A look back at the Padres’ acquisition of Wil Myers
In A.J. Preller’s second major trade as General Manager of the San Diego Padres, he acquired Wil Myers from the Tampa Bay Rays.
After the acquisition of Matt Kemp from the Los Angeles Dodgers, Padres’ fans were buzzing about what their new general manager was going to do next.
They didn’t have to wait long.
In the same month, Preller made another move. In a three-team trade involving the Tampa Bay Rays and Washington Nationals, the Padres acquired Jose Castillo, Gerardo Reyes, Ryan Hanigan, and Wil Myers in a deal that included 11 players.
As part of the deal, San Diego sent Rene Rivera, Burch Smith, and Jake Bauers to the Rays while the Nationals sent Steven Souza Jr. and Trevor Ott to Tampa Bay as well.
The Nationals received the least amount of players in the deal, acquiring Joe Ross from San Diego. However, they also received Trea Turner from the Padres as a player to be named later.
At the time, Myers was the headline of the deal. A third-round pick of the Kansas City Royals, Myers was named 2013 American League Rookie of the Year while handling right field.
He was limited to 87 games in 2014 after suffering a stress fracture in his right wrist and posted a 76 wRC+. That didn’t stop the Padres from pulling the trigger on the trade to make Myers a Padre.
Myers disappointed in his first year as a Padre. A multitude of injuries kept him off the field and on the disabled list while he performed poorly when he was on the field, as he posted unsightly numbers in center field (-7 DRS, -4.6 UZR, -23.7 UZR/50).
He did, however, post moderately well numbers at the plate, posting a .763 OPS and 115 wRC+ with eight home runs in 60 games.
Myers had a face-turn in 2016, playing in 157 games with 28 home runs, 94 RBIs, 24 stolen bases, and a 115 wRC+ while being named to the All-Star Game in San Diego alongside Drew Pomeranz. His reward for such a season was a six-year, $83 million deal as he was deemed the new face of the franchise.
His consistency has fluctuated since signing the deal. Myers has hit 59 home runs and stolen 49 bases over three years, but he has struck out at a 29.8% clip over those three years. Myers has yet to find a consistent home on the field, as he played all outfield positions, first base, and third base with San Diego.
His name has frequently appeared in trade rumors, which might attribute to some personality issues. Preller has made no secret of attempting to shed his contract but has had no luck in dealing the outfielder. For now, he will remain in San Diego for the foreseeable future.
Two of the other pieces in the deal, Castillo and Reyes, have both appeared in the bullpen. Castillo pitched 38.1 innings in 2018, striking out 52 and walking 12 with an ERA of 3.29 and a FIP of 2.64. However, the left-hander missed the entirety of the 2019 season with a flexor strain and a thumb injury.
Reyes pitched in 26 innings during the 2019 season and, while his 7.62 ERA in 27 games was quite high, a 3.41 FIP, 4.43 xFIP, and 3.38 SIERA paint a prettier picture. Reyes also struck out batters at a 32.4% clip in his limited time in the majors.
Both pitchers have velocity on their side, with Castillo and Reyes averaging 95 and 96.9 MPH on their fastballs, respectively. Both have the potential and stuff to make it on the roster, but they will have to fight for their spot in a crowded bullpen.
The final player the Padres got in the trade was Hanigan, who was immediately shipped off to the Boston Red Sox for Will Middlebrooks.
While San Diego gained four players in the trade, they sent off five players in total, with the Rays getting three back from San Diego.
Rivera had spent the previous two years in San Diego after signing with the squad as a free agent. Known more for his skills behind the plate, he still managed to slug 11 home runs and post a .751 OPS in the 2015 season. He played one season with Tampa Bay, hitting .178 with five home runs. He was released by the Rays on March 30, 2016, and is currently with the New York Mets on a minor-league deal.
Smith made his Major League debut in 2013 and appeared in 10 games. In 36.1 innings, he pitched to a 6.44 ERA, 5.47 FIP, 4.09 xFIP, and a 5.51 SIERA. He had struggled with the long ball, posting a 2.29 HR/9 while a 46:21 K: BB ratio signaled poor control of the strike zone.
Smith had Tommy John surgery in 2015 before being outrighted off the Rays roster. He reappeared in the Majors in 2018 after being selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft. He was then immediately traded to the Kansas City Royals, where he pitched 78 innings of 6.92 ERA ball before being designated for assignment. He is currently a member of the Oakland Athletics after signing a minor-league deal.
Bauers became a well-regarded prospect once he arrived in Tampa Bay and made his major league debut in 2018, batting to a .201/.316/.384 batting line with 11 home runs. He was then involved in another three-team trade and was sent to the Cleveland Indians in a deal that also involved the Seattle Mariners.
