The Padres activated catcher Francisco Mejia from the 10-day injured list and optioned him to Triple-A El Paso on Saturday, the team announced. In other moves, the Padres sent reliever Phil Maton to El Paso and recalled left-hander Nick Margevicius from Double-A Amarillo.
The most notable move here is the demotion of Mejia, formerly a star prospect whose career hasn’t gotten off the ground in San Diego. The Padres acquired Mejia, then ESPN prospect guru Keith Law’s fifth-ranked farmhand, from the Indians for relievers Brad Hand and Adam Cimber last July. Since then, the switch-hitting Mejia has slashed a dismal .176/.224/.324 (46 wRC+) in 116 plate appearances with the Padres, and he didn’t acquit himself well defensively before landing on the IL on May 11 with a left knee sprain.
During the 23-year-old Mejia’s injury-forced absence, San Diego utilized Austin Hedges and Austin Allen as its top two catchers. The Austins will continue to reign supreme with Mejia heading to the minors. They’ve offered almost nothing at the plate this season, but Hedges has lived to his billing as an elite defender for his position, ranking first in the majors in Baseball Prospectus’ Fielding Runs Above Average metric. Hedges has also caught 38 percent of would-be base stealers in 2019, which comes in far above the 29 percent league average.
There’s no word on how long Mejia will stay in the minors, but it’s worth keeping an eye on with respect to his service time. Mejia entered the season with 62 days’ service and has amassed another 65 this year, giving him 127 overall. He needs another 45 to accrue a full year of service. As things stand, Mejia is on pace to reach free agency after the 2024 campaign.