In SD, Mariners revisit big trade with Padres

September 19th, 2020

As the Mariners returned to San Diego on Friday to play an unexpected three-game series at Petco Park, Ty France and Luis Torrens had the chance to reunite with old friends and teammates for the first time since being traded to Seattle on Aug. 30 as part of a seven-player swap.

But the newest Mariners are definitely at home now with their new club, having quickly installed themselves as key pieces of Seattle’s rebuilding plans.

Torrens, getting regular playing time for the first time in his MLB career, hit .294/.385/.471 with one homer and four RBIs in 10 games entering Friday. The 24-year-old has also played well behind the plate, giving Seattle some needed depth at catcher going forward.

France has adapted quickly to his new situation as well, hitting .292/.370/.500 with two homers and six RBIs in 13 games. The 26-year-old has played six games at designated hitter, five at second base and two at third, and he's looked comfortable wherever he’s been used.

The other two players acquired in the deal figure prominently in Seattle’s future, as outfielder Taylor Trammell is the club’s No. 5 prospect and No. 55 overall by MLB Pipeline, as he works out for the remainder of this season at the alternate training site.

Reliever Andres Muñoz is recovering from Tommy John surgery, but the young Mexican right-hander averaged 99.9 mph with his four-seam fastball and reached 101 mph with his sinker while posting a 3.91 ERA with one save in 22 appearances for the Padres last season as a 20-year-old rookie.

Those players didn’t come cheaply, as the Mariners had to give up the versatile Austin Nola as well as relievers Dan Altavilla and Austin Adams, but the early returns have been promising.

“We certainly gave up a lot of good players,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “But having had the opportunity here the last few weeks to be around a couple of the guys we got back -- and I’m not even taking about Trammell and Muñoz and what they can bring for our future -- but I’m really excited about what those two guys have brought.”

With Tom Murphy sidelined by a broken left foot that wiped out his entire season and Nola now with the Padres, Torrens has stepped into the No. 1 catching role and performed extremely well.

“This is the most he’s played on an everyday basis behind the plate in the big leagues,” Servais said. “He’s never had this kind of opportunity and he’s starting to figure it out and understand how to handle a pitching staff and all that goes with that. I’m super excited about him and his future."

France’s bat has always been his selling point, and the right-handed slugger hasn’t disappointed.

“He’s a legit hitter,” Servais said. “This guy is not afraid of anybody’s stuff. He can make adjustments really well. We’re finding out more about him defensively and where he might fit best there.”

France’s future might be at third base, but Kyle Seager holds that spot, and France has looked fine at second in his initial opportunities there.

“He can throw,” Servais said. “He’s got plenty of arm strength, so down the road he could get more time at third base. He’s handled second base with no issues there at all. It’s a little different look than what we’ve seen at second base from some of the guys we’ve played there, but he’s handled everything thrown his way."

On the flip side of the trade, after getting off to a quick start with the Padres, Nola has gone 0-for-10 with a walk in his past three games and is batting .220/.319/.439 with two homers and eight RBIs in 12 games for his new club after posting a .306/.373/.531 line with five homers and 19 RBIs in 29 games for Seattle.

Altavilla has pitched four games in relief for San Diego since the trade, with a 2.45 ERA on four hits and one run, four strikeouts and one walk in 3 2/3 innings.

Adams remains on the injured list with the Padres as he continues recovering from knee surgery, while Taylor Williams -- acquired in a separate deal with the Mariners -- gave up two hits and one run in an inning against the Rockies on Sept. 8, but he's currently at the Padres’ alternate training site.