10 biggest trades in Padres history

August 2nd, 2022

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres' history of trades is littered with Hall of Famers, MVPs and Cy Young Award winners. Those superstars have moved in both directions.

From "Trader Jack" McKeon to "Gunslinger" Kevin Towers to A.J. Preller, the Padres have seen quite a few general managers willing to make a deal.

With that in mind, here's a breakdown of the 10 biggest trades in franchise history -- factoring the quality of the players involved and the way the deals affected the direction of the team.

1. Juan Soto arrives
Padres got from Nationals: OF Juan Soto, 1B Josh Bell
Padres gave up: IF C.J. Abrams, LHP MacKenzie Gore, 1B Luke Voit, OF Robert Hassell, OF James Wood, RHP Jarlin Susana
Date: Aug. 2, 2022

Preller’s entire Padres tenure has been littered with blockbuster after blockbuster. But it’s hard to envision a more landscape-altering trade than this one. In an eight-player deal, the Padres landed 23-year-old superstar Juan Soto, presumably as he is just entering his prime. At the time of the deal, Soto was already a World Series champ and one of the best hitters of his generation. On top of that, the Padres landed slugger Josh Bell to play first base. But they paid a steep price, in the form of youngsters like C.J. Abrams, MacKenzie Gore, James Wood and Robert Hassell. For a player like Soto, however, the Padres thought the price was worth it.

2. Sheffield for Hoffman
Padres got from Marlins: RHP Trevor Hoffman, RHP Andres Berumen, RHP Jose Martinez
Padres gave up: 3B Gary Sheffield, LHP Rich Rodriguez
Date: June 24, 1993

The biggest trade in Padres history came as a result of the so-called "fire sale" of 1992-93. Ownership demanded that the team cut payroll, and Sheffield was the most prominent casualty. Understandably, the fanbase didn't take kindly to the moves -- so much so that they booed the newcomer Hoffman upon his '93 arrival. Hoffman, never one to be fazed, paid no mind to that reaction. He racked up 601 saves over 18 big league seasons, and he earned enshrinement in Cooperstown in the summer of 2018.

3. Shields for Tatis Jr.
Padres got from White Sox:
RHP , SS Fernando Tatis Jr.
Padres gave up: , cash
Date: June 4, 2016

The Padres had a burdensome contract in Shields. They sent him to the White Sox, while paying a chunk of that salary, for an unheralded prospect in Tatis -- who developed into one of the most promising young shortstops in the sport. On a grander scale, the deal had further implications. During the summer of 2016, Preller turned around a once-barren farm system. He did so, in part, by trading aging veterans for a handful of elite prospects. This was the first domino to fall.

4. Cammy, Finley arrive in a blockbuster
Padres got from Astros: 3B Ken Caminiti, OF Steve Finley, 1B Roberto Petagine, SS Andujar Cedeno, RHP Brian Williams, LHP Sean Fesh
Padres gave up: OF Derek Bell, RHP Doug Brocail, IF Ricky Gutierrez, LHP Pedro Martinez, OF Phil Plantier, IF Craig Shipley
Date: Dec. 28, 1994

The Padres were rebuilding during the fire sale of 1992 and '93. But they had begun to gear up for a run at contention before the '95 season. No move signaled that shift more than this one. Caminiti and Finley -- staples on the '96 and '98 NL West championship teams -- arrived for a package that included Bell. Caminiti would win the NL MVP Award in '96. Finley would become one of the best center fielders in franchise history.

5. Trio of youngsters for Kevin Brown
Padres got from Marlins: RHP Kevin Brown
Padres gave up: 1B Derrek Lee, LHP Steve Hoff, RHP Rafael Medina
Date: Dec. 15, 1997

Kevin Brown didn't make much of a long-term impact on the Padres. But in his one season in San Diego, Brown made his presence felt. Brown's 1998 season is arguably the best by a pitcher in franchise history. He posted a 2.38 ERA with seven complete games and three shutouts. Then, he turned in one of the best postseason performances of all time -- a 16-strikeout two-hitter in Game 1 of the NL Division Series against Randy Johnson and the Astros. The Padres won the '98 pennant, and Brown was arguably the biggest reason why.

6. Alomar and Carter for McGriff and Fernandez
Padres got from Blue Jays: 1B Fred McGriff, SS Tony Fernandez
Padres gave up: 2B Roberto Alomar, OF Joe Carter
Date: Dec. 5, 1990

You want big names? This trade had 'em. The Padres gave up future Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar and future World Series hero Joe Carter. (Both played key roles in Toronto's back-to-back titles in 1992 and '93.) They got Fred McGriff, on the fringe of the Hall himself, and Tony Fernandez. Alomar's eventual success made this deal a long-term loss for the Padres. But McGriff made a huge impact during his three seasons in San Diego before he, too, was moved as part of the fire sale (to Atlanta for Donnie Elliott, Melvin Nieves and Vince Moore).

7. Gonzalez, Young spark '06 division title
Padres got from Rangers:
1B , RHP Chris Young, OF Terrmel Sledge
Padres gave up: RHP , RHP Akinori Otsuka, C Billy Killian
Date: Jan. 6, 2006

The Padres needed a first baseman and some rotation help, following their somewhat infamous 82-80 division title in 2005. They got both that offseason. Gonzalez and Young developed into stars on a much better '06 club, and they were mainstays on several solid Padres teams in the late 2000s.

8. The Wizard goes to St. Louis
Padres got from Cardinals:
SS Garry Templeton, OF Sixto Lezcano, RHP Luis Deleon
Padres gave up: SS Ozzie Smith, RHP Steve Mura, LHP Al Olmsted
Date: Dec. 10, 1981

There have been quite a few cringeworthy deals in the history of the Padres -- including the Alomar trade, the second McGriff trade and the deal that sent Anthony Rizzo to the Cubs. This one might rank at the top. Templeton was a useful piece on the 1984 pennant-winning squad, and he's a Padres Hall of Famer. But Smith became one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball history and was enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002.

9. Musgrove caps rotation overhaul
Padres got from Pirates: RHP 
Padres gave up: RHP David Bednar, LHP Joey Lucchesi, OF Hudson Head, LHP Omar Cruz, RHP Drake Fellows
Date: Jan. 19, 2021

The acquisition of Musgrove capped a wild three-week stretch that saw San Diego overhaul its entire rotation entering the 2021 season. The Padres had already traded for Yu Darvish and Blake Snell in similar blockbusters. In fact, at the time, those trades were considered far more impactful. But Musgrove wasted little time developing into the ace the Padres had envisioned. His second start for San Diego was the one that ended the franchise’s longstanding no-hitter drought. After establishing himself at the front of the rotation, Musgrove would ink a five-year contract extension in ’22, keeping him in his hometown through '27.

10. Preller swings an early blockbuster
Padres got from Rays and Nationals:
OF Wil Myers, C , LHP José Castillo, RHP Gerardo Reyes
Padres gave up: SS Trea Turner, RHP Joe Ross to the Nationals; 1B Jake Bauers, C René Rivera, RHP Burch Smith to the Rays
Date: Dec. 19, 2014

The first hotly debated move in Preller's tenure, the Padres sent their newly drafted shortstop to Washington and landed Myers from Tampa Bay. Of course, there were quite a few other moving pieces in the deal. Steven Souza Jr. went from Washington to Tampa Bay, for one, and 11 players total were involved. It was the most dramatic move in an offseason full of them. In Preller's first winter on the job, he signed Shields and traded for Myers, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Craig Kimbrel. (And for all that movement, it resulted in only 74 wins and the firing of manager Bud Black.)