San Diego Padres: Hello, Is This The Atlanta Braves?
By Nick Stevens
Josh Donaldson is now in Atlanta. How could this impact the San Diego Padres?
While the San Diego Padres have been largely silent since they cleared a number of 40-man roster spots to protect a contingent of prospects, a certain Atlanta Braves signing may have a ripple effect that reaches the Padres. Atlanta now has a third baseman in Josh Donaldson, pushing last year’s starter Johan Camargo into a utility role with the organization.
The Padres need a third baseman. Atlanta is in the market for a corner outfielder and bullpen arms, two things the Padres have a lot of. A potential deal between the two franchises seems almost too good to be true. But, not so fast.
Camargo checks off a number of boxes for the Padres. He is a 24-year-old third baseman with two more years of team control before he is arbitration eligible. His strikeout rate is on the lower end (20%), he has pop (19 home runs), can get on base (.349 clip), and is selective with the pitches he swings at (24% first-pitch swing rate, 4% below league-average).
While his stat line is consistently solid (.272/.349/.457/.806 line, 19 HR, 27 2B, 108/51 K/BB ratio), he has never really had a carrying tool as he came up through the minors and more than likely won’t put up much bigger numbers than these over the course of his career. What adds to his value is his versatility, something I will come back to in a moment. The numbers did contribute to a 3.3 fWAR season, something Padres fans didn’t see from a single player in San Diego.
With his age and control, Camargo is a fantastic fit with the San Diego Padres and can man the hot corner for years to come, as San Diego enters their prime contention years. An infield of Eric Hosmer, Luis Urias, Fernando Tatis Jr. , and Camargo? Yes, please!
His defensive metrics make him even more attractive. In just under 1,000 innings, Camargo recorded seven Defensive Runs Saved and an UZR of 5.5. Hosmer and his eight DRS was the only Padres infielder to best Camargo’s number and recently released Cory Spangenberg was the only Padres infielder to record a positive UZR (1.4 at 2B and 0.2 at 3B).
On Wednesday morning, Jon Morosi had this tweet about the needs of the Atlanta Braves.
Late-inning reliever? Padres have plenty of dominant relievers, both established and higher-upside arms. An outfielder? If you like powerful, slugging outfielders, the Padres have two that they have been dangling out for teams to bite on. Seems like a perfect opportunity for both franchises, right?
As Joel Sherman explains in the above tweet, Camargo’s versatility is extremely valuable to the Atlanta Braves. Josh Donaldson still has to prove he is fully healthy and will need plenty of off days to make it through the year. Dansby Swanson has yet to show he can hit the ball or get on base consistently. When inevitable injuries pop up over the course of a 162 game season, Camargo is there to take over. He may not be an everyday player for Atlanta, but he will still get his fair share of at-bats and playing time.
After shocking nearly everyone with their run in 2018, Atlanta will be looking to get over the NLDS hump and into the World Series. Adding the front-line starter they are in the market for just might solidify that.
As much as the idea of a trade for Johan Camargo makes me giddy, I could see Atlanta putting a big price tag on the third baseman as they attempt to use him as a super utility/late-game hero option. Back to the Noah Syndergaard rumors, I suppose?