Who holds the keys to unlocking the stagnant trade market? By now, the Los Angeles Dodgers of yore would've made ~5 trades and one of them would've been of the blockbuster variety. Instead? A trade for the injured JP Feyereisen and another for Yonny Hernandez.
The holdup on this front has seemingly been the valuation of the few players available. Fans keep hearing names like Bryan Reynolds, Ian Happ, Pablo Lopez, Willy Adames and Corbin Burnes, among others, but none of the talks surrounding them have come anywhere close to in focus.
Nobody wants to be the first to pull the trigger, or else they could be the culprits in setting the asking price in trades too low. Since teams like the Pirates, Cubs and Marlins aren't exactly known for doing great business, the Brewers certainly aren't going to kickstart the market by trading one of their two best players.
So who else is there? Anybody want to step up and make it happen? Could the San Diego Padres and AJ Preller be the gatekeepers here after hearing one of the latest rumors?
Per Dennis Lin of The Athletic (subscription required), the Pads could be inclined to discuss trades involving center fielder Trent Grisham and versatile infielder Ha-Seong Kim.
Could the Padres help the Dodgers and kickstart the trade market?
The Dodgers need a center fielder and potentially a shortstop. If the Padres are the first to act with Grisham and Kim (which previously wasn't on the table, as Preller said himself), that could help Andrew Friedman make a more informed decision about how to move forward at either of those positions.
Though Grisham isn't exactly someone the Dodgers would want, he's one of the best defensive center fielders in the game and is certainly more of an asset than Dylan Carlson, Jarred Kelenic, Alek Thomas and any other non-Reynolds option on the market.
As for Kim, after an impressive 5.1 WAR 2022 campaign where he was a Gold Glove-caliber defender at third base and shortstop, his value could dictate how Adames conversations are approached. Kim is controllable through 2026, and any team that acquires him will be getting his prime years (age-27 campaign on deck).
Friedman's certainly not a reactor on the trade market, but he's not going to be the guy that overpays for one of the few desirable options out there. Preller, for as much as Dodgers fans like to poke fun at him, has a one-of-a-kind grasp on the trade market, even if some of his previous dealings have gone sour.
In the end, this could end up being the perfect tag team if Preller gets the festitivites started with some momentous moves as 2023 arrives.