Padres: Joe Musgrove could be the steal of the offseason

(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /

In an offseason filled with headline-grabbing moves, the Joe Musgrove trade was hardly the sexiest one the San Diego Padres made. But at the end of the day, it could prove to be one of the most underrated ones in all of baseball.

AJ Preller acquired the San Diego area native from the Pirates in a three-team trade with the Mets back in January. The Padres sent left-hander Joey Luchessi to New York and a four-player package to Pittsburgh in the deal, with the Mets also sending a player to the Bucs.

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Musgrove, a former first-round pick back in 2011, made his Padres debut on Saturday at Petco Park – and to say he exceeded all expectations is putting it mildly. The right-hander tossed six scoreless frames against the Diamondbacks, striking out eight and allowing just three base hits.

It was a dream come true for him – and for the team that hopes he can play a critical role in the stating rotation for years to come.

"“You knew it was just a matter of time before San Diego was able to make all the right moves, have it line up to where we can put this many quality players together at the same time,” Musgrove told “I just feel extremely fortunate to be on this team at that time. Growing up in San Diego — everyone’s waited for a team like this for so long. The baseball fan in me thinks it’s extremely cool that now I get to actually be a part.”"

Musgrove followed San Diego’s other two starting pitching acquisitions from this winter in the first trip through the rotation. Yu Darvish was a mixed bag on Opening Day, but the offense did enough to escape with a win and Blake Snell was lights-out on Friday night, striking out eight over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Padres: Joe Musgrove is quietly poised for a monster season

Those two have garnered pretty much all the headlines and attention in camp while Musgrove somewhat quietly worked to a 3.50 ERA in five Cactus League starts. His final spring tune-up came against the Indians on March 28 when he tossed five scoreless to close out his ramp-up for the season.

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His flying under the radar is likely due to a combination of factors, including previously calling Pittsburgh home. Playing for a lot of lackluster teams there didn’t get him a lot of attention, despite some really impressive peripherals last season. Thankfully for the Padres, he’s brought those skills to the big stage – and is ready to emerge in San Diego.