What The Hundley Trade Means For Padres Catchers?


Apr 9, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; San Diego Padres catcher Rene Rivera (44) throws against the Cleveland Indians in game two at Progressive Field. San Diego won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

“They (Orioles) had a catching need, and we had a catching surplus.” That is what Padres GM Josh Byrnes told MLB.com’s Corey  Brock about the trade of Nick Hundley to the Baltimore Orioles yesterday.

In return, the Padres received lefty reliever Troy Patton whose career 3.28 ERA is a little bit bloated this year as it sits at 8.10. This gives the Padres an extra left-handed arm out of the ‘pen in addition to Alex Torres.

What does this trade mean for the catchers? Yasmani Grandal and Rene Rivera remain the two catchers on the big league roster. The Padres were not going to keep three catchers on the MLB roster all season long.

Hundley was hitting .271 with 1 HR in 59 at-bats. Both Rivera and Grandal have shown they are capable of doing their share offensively. Rivera is hitting .250 with 3 HR and 11 RBI. Grandal has struggled of late but has shown flashes of power with 5 HR and 15 RBI. However, he is 2 for his last 28.

While Rivera is almost 31 years old,  Grandal is 25. If he can boost his average and show more consistency at the plate, he is the future catcher for San Diego. Rivera and Grandal will now pull the load for the long haul.

Double-A prospect Austin Hedges is still probably a year or two away. Hedges and Grandal could be a viable catching tandem in the years-to-come.

I am a big fan of Grandal. He needs to snap out of this slump, but when he does, he can be one of the best offensive catchers in the league.

The club will miss Hundley but San Diego still has two very able catchers at their disposal every day. Collectively, the Padres’ current catching tandem is hitting .219 with 8 HR’s and 26 RBI. Rivera is better defensively having nailed nine runners trying to steal, which is 3rd in the NL.

Having a stable catching situation is crucial to a team’s success. The catcher is like the quarterback in baseball. A catcher that can be trusted with the pitching staff and defense is a valuable commodity. I feel like the Friars have two catchers who fit that bill.

The Padres catching situation is still good despite losing Hundley. As soon as Grandal breaks out of his slump, the catching position should be the least of the team’s worries down the stretch.