A look at the best active players, the San Diego Padres traded away.
Over the past decade, the San Diego Padres have been a struggling franchise. Only now we are seeing the fruits of a rebuild.
In the rebuild process, teams commonly look to trade away a player for prospects that will benefit them at the end of their quest. In A.J. Preller’s era as the general manager, the Padres have been buyers and sellers in the trade market. It is time to create a roster of active players that formerly were apart of the Padres organization.
The rules are simple:
1. They must be an active player, meaning any player in the MLB on a major or minor league contract.
2. Selections are based on performance after they were traded away.
3. Players will be assigned to positions that they are known to play. Now a few spots will have questionable options due to lack of players that fit in that area. This team will be equipped with one starter and reliever.
Yasmani Grandal was traded to Dodgers in a deal centered around acquiring outfielder Matt Kemp. Grandal served a PED suspension the year earlier and had yet to show his potential. A.J. Preller, in his first year as Padres general manager, was looking for quick success and felt that the addition of Kemp would help. Grandal has gone on to earn two All-Star nominations and signed a four-year/$73-million contract with the White Sox this past winter. Matt Kemp played below expectations for the Padres and was traded away only to display a resurgence.
The Padres traded Anthony Rizzo for Andrew Cashner in what turned out to be a very lopsided trade in favor of the Cubs. The Padres just acquired Yonder Alonso after he showed some promise for the Cincinnati Reds. This spelled the end for the short tenure of Rizzo as he was traded a month later. Rizzo earned three All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves, and a Silver Slugger trophy. On the other hand, Cashner gave the Padres four and a half mediocre seasons before being traded away.
Luis Urias is a controversial pick for this slot. Urias was traded in November 2020 for a package that gave the Padres Zach Davies and Trent Grisham. He is yet to play a game for any team other than the Padres. His selection here is based on the potential that he possesses’ and the uncertainty with how this trade will turn out. Before the 2019 season, Urias was the 27th ranked prospect in all of baseball and the top-ranked second baseman. Once baseball resumes, this trade, which appears to be well balanced, will start to yield results. In time, this trade can be revisited.
Jedd Gyorko was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in a trade for Jon Jay. Once traded away, Gyorko upped his OPS from .694 in 2015, which was his best for the Padres to .801 OPS with the Cardinals. While he has zero All-Star bids, he put in three excellent seasons with the Cardinals. Gyorko simply did not live up to the hype of being a second-round pick until he left the Padres. Jon Jay had a single decent season with the Padres in which he slashed .291/.339/.389 for San Diego.
Hunter Renfroe, who, along with Xavier Edwards, was traded for Tommy Pham and Jake Cronenworth of the Tampa Bay Rays. Renfroe is a player on the rise, last year he competed for a Gold Glove while providing a massive power bat. Once baseball resumes, we will see if Renfroe can consistently hit while being a great fielder for the Rays. This trade is a push towards winning now as the Padres obtained a consistent bat in Tommy Pham.
The next outfielder on this list is Matt Kemp, who was mentioned as part of the return for Yasmani Grandal. The Padres traded him away to the Braves in a contract dump. On the Braves, Kemp put up a respectable season and a half before returning to the Dodgers as a free agent. Once back on the Dodgers, Matt Kemp earned an All-Star nomination and is currently on the Marlins looking for a starting job.
The last outfielder of the trio is fan-favorite Franmil Reyes. La Mole was sent to the Cleveland Indians in a three-way trade that sent prospect Taylor Trammel to the Padres. At the time, Hunter Renfroe and Franmil Reyes had similar profiles as players. With the redundant players, Reyes became expendable and was better served in the American League due to his lack of defensive ability. Reyes only has played half a season with the Indians but has a chance to be a star for Cleveland. Trammel is yet to play on the Padres but is ranked highly as a prospect. He showed well this spring in Peoria before play halted.
The ace of this staff would be Corey Kluber. Back in 2010, the Padres sent the then minor leaguer, Kluber, to the Indians in a three-way trade that brought Ryan Ludwick to the Padres. Ludwick was meant to help the Padres receive an offensive boost amid a playoff push. Kluber had started to show promise in Double-A ball after being a fourth-round pick in 2007. Since being traded to the Indians, he unlocked his potential. In 2014 and 2017, he won the AL Cy Young Award, and on three occasions has received MVP votes. Ludwick struggled in his tenure with the Padres before being traded to the Pirates the following year.
The man to finish off the games for this hypothetical team would be no-other than Craig Kimbrel. Since Kimbrel was traded to the Red Sox following the 2015 season, he has made three All-Star appearances. He was another member of Preller’s infamous attempt to force the Padres into contention then immediately selling off when that idea went south. The yield for Kimbrel was Carlos Asuaje, Javier Gurrea, Logan Allen, and Manuel Margot. The only player to remain on the team is Javier Gurrea. He was a once-promising shortstop, but when his bat struggled, he converted into a relief pitcher, and many remain optimistic about his ability on the mound.
Brad Hand. The lefty has continued to play at his All-Star level since the Padres traded him away. With his value being so high and Kirby Yates capable of moving into the closer role, Hand was traded away for Francisco Mejia. Only time will tell if this was a good deal for the Padres.