A.J. Preller pulled off a monster Easter Sunday deal that took the whole Major League Baseball community by storm. Again the Padres were stealing headlines away from their bigger division rivals. The trade was huge. Kimbrel is widely recognized as one of the best closers in the game, and to acquire him the day before the season starts is unheard of. Another blockbuster deal with the Braves was not what anyone expected.
Adding Craig Kimbrel to the team did not result in a World Series championship like most assumed it would. The Padres’ deficiencies were far worse than most believed and we all would see that first hand. Kimbrel had a solid but unspectacular season for the Padres, going 4-2 with a 2.58 ERA (that was a new career high) and 39 saves. Upton was hurt when he arrived and did not start to play with the team until June. He had a nice second half for the Friars with a batting line of .259/.327/.429 with five homers and 17 RBIs.
The deal was made for the Braves so they could get their hands on Matt Wisler. The prized right-handed pitching prospect started 19 games for the Braves last season, going 8-8 with a 4.71 ERA in 109 innings pitched. This season he is 0-1 in his first three starts with a 3.10 ERA. He looks to be a decent mid-rotation starter and could be in the league for a long time. Carlos Quentin was dumped on the Braves in this deal and promptly was released by them. He landed in Seattle but quit after a couple of weeks in the minor leagues there. He signed a minor-league deal with the Twins this past winter but his knees are just too weak for him to be a successful major leaguer.
Cameron Maybin went on the have a productive year for the Braves, hitting .267 with 23 steals and slugging 10 home runs. He was traded to the Tigers (the team that drafted him) and then promptly hurt himself. He is currently on the shelf with a wrist injury but is very close to a return. The most interesting player in this deal is minor-league outfielder Jordan Paroubeck. He was dealt to the Dodgers by the Braves in July in return for an international bonus pool slot. He promptly went on to hit .331 in 35 games with five homers and 28 RBIs. He, at the age of 21, could come back to haunt the Padres and we could do so fittingly as a Dodger (BLAH).
07-31-15 The San Diego Padres acquire Marc Rzepczynski from the Clevland Indians for Abraham Almonte
In the lone trade deadline move of last season, the Padres sent switch-hitting outfielder Abraham Almonte to the Cleveland Indians for left-handed pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. The Padres had a need for a left-handed pitcher in the bullpen and he obviously fit that need. Rzepczynski went on to have a horrible couple of months for the Padres. He was 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched.
Almonte went on to blossom in Cleveland and was productive for them towards the end of the year. He finished with a batting line of .264/.321/.455 with five homers and 20 RBIs in 51 games and 178 at-bats. This after hitting .204 for the Padres in 54 at-bats. Almonte was suspended in February of 2016 for 80 games after testing positive for PEDs. He was to be a vital member of the Indians outfield, but now his future in the league is questionable to say the least.
The San Diego Padres sadly said goodbye to their longest-tenured player as the team sent Will Venable to the Texas Rangers in August. The team received a decent package in return for the outfielder only months before he was scheduled for free agency. Venable stayed with the Rangers all the way through their playoff run and became a free agent. He had little to no interest from teams on the open market and settled on a minor-league deal with the Phillies. He is currently hitting .190 with eight strikeouts in 42 at-bats for the Phillies’ Triple-A team.
Jon Edwards was the PTBNL in the deal from the Rangers. The tall right-handed pitcher got in some work last season in the Padres bullpen, going 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 10 innings pitched. He developed discomfort in his elbow this spring and is currently on the disabled list. The other player obtained for Venable is minor-league catcher Marcus Greene. He is currently recovering from June Tommy John surgery but he is 21 and still has plenty of time to grow as a player. The Padres got two decent prospects in return for two months of Will Venable; not too bad.
In an effort to build their upper minor league levels, the team traded a young pitcher for an infielder/outfielder who is nearly major league ready. Pirela looks to be a decent hitter and his versatility on the field will surely keep him in professional baseball for a while. He needs to refine his approach slightly in order to succeed. He puts the ball in play, but could use some more patience in an effort to get better pitches to hit. He was called up by the team last week and went 1-for-5 in four games, but the bullpen was taxed and he was sent down for another arm Tuesday afternoon.
The young pitcher the Padres dealt is really starting to develop. Herrera has made the jump all the way to Triple-A this season. That is very impressive being that he is only 21. The small-in-stature pitcher was likely just getting his feet wet there. He is 2-1 so far this season with a 4.00 ERA in three starts. He has 23 strikeouts in his 18 innings on the mound, so he does have a lively arm. This trade will take time to evaluate. Herrera recently combined with another pitcher on pitching a no-hitter. He is starting to develop right when the Padres need young arms.
Joaquin Benoit had two very productive seasons with the Padres. He was 10-7 in that time with a 1.96 ERA and 13 saves. He also struck out 127 batters in the 119 innings he pitched. The man was a great setup man for the club and seeing him dealt was tough for Padres fans. Benoit is currently on the disabled list in Seattle, but prior to that, he was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in five innings pitched.
De Los Santos and Ward are decent prospects. The right-handed De Los Santos is 0-1 so far in three starts in Fort Wayne. He has a 3.86 ERA and has struck out 13 batters in his first 11 innings pitched. Ward has been playing second base and shortstop in San Antonio and is hitting .276 in his first 58 at-bats.
Craig Kimbrel’s tenure lasted less than a year as he was sent to the Boston Red Sox for a great package of prospects. The Padres wisely held on the fireball throwing closer instead of dealing him in July at the deadline. Manuel Margot has the ability to be very special and the other three prospects are each intriguing and could bloom into very valuable players as well.
Margot has it all as far as skill, and early reports are that he has an excellent attitude too. Early in 2016, he is hitting .302 and already has three outfield assists from center field. He could be called up this season if the club decides it is worth starting the clock on his major-league service time. He also needs the Padres to move at least one current outfielder (Jay, Upton, Kemp) for him to have an opportunity.
Javier Guerra was a key piece in the deal for the Padres, as he has the ability to be the Padres shortstop of the future. He is reportedly an excellent defensive shortstop and his power is really starting to bloom. So far Guerra already has three home runs in his first 59 at-bats, but he has also struck out 22 times. He is a work in progress, but there is a lot to like with his ability.
Carlos Asuaje is close to being major league ready. If the Padres didn’t have an excess of middle infielders (Cory Spangenberg, Alexi Amarista, Jemile Weeks, Adam Rosales) he probably already would be up. So far he is hitting .333 with three home runs and eight RBIs in 15 games and 57 at-bats. Logan Allen could very well be the best player in the deal for the Padres when it is all said and done, though. He has a great arsenal of stuff, and most importantly, he has an idea of how to pitch. So far this season he is 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in Fort Wayne. The Padres got a huge haul for Kimbrel. That cannot be denied.