Padres fleeced Cubs with offseason waiver claim as reliever makes history

The Cubs are kicking themselves right now.
San Diego Padres relief pitcher Jeremiah Estrada (56) celebrates. Mandatory Credit: David Frerker-USA TODAY Sports
San Diego Padres relief pitcher Jeremiah Estrada (56) celebrates. Mandatory Credit: David Frerker-USA TODAY Sports / David Frerker-USA TODAY Sports

Every team makes mistakes with personnel decisions from time to time. A quick look at the San Diego Padres history will reveal that. Major League Baseball's history is littered with poor trades, bad free agent signings, and boneheaded roster moves.

But the Chicago Cubs may be leading the way for the worst decision of the 2023-24 offseason. Jeremiah Estrada was a sixth-round draft pick of the Cubs in 2017, but Chicago chose to outright the 25-year-old following the 2023 season. That allowed the Padres to swoop in and pick up the reliever this past winter.

The Padres claimed Estrada off waivers and welcomed him to spring training in February. Estrada broke camp with the big league club, but after the Seoul Series in South Korea, Estrada was optioned to the minors. The Friars recalled Estrada earlier this month, and on Wednesday night, he set the major league record for the most consecutive strikeouts after getting back-to-back-to-back punchouts to close out the Padres' victory over the Miami Marlins.

Padres reliever makes history while making Cubs look absolutely foolish

Estrada has been on some kind of hot streak. Not only is the right-hander getting strikeouts, but every single one of those Ks has been courtesy of the opposition swinging at strike three.

Over the three-game stretch in which Estrada set the record, he's logged 4.2 innings and the Padres have won all three games. While the strikeout streak itself is impressive, Estrada has a five-game scoreless streak that stretches back to May 17. Since that date, Estrada is 2-0 with a save and 18 strikeouts.

When you couple Estrada's performance with what the Friar faithful have seen from Robert Suarez this season, the Padres have developed a terrific 1-2 punch at the back of the bullpen that should help San Diego win a lot of games in 2024.

There's no doubt that Cubs President of Baseball Operations Jed Hoyer is regretting his offseason decision to send Estrada packing. Estrada's time in the Windy City saw him post a 5.51 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 16.1 innings pitched.

Since joining the Friars, Estrada has matched that number of innings, but has a sparkling 0.52 ERA and 28 strikeouts during that time. That's quite the turnaround, and a fine pickup on the part of AJ Preller.

More San Diego Padres News from Friars on Base