The Padres have been pegged as both “buyers” and “sellers” heading into Wednesday’s trading deadline, leaving fans to wonder whether the team’s highest-paid players would be traded for more prospects that won’t help the current team.
It turns out, despite being in fourth place in the division, the current team did indeed factor into trades.
First, they turned down an offer from the Yankees for Chase Headley, who has recaptured his swing after a rough first half of the season. Then, hours before the non-waiver trade deadline Wednesday, the Padres sent reliever Joe Thatcher, a minor league pitcher (Matt Stites) and a future draft pick to the Arizona Diamondbacks for starting pitcher Ian Kennedy.
Kennedy compiled a 36-16 record in his last two seasons with Arizona but struggled this year. Kennedy is 28 years old and still under team control after this season, meaning the Padres gave up very little to give a chance to a guy who could end up as the best pitcher in the 2014 starting rotation.
The Padres have won eight of their last 12 games. While the pitching has been improved over that span, the team has lacked a true “ace” at the top of its rotation since trading away Mat Latos before the 2012 season. Kennedy and Eric Stults should provide consistent performance from the top of the rotation for the next couple of years while the young guys, including Andrew Cashney, Casey Kelly, Joe Wieland, Tyson Ross and Cory Luebke, work their way back from injury and learn the ropes of major league pitching.
One hilarious absurdity of this trade comes as a result Arizona and San Diego trading ownership and GMs in recent seasons. This is the second time that Kevin Towers has traded for Thatcher — he did it once as Padres GM and now as Diamondbacks GM. This is also the second time that Padres GM Josh Byrnes, who lost his job as Diamondbacks GM to Kevin Towers, has traded for Kennedy.
Many expected word of the impending Biogensis-related performance-enhancing drug suspensions to come down before the trade deadline, allowing contending teams to fill gaps on their roster, but the MLB commissioner’s office remained quiet.
As much as Kennedy improves the 2013 and 2014 Padres, the team will have a difficult time scoring any runs if MLB fulfills its threat to suspend Everth Cabrera and Yasmani Grandal.