Teams often try to avoid trading within their own division, but the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres line up well on a potential 1-for-1 swap.
Since the beginning of last offseason, the San Francisco Giants Triple-A affiliate and the 40-man roster as a whole have gone through a cycle of outfielders, from the waiver claim of Mike Gerber on Dec. 10 up to the recent acquisition of Alex Dickerson in a minor trade with the San Diego Padres,
Fans have figured out by now that President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi will pull the trigger if another, potentially better option becomes available.
Which brings us back to the Padres.
After getting off to a strong start, the young Friars have regressed to .500 and sit in fourth place in the National League West. While reports suggest it will take an “overwhelming offer” to acquire their closer Kirby Yates, the majority of their position players are available.
On the surface, that would seem to lower the chances of another trade with the Giants. I’ve dedicated the last month to a “Sell-off Series” matching up potential buyers with the Giants, and the Padres might not wind up buying this summer.
However, there may be another swap that could help both teams.
The Padres have long sought to acquire controllable starting pitching, and we all know the Giants have the same desire in the outfield. Both seemingly have a certain level of depth at the places the other needs.
With all of that in mind, a Dereck Rodriguez-for-Manuel Margot trade looks appealing to both sides.
Margot, 24, has been a major disappointment for the Padres over the past two seasons.
After hitting .263/.313/.409 as a 22-year-old rookie in 2017, his BABIP dipped from .309 to .281 last season and his bottom line followed suit as he finished with a .242/.292/.384 line. This season, things have gotten even worse.
He’s hitting just .232/.280/.311 with a pair of home runs in 162 plate appearances, good for a 60 OPS+, which is not good. For reference, that’s below the production level of Steven Duggar (67) and Kevin Pillar (64) this year.
So why would the Giants want him?
He’s still capable of playing an above-average center field and is a right-handed hitter who at the very least profiles as a platoon partner with Duggar. He’s also still young enough to take a step forward, and he has a top prospect pedigree to back up the idea that he can still do just that.
As always, it’s about the return price.
With Tyler Beede, Shaun Anderson, Ty Blach, Andrew Suarez, and Derrick Rodriguez, the Giants have several controllable young starters, but most of them profile as back-of-the-rotation arms.
Rodriguez had a great rookie season with the Giants in 2018, but his peripherals were never strong and he has regressed substantially this season. He’s looked better recently out of the bullpen, but even then he has a 4.89 ERA and 5.67 FIP on the year.
The 27-year-old would give the Padres some decent starting pitching depth with long-term control and No. 4 starter potential, while Margot could be a solid corner outfielder in the Kevin Pillar mold once he inevitably departs.
Neither player has his respective fan base overly enthused and both could benefit from a change of scenery at this point.
It might not move the needle a ton, but it’s a trade that would help both the depth of both the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres while allowing them to deal from an area of surplus.