Every sign pointed to a successful baseball team in San Diego last year. The San Diego Padres were second in team ERA, fifth in defensive runs saved above average, and above average in runs scored. Yet the club finished 82-80 and missed out on the playoffs.

The offseason was also a rollercoaster. In December, the club traded superstar outfielder Juan Soto to the New York Yankees for a slew of. In January, the team saw All-Star closer Josh Hader sign a record-breaking contract with the Houston Astros. A few weeks before the season started, the Padres traded for Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Dylan Cease, and then the club acquired All-Star infielder Luis Arraez in May.

It is unlikely the Padres are done with their aggressive series of transactions. For much of the spring, San Diego has pursued Chicago White Sox starter pitcher Garrett Crochet. With Yu Darvish and Joe Musgrove on the IL, the club needs more starting pitching depth to contend in the NL West. Crochet has been phenomenal for the Sox this season; here is the trade offer the Padres must make to acquire the Chicago ace.

Scouting Garrett Crochet

The 24-year-old lefty has been one of baseball's breakout pitchers this season. Crochet pitched strictly in relief across the first few years of his career, appearing in 54 games with a 2.58 ERA in 2021 before missing 2022 after Tommy John surgery and spending part of 2023 in the minors while still recovering. The former first-round pick appeared in just 13 MLB games last year, finishing with a respectable 3.53 ERA.

After a move to the starting rotation for 2024, Crochet has proven his worth, leading MLB with 12.0 strikeouts per nine innings and carrying a 3.16 ERA across 13 starts. He struggled a bit in mid-April but reestablished himself after posting a 1.13 ERA since the start of May, walking just 10 hitters during this stretch.

Crochet's improved command is one of the keys to his success, as he walked 4.9 hitters per nine innings before this season versus just 1.9 BB/9 in 2024. Looking more closely at the lefty's arsenal, his newly introduced cutter stands out. Crochet throws his cut fastball about 25% of the time, with a whiff rate of 37.8%. The pitch has been worth nine runs this year, per Baseball Savant. He also has significant success with his fastball. Employed slightly more than half the time, Crochet's four-seamer is worth 10 runs, and opponents are batting just .142 against it. The left also employs a slider and changeup, both to lesser effect.

Garrett is under contract through 2026, with two years of salary arbitration. This makes him a financially affordable MLB trade deadline target but one that will be difficult to acquire given the White Sox's high demands.

Padres trade offer for Garrett Crochet

Padres receive: LHP Garrett Crochet

White Sox receive: SS Leodalis De Vries (SD #4 prospect), RHP Adam Mazur (SD #5 prospect), C Brandon Valenzuela (SD # 11 prospect), LHP Jackson Wolf (SD #14 prospect)

San Diego has already been involved in two blockbuster deals this spring. The Padres sent their #5, #7, and #8 prospects, plus MLB reliever Steven Wilson, to the White Sox to acquire Dylan Cease. The haul was slightly less to get All-Star infield Luis Arraez from the Marlins. The Arraez deal included the Padres' #6, #9, and #13 prospects, plus Korean reliever Woo-Suk Go.

Given Crochet's low salary and several years of team control, the White Sox are asking more for the left-hander than they received for the veteran Cease — which will be difficult given San Diego's depleted farm system. The Sox also want the deal's cornerstone to be a position player with significant upside. This would mean either catcher Ethan Salas (the #5 prospect in MLB, #1 in the Padres system), shortstop Leodalis De Vries (the #75 prospect in MLB, #4 in the Padres system), or perhaps even both.

Will any team make an offer that will truly blow the White Sox away? It is unlikely. Crochet is under a possible innings limit this season in his first full season back after Tommy John surgery, creating a gap between the White Sox's evaluation of the left-hander and what other clubs are willing to put up.

While Chicago will not get Padres top prospect Ethan Salas, they will still receive a significant haul. De Vries is a top-75 prospect in all of baseball despite being just 17 years old. Adam Mazur can hit 97 on the radar gun and reached the Majors after less than a season-and-a-half in the minors. Brandon Valenzuela excels at getting on base and is an above-average defender. With three catchers in their top 11 prospects, the Padres can afford to let Valenzuela go. Left-handed starting pitcher Jackson Wolf (currently at Triple-A) rounds off a strong quartet of prospects.