Early Wednesday morning it was announced that the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics had come to terms on a multi-player trade that sent first baseman Yonder Alonso and reliever Marc Rzepczynski to the Athletics for Major league pitcher Drew Pomeranz, minor league pitcher Jose Torres and a player to be named later.
For the Padres this was a move sending two expendable players and getting back two cheaper alternatives with more upside on the current roster. For the Athletics this was a move to upgrade two areas of weakness, first base and the bullpen. Both teams benefit on this deal and it makes a lot of sense for both sides.
While Yonder Alonso and Marc Rzepczynski were set to make a combined $5.5 million next season, Drew Pomeranz is only projected to make $1.3 million while Jose Torres will not count against the Major League payroll next season. The Padres were able to save over $4 million in this deal and have not only opened up a position for Wil Myers at first base, but they have also gotten younger in the process.
There is obviously enough information out there for Padre fans on Yonder Alonso and Marc Rzepczynski, but what people really want to know is what the Padres are getting in Drew Pomeranz and Jose Torres.
Pomeranz is currently 27 years old and is now going to be with his fourth MLB organization in the last six years. Pomeranz was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1st round of the 2010 June Amateur Draft. The 5th pick overall that year, a lot was expected of Pomeranz with the Indians, as he was listed as one of the top 50 prospects in all of baseball in 2011. After a good start to the season in the Athletics minor league system, Pomeranz was traded along with several other players to the Colorado Rockies for Ubaldo Jimenez.
Pomeranz made 30 starts in his three seasons with the Rockies, not including several minor league stints throughout those three seasons, and finished with san ERA over 4.00 or 5.00 in each of those Major League stints. Pomeranz was once again traded, this time to the Oakland Athletics, as part of a package for pitcher Brett Anderson. Pomeranz pitched in 20 games for the Athletics in 2014, ten of which were starts, finishing the year with a 2.35 ERA. Pomeranz followed that performance with 53 appearances in 2015, including nine starts, and finished the year with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.3 WAR.
While it remains to be seen in what capacity the Padres will use Pomeranz, the Padres have needs in both the bullpen and starting rotation that he could help fill. The Padres lack rotation and bullpen depth, following the trades of Craig Kimbrel and Joaquin Benoit and the departure of Ian Kennedy, and Pomeranz will fill at least one of those holes. The Padres lacked any left-handed options in either the rotation or bullpen until the acquisition of Rzepczynski at the trade deadline last season, and Pomeranz will fill that role nicely as well.
Signed out of Venezuela as a 16-year-old, Torres is a 22-year-old left handed reliever who has been in the minor leagues for five years and was rated as the Athletics 23rd overall prospect. Torres had a breakout season in Single A last year, pitching exclusively out of the bullpen in what was his first full season of minor league ball. Torres finished the season with a 2.69 ERA with 80 strikeouts in 73 2/3 innings. He was also even better against right handers (.191 batting average against) than left handers (.259).
Torres’ best pitch is his fastball that can reach up to 96 miles per hour. He has an average slider and has made great strides over the last season. His biggest improvement over the last season was in his control, as he got his BB/9 under 3.0 (at 2.8) while his career average was 3.8. He also set a career high with a K/9 of 9.8. Torres made great strides in 2015 and represents a high upside back of the bullpen arm for the Padres in a couple of years.