The San Diego Padres want all the players, and they don’t care what you think about the 2020 season.
They’ve already acquired Trevor Rosenthal, Mitch Moreland, Austin Nola, and more, and now they’re bringing in a stud pitcher:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) August 31, 2020
Clevinger, 29, comes with two more years of arb control after this year, and he’s been excellent four years running. He’s on a $4.1 million scheduled salary this year, so his arbitration price tag the next couple of years could push and exceed $10 million. Are teams worried about that in this market, even for great players? TBD. If he nets a huge haul (which he would in normal times), it’s going to tell us a whole lot about this market. Or at least about how aggressive, in particular, the Padres are.
Time will tell whether the Padres were right to push so hard in a season like this, including picking up longer-term pieces for prospects (i.e., exchanging the least expensive players for those closer to and/or in arbitration), but I absolutely respect the attempt. They are clicking so well right now, and you never know if you’re going to get another chance like this.
UPDATE: The start of the package:
Outfielder Josh Naylor is going to Cleveland in the Clevinger deal, too. He’ll immediately slot in to left field.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 31, 2020
Quantrill, 25, is a post-hype guy, having been a top ten draft pick back in 2016, and never really dominated in the minors as he developed. He’s pitched mostly out of the bullpen for the Padres this year (and well), but if he can start, there’s obviously a ton more potential upside there. Otherwise, he’s a long-term controllable solid reliever.
Arias, 20, is a top 10-15 prospect in the Padres’ loaded system, and a guy who could’ve broken out into top 100 territory this year. Started to hit at High-A last year, glove to stick at short, etc. Really good prospect.
Naylor, 23, has been a big-league-ready bat without a position on the Padres, and I expect he was considered a big part of this for the Indians, who need to add a bat for the near and long-term.
UPDATE 2: Good lord, this thing is a NINE-PLAYER trade:
Source: Deal is Clevinger, Greg Allen and PTBN to Padres; Quantrill, Arias, Cantillo, Hedges, Naylor and Miller to Indians.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 31, 2020
On the whole, the Padres didn’t give up any of their super elite guys, which definitely says at least a little something about the value of medium-term pieces like Clevinger (and maybe also says something about how his off-field gaffe this year impacted his value).
Allen, 27, is a useful reserve outfielder with speed, and the Padres also get a PTBNL from the Indians (could mean low-level prospect, or could just be the hedge against the season shutting down).
Owen Miller, 23, is a middle infielder who can really hit. Future bat-first utility guy? More than that?
Joey Cantillo, 20, is a pitchability type, but one who’s been good enough to be a top 15 prospect (like Miller) in a stacked Padres farm system.
Austin Hedges, 28, is an elite defensive catcher, but it’s no longer clear that he can be more than a back-up catcher, and he’s a non-tender candidate after this year.
In the end, it’s not an absolute eye-popper of a return, but you weren’t going to get that in an environment where teams don’t know whether Clevinger’s two final years of arbitration are going to be an incredible value, or are going to be “yeah, we’re willing to pay that even in this environment.” To that end, for the Indians to get a collection of good, young, talented players? Probably a smart move now, just in case.
For the Padres, it’s a huge bet, but it’s one that their stellar farm system can easily weather. I think this is a good move for them, even if it comes with risk. Someone’s gotta get risky right now, eh?