Padres Could Be Perfect Fit For Red Sox High-Leverage Hurler At Trade Deadline

San Diego could use a strong second half from the veteran if dealt
May 4, 2018; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico; San Diego Padres general manager AJ Preller watches batting practice before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
May 4, 2018; Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico; San Diego Padres general manager AJ Preller watches batting practice before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres appear to be in similar positions on paper -- the former a game behind .500 and the latter a game above.

However, their winning percentage -- which is separated by just .014% -- does not tell the whole story with the July 30 trade deadline approaching. The Padres are seated in the second National League Wild Card spot while the Red Sox trail the American League race by a pair of games.

Most importantly, Padres president of baseball operations A.J. Preller has always taken an aggressive approach while Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow appears to be much more conservative and has spoken at length about waiting to push his chips in until the team is further along -- though he's yet to handle a trade deadline as the head of baseball operations.

So, the Red Sox and Padres could be a strong pairing at the deadline and there appears to be a logical match.

"A.J. Preller, the wheeler-dealer president of baseball operations of the Padres, is doing what he always does -- trying to make another blockbuster deal to land a difference-making starter such as Jesús Luzardo or Garrett Crochet," The Athletic's Jim Bowden wrote Tuesday. "The Padres are also trying to fine-tune their bench and add a right-handed reliever."

Now if Preller whiffs on the starters with multiple years of team control, Red Sox right-hander Nick Pivetta (3.40 ERA in eight starts) could be a match. However, I do not think that is the most-likely option given the quote.

One of the most intriguing trade pieces the Red Sox have is right-hander Chris Martin. The 38-year-old was one of the best relievers in baseball last season and appeared to be heading toward another all-time season before he hit a wall -- and his numbers suffered.

Martin has a 4.22 ERA with a 24-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio, .266 batting average against and a 1.08 WHIP in 21 1/3 innings. He was recently placed on the injured list for anxiety -- which he claims started to affect his physical abilities and mechanics.

The temporary absence will lower his stock, greatly benefiting the Padres. San Diego reportedly has a few higher needs on the priority list, meaning they will allocate the bulk of their prospect capital to make a splash in the starter market and attempt to fill other holes with ancillary prospects.

Martin is a serviceable reliever with elite command thus far and will carry an incredibly high upside. The veteran is coming off a season in which he posted a 1.05 ERA with a 46-to-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, .237 batting average against and a 1.03 WHIP in 51 1/3 innings.

His underlying numbers are reminiscent of last season, making him a prime bounce-back candidate for the Padres to acquire while allocating the majority of their efforts toward a controllable starter. If the Red Sox sell, Preller should hop on the phone swiftly.

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Scott Neville

SCOTT NEVILLE

Scott Neville covers the Boston Red Sox for Sports Illustrated's new page "Inside The Red Sox." Before starting "Inside The Red Sox", Neville attended Merrimack College, where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Media with a minor in Marketing. Neville spent all four years with Merrimack's radio station WMCK, where he grew as a radio/podcast host and producer.  His propensity for being in front of a microphone eventually expanded to film, where he produced multiple short films alongside his then-roommate and current co-worker Stephen Mottram. On a journey that began as a way to receive easy credits via film classes, he received a call from "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" star Charlie Day. Day advised him to make a feature-length film, which he completed his senior year. While writing the film, Neville completed an internship for United Way as part of their NFL Partnership Program. Neville ran the blog for a team of interns and hosted an internet show called "United Way's NFL Partnership Series" where he interviewed NFL alumni. After college Neville wrote for SB Nation's "Over The Monster," a Red Sox sister site of the flagship brand. His work would eventually lead him to a job as a content producer with NESN, where he would cover all sports. After developing as a writer with the top regional network in the world, he was given the opportunity to join the Sports Illustrated Media Group in his current endeavor as the publisher of "Inside The Red Sox." The successful launch and quick rise of "Inside The Red Sox" led to Neville joining the Baseball Essential ownership group, a national baseball site under SIMG. Follow him on Twitter: @ScottNeville46 Email: nevilles@merrimack.edu