Since the last time the Padres made the playoffs in 2006 (if you ignore that game where Matt Holliday STILL hasn’t touched the plate), they have traded away three All Stars (Adrian Gonzalez, Jake Peavy and Huston Street), watched five others walk out of town (Trevor Hoffman, Justin Upton, Everth Cabrera, Heath Bell and Chris Young) and still retain the services of Tyson Ross (2014). Nine years and one All Star left on the team. Surprisingly Mat Latos never made an All Star team, even though in 2010 he was 10-4 with a 2.45 ERA at the break. Tyson Ross is the only one who remains, and there were tons of calls this offseason from fans and radio show hosts to trade him. So, should we trade him? Let’s examine past trades of Adrian, Peavy and Street to determine if trading would be a good idea or if we should keep him. As a warning, these trades are viewed in retrospect and all trades in retrospect look different than when you make them.
More from Padres News
- Padres News: Fernando Tatis Jr. trade rumors, Seth Lugo chase, Manny Machado
- Padres barely missed out on high-end veteran starting pitcher
- This veteran DH target seems ideal for contending Padres roster
- Padres got steal with Xander Bogaerts after Carlos Correa’s mega-deal
- Failed Padres top prospect makes stunning return with minor league deal
All three were traded by different GMs too, under different ownership groups no less. Adrian was traded by Jed Hoyer under the Moorad/Moores combo, Peavy was traded by Kevin Towers under mostly Moores and a little of Moorad and Street was dealt to Anaheim by interim GMs Omar Minaya and AJ Hinch. Whew! Now, to examine this we need to look at the return on the players as well as their careers after the trade.
Adrian was traded for Reymond Fuentes, Casey Kelly, and Anthony Rizzo, with Eric Patterson joining later as a player to be named later. Fuentes is currently on the defending World Series champion Royals 25 man roster, Kelly was traded to the Braves for Christian Bethancourt this offseason in a swap of once heralded prospects, Anthony Rizzo is doing alright for the Cubs after being flipped for Andrew Cashner, and Patterson hit .180 over 104 Abs for the Padres before they cut ties with him. So the value in return of Adrian has been 24 wins and an aggregate 3.3 WAR from Cashner at a cost of ~$7.5 million heading into 2016 with minimal contribution from Rizzo, Kelly and Patterson. If Adrian had been allowed to stay for his last season, 2011, a season in which he produced a top 10 MVP finish, a .338 BA and 117 RBIs for $6.3 million, the Padres would have garnered two draft picks as compensation, and happy fans watching a local boy mash the ball in San Diego.
Those draft picks would have turned out to be the 24th from Boston and 34th as a compensation pick. Those spots turned up Deven Marrero, a shortstop who last year was 7th on the Red Sox top prospects list, and Daniel Robertson, who is also a SS and was ranked the 7th best prospect in the Tampa organization in 2016. While Cashner has tremendous upside, and I don’t discount for a moment that his 2015 was heavily influenced by off the field issues I would wish on nobody; Adrian was, and is, the kind of player you eventually build a statue for in Petco Park and continues to be so, albeit for the Dodgers.
Jake Peavy signed a nice extension in December of 2007 that covered his first three free agent years, 2010-2012, for a total of $48 million over those years. Large money for a player coming off three straight 200 IP/200 K seasons and a newly minted Cy Young award in 2007. Then at the trade deadline of 2009, right before the extension and the large figures was to kick in, he was traded to the White Sox for Dexter Carter, Aaron Poreda, Clayton Richard and Adam Russell.
I couldn’t tell you who Dexter Carter is and Poreda pitched 2 and a third innings for the Padres before being lost to the Pirates in the rule 5 draft. Russell put together a solid 28 IP over two years for the Padres before being traded for Jason Bartlett in a completely lopsided trade with the Rays that netted the Padres 168 games of Bartlett, in which he was valued at -0.1 WAR over that time. Clayton Richard turned out to be a fantastic player for the Padres, accumulating 40 wins but only a net 0.4 WAR over the next 4 plus years before having to have surgery to shave part of his clavicle off ended his Padres tenure. He can now be found with the rest of the Cubs bullpen having fun at Wrigley Field this summer.
Peavy went on to post 36 Wins, 9.9 cumulative WAR over the next four years with the White Sox, tear his latissimus dorsi muscle in 2010 and eventually be traded to the Red Sox in 2013. This trade might not look so bad as Richard was a clear #2 on the pitching staff for a couple years. However, the motivation for this trade was suspect as two years before the trade Peavy had abdicated his free agency rights to commit to the Padres, and then under an ownership group that had questionable direction, was jettisoned in a clear money dump. Once again though, if you keep Peavy and he doesn’t have a freak injury, you eventually retire his number in San Diego.
Huston Street was dealt in a strange situation under a temporary management group, and in his stead the Padres received Taylor Lindsey, Elliot Morris, Jose Rondon and R.J. Alvarez. Alvarez was later dealt to Oakland as part of the Derek Norris trade. Lindsey his .228 at AAA El Paso last year while Morris pitched to a 4.87 ERA in 101 IP at AA San Antonio. The unknown in this is Rondon, who currently sits at #5 on the Padres prospect list according to MLB.com, after turning in a respectable .267 BA over two classes of the minors (A/AA) in 2015 while turning in respectable defense.
Derek Norris has turned out to be a top 10 catcher in the bigs and last year was good for a 3.2 WAR. Street since the trade has closed out 57 saves and turned in a strong 2.1 WAR as a closer. This might be a win for the Padres so far, but if Rondon never makes it, then it could be a push. It should also be noted that Street’s departure opened the door for Kimbrel to come to town, bringing Melvin Upton and his large contract with him. The ramifications of the trading of Kimbrel to Boston will have to be looked at a few years from now and tied to the Street trade as well. Like I said though, this may be a win for the Padres.
So, this brings us to Tyson Ross. In his first three years with the Padres he produced 26 wins and total WAR of 6.7. Over 516 IP for the Padres he has 526 K and an ERA of 3.07, along with an All Star game appearance. He’ll be 29 in ten days and is in line to hit the free agent market after the 2017 season, when he will undoubtedly command a sizable four year contract at the age of 30. If you trade him now, history shows you are unlikely to win the trade. If you keep him and he walks in free agency, then you get another 25 wins over the next two years from him, a front line starter and a first round draft pick as compensation when he leaves (if you tender him a qualifying offer). The Padres have three of the first 25 picks and six of the first 85 in the 2016 draft. Couple that with the rumored spending spree in the international market this year and the farm system CAN be restocked quickly. You need veterans to mentor them when the prospects mature, and front line starters don’t grow on trees. At some point, if you want to win, you have to find and keep these kinds of players, not keep turning them around for new versions of them.