Michael King looks sharp early in Padres camp

Credit: USA Today Sports

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Michael King is pitching well early this season in Peoria for the Padres. 

The San Diego Padres made a major trade this winter.

Unlike deals of the past, general manager A.J. Preller and his staff dealt prospects for major league talent. Juan Soto was not going to re-sign in San Diego. The Padres needed to move him, and they did so in an effort to revitalize the pitching staff.

Preller and the Padres acquired four pitchers in the deal, and each will likely play for the Padres in 2024.

The prize pitcher obtained in the trade was Michael King, who is viewed as an unheralded pitcher with upside. The thought is that he will step right in and eat innings for the Padres.

King is a 12th-round pick from the Marlins in the 2016 MLB Draft, who was obtained by the Yankees for Garrett Cooper in 2017. In 115 career games in the majors, King owns a 3.38 ERA and a 1.191 WHIP. Most of his 247.2 innings pitched have been out of the bullpen, but he has made 19 starts for the Yankees throughout his five-year career.

Michael King spoke on MLB Network and talked about his trade to San Diego. “I realized the opportunity I had in San Diego, and I couldn’t be more appreciative… I’m really looking forward to it,”  King said. The pitcher knows he will be given every opportunity to go out there every fifth start for the Padres.

Early this spring season, King is showing his upside.

On Saturday, the right-handed pitcher started the game and went three scoreless innings against the Giants, allowing one hit and striking out three batters. He has yet to give up an earned run this spring and is a lock to begin the rotation in the number three spot.

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Last season, King went 6-3 for New York with a 2.75 ERA and a 1.146 WHIP in 49 total games and nine starts. For San Diego, it was King’s numbers in his final nine games as a starter that was intriguing. In that span, he struck out 51 batters in 40.1 innings pitched, putting up a 2.23 ERA and a 1.114 WHIP. He looked like a solid, top-of-the-order type pitcher.

The Padres hope that Michael King will remain healthy as he has a history of nagging injuries.

Early on, he is certainly showing his worth.

Only time will tell if the Padres won the Juan Soto trade with the Yankees. But early on, it is certainly obvious the Padres are going to get innings out of the group of pitchers they obtained in the trade. The quality of those innings remains to be seen. Michael King has a chance to be a very good pitcher. The 2024 season could be a breakout of sorts. For the Padres- they can only hope that is the case.

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