The Padres announced the acquisition of catcher Jorge Alfaro from the Marlins in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported the Friars’ interest in Alfaro yesterday.
As Morosi pointed out, Alfaro was originally signed by the Rangers as an amateur out of Colombia back in 2010. Current San Diego president of baseball operations A.J. Preller was a high-ranking member of the Texas scouting department at that time. Alfaro becomes the latest in a line of one-time Rangers’ players or staff members Preller has struck to bring to San Diego.
Miami had supplanted Alfaro behind the plate yesterday, acquiring Jacob Stallings from the Pirates. While Alfaro had already looked like a non-tender candidate, the Stallings acquisition made it clear his time in Miami was likely over. General manager Kim Ng and her staff looked for a trade partner in advance of tonight’s non-tender deadline, and they found one in San Diego.
The right-handed hitting Alfaro has flashed an intriguing blend of power and arm strength at times, but his combination of huge strikeout totals and well below-average walk rates have yet kept him from settling in as an above-average regular. He’s coming off a season in which he hit .244/.283/.342 with four home runs across 311 plate appearances. Alfaro hit .244 despite a huge .354 batting average on balls in play because of a lofty 31.8% strikeout percentage.
Defensively, Alfaro has rated as an average or worse pitch framer over the past three seasons, per Statcast. He has done an excellent job controlling the running game, though, including an impressive 42.8% caught stealing rate in 2021. That aligns with scouts’ long evaluations of Alfaro’s arm strength as elite.
The Padres make for a curious fit on paper. San Diego already has a capable #1 catcher in Austin Nola, and Víctor Caratini is on hand as a serviceable back-up. Top prospect Luis Campusano, meanwhile, has already appeared in the majors and is coming off a strong season with Triple-A El Paso. The San Diego front office is clearly intrigued by Alfaro’s physical tools, though. They’ll add him to the organization on a projected $2.7MM salary and can control him through 2023.
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