Tampa Bay Rays make a trade with Pads, hope Snell isn’t live on Twitch

SARASOTA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Emilio Pagan #15 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium on February 26, 2019 in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
SARASOTA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Emilio Pagan #15 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws a pitch during the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium on February 26, 2019 in Sarasota, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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The Tampa Bay Rays and the Pads completed another trade. The Rays get OF Manny Margot and a prospect while the Padres get elite reliever Emilio Pagan.

While you were enjoying your Saturday night, the Tampa Bay Rays and San Diego Padres finalized a deal to send OF Manny Margot and catching prospect Logan Driscoll to Tampa in exchange for RHP Emilio Pagan.

Pagan threw 70 electric innings for the Rays with a 2.31 ERA, an insane 36% strikeout rate and a stingy 5% walk rate, and 1.5 fWAR. That 1.5 WAR made Pagan a top 20 reliever. Pagan features some electric expected statistics as is xwOBA, xSLG, and xBA, were 97th percentile or better.

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Another plus is Pagan is actually better suited for San Diego as he is a pitcher with a  47% fly-ball rate and another 15% of infield fly balls. Pagan is presently the best player in the deal and will be an elite option to lock down the backend of the Padres bullpen in 2020.

Margot is sort of the anti-Tommy Pham as he is an elite defender but below average with the bat. In 2019, Margot totaled 1.6 fWAR on the strength of his defense. His wRC+ was a lowly 82 but he was one in the top 3% in Outs Above Average and top 7% in Sprint Speed.

Despite his below-average exit velocity, there’s room for huge improvement that could make him a better hitter.  Among all hitters with at least 350 plate appearances, Margot had the 6th highest infield flyball percentage at 18.7%.

1/5 of all Margot’s batted balls were easy outs that didn’t let him put pressure on an infielder to make a play.  If some of those balls are converted into any other batted ball category, Margot could be a league-average bat with more baserunning and the same elite defense.

Logan Driscoll is a bit of a lottery ticket in this deal to offset the Padres probably getting the better player.  He was just drafted by the Padres in the 4th round in 2019 out of George Mason University.

He’s 22 years old and is listed as a C/OF and put up a 124 wRC+ in low-A. Catcher is one area the Rays have had to pursue in a trade or free agency so maybe Driscoll can be a longterm option in the next 18-24 months.

The most unfortunate part of this entire trade is that we don’t get Blake Snell’s live twitch reaction like the Tommy Pham/Hunter Renfroe trade.  Snell and the rest of the Tampa Bay Rays staff will definitely be excited to have Margot patrolling CF in Tropicana Field.

The Padres also did well to get themselves a premier backend arm to lock down games.  The Padres may not have found their elite starting pitcher yet, but they now have a deadly end of game combination of Kirby Yates and Emilio Pagan.

Both teams addressed areas of need from an area of depth.  The Padres are probably getting the slightly better player now but the key to who “wins” the deal lies in the outcome of Driscoll.

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