Monday morning the Padres struck a deal with the Kansas City Royals. The Friars sent over Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer, and Ryan Buchter and bring in Travis Wood, Matt Strahm, and rookie ball infielder Esteury Ruiz. Friar fans all over the Twitter-sphere have blown up about this trade, making it seem like A.J. Preller dropped the ball with this one.
Now that we’ve had a couple of days to read up on all our reviews of the new players and make our judgments, let’s look at how this really affects the Padres.
If there’s one thing to know about A.J. Preller, is he always gets the guy he wants. Last season, he flipped struggling James Shields for Erik Johnson, who is out with Tommy John surgery and Fernando Tatis Jr.
Tatis Jr. has been red-hot in Low Single-A Fort Wayne this season and could be the Padres top overall prospect. But, did anyone think twice about him when the trade broke down? Was he a top prospect in the White Sox organization? The answer to those questions are simply, no. But now look at his accomplishments.
To start to evaluate the winner of this trade, we need to first look at who the Padres let go. Trevor Cahill, a one-year rental and starting pitcher for the Padres who had his name in trade mentions as soon as he was signed. Either way, the Padres most likely don’t bring Cahill back next season if they don’t find a trade partner for him. To get anything for him was a positive.
Next, lefty reliever Ryan Butcher. An absolute character and one of the fan favorites due to his dry sense of humor and his social media show, “Between Two Bases.” On the field, Butcher was one of the Padres most reliable hurlers, especially being a left-handed specialist. This season he’s tossed over 38 innings with an ERA of 3.05. He’s racked up 47 strike outs and walked just 18 batters and has allowed just 28 hits this season. His WHIP (BB + H/IP) stands at a decent 1.200 and an FIP of 4.56 (HR + BB + HBP – SO/IP).
Despite being pretty solid for the Padres this season, Butcher turned 30 years old this season. His age doesn’t quite match up with the plan that the Padres have lined up, which is an overall youth movement. By the time the top prospects in the Padres system to be Major League ready, Butcher will be in the end of his career. Being a reliever especially, it was smart for the Padres to figure out a trade deal for Butcher before his value started on its decline.
Last, the biggest piece in the trade. The one that most Padre fans were upset by, Brandon Maurer.
Maurer is in his second full season as a closer for the Padres and he’s had some significant success. In 23 save opportunities this season, Maurer has 20 saves and two holds. He has posted an ERA of 5.72 and a WHIP of 1.195. The right hander was a fan favorite out of bullpen and fans had become attached to the closer.
Despite being just 27 years old, Maurer still doesn’t really fit in with the Padres plan all too well either. At times he did not look like that dominant closer for many years to come. The Padres have plenty of young arms that can fill that closing void. They will hope someone can step up to fill that role.
Phil Maton is one reliever that could make his bid for the closing role. In 17.1 innings this season, Maton has allowed just seven earned runs, 14 hits, and two walks. He has struck out 18 batters and holds an ERA of 3.63 and a 2-0 record. ERA might not be the best stat to use for judgment in Maton’s case because he has so few innings pitched that any amount of earned runs will run up the ERA. So even at just 3.63, he is much better than that type of pitcher.
The other potential replacing closer is Carter Capps, who should be making his way back to the Padres pretty soon here. Capps has been out for what seems like a century while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He is also recovering from a bad ankle that he recently hurt.
So now that we know the Padres didn’t lose too many valuable arms, let’s look at what they got in return.
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