Matt Beaty returning to NL West brings back nightmare of Padres' trade with Dodgers

Was this really necessary, D-backs?
San Diego Padres designated hitter Matt Beaty
San Diego Padres designated hitter Matt Beaty / Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Former San Diego Padres infielder Matt Beaty is back in the National League West — sort of. Beaty signed a minor-league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was assigned to Double-A Amarillo. Beaty hasn't seen the field since 2023, so it'll be interesting to see how the one-time Padres first baseman performs this season.

But with Beaty back in the NL West, it inevitably brings up bad memories for Padres fans who remember the club's fateful trade with another division rival. Back in 2022, Beaty was designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Of course, after DFA'ing a player, teams have a short window in which to either trade, release, or outright said player. The Dodgers found a trade partner in the Padres.

But a better word might be "sucker," as LA lured right-handed pitching prospect River Ryan away from San Diego in exchange for Beaty. Shortly after his arrival in the Padres organization, Beaty landed on the 60-day IL with a shoulder injury and was eventually DFA'd once again. Ryan, on the other hand, is one of the Dodgers top prospects.

Matt Beaty returning to NL West brings back nightmare of Padres' trade with Dodgers

Ryan was an 11th-round draft pick of the Padres back in 2022. A two-way player at a Division-II school in North Carolina, Ryan turned his focus from the batters' box to the pitcher's mound and has been wildly successful since joining the Dodgers.

Currently, Ryan is Triple-A Oklahoma City, but shoulder fatigue has landed the 25-year-old on the minor-league injured list. Ryan is expected to start ramping up in the coming weeks and could return to OKC by late-May or early-June. FanGraphs ranks Ryan as the top prospect in the Dodgers' farm system, while MLB Pipeline views the right-hander as the team's No. 5 overall prospect.

Ryan's ranking within the Dodgers' farm system is irrelevant. The bottom line is that whether he ranks first or 50th, the Padres bungled this trade horribly. Beaty was a career .262 hitter at the time of the trade and was limited defensively. To make matters worse, Padres' knee-jerk reaction to acquire Beaty in 2022 cost them one of the top arms in their farm system.

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