Some were forced (fire sales), some didn't work out well, while several others helped build the foundation for teams that advanced to the postseason, most notably the 1998 World Series club.
One thing is for certain, with former general managers like "Trader Jack" McKeon and Kevin Towers, there was never a dull moment -- especially during the regular season, specifically in the days leading up to the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Here's a look at the top five trades the Padres have made during the regular season.
June 24, 1993: Padres receive RHP Trevor Hoffman, RHP Andres Berumen, RHP Jose Martinez from the Marlins for OF Gary Sheffield and LHP Rich Rodriguez.
The (infamous) fire sale of 1993 saw the Padres deal Sheffield to the Marlins for a young, unproven relief pitcher in Hoffman, who had appeared in all of 28 games to that point. Sure, Sheffield went on to hit 445 home runs, but the Padres never had reason to feel short-changed, as they found an icon and one of the best closers of all time. Hoffman, a seven-time All-Star, had 552 of his 601 saves with the franchise over a 16-year span.
July 31, 1996: Padres receive OF Greg Vaughn and RHP Gerald Parent from the Brewers for RHP Bryce Florie, LHP Ron Villone and OF Marc Newfield.
Desperate for some power, the Padres sent three players to the Brewers for Vaughn. The Brewers felt they needed some bullpen help and Vaughn, 31 at the time, was the cost. Vaughn went on to blast 78 home runs over three seasons, including a club-record 50 in 1998 as the Padres made it to the World Series, eventually losing to the Yankees.
July 27, 1993: Padres receive RHP Andy Ashby, C Brad Ausmus and RHP Doug Bochtler from the Rockies for RHP Greg Harris and LHP Bruce Hurst.
The fire sale of 1993 included more than the Trevor Hoffman/Gary Sheffield deal. The Padres unloaded some salary when they dumped Harris and Hurst on the Rockies for three players. Ashby went on to win 70 games over eight seasons for San Diego, including 17 wins in that magical 1998 season. Ausmus played four seasons with the team, the start of an 18-year career where he became one of the best defensive catchers in the game.
July 5, 1987: Padres receive 3B Chris Brown, LHPs Keith Comstock, Mark Davis and RHP Mark Grant from the Giants for LHPs Dave Dravecky, Craig Lefferts and OF Kevin Mitchell.
Yes, it's true that moving Mitchell in this deal hurt -- especially after the NL MVP season he had for the Giants in 1989 -- but the Padres landed a future Cy Young winner in closer Mark Davis, who saved 44 games during that same 1989 season. And let's not forget, this deal brought Grant to San Diego, where he's remained, becoming a popular broadcaster for the team. Hey, anytime you acquire a to-be Cy Young winner ... that's a good deal, right?
May 1, 2006: Padres receive C Josh Bard and RHP Cla Meredith and cash from the Red Sox for C Doug Mirabelli.
The Red Sox were unable to get someone (anyone?) who could catch knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, so they dealt Bard and Meredith to the Padres for Mirabelli, who had previously played for the Red Sox. The Padres got Bard, who had a 3.1 WAR over three seasons in San Diego, and a Minor League pitcher with a funky, submarine delivery in Meredith, who helped the Padres to the postseason with a 1.07 ERA over his first 45 games with the team. He finished with a 2.9 WAR in four seasons with the Padres.
Other strong considerations were the 2003 deal with the Pirates that bought Brian Giles to San Diego for, among others, Jason Bay, who blossomed in Pittsburgh. Giles had a 17.1 WAR over seven seasons with the Padres, who moved into Petco Park in 2004. Also, don't forget about the 2007 deal where the team acquired outfielder Scott Hairston from the D-backs -- and from current Padres general manager Josh Byrnes. Hairston crushed lefties, had a 6.8 WAR in four seasons and hit what might have been the most critical home run in team history, a go-ahead blast in the notorious Game 163 against the Rockies in 2007. The Padres went on to lose that game and miss the postseason.