As the final hours of the trade deadline ticked down Friday and nothing emerged from San Diego's front office, some folks with the Astros — who had been engaged with the Padres in discussions about pitching — speculated that the Padres must have had something big in the works with the Chicago Cubs, a deal involving many players.
In the Cubs' front office, there were thoughts as Friday began that the Padres would have a flurry of deals just before the deadline, with general manager A.J. Preller machine-gunning trades, and almost certainly, the Cubs thought, there must be something happening with the Astros, something big.
In the New York Yankees' front office, the trade talks about Craig Kimbrel had stopped Thursday night, even after the Yankees met a Padres stipulation and put shortstop Jorge Mateo in a deal for the All-Star closer. As the last hours drew to a close, there was some thought in the New York front office that the Padres must have something going on with the Cubs, who seemed to match up so well with San Diego's trade interests. In other front offices, there was speculation about whether the Padres might be working on a possible three-way deal, maybe with the Red Sox and Cubs, given the creative nature of those clubs and the various needs.
But in the end, the Padres shocked their peers by doing almost nothing — they did add a left-handed relief specialist — and this seemed odd, because while they would get a draft pick in compensation for the impending departure of free agent-to-be Justin Upton, for whom they were offered a strong package by the Mets on Friday, they could wind up getting absolutely nothing in return for some of their other veterans.