The Padres were all over the news wires this morning as two veteran pitchers were claimed off waivers in separate transactions. The Cardinals claimed Tyson Ross, and the Brewers claimed Jordan Lyles. The team opted to let them both go with no compensation in return. The teams receiving the players are responsible for the remainder of their respective salaries. Here’s what Andy Green had to say about the reasoning behind letting the players go:
Here's Andy Green on the Padres' thinking in letting Tyson Ross and Jordan Lyles go on waivers: pic.twitter.com/nosEbIAFtx— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) August 5, 2018
After the non-waiver trade deadline, waiver transactions are a bit confusing. MLB teams place the majority of their players on waivers, but it’s not publicly known who and when. Most players pass through waivers unannounced and it’s a non-issue, but when a team makes a waiver claim, they then have 48 hours to exclusively negotiate with the team and arrange the trade. The team offering the player may release the player to the new team outright, arrange a trade, or pull the player back off waivers. Once a player has been pulled back, that player cannot be placed on waivers again and therefore cannot be traded for the remainder of the season. In this case, the team opted to simply let the players go to open up some roster space and get some minor salary relief for this year and next.
Tyson Ross had been a topic of trade talks leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, but the team must not have gotten the return they were looking for. His 6-9 record doesn’t tell the story of his excellent comeback season. After missing most of the last two years with various shoulder and arm ailments leading to a diagnosis of thoracic outlet surgery, he finally returned to form this year in his second go-around with the Padres. Poor outings scattered through an up-and-down season make the overall stat line look bad, and a couple of ugly starts last month may have sunk his trade value, but we can remember that time on April 20th when he took a no-hitter deep into the 8th inning. He was one of the bright stories of this season for the Padres, but he is playing on a one-year deal, so he didn’t have any value to the team beyond this season. With an incentive-laden contract, Ross is due to trigger some bonuses, and now the Cardinals will be responsible for those paycheck. Now he has a chance to make an impact on a team that’s fighting to remain in the Wild Card hunt.
When Jordan Lyles was signed to a two-year deal last offseason, many Padres fans wondered why. He was poor for the Padres after being signed as a free agent by the team last August, and his spring training didn’t instill much confidence. By midseason, he was one of the most reliable arms in the Padres pitching staff, splitting time as a reliever and a starter. Darren Balsley worked some magic here, as Lyles was showing more velocity than ever before, a much improved curveball, and a more aggressive approach. A May 15 start where he flirted with a no-hitter of his own was the high water mark of his season so far. Lyles is playing on a $1M contract for 2018 with a team option for $3.5M in 2019 that has a $250k buyout. He joins a Brewers team that’s one game back of the NL Central-leading Cubs who has been in dire need of pitching help of any kind.
The departure of two players from the 25-man and 40-man rosters means that there will be new opportunities for young players from within the organization. The immediate benefactor of these moves is Trey Wingenter. The 6’8” righty reliever was added before today’s game against the Cubs. With a high 90’s fastball that can touch 100 (and a release point that makes it seem even faster) and a wipeout slider, he profiles as a dominant relief prospect. In MadFriars’ excellent writeup of Wingenter earlier this year ($$), they discussed how he needed to master the mechanics of his long, lanky frame to find consistency and avoid the command issues that have plagued him through his minor league career. He seemed to have gotten a handle on that issue in El Paso this year. After a five-run outing in his second game, Wingenter has posted a 1.09 WHIP and 2.30 ERA in 43 innings across 38 appearances, logging 50 K’s against 23 BB’s.
Wingenter will now get his chance to show what he can do at the MLB level, and more will surely come up after him. Thursday’s starter is TBA, and with news that Cal Quantrill has joined Jacob Nix in AAA El Paso, it appears that the team is positioning to call righty starter Brett Kennedy up to make his MLB debut. The unassuming Kennedy has excelled at every level, dominating PCL hitters to a flawless 10-0 record to go along with a 2.72 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. The team may make a clever waiver claim of their own, and trades certainly aren’t out of the question even at this late stage of the season. September roster expansion is not far away, so the team can afford to shed some innings-eaters like Ross and Lyles to give some audition opportunities as the team shifts to look ahead to the 2019 season and beyond.
UPDATE: Dennis Lin is reporting that Brett Kennedy will, in fact, make his MLB debut in Thursday’s game against the Brewers!
Pitching prospect Brett Kennedy will make his long-awaited Padres debut in Milwaukee this week, according to a source. Kennedy, an 11th-round pick in 2015, has gone 10-0 with a 2.72 ERA across 16 starts in the PCL.— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) August 5, 2018