We just saw a big deadline trade go down. The Padres and the Marlins matched up their cards and swapped a gaggle of players. Where does this leave the Padres’ MLB team, and how is the organization affected? Before I go too far down the rabbit hole, I should note that the trade deadline is still two days away, and there are waiver trades that can be made after that. Anyhow, let’s run down the players involved in the trade:
Padres send: RHP Andrew Cashner, RHP Colin Rea, RHP Tayron Guerrero. Cashner was in his final year of arbitration with no indication that he’d be with the team past this season. Rea is a controllable player, not entering arbitration until 2019. More importantly, they were 40% of the starting rotation. Guerrero is in his seventh year of professional ball and not seen by many to have a future with the Padres.
Padres receive: 1B/DH Josh Naylor, RHP Luis Castillo, RHP Jarred Cosart, RHP Carter Capps. Naylor was selected 12th overall in 2015 and was the #2 prospect in the Marlins organization, and at age 19 has spent the 2016 season in single-A. Luis Castillo was rated the #6 prospect for Miami has spent his age-23 season starting in advanced single-A. Jared Cosart is 26 and has spent parts of the last four years starting for Miami as well as the Houston Astros. 2017 will be his first year of arbitration. Carter Capps is 25 and had a breakout season in 2015 showing dominant closer-type stuff from the bullpen. He had Tommy John surgery in March 2016 and is also entering his first year of arbitration.
Padres’ 2016 Roster
Cashner, Rea, and Guerrero were all on the Padres’ 40-man roster. Capps and Cosart will be added to the 40-man, but Capps’ status on the 60-day DL means that he won’t take a spot this season. This opens two 40-man spots as well as a spot on the active roster (Cashner & Rea out, Cosart in). The loss of Cashner and Rea leaves two slots open in an already weak rotation. Jarred Cosart is likely to take one of those slots. After three poor starts in April, Cosart was sent down to AAA New Orleans for most of the season. He has made one start since being recalled, which was a good one, but he is certainly a candidate for the Darren Balsley Project. Tyson Ross has been working through a shoulder strain and is hoping to throw a bullpen session soon, but his timeline to return is uncertain. In the meantime, we’re looking at a rotation of Friedrich, Perdomo, Jackson, Cosart, and probably Paul Clemens. There isn’t really any starting pitching depth on the 40-man roster, so there’s a chance that journeyman Daniel McCutchen or fast riser Michael Kelly might get a call to get a few turns through the rotation.
Padres’ 2017 Roster
The rotation doesn’t show much sign of hope right now, so it looks like Cosart is lined up to have a significant role next year. As noted above, there are moves yet to be made this season, and AJ Preller’s crew will certainly be active this offseason to fill out the rosters, so next spring’s rotation candidates will hopefully look more inspiring than the current cast.
In the bullpen, we should expect Carter Capps to return to action, hopefully taking up a spot in the back of the bullpen alongside Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter and Brandon Maurer. Given Maurer’s recent performance in the closer role and Buchter’s ascendance this season along with Hand’s good work, this group could form a balanced yet dominant bullpen core. I’m not betting a penny that they make it through the next week on this roster, but the idea is intriguing.
It’s worth noting at this point that the Padres have plenty of payroll flexibility next season, with only Matt Kemp’s contract and the portions of traded players Gyorko, Shields, and Upton as significant draws on future balance sheets. They will have plenty of room to cover all of their young players as they work through their arbitration years.
Josh Naylor immediately becomes the top first baseman in the system. Given his young age and advanced power profile, he projects to become an impact player down the road. The plus-plus power is his calling card, but he’s described as a well-rounded hitter with above average plate discipline who doesn’t get too greedy looking for the long ball. Looking at the rosters in San Antonio, Lake Elsinore, Ft. Wayne, and everywhere else, only Mike Olt and Trea Santos move the needle at all. Olt seems to have missed his window and Santos’ ceiling might barely crack the MLB one day. Naylor has a clear path to work his way up through the minors without much in his way. Some have speculated that he might profile best as a 1B/DH type given his lack of speed, so we may see him involved in a trade at some point.
Luis Castillo was converted from a reliever to a starter in the 2015 season, and has apparently thrived there. His dominant 2016 season is noted in his 0.970 WHIP and 2.25 ERA over 20 starts. He’s only given up two home runs and 15 walks over 100 innings pitched, but there are doubts about his ability to miss bats. At age 23, he lines up with Lamet, Lemond, Wieck, Dorminy, and 2016 draftee Lucchesi as starters with an outside chance to crack the 2017 roster at some point. However you slice it, adding effective prospect arms is always a good thing.