With the universal DH likely coming to the National League forever, the San Diego Padres may regret a recent trade for someone who could have filled that spot perfectly.
Obviously the San Diego Padres had no idea what the future would hold and there was no way to know a universal DH could be coming as soon as the 2020 season.
But that’s the situation we’re in with the latest proposal from MLB including a universal DH for the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
And with the collective bargaining agreement being renegotiated after the 2021 season, it’s a safe boat the universal DH will be included permanently at that time. Meaning, we’ve seen our last game of real baseball.
The universal DH was likely coming after 2021 anyway, but what really hurts NL teams now is that they haven’t had time to prepare for a DH.
Sure, it’s not that hard to just take a bat off your bench and put him in there. But there are some players that NL teams will just ignore in free agency or trade because they can’t play in the field.
And the Padres had a perfect example of that with Franmil Reyes.
From 2016-18 Franmil really put himself on the map as a power-hitting bat hitting .278 over that time with 57 home runs in 323 games.
He played in 87 games with the Padres in 2018 and hit 16 home runs with a .280/.340/.498 slashline. That gave him 32 home runs on the year between Triple-A and the big leagues.
This past season he was on pace for a monster year with the Padres hitting 27 home runs in 99 games but his slashline was not great at .255/.314/.536.
However, his defensive metrics were terrible making it hard for the Padres to put him in the field. He finished with -11 DRS in 2019 and -3 UZR.
So without the ability to play him in the outfield, the Padres decided to trade him to the Cleveland Indians for outfield prospect Taylor Trammell.
Now maybe the Padres would have done this trade anyway as Trammell has the chance to be an even better all-around player.
But had they known a universal DH is coming in 2020 do you think they still would have made this trade?
His numbers in Cleveland where he strictly played as a DH weren’t encouraging as he slashed .237/.304/.468 with 10 home runs in 51 games.
But he also had to adjust going to a new team in a new league in the middle of a playoff hunt.
Franmil seems like the obvious choice to be a DH as he can hit for power and isn’t great defensively. And perhaps with more time devoted just to hitting he could become an even better hitter for average.
As I look at the Padres roster now I don’t really see anyone who fits that role as well as Franmil would have.
Perhaps you could make the argument for Josh Naylor as he can hit and isn’t a great defender, but so far he hasn’t shown the power potential that Franmil has.
What do you think the Padres will do with the DH spot. And do you wish they still had Franmil to fill that spot for the implementation of a universal DH.