preller. "I think [we have] players that clubs are interested in."
But will the Padres move them?
Upton is an interesting case. He'll be a free agent after the season, and he will likely command the highest salary of any free-agent position player on the market.
Yet San Diego will likely offer Upton a qualifying offer after the season, meaning the team would be eligible for Draft-pick compensation. If that compensation is perceived better than the return from a deal in July for, essentially, a rental player, could the club choose to hang onto him?
The Padres, who play their series finale against the Mets on Thursday afternoon, might find a suitor across the field at Citi Field. The Mets' proposed deal with the Brewers for outfielder Carlos Gomez apparently fell through.
As for the Padres, who are 48-53, they could move in any number of directions.
Preller said San Diego isn't headed toward the Trade Deadline looking to fill a specific need -- though there are plenty of holes to fill.
"For the most part, it's the value and talent, more so than coming out of this with, say, two center fielders or a certain position," Preller said "It's all about value and talent."