The San Diego Padres ended their problematic 4-year relationship with Yonder Alonso today, trading the talented but oft-injured and underachieving first baseman to Oakland as part of a four-player deal. The Padres also sent left-handed reliever Marc Rzepczynski to the A’s, and received Drew Pomeranz and minor league pitcher Jose Torres.
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Alonso, the former number 7 pick in the 2008 draft, was a line-drive hitting left-hander whom the Padres hoped would blossom into a Wally Joyner or Keith Hernandez-type hitter. But Alonso battled injuries in each of the last three seasons, after finishing sixth in the Rookie of the Year voting in his inaugural season with the Padres. He missed over 200 games the last three years. Early in 2015, he showed why he was a former first-round pick, slashing .360/.444/.482 through mid-June, but two month-long stints on the DL sidetracked him before he finished at .282/.361/.381.
Rzepcznski’s tenure with the Padres was unimpressive, putting up a 7.36 ERA in 27 games after being the only acquisition made by A.J. Preller at this season’s trade-deadline.
Coming to San Diego is Pomeranz, another former first-round pick (5th overall in 2010). Padres fans may remember Pomeranz from his seasons with the Rockies, in which he was a pretty ineffective starter, putting up a 4-14 record with a 5.20 ERA. But a trade to Oakland revealed the talent of the left-hander, as his first season in the AL yielded a 2.35 ERA in 69 innings. Although he has had some success as a starter (4-3, 2.58 ERA in 2014), he was more effective out of the bullpen in Oakland (2.81 ERA and 60 Ks in 58 innings over 2014-15), and was even used a bit as a closer toward the end of 2015.
Pomeranz did have a knucklehead injury in 2014, breaking his hand punching a wooden chair after a bad outing. Although he followed Bull Durham’s advice, and threw the punch with his non-pitching hand, he ended up on the DL, missing nearly two months of action.
Torres is a 22-year old left-handed reliever who had his best season as a pro in 2015, putting up a 2.56 ERA with 84 strikeouts in 77.1 innings in A ball.
Alonso had been the Padres’ starting first baseman since being acquired in the Mat Latos trade with Cincinnati prior to the 2012 season. Alonso was the last remnant of the trade that also brought Yasmani Grandal, Edinson Volquez, and Brad Boxberger to the Padres. You remember them. They’re the guys who didn’t do too much for the Padres, then went on to much greater success with other teams.
The opening at first base could be a signal that the Padres are ready to use Wil Myers there on a more permanent basis. Or it could mean that they’re looking to make a play for one of the big names out there, like Chris Davis or Freddie Freeman. The offseason is heating up, Padres fans. Get ready for A.J.’s next move!