Well all eyes were on the San Diego Padres because of recent rumors swirling around Andrelton Simmons and the Braves. In true A.J. Preller fashion a deal was made, but the deal was with the Seattle Mariners as the Padres moved their setup man Joaquin Benoit for two prospects. This opens the door for Brandon Maurer to become the full-time 8th inning man for the Friars.
Benoit had his $7.5 million dollar option picked up by the Padres just a few weeks ago. Moving the 38 years old reliever was a smart move for the team. They cleared some payroll and added to a depleted farm system. Not a horrible idea if the team intends in delving into the free agent market this winter.
The Padres acquired right-hander Enyel De Los Santos and infielder Nelson Ward from the Mariners Minor League system. Neither player is currently listed in the top 30 prospects for the Mariners. The trade will add organizational depth to the Padres Minor Leagues and neither player is expected to have an impact in the Major League level for a few seasons.
De Los Santos is a 19-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. He went 6-0 last season with a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts between Rookie ball and low Single-A. He was ranked the #15 prospect in the Northwest League by Baseball America. The young hurler has a very good fastball that was clocked as high as 97 MPH. He throws strikes and should progress fairly well through the Padres Minor League system.
The 23-year-old Ward is out of the University Of Georgia. He was a 12-round selection in 2014 and has a nice left-handed swing. Ward hit .278 with nine homers, 19 doubles, 13 triples and 55 RBI’s in high A-ball for the Mariners. He also stole 13 bases and is quite the athlete.
Ward is described as a plus runner who has not found a home defensively on the baseball diamond. He has played second base, third base and shortstop as a professional. He played some outfield in college but is projected as an infielder in the Major Leagues.
This is not a headline trade by any stretch of the imagination. The Padres needed some salary relief and Benoit was an excellent candidate to be moved. Benoit’s age (38) is bound to catch up with him at some point. The Padres wisely moved him before there was nothing to acquire for his services. This deal makes me wonder if the team is going to hold onto closer Craig Kimbrel. It looked as thought they might move him, but losing Benoit depletes the bullpen strength. I am not sure if the Padres want to tear down the bullpen completely at the cost of losing multiple games next season. We shall see what the Padres team has up their sleeves.