12-19-14 In a three-way trade, the San Diego Padres acquire Wil Myers, Ryan Hanigan, Jose Castillo, and Gerardo Reyes, the Tampa Bay Rays acquire Rene Rivera, Burch Smith, Jake Bauers, and Steven Souza, and the Washington Nationals acquire Joe Ross and Trea Turner
A massive three-team deal took place in December of 2014 that is still being talked about to this day. Joe Ross and Trea Turner were huge losses for the Padres farm system, but when you have a chance to acquire a talent like Myers, that’s the price you pay. Burch Smith and Jake Bauers were also prized prospects and, to this day, A.J. Preller probably still takes the most abuse from the national media from this deal. Myers has performed when healthy, though. His wrist injuries appear to be over and the Padres can only hope he finally is able to concentrate on performing to the best of his abilities. He has a special gift and just needs a little luck to become one of the best in the game. A terrific 2016 season led the Padres to award Myers with a six-year extension. He should be the face of the franchise for a long time.
Joe Ross is currently in the Nationals’ rotation and has shown that he has the stuff to stick in the majors. He went 5-5 last season in 13 starts and was very impressive for a 22-year-old. He went 7-5 for the 2016 season in 19 starts with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.305 WHIP in 105 innings. Trea Turner was up briefly in the 2015 season with the Nationals. He started the 2016 year in Triple-A, where he hit .302 with 25 stolen bases. He was recalled by the Nats again, and played some outfield and second base. He ended the year with an amazing batting line of .342/.370/.567 in 307 at bats while hitting 13 home runs and driving in 40 runs. He also stole 33 bases and was runner-up in rookie of the year voting to Corey Seager.
Jake Bauers might end up being one of the better pieces the Padres moved last off-season. The left-handed hitting first baseman has developed faster than most his age, and at the age of 20, is already playing successfully at the Double-A level. He hit .272 in 2015 with 11 homers and 74 RBI at the A-Ball level. In 2016 he hit .274 with 14 homers and 78 RBI and played the outfield as well as first base. Burch Smith has been injured since the Rays acquired him and has yet to pitch for them. Rene Rivera had a horrible year for the Rays in 2015, hitting .178 with five home runs and 26 RBI in 110 games. Jose Castillo went 2-2 last season, with a 2.02 ERA in 40 innings pitched between Ft Wayne, Lake Elsinore, and Tri-City. The 20-year-old lefty could be useful for the team eventually. Gerardo Reyes is currently in Lake Elsinore after a stint in Fort Wayne. He is 4-5 last season with a 3.59 ERA in 40 games. This trade is difficult to assess, and in reality we will not know who wins this deal for the next 10-15 years. Myers, Turner, and Ross are all off to great starts in their professional careers. Only time will tell on this deal.
The trade frenzy continued for the Padres as they acquired Justin Upton from the Atlanta Braves for several prospects. Upton had a decent year for the Padres and was the teams only all-star, but he chose to walk away after his free agent year. Upton signed a massive deal with the Tigers (six-year/$132.75 million) that the Padres just had no intention of matching. He had a horrible year in Detroit, and the Padres are looking like real winners for not re-signing him.
The Braves got two very good prospects from the Padres in Mallex Smith and Max Fried. The left-handed Fried was the Padres #1 pick (7th overall) in the 2012 draft. He missed all of 2015 after undergoing Tommy John surgery, but he has excellent stuff. He is 7-5 this season with a 3.50 ERA in 17 games. He is currently on the D.L. with a sore arm. He is well on his way to returning, and at the age of 22, he has plenty of upside. The Braves will be cautious with this young man and his left arm. Mallex Smith is currently on the Braves 25-man roster and is getting some at bats in the majors. He owns a .237/.312/.379 batting line in 58 games and 169 at bats. He has stolen 14 bases and hit three home runs. He might be overmatched at the moment, but he has the ability to be very special. The 22-year-old speedster had a batting line last year of .303/.371/.378 with 56 stolen bases in 125 games between Double-A and Triple-A.
The two Peterson’s were also dealt to the Braves, and Jace Peterson paid immediate dividends for them. He played in 152 games during the 2015 season for the Braves, hitting .239 with six homers and 52 RBI. He was their everyday second baseman, but played sporadically in 2016, getting 350 at bats while hitting .254. Dustin Peterson is a 21-year-old outfielder/third baseman who is developing nicely. He hit .251 in 2015 with eight homers and 62 RBI for the Braves A-Ball team. This past season he hit .282 with 12 home runs and 88 RBI in 524 at bats at the Double-A level. This deal could turn out rough for the Padres, as Upton was allowed to leave for a draft pick. Smith, Dustin Peterson, and Fried could be special. Cross your fingers, Padres fans.
