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3 top targets for Padres ahead of 2022 MLB trade deadline

Padres, MLB trade deadline, Padres trade targets

The San Diego Padres are hanging on to second place in the NL West, looking to close the gap on the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of the second half of the regular season. If they’re to dethrone the Dodgers, however, it’s becoming clear that San Diego will need to make some moves for reinforcements.

The Padres narrowly avoided a series sweep against the Dodgers in early July, losing 3-1 in the four-game set. With the MLB trade deadline looming, it’s widely expected that the Padres will be buyers. Their moves in recent seasons made clear their determination to contend for a World Series, and with Fernando Tatis Jr. set to return at some point in the second half of the year, the Padres could look to make a big run.

The outfield remains a position of need, while the Padres could also stand to bolster the bullpen ahead of their playoff push. With all that in mind, here are three players the Padres will be targeting at the 2022 MLB trade deadline.

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San Diego Padres trade deadline targets

3. Brandon Drury

Every team should be interested in adding a talent like Drury at the trade deadline. Not only has he been swinging a hot bat in the lowly Cincinnati Reds lineup, but his versatility on defense makes him an extremely intriguing trade piece. The Padres would be able to slot him in at various positions along the infield, or even stick him in the outfield, too.

This season, Drury is slashing .270/.329/.523 across 68 games. He’s launched 16 home runs and drove in 42 RBI. His home run tally in the first half of this year has already tied his career-high, which he set back in 2016 with the Diamondbacks.

The Padres are in need of a power boost, as their lineup’s 67 home runs rank 24th in MLB. No one on the Padres has more than 12 home runs on the season, with Manny Machado leading the charge in that category. Adding a slugger like Drury, who has been seeing the ball tremendously this year, could be the perfect addition for San Diego to help park some balls into the bleachers.

2. Michael Fulmer

Fortifying the bullpen at the trade deadline is a staple for teams looking to contend for a World Series. The Padres, despite their top-five team ERA (3.64) could use another reliable arm out of the bullpen to help compliment the likes of Taylor Rogers, Luis Garcia, Pierce Johnson, and Co.

Ever since Tommy John surgery resulted in Fulmer making the transition from a starter to a reliever, he’s thrived in the role. This season, Fulmer has made 29 relief appearances for the Detroit Tigers, logging a 2.15 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 29.1 innings. He has one save on the season and has surrendered just one home run.

He’s been ultra-reliable for the Tigers and his tendency to pitch to weak contact would be a nice boost for the Padres, who are up against some strong lineups in the NL West. With the bullpen always an area for any team to improve upon, it would be wise for the Padres to try to land Fulmer, who would be under contract for an additional season beyond 2022.

1. Andrew Benintendi

The Kansas City Royals figure to be major sellers at the trade deadline. The Royals were expected to have a rough year in 2022, and they’ve proved all of their doubters right, sitting in dead last in the AL Central. While the team hasn’t provided much of a spark, not everyone has struggled. Andrew Benintendi is enjoying a bounce-back season in KC, which could make him a quality trade candidate ahead of the deadline.

While Benintendi doesn’t have the power that San Diego will be seeking, he’s a good outfielder and an excellent contact hitter, while also posing a threat on the base paths. After flaming out in Boston, Benintendi has revived his career with the Royals, and could wind up back on a World Series contender via a trade deadline deal with the Padres.

This season, the soon-to-be 28-year-old is slashing .308/.374/.395 with 3 home runs, 29 RBI, and 113 total bases. He’s only stolen one base, but would have reason to be more aggressive in San Diego. Benintendi won a Gold Glove last season, so he’d further fortify a solid defensive outfield headlined by Trent Grisham, who has emerged as one of the best defensive center fielders in the sport.