Padres bolster elite 'pen with trade for Pagán

February 9th, 2020

The Padres have acquired reliever from the Rays in exchange for center fielder Manuel Margot and catching/outfield prospect Logan Driscoll, the club announced Saturday night.

For the Padres, a strong bullpen gets even stronger with the addition of Pagán, who had a breakout season in 2019, posting a 2.31 ERA and 36 percent strikeout rate while picking up a team-high 20 saves for Tampa Bay. San Diego's 4.00 bullpen FIP was the best in the National League last season, and the bullpen features Kirby Yates as its closer -- Yates posted a 1.19 ERA and 42 percent strikeout rate, leading MLB with 41 saves.

Pagán can instantly slot in as a setup man for Yates, creating a late-inning combination that would be rivaled by few in the game. San Diego also boasts 21-year-old flamethrower Andres Munoz, and recently bolstered the 'pen by re-signing Craig Stammen and inking Drew Pomeranz, who was strong in 25 appearances down the stretch for the Brewers last year, to a four-year deal. The addition of Pagán also eases the burden on relievers like José Castillo and Matt Strahm.

With Margot headed to the Rays, Padres general manager A.J. Preller told the plan is to make center field a three-man competition between Wil Myers, Franchy Cordero and Trent Grisham.

Margot is a light-hitting center fielder, but very good defensively -- in 2019, he was seventh among outfielders in Statcast Outs Above Average, with 11. His addition to the Rays' outfield gives the club two of the top seven outfielders on the OAA leaderboard -- Kevin Kiermaier was second only to the Nationals' Victor Robles last year, with 17 OAA.

Driscoll was selected 73rd overall (Competitive Balance Round B) in last year's MLB Draft by the Padres, and in his first taste of professional baseball hit .268/.340/.458 with three home runs in 162 plate appearances for Low-A Tri-City.