The 2021 San Diego Padres are a real player in the National League West.
At 27-17, the Padres are just a half-game back of first place in the division, and they look poised for a playoff run in October.
Top to bottom, San Diego’s roster lacks any real gaping holes, but there are some areas where the team could benefit from making some deals at the trade deadline.
In particular, the Padres should take a look at two players.
2. Starling Marte – Miami Marlins
Profar has managed just a .243 batting average and a .649 OPS, while Pham has been borderline unserviceable with a .183 average, .536 OPS and -0.4 WAR.
To bring in a player like Starling Marte would turn a point of weakness into a point of strength.
Marte is a free agent this winter, so he would be a rental if traded.
Marte has had a really solid career.
He’s a great defender—a two-time Gold Glover at that—and is an above-average offensive player.
Marte is also a career .287 hitter with a .793 OPS.
He has stolen 30+ bases five times in his career, complemented by the fact that he reaches base at a .342 lifetime clip.
This season, Marte is slashing .316/.420/.491 over 15 games.
Right now, he is sidelined with a rib injury, but he is expected back soon.
Starling Marte is swinging again. Mattingly thinks his progression will go pretty quickly. He's another candidate to return to the lineup soon.
— Ethan Budowsky (@ethanbudowsky) May 19, 2021
The Marlins are far from a contender this season, so they will likely be looking to flip Marte’s expiring contract into a prospect or two before the trade deadline.
The Padres could be a perfect fit.
1. Kevin Gausman – San Francisco Giants
Chris Paddack has been mildly disappointing so far this season, and his rotation spot is the only real weakness that the San Diego starting five has.
Paddack has a 4.45 ERA over seven starts, although his 3.46 FIP actually implies that he has been better than his ERA suggests.
One thing that there’s no way around, however, is that Paddack struggles to go deep into games.
He hasn’t made it out of the sixth inning in any of his starts, and generally only goes four or five innings.
Paddack, 25, is in just his third MLB season, so his ceiling is still high.
He had a great rookie season, pitching to a 3.33 ERA over 26 starts.
However, with the focus solely on the 2021 season, the Padres could be looking for an upgrade over Paddack.
Kevin Gausman would take this rotation from very good to elite.
Gausman, 30, is in the ninth season of his career, and he has never looked better.
Over nine starts, the righty is 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA, a 2.46 FIP and a 0.80 WHIP.
2021 NL ERA Leaders
Brandon Woodruff (1.58)
Kevin Gausman (1.66)
Trevor Rogers (1.74)
Yu Darvish (1.81)
All Leaders: https://t.co/lmb8QSp3Dz
— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) May 20, 2021
He has fanned 67 batters in 59.2 innings, giving him the second-highest strikeout rate of his career.
Like Marte, Gausman’s contract expires after this season, so he, too, would be a rental.
There is one problem: the Giants are surprise contenders this season.
The team will likely be reluctant to trade Gausman away if they are still in the postseason picture at the trade deadline.
FiveThirtyEight only gives the Giants a 42 percent chance of reaching the playoffs, though, so if things go south for them between now and the July 30 deadline, we could see San Fransisco throw in the towel.NEXT: How Good Can Joe Musgrove Be In The 2021 Season?