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What's in store for Padres at Trade Deadline?

Beat reporter AJ Cassavell answers questions from San Diego fans
@AJCassavell
June 10, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- The Draft is over, meaning it's now trade season in Major League Baseball. The Padres have a logjam in their outfield, and they're a bit thin in the rotation. With that in mind, this week's Inbox focuses on the team’s plans ahead of the July 31 Trade

SAN DIEGO -- The Draft is over, meaning it's now trade season in Major League Baseball.

The Padres have a logjam in their outfield, and they're a bit thin in the rotation. With that in mind, this week's Inbox focuses on the team’s plans ahead of the July 31 Trade Deadline. And what might the Padres do about their crowded outfield?

What are the Padres looking for at the Trade Deadline, and will they buy or sell?
-- Evan

I'm not sure the Padres even know the answer here. They're lingering around the fringes of contention right now, and they've got prospects to use as trade chips. But they've also got some valuable pieces in the outfield and the bullpen.

The team's on-field performance over the next month will play some part in shaping the Deadline strategy. But I foresee the Padres turning into a mix between the two. They'll be buyers and sellers.

Regardless of record, general manager A.J. Preller will be in the market for a controllable starting pitcher. But if a team were to offer an appetizing prospect package for, say, Kirby Yates, Preller would likely be willing to listen on that front, too.

It's possible the Padres make moves that would qualify them as both "buyers" and "sellers" next month. But this much seems clear: They aren't going to sacrifice the future merely for a run at contention in 2019. Any addition they make would need to serve a long-term purpose.

Is Josh Naylor going to get an extended audition? Is there a defined plan for him?
-- Shawn

Naylor's extended audition is happening before our eyes. So far, he's passing the test. The Padres have been thoroughly impressed with Naylor's performance through his first couple weeks in the big leagues.

It's going to be hard to find regular at-bats for Naylor, given that Franmil Reyes and Hunter Renfroe have locked down the outfield corners. But Naylor's bat might be too good to leave off the roster -- especially for a team that doesn't have much lefty pop.

Ultimately, when the Padres have their full contingent of outfielders, Naylor might be the odd man out. But some regular time at Triple-A to hone his defense might prove useful.

How do the Padres feel about Franchy Cordero? Can he play center field at a level they find acceptable? Is there concern about his ability to avoid strikeouts?
-- Sergio Q.

The Padres have spent most of the season handing starts to Wil Myers in center field because of his bat. Cordero is a much better defensive option than Myers. His glove is of very little concern.

The strikeouts, on the other hand, are an issue. Cordero is whiffing at a 37-percent clip on his rehab assignment with Triple-A El Paso. In parts of three big league seasons, it was 39 percent. When Cordero hits the ball, he can do special things. He just needs to make contact more often.

Right now, Cordero has essentially returned to full health, after missing two months with a right elbow sprain. Before he's recalled, he'll need to regain his timing at the plate.

Has the team given up on Manuel Margot as the center fielder of the future?
-- Chris H.

The Padres would've loved for Margot to assert himself as a mainstay in center field. He's had ample opportunity to do so over the past two seasons, and he simply hasn't been good enough.

In that regard, the Padres seem intent on using the center-field spot to get Myers' bat into the lineup. When Cordero returns, there's a chance Margot gives way on the roster. If Jankowski reaches full health, Margot could fall even further down the depth chart.

In 2017, Margot was a breakout rookie with a seemingly bright future ahead of him. Now, unless something changes drastically, it's hard to envision him factoring into the team's long-term plans.

Who is faster -- Fernando Tatis Jr. or CJ Abrams?
-- @themickian

I asked four people in the organization this exact question, all of whom have a pretty good inclination. The results: Abrams 4, Tatis 0.

Abrams -- the Padres' first rounder who was introduced on Saturday -- can flat-out fly.

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