The Athletics and Padres have announced a deal that will send first baseman Yonder Alonso and southpaw reliever Mark Rzepczynski to Oakland in exchange for lefties Drew Pomeranz and Jose Torres. There’s also a player to be named later heading to San Diego.
This deal is clearly motivated in large part by today’s non-tender deadline, as it involves several pieces with arbitration implications. MLBTR projects Alonso to earn $2.5MM in his second-to-last season of eligibility and Rzepczynski to take home $3MM in his pre-free agent campaign. Pomeranz, in turn, projects at $1.3MM as a first-year-eligible player.
By adding Alonso, moreover, the A’s now seem all but certain to move on from fellow lefty-swinging first baseman Ike Davis, who is projected for a $3.8MM salary but will likely end up a free agent. Presumably, Alonso will pair with the right-handed-hitting Mark Canha in a first base platoon. The 28-year-old Alonso has never quite lived up to expectations in San Diego, and the power has never really come around, but he does have excellent on-base abilities. He put up a .282/.361/.381 slash in 402 plate appearances last year.
In Rzepczynski, meanwhile, Oakland adds another pen piece as the team continues to bolster its relief corps. The 30-year-old put up an unsightly 5.66 ERA last year, but that could well have been the product of some ill fortune, as reflected in a .381 BABIP-against and 25% HR/FB rate. He posted a strong 10.5 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9 while generating a ridiculous 67.3% groundball rate, and ERA estimators valued him as a much stronger contributor than the results suggested.
On the Padres’ side of the deal, Pomeranz has emerged as a solid swingman option since coming to Oakland before the 2014 season. Last year, he tossed 86 innings (including nine starts) and posted a 3.66 ERA with 8.6 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9. Pomeranz was much more effective against lefties than righties last year, but he came up as a starter and could certainly be given a chance to operate from the rotation for San Diego. Though he did just undergo a shoulder procedure, the 27-year-old is reportedly expected to be ready to go when camp opens.
Meanwhile, though the 22-year-old Torres only cracked the High-A level late last year, he was just added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper tweets that Torres works into the mid-nineties with his fastball and has made strides with controlling his secondary offering (a curve).