08-15-16 The San Diego Padres acquire Luis Sardinas from the Seattle Mariners for a player to be named later
The Padres’ G.M. finally landed a shortstop worthy of consideration for a starting job in 2017. Sardinas looks to be the starter, but the team did sign Erick Aybar, who could also get some playing time at the position. Sardinas was acquired from the M’s for a PTBNL after he hit .181 in 32 games for the Mariners in 2016. The M’s have Ketel Marte ready for major league service time, so Sardinas was easily deemed expendable. The young switch hitting shortstop started his Padre career by recording a .287/.353/.417 batting line in 34 games for the Friars in 108 at bats. At 23, he has plenty of baseball life left in him. The Padres might have found a decent option until the youngsters in the minors are ready. This was a great deal for Preller as he finally landed Sardinas. whom he helped bring to the Texas Rangers in 2010 when Sardinas was 17 and an amateur international free agent.
12-02-16 The San Diego Padres trade Derek Norris to the Washington Nationals for Pedro Avila
With the emergence of Austin Hedges, this was a long time coming. The Padres would have liked to received more for Norris, as they valued his leadership abilities, but he had a horrible offensive year. Norris put up a batting line of .186/.255/.328 which was one of the worst in the league, if not the worst among starting players. This, after posting a respectable .250/.305/.404 batting line in 2015. The worst part was his defense also struggled as his caught-stealing percentage fell from 34% in 2015 to 21% last season. Norris has minimal value and the Padres were lucky to have dealt him prior to the team finalizing their 40-man roster before the Rule-5 draft. Norris would have probably been a casualty, like Tyson Ross, if the Nationals had not come calling.
The Padres obtained a decent right-handed prospect in Pedro Avila. He is short in stature, but has a very nice arm. He went 7-7 last season in 20 starts at the A-Ball level. He will add depth to a roster that is full of young talent. Avila threw 93 innings last year and struck out 92 batters while recording a 3.48 ERA. He will likely begin at Fort Wayne and be one of the teams’ five starting pitchers to begin the season. Preller did well in acquiring the 20-year-old pitcher when Norris had no real value, but perhaps he held on to Norris too long. The jury is still out on this deal as Norris does have the ability to straighten himself out and be a very productive player. You never like to move a player when their value is at a minimum, but the Padres’ G.M really had no other alternative.
12-08-16 The San Diego Padres trade Justin Haley to the Minnesota Twins for the right to select Miguel Diaz from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Rule-5 Draft
This was an interesting one here. Haley was a Red Sox farmhand who was selected by the Angels in the Rule-5 draft. He was then traded by the Angels to the Padres for cash considerations or a PTBNL that day. The Padres, in turn, dealt the right-handed pitcher (also that day) to the Twins for Miguel Diaz, whom they selected from the Brewers organization. Preller is certainly creative and five teams were involved in this deal/claims between two rule-five players. The Padres ultimately chose to keep Diaz over Haley. Both Rule-5 selections are in camp for the Twins and Padres. Diaz went 1-8 last season in A-Ball, recording a 3.71 ERA while striking out 91 batters in 94 innings pitched. He has a lively arm and reminds some of Luis Perdomo. But can the Padres find lighting in a bottle twice in two years? It will be interesting to see what comes of it. The Angels look to be the big winner here as eventually they will get a player or cash for their pick.
12-09-16 The San Diego Padres trade Josh Van Meter to the Cincinnati Reds for Rule-5 pick Luis Torrens
The Padres went rule-5 crazy, as they sent young infielder Josh Van Meter to the Reds for young catching prospect, Luis Torrens. The catcher is from the Yankees’ organization and has reportedly a very nice work ethic. The young man is very raw, and will need time to develop. Of all the rule-5 picks, this one seems like a bit of a head scratcher. Torrens is a lifetime .250 hitter in the minors in three seasons. He put up a .250/.350/.337 batting line last year in 184 A-Ball at bats. He is however an excellent defender as he threw out 42% of the would be base-stealers last year and owns a career 43% caught-stealing rate. He is above average defensively, but at 21, he has a long way to go with the bat to even be considered a backup in the league.
The Padres dealt a decent little second base prospect in Van Meter. The former Padre was a fifth round selection in 2013 and made it all the way to Double-A this past season. He recorded a .251/.331/.403 batting line and hit 14 homers and drove in 56 runs between Lake Elsinore and San Antonio. The Padres have plenty of second base prospects so you could see how they moved him, but Torrens will have a hard time making the 2017 team. If the Padres want to keep him, they will likely have to complete a deal with the Yankees towards the end of the spring. A risky deal by the Padres young G.M., but he must see something in Torrens that he really likes.
12-16-16 The San Diego Padres acquire Tyler Barnette from the Chicago White Sox for a PTBNL
Really not much to see here as the Padres deal for left-handed relief depth in the minors. Barnette has not had a successful career as of yet, but perhaps a change of scenery will help the young man out. He is left-handed, and that in itself is valuable. He went 3-6 last year in 37 games (eight starts) while recording a 6.75 ERA. He owns a career 11-22 record in 290 innings pitched while amassing a 4.84 ERA. Preller is just adding depth with this deal. Really hardly even worth noting. Barnette will start the season in Lake Elsinore or San Antonio.
The A.J. Preller era has been memorable so far. He has really revamped the whole team and put his mark on the franchise. That was to be expected as he inherited a system that was in need of an overhaul. In these 35 deals, he has made some great moves and he has also made some horrible ones. That is the nature of the business. Thankfully for Padres fans, he has adjusted well when he makes mistakes and that bodes well for the future of this franchise. There will be more trades. That you can be certain of. In fact he is overdue for a deal or two. Preller and his staff have high ambitions for this franchise, and they will do whatever it takes for success. Some assume the team will not be competitive for years, but the team is not as far away as people think. A solid nucleus of talent is currently in San Diego (Margot, Renfroe, Hedges, and Myers) and it is only a matter of time before the team begins to win ball games led by their young talent. Enjoy this, Padres fans. This is the beginning of something very special.