This goes down as one of A.J. Preller’s best deals of the off-season. The Padres traded the catcher (the day after acquiring him) to the Red Sox for Will Middlebrooks because they seemed to be collecting right-handed power hitters. Middlebrooks didn’t work out for the Padres, but the best part of the deal was clearing Hanigan and his hefty $7.5 million dollar contract off the books. Hanigan did nothing spectacular for the Red Sox, hitting .247 in a backup role in 2015 with two homers and 16 RBI. He hit .171 in 105 at bats for the Sox in 2016. The Padres got the best of this deal. To this day, I don’t understand why the Red Sox wanted Hanigan. He is an expensive backup catcher with little to no upside. To each their own.
The Padres had now rebuilt their offense, and it was time to acquire some arms in the pitching staff. The first addition to the bullpen was a little known, unheralded relief pitcher named Shawn Kelley. The veteran reliever had some decent seasons for the Yankees and Mariners, and the Friars hoped he had one more left in him. He had a great year for the Padres in 2015, going 2-2 on the season with a 2.45 ERA in 53 games. He was very solid after a slow start, and quickly became one of the Padres’ most reliable relievers.
In acquiring him, the team parted with a decent young arm. Johnny Barbato has a nice arm and is currently competing for a spot in the Yankees’ bullpen. He had an incredible year in 2015 after being promoted to the Yankees’ Triple-A team. Barbato was 4-0 in 14 games and 25 inning pitched, striking out 26 and recording a 0.36 ERA. He earned a spot in the bullpen after a decent spring and went 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA in 13 innings pitched. He was demoted to Triple-A, where he is 3-2 with a 3.61 ERA in 48 innings pitched. This trade helped the Padres last season, but Kelley left via free agency after the year, signing with the Washington Nationals this past winter. He signed a three-year/$15 million dollar deal. This deal could hurt, especially with the Padres lack of middle relief arms at the upper minor league level.
With the additions of Wil Myers, Justin Upton, and Matt Kemp, the Padres outfield was crowded. It was jam-packed because the whole existing outfield from the 2014 season was still on the Padres 40-man roster. Cameron Maybin, Carlos Quentin, Will Venable, and Seth Smith were still Padres, and obviously something needed to be changed within the roster. Seth Smith was the offensive MVP for the Padres in 2014, but was traded to the Mariners simply because he had no place to play.
The Mariners got a productive year out of Smith in 2015, as he hit .248 with 12 homers in 136 games for the M’s. The Padres, on the other hand, got a great young pitcher in return for Smith. Brandon Maurer looks to be a fixture on the Padres pitching staff for a long time. He went 7-4 last season with a 3.00 ERA in 53 games and 51 inning pitched. Maurer has the ability to pitch in relief or as a starter and his future is not really set in stone right now. He is in the bullpen at the moment, but he has the arsenal to effectively start if need be. This deal is pretty even, but you have to love the upside that Maurer provides the Padres.
The Padres, for some reason, traded their lone left-hander in the bullpen when camp broke in 2015. The deal was a surprise, as most viewed Torres as a lock to make the Padres’ bullpen. Torres was effective, but did have a wild streak to him too. In the end, that is what probably cost him his job in San Diego. The team could just not trust Torres to consistently throw strikes. He went to the Mets and was 0-0 in 2015 with a 3.15 ERA. He struck out 35 batters in his 34 innings pitched, but in true Torres fashion, he also walked 26 batters.
Cory Mazzoni got rocked in his major league call-up in 2015 for the Padres. I mean he was shelled like none other. In his eight innings pitched, Mazzoni gave up an astounding 23 hits and 20 runs to the tune of a 20.72 ERA. Simply amazing. He pitched okay in Triple-A in 2015, going 1-3 with a 3.97 ERA. The Padres released him in May of 2016 and cut their losses with this young man. The best player in the deal was the PTBNL. That turned out to be young southpaw Brad Wieck. The big lefty went 7-11 in 2015 in 23 starts with a 4.09 ERA. He struck out 139 batters in 123 innings pitched. For the 2016 season, the Padres turned him into a reliever, and he has pitched well. He went 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA in Lake Elsinore during the 2016 season. He was promoted to San Antonio, and has responded with a 0.44 ERA and a 0.885 WHIP in 20 innings while striking out 31. He looks to be a fast riser within the system and there is an outside chance he will get a look in 2017.
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