If there was one team that would certainly face a question about its closer situation early in 2016; the San Diego Padres were definitely the frontrunner. Well, through the first 75 games of the season, their ninth inning situation actually turned out to be one of the most stable in the league. Playing off of perhaps their one true strength, San Diego traded Fernando Rodney to the Miami Marlins for a promising young pitcher. Baseball is weird sometimes.
The Padres’ took a chance on the 39 year-old right-hander, after he flamed out last season with both the Mariners and the Cubs. This year he proved there was something special left into his post game arrows as he was a perfect 17-for-17 in save opportunities, with a sterling .031 ERA and .087 WHIP. He’s also recorded 33 strikeouts in just 28 innings of work, mostly due to improved command on his 94 MPH fastball.
What San Diego did here was nothing short of genius. Something that AJ Preller needs more of – and in large chunks. Anyway, the Padres essentially took a very low-cost gamble and flipped him for a young 20 year-old power arm that could be a very solid starting rotation piece in just a few short years. After realizing that Miami was willing to part with 6 foot 4 inch Chris Paddack, they didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on this deal. Paddack had limited Single-A hitters to a .098 batting average, while racking up 48 strikeouts over six starts.
More from MLB News
- MLB Power Rankings: Atlanta Braves still on top with major shifting below them
- Caesars MLB Promo Code: Two Shots at Picking the World Series Winner!
- MLB Power Rankings: Atlanta Braves still on top amid a big shake-up in top 10
- DraftKings MLB Promo: Bet $5 on an Anytime Home Run, Win $150 Bonus GUARANTEED
- MLB Power Rankings: After MLB trade deadline, gap is closing on Atlanta Braves
The good news is the Padres’ seem to be well equipped to handle the loss of Rodney. Ryan Buchter is expected to step into the closers role and his numbers this year suggest he’ll be just fine. The 29 year-old lefty features an adequate fastball (93 MPH) and an above average slider that has helped him produce an impressive 13.24 K/9 ratio – which ranks 6th for relievers with at least 30 innings pitched. If for some reason the Padres feel Buchter is better suited for a set-up role, they could always turn to Brandon Maurer, who’s seen his velocity jump to 96 MPH this year on his way to a 11.23 K9 ratio.
Basically, the Padres were well staffed with talented bullpen arms and even if Rodney returns to Petco Park for the All-Star game (which he should) and records the save – this was the appropriate move. San Diego has never been shy about selling for the future, even at the sake of upsetting their fan base. This is a necessary move for teams not blessed with enormous local television contracts or owners that supply a blank check.
In the end, the Padres’ improved their system with this trade. While it might not show on the field over the next few years, a series of well though out deals like this could bring good vibes back to San Diego.
Around the NL West:
- By making his start and going 6 innings Thursday night, Kenta Maeda hit a contract bonus of $1.25M for making 15 starts and 90 IP this year.
- The Arizona Diamondbacks recorded 54 hits in their four games with the Phillies this week. That is a club record for hits over a four-game series.
- D’backs pitching prospect Yoan Lopez has left his minor league team with the intent of walking away from baseball completely.
- The Giants’ have turned in a 50-31 record at the midpoint of the season. Here’s a friendly reminder that San Francisco reached 50 wins with 39, 40 and 41 losses in the three title years (2010, 2012 & 2014).
- Tyler Chatwood tossed five innings of one hit, scoreless baseball in his rehab start with Modesto Thursday night. He struck out three and walked two before giving way to Jake McGee, who threw one inning and racked up two K’s himself.