The Nationals may have gotten the best part of the deal despite receiving two players in the trade. Both Ross and Turner were first-round picks by San Diego, and both became critical players for Washington.
Ross has spent the past five years as a member of the Nationals and, while he began his tenure as a starter, has transitioned into a reliable bullpen piece for the Nationals postseason run. The 26-year old has posted a 4.29 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP in 78 total games and pitched in two games during the Nationals World Series matchup with the Houston Astros.
The crown jewel of the trade has been Turner. Selected 13th overall by San Diego in the 2014 MLB Draft, Turner became a star in his rookie year, hitting .342/.370/.567 in 2015 with a whopping 146 wRC+ of 146 en route to a second-place finish in the National League Rookie of the Year vote.
In five years, Turner has swatted 63 home runs while stealing 159 bases. In those five years, he has a combined fWAR of 14.4 while Myers, Castillo, and Reyes have a combined 8.7 fWAR with the Padres.
Turner has cemented himself at the shortstop position. While the emergence of Fernando Tatis Jr. has slightly dulled the pain, having Turner and Tatis patrolling the middle infield alongside Manny Machado and Eric Hosmer is a tantalizing what-if.
Unfortunately, the Padres came out as losers in this trade. Even though the players sent to the Rays underperformed, the emergence of Turner and the inconsistency of Myers is a bad look for San Diego. Turner became a core contributor for the Nationals, which is something he could’ve done as a San Diego Padre.
I am currently attending San Diego State University while working on achieving a major in journalism. At SDSU, I write for The Daily Aztec while also hosting the sports radio show “Picked Off”, for KCR Radio. A loyal fan of San Diego sports, I hope to bring content that you will enjoy reading.
This is exactly why AJ is a terrible GM. First his ego gets in the way because he wants only players he drafted. Trea was a stud coming up, but not drafted by AJ. Therefore, he must go. He is also a terrible judge of current MLB talent because he sees what used to be and thinks it will be again (Think “rock star GM”; how did that work out?) Yes, Myers was ROY in his first season. (I bet Jose Iglesias still thinks he was robbed). Only problem, Wil played in about ½ of the games that season. Year 2 in TB was terrible and again Wil played in about ½ of the games. AJ trades for him. OK, I get the sophomore slump argument, but one great (very good?) year and one bad year equals an average minus player. His 3rd year was nothing to brag about. Is there a pattern here? 2016 he makes the AS Team and gets a big contract. Why? He struck out a little more than once every game. He hit .259. Yes he did get 155 hits and 94 RBIs, but he was the classic “aggressive” hitter that good pitchers learn to feast upon. Every player has a career year and to this date, that was Wil’s. Red flags should have been waving frantically in the inner offices. Back to Trea. Who did the Padres have at SS in 2014? 2015? A cast of forgettable players with no hope for the future except Trea.
Exccellent story Jason! In time you’ll be a terrific sportswriter. Yeah, Preller, my all time favorite GM – NOT, essentially traded Trea Turner for Myers. I knew it was a glaring mistake then and it looks even worse now. Turner is a terrific young player! A player like him, drafted #1 by the Padres – but NOT by Preller, should never have been traded – EVER. But then again I feel the same about Preller trading Jankowski and then Renfroe. Why does Preller have such disdain for players another GM acquires?
Will was having a great spring, he’s healthy and ready to play one position and one spot in batting order instead of not ever knowing. He’s going to have a real bounce back year.
Although it’s a good account of where are they now, I feel Myers has had a bad wrap. His down fall has come in part to playing for a manager that did not know how to get the most out of him (or any of his players at that). 6 years at 83 million is not a bad deal for his potential. I have seen worse deals out there! We just had his deal back loaded which is why it looks so bad now. It’s not his fault, injuries have been a huge issue, but signs of a turn around were optimistically there in Spring Training. Turner does hurt, especially since he was a highly regarded minor leaguer. I couldn’t believe we traded our “Shortstop of the future” but we also got Tatis Jr for Shields……Shields!!!! I think we can call it a break even as of now!!
Could have had both
It should be noted that Myers’ production has no doubt suffered due to being asked to play all over the place. CF? 3B? C’mon. Andy Green had no clue and Myers paid the price.
And Turner has a history of racist and homophobic public comments (in the form of tweets), and he golfs with Trump. We all want our team to win, but the line should be drawn at assholes like him.
Wow, the irony and lack of self-awareness is stunning.
Oh the horror, playing golf with the President of the United States. Way to force politics and religion into sports. I may not have voted for him, but half of the nation did.