We’re all wondering how MLB’s decision to axe the August trade period will influence the way the in-season trade market unfolds. An even bigger rush at the end of July is one obvious possibility; perhaps also there’ll be an increase in early-season trade activity. It has long been fairly rare for significant assets to be moved before well in advance of the trade deadline. The Padres are now reaping the rewards of their decision to market assets early back in 2016, as MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell wrote recently. Nabbing Fernando Tatis Jr. was a nifty trick, of course. As Cassavell writes, both teams were intrigued by his obvious physical talent. The Friars able to pry him loose from the pitching-needy White Sox in part because he simply hadn’t yet appeared in game action. After a productive draft, the club targeted pop-up prospect Chris Paddack, gaining his rights when the Marlins couldn’t wait to secure the services of Fernando Rodney. Interestingly, as Cassavell explains, the Padres’ other notable haul of talent that summer came in the June draft. The club wielded a multitude of picks that year because it chose not to sell the prior summer, instead securing draft compensation for departing free agents Justin Upton and Ian Kennedy.
More from the NL West:
- It’s interesting to consider that prior San Diego mid-season sell-off in relation to this year’s Giants club. If any team could be in position to own the early-summer market, it’s a San Francisco outfit that’s laden with veteran pitching and largely unburdened of immediate expectations to compete. The club’s bullpen has been outstanding in the early going while the rotation has seen solid openings from several elder statesmen. Nearly every member of the staff could be a plausible trade chip; indeed, the Giants have a collection of arms that could suit just about any rival’s needs. In the rotation, postseason hero Madison Bumgarner, long-time workhorse Jeff Samardzija, steady lefty Derek Holland, and higher-ceiling southpaw Drew Pomeranz. On the relief side, southpaw Will Smith continues to pitch like a relief ace, while fellow lefty Tony Watson remains a quality situational asset. Righties Sam Dyson and Mark Melancon are trending up and have ample late-inning experience, while Nick Vincent is an underrated middle relief piece. For Giants fans wondering about the future under president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, the most fascinating pitcher of all may be Trevor Gott, a waiver claimee who’s suddenly generating swinging strikes at a near-elite level (14.7%) after ramping up the use of a four-seam fastball he introduced last season. With pitching problems already rising up for several contenders, Zaidi and co. could be in position for a memorable summer of swapping.
- Star Dodgers first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger exited last night’s game early after being hit by a pitch near his right knee. As MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reports, x-rays were negative and it seems that Bellinger has escaped any kind of serious injury. The young slugger, who has been on a tear to open the season, may still need some time to recuperate and receive treatment. But there’s no indication that a trip to the IL will be necessary.
- The Rockies have bumped veteran right-hander Chad Bettis to the bullpen, as Nick Groke of The Athletic was among those to tweet. It seems likely his new role will dovetail with the return of Tyler Anderson from a stint on the injured list. Soon to turn 30, Bettis was also bumped to the pen for seven outings last year, though he still took twenty starts. He has struggled to an 8.78 ERA over his first 13 1/3 innings of the 2019 campaign, with eight walks to go with nine strikeouts and twenty base hits already on the ledger. Bettis is earning $3.35MM this year in advance of a final season of arbitration eligibility. In other news out of Colorado, the club seems likely to place outfielder Noel Cuevas on the 10-day injured list after he came down with a quad strain, manager Bud Black told reporters including Kyle Newman of the Denver Post (via Twitter).
- Lefty T.J. McFarland is on the mend for the Diamondbacks, MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert reports. He’ll launch a rehab effort tomorrow as he seeks to finish off a return from a bout of shoulder inflammation. Once he’s deemed ready, McFarland will join Andrew Chafin as a southpaw combo in the D-Backs pen. The 29-year-old produced strong results last year after several rough seasons, working to a 2.00 ERA over 72 frames. Though he carried a typically uninspiring blend of 5.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9, McFarland also posted an eye-popping 67.9% groundball rate.