San Diego Padres in the playoffs….sort of (part 1)
While no current San Diego Padres will be playing meaningful games this month, a number of ex-Padres made it to the postseason. Several managers and front office executives also can celebrate trips to playoff baseball with other teams.
Managers include Dave Roberts (Dodgers), Buddy Black (Rockies) and A.J. Hinch (Astros), as well as Cubs executives Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein. Starting pitchers Corey Kluber (Indians) and Drew Pomeranz (Red Sox) as well as relievers Brandon Morrow (Dodgers), Fernando Rodney (Diamondbacks) and Luke Gregerson (Astros) all wore Padre uniforms at one point in their careers (although Kluber only as a minor leaguer).
Ex-Padre position players Anthony Rizzo (Cubs), Yasmani Grandal (Dodgers), Trea Turner (Nationals), Chase Headley (Yankees), Logan Forsythe (Dodgers) and Alexi Amarista (Rockies) have all played meaningful games in October.
Black and Amarista made a quick exit when the Arizona Diamondbacks defeated their new team, the Colorado Rockies, 11-8 in the NL card game. Black valued Amarista’s versatility when he managed the Padres.
Corey Kluber, now the Cleveland Indians’ ace, had a rough outing against the New York Yankees in the second game of the division series. However, the Indians won that game in a 13th inning walk off. This year Kluber had a sparkling 18-4 record, 2.25 ERA, and 0.869 WHIP.
In 2010 Padres’ general manager Jed Hoyer traded minor leaguer Kluber from the Padres for Ryan Ludwick. Expected to add a big bat to the lineup, Ludwick instead hit .228 and complained that Petco Park screwed up his swing. The next year the Padres traded Ludwick to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Current San Diego general manager A.J. Preller’s trade of Drew Pomeranz to the Boston Red Sox could ultimately have a decent outcome. However, the prize in the trade, Anderson Espinoza, had Tommy John surgery in July. Also, the Padres’ mishandling of medical information led to a 30-day suspension of Preller.
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Reliever Luke Gregerson played his first five seasons for the Padres mainly in the setup role and had a cumulative 2.88 ERA and 1.092 WHIP. In 2013 the Padres traded Gregerson for outfielder Seth Smith, who spent one year with the Padres, batting .266/.367/.440.
The following year San Diego flipped him to the Mariners for Brandon Maurer and moved him from the rotation to the role of closer. Maurer had a subpar 5.72 ERA in 2017, but, adjusted by FIP (fielding independent pitching), it becomes 3.23 ERA. This July the Padres traded him, as well as Ryan Buchter and Trevor Cahill, to Kansas City for Matt Strahm, Travis Wood, and Esteury Ruiz.
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Wood had a 6.80 ERA and a 4-7 record as a starter for the Padres. Strahm has been on the DL (torn patellar tendon), but the Padres will consider him in both starting or relief roles when he recovers. Ruiz has been called a “power-speed combo guy” by Preller (Jeff Sanders, San Diego Union Tribune). However, the 18-year-old has a long way to travel from the Arizona League.