Ranking S.D.'s acquisitions by likely impact

September 1st, 2020

In case you haven't noticed, the Padres’ roster looks a little bit different than it did a week ago.

In a Trade Deadline frenzy that defied belief, general manager A.J. Preller traded 16 of his players and brought back another 10 in return.

"I don't think any of us looked at it and said we had to fill all those needs," Preller said. "Just, as it started lining up, we felt we had deals."

They had deals, all right -- six, to be specific. Technically, the full return isn't yet known, because the Padres will get a player to be named in their trade with Cleveland.

But nine other players became Padres in the last three days. Here’s a look at all nine of them -- and the roles they could fill -- ranked by the impact they're expected to make.

1. Mike Clevinger

Signed through: 2022

Role: No. 1 starter

All of the acquired pieces fit Preller’s puzzle in some way, but Clevinger was the big one -- perhaps of the biggest prizes of the entire trade season. Since the start of 2017, the 29-year-old right-hander ranks sixth in the Majors in ERA. He's the frontline starter the Padres have been coveting.

"You don't usually get access to those kinds of pitchers," Preller said.

Clevinger should balance the rotation in a big way, too. Dinelson Lamet and Chris Paddack will slide to the second and third spots. Zach Davies and Garrett Richards comprise a formidable back end.

"When we're healthy and we're throwing the ball well, we've got a very good rotation," manager Jayce Tingler said.

And Clevinger sits squarely at the front of it.

2. Austin Nola

Signed through: 2025

Role: Starting catcher

"I was like, 'I love the city of San Diego,'" Nola recalled thinking last week when the Mariners played the Padres. "And then -- I don't know -- I somehow manage to get here."

It'd be an understatement to call Nola an offensive upgrade. His .902 OPS this season is nearly 400 points higher than Padres catchers posted before his arrival. After debuting as a 29-year-old rookie last season, Nola is a legitimate offensive weapon who regularly makes hard contact.

Nola should receive the bulk of the starts at catcher, though he is versatile and has played first, second and third base, along with both corner outfield spots. The Padres view him as their long-term backstop.

That doesn't mean they've given up on No. 4 prospect Luis Campusano (whom they went to great lengths to keep amid the flurry of moves this week). It just means that the Padres -- like most teams -- might have a timeshare behind the dish when Campusano arrives, perhaps in 2021.

3. Austin Adams

Signed through: 2024

Role: Bullpen weapon (currently on IL)

Adams is coming off knee surgery from last October, and he's been rehabbing at the Mariners' complex in Peoria, Ariz. Fittingly, Seattle shares that complex with San Diego, so Adams' routine won't change much.

The Padres are optimistic that Adams can return this month, offering another jolt for their bullpen. His ceiling seems extraordinarily high.

Adams’ career 14.9 K/9 rate is roughly equal to that of Kirby Yates' from his All-MLB 2019 campaign. Adams does most of that damage with a high-octane slider that sits around 89 mph. Opponents batted .133 against the pitch last season, with an absurd 48.4 percent whiff rate.

Adams needs to work on his control -- he needs work on his fastball, too -- but even with those issues, he has a 3.77 ERA and is under control for 4 1/2 years. If he works out those kinks, the Padres might have a back-end bullpen weapon.

4. Mitch Moreland

Signed through: 2021 (team option)

Role: Regular DH

The Padres hadn't gotten much production out of their designated hitters this season, though it's hard to blame Preller when he didn't know he had to plan for a DH in the first place. Moreland fixes that problem in a big way. He has a gaudy 1.114 OPS and has torched right-handed pitching.

"Mitch is rolling right now, and we're rolling as a team right now," said Eric Hosmer. "It’s perfect to add a bat like him in there."

Though he replaced Hosmer at first base on Monday, the left-handed-hitting Moreland will start in the DH spot most nights. He'll be in the lineup everyday against righties, though the Padres might platoon him against lefties.

5. Trevor Rosenthal

Signed through: 2020

Role: Back-end reliever

For all the talk of "win now" moves this week, Rosenthal is one of only two rental pieces the Padres acquired. Everyone else fits into their plans for 2021 and beyond.

Rosenthal should play a key role down the stretch this season. He has a 3.29 ERA this year -- and, notably, a 0.69 ERA in four trips to the postseason. The Padres' biggest weakness has been their bullpen; Tingler said Rosenthal would be tasked with "getting some of the tougher outs later in the game."

6. Jason Castro

Signed through: 2020

Role: Backup catcher

Castro is the Padres’ other one-year rental -- a solid defender and a lefty bat with a penchant for reaching base. Castro, who has postseason experience with both Houston and Minnesota, will back up Nola.

Don’t forget catcher Francisco Mejía, who is rehabbing a bruised thumb at the team’s alternate training site. One team official described the high-upside Mejía as a “wild card” in the Padres’ catching plans. The Padres still might choose to carry three catchers if they reach the postseason.

7. Greg Allen

Signed through: 2024

Role: Outfield bench piece

It's a homecoming for Allen, who was born in San Diego, went to Hilltop High School and played college baseball at San Diego State when Padres legend Tony Gwynn was head coach.

The light-hitting Allen is a switch-hitter who steals bases and plays strong defense at all three outfield spots. There's room for him on the bench -- especially following the departures of Josh Naylor, Edward Olivares and Taylor Trammell.

"In any type of playoff situation, they're usually low-scoring games, they're usually close games," Preller said of Allen’s potential role off the bench as a specialist. "Every base counts, every out counts."

T8. Taylor Williams and Dan Altavilla

Signed through: 2024 and '23, respectively

Roles: Right-handed bullpen depth

Last Thursday the Mariners had a four-run lead entering the bottom of the seventh inning in Game 1 of their doubleheader against San Diego. First they called on Williams, who allowed the Padres to tie the score with four two-out runs. Then they called on Altavilla, who surrendered Wil Myers' walk-off blast.

Combined this season, the two right-handers have a 5.13 ERA. Remove their performances against their new team, however, and it's 3.09.

Preller made it clear that he sees upside in both of them, and they’ll get a chance to prove themselves eventually, but it's uncertain where they fit into the immediate roster plans.