Again, there’s nothing going on right now since the league and the players are in a lockout so why not talk about a past Padres player in Hunter Renfroe. He was drafted by San Diego out of Mississippi State and showed power and a strong outfield arm when he reached the big league level, hitting a combined 59 home runs in his last two seasons with the Friars. These traits made him an appealing trade target for the Tampa Bay Rays, who acquired him from AJ Preller before the 2020 season.
In hindsight though, don’t you think Preller wants him back? I’m not saying that Jake Cronenworth hasn’t been a great player and he should be traded like “Padres Twitter” suddenly is thinking is a possibility, but in terms of what that trade was supposed to be about, hasn’t it turned out to be a bummer? Tommy Pham was supposed to be the big player in that deal coming back and he struggled in his two years here and ideally, he is going to be backup outfielder on a one-year deal if he returns to Petco Park.
Renfroe, on the other hand, went to Boston and did his thing. The 29-year-old played in a career best 144 games, hitting 31 home runs and nearly drove in 100 runs. In comparison, Pham hit 16 less home runs and essentially drove in half of the amount of the runs Renfroe drove in in 2021 (49).
If that deal on December 6, 2019 hadn’t been made, not only would the Padres have a power hitting starting outfielder on their depth chart with two more years of control, but they’d also have Xavier Edwards and Estaban Quiroz as valuable trade pieces. Those two would help their chances at landing another impact pitcher or hitter.
You could say that if the trade hadn’t been made, the Padres wouldn’t have an All-Star in Jake Cronenworth, but they have CJ Abrams coming up soon, who’s an elite middle infield prospect, and they could’ve seen more of Edwards, another middle infielder who hit .302 with the Rays’ Double-A affiliate this past season, to see if they wanted to keep him instead of part with him.
It’s still been a decent trade considering what Cronenworth has turned out to be, and Pham still was a 1.4 win player in 2021, but the Padres might’ve not wanted to make the trade if they fast forwarded two years.