Starting with the vet, Travis Wood, lets take a look what the Padres received in the deal. Wood is having a down year, he’s holding a 6.91 ERA giving up 32 earned runs in 41.2 innings pitched. He’s struck out 29 batters while allowing 20 batters to reach base via base on balls.
The most important thing about Wood is that he eats innings. As a young team that is waiting for their young arms to grow through the system, the team needs pitchers as place holders until those young guys get here. Before last year, Wood has hurled over 100 innings in each of his six seasons. This includes three consecutive season where Wood threw 156, 200, and 173.3 innings in total.
We’ve seen the magic pitching coach Darren Balsley has worked with pitchers like Brad Hand, Ryan Buchter, Drew Pomeranz, and Trevor Cahill in recent years, so we can only bank that this will continue with Wood.
The best part about the Wood deal is he is owed $6.5 million next season, which the Royals will be paying almost the entire salary. The Padres will be paying Wood what is the equivalent to the veterans minimum. So no loss there.
Next up is a kid we won’t see pitch this season, Matt Strahm. The left hander is on the 60-day disabled list with a knee injury that will keep him out until next season.
Strahm will turn 26 in November, and is controllable through 2022. Which means, Strahm is not eligible to be a free agent for five more seasons.
In the mean time, Strahm has the potential to work his way into the Padres’ rotation, where he could be there either long-term or he could be kept in the bullpen. The left-hander has appeared in just 56.2 major league innings in his career where he has sat down 67 batters by way of the strike out.
In 2016, Strahm held a 1.23 ERA in 21 appearances, but this season he maintained a 5.45 ERA in 24 appearances. He allowed 21 earned runs and six home runs this season.
Despite some unfortunate outcomes for Strahm, he still has one of the better fastballs in the league. Opponents hit at an average of just .191 and slugged at .382 against him. He’s only allowed eight singles and one double off his fastball that ranges from the low 90’s and tops out at 97 MPH. He did allow four of his six homers off of his fastball.
His slider-curveball is his secondary pitch which opponents hit at a .296 pace. However, he only allowed two extra base hits, a double and a home run. If he can figure out how to eliminate the simple base hits, his slider-curve can become a very deadly secondary pitch.
But now we move to the biggest piece in the trade. Esteury Ruiz.
Ruiz turned just 18 years old this year, lining him up with some of the other guys the Padres have brought in from overseas. If he continues his progression, he will reach the bigs around the same time most of the other top prospects will.
During the Dominican Summer League in 2016, Ruiz hit an impressive .313/.378/.512 with five bombs, 24 extra base hits (18 2B, five 3B), and 26 RBI in 56 games and 217 at bats. This season, in the Arizona Rookie League he is slashing .404/.432/.753 with a 1.184 OPS. He has 23 RBI already and three home runs, six triples, and 10 doubles in just 89 at bats. So already you can see the growth he is making.
Esteury Ruiz is just the type of prospect that A.J. Preller loves. He’s young, he’s can hit for average and power, he drives in runs, and gets on base. Ruiz is no joke in the field either. He doesn’t commit too many errors and can turn double plays. The only problem is Ruiz is one more log that is jammed into the crowded second base prospect pool for the Padres. But at just 18 with time for more guys to grow, Ruiz and others have the ability to be spread across the infield and still be successful.
So now that we’ve looked at all the positives and negatives of the outgoing and incoming players let’s break down how this helps the Padres.
Losing the veteran Maurer and Buchter is tough, but they can be replaced by young talent. Cahill wasn’t going to be retained and was gone after the year. Wood gives the team a great reclamation project. Strahm is a legit prospect who will be ready in 2018 and Ruiz is just another high-ceiling prospect in the system.
In the end, the Padres may lose a couple more game this season, but they improved the minor league system again and added some value to the major league roster.