Padres' surge is removing intriguing trade targets from Yankees' platter

No, not Higgy.
Miami Marlins v San Diego Padres
Miami Marlins v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages

The Yankees, in the midst of a successfully odd season, might have to complete a variation on a hockey line change at the trade deadline. The bullpen's gassed. The rotation might be even worse. The lineup's half-whole (generously). Gerrit Cole, DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres returning to form would be a fantastic start, but would still leave the Yankees thin and seeking reinforcements (especially since none of those guys are shutdown options in the later innings).

Just a few weeks ago, MLB insider Joel Sherman posited an interesting path for the Yankees and opened up an opportunity for them to revisit their primary offseason trade partner in the San Diego Padres. Considering AJ Preller is an unknowable commodity who can seemingly always be tempted into doing something drastic, it didn't seem ridiculous to suggest that the Padres might thread the needle between buying and selling this summer while they sat on the fringes of the Wild Card race in mid-June.

While bringing in, say, Tommy Pham to cover an outfield spot, why wouldn't the Padres try to clear some additional funds by offloading semi-expensive closer Robert Suarez, to whom they'd made a likely unnecessary long-term commitment? After all, scorching reliever Jeremiah Estrada, picked up off the waiver wire, could likely slot into his spot without the Padres missing a beat.

Alas, it seems likely the San Diego Padres are now ... too good for such a move to be considered. Not to be a prisoner of the moment, but some of the shine is off Estrada, too, who's allowed runs in four of his past eight appearances, including four earned in one-third of an inning in a meltdown against the Mets. Now, if Preller sold Suarez to the Yankees, he'd be pilloried for pricking his own team's momentum in the same way Jerry Dipoto was for trading closer Kendall Graveman to the Astros as the Mariners surged in 2021.

Not to say Preller would never do it, but ... it seems unlikely now, unless he has a humiliation fetish.

AJ Preller can no longer be counted on for Yankees-Padres summer blockbuster

Who can the Yankees look to for bullpen help instead? The Padres swap was such a creative option that we hate to say goodbye to it, but the Pads' power is undeniable in the wake of their weekend demolition of Boston. They should probably go for it, while the Yankees should probably call the Oakland A's about Lucas Erceg, the Miami Marlins about Tanner Scott, and the Arizona Diamondbacks regarding Paul Sewald.

Or, hey, maybe they can get an inspiring up close look at potential Reds candidates this week, in the same way that May's series with the Padres inspired Sherman to pick and choose from their offering. It's time to get creative once again.