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Padres-Red Sox A-Gon trade revisited

Cubs' Rizzo was 1 of 4 young players San Diego got in deal for hometown star
MLB.com @boomskie

PHOENIX -- When the D-backs called up center fielder Rey Fuentes from Triple-A Reno on May 15 to replace the injured A.J. Pollock, it called to mind the Padres' blockbuster trade of Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox after the 2010 season.

Fuentes, a first-round pick who was selected 28th overall by the Red Sox in the 2009 Draft, was sent to San Diego in the deal along with first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitchers Casey Kelly and Eric Patterson.

PHOENIX -- When the D-backs called up center fielder Rey Fuentes from Triple-A Reno on May 15 to replace the injured A.J. Pollock, it called to mind the Padres' blockbuster trade of Adrian Gonzalez to the Red Sox after the 2010 season.

Fuentes, a first-round pick who was selected 28th overall by the Red Sox in the 2009 Draft, was sent to San Diego in the deal along with first baseman Anthony Rizzo and pitchers Casey Kelly and Eric Patterson.

None of those players are left in the Padres' organization, which ultimately traded Rizzo to the Cubs for Andrew Cashner, who is now with the Rangers.

D-backs general manager Mike Hazen was an assistant GM in Boston under Theo Epstein, Ben Cherington and Dave Dombrowski before replacing Dave Stewart with Arizona after the 2016 season, and Hazen remembered Fuentes well.

Fuentes was released by the Royals late last season and Hazen signed him as a free agent on Dec. 9.

Epstein traded the highly-rated Rizzo and Fuentes for A-Gon when Jed Hoyer was the Padres' GM. After Epstein took over the Cubs and Hoyer joined him in Chicago, one of their first moves was obtaining Rizzo prior to the 2012 season.

Video: STL@CHC: Rizzo gives Cubs the win with walk-off homer

"These were the type of deals that we thought made sense at the time," Epstein told MLB.com last week. "In 2011, we had a team in Boston we thought was going to be very, very good. We wanted to finish it off with Adrian, who was a great fit for Fenway Park.

"In Chicago, we were rebuilding and took advantage of the fact that Rizzo had struggled in his initial past in the big leagues. The Padres had seen Cashner throw well in the Arizona Fall League. We were in a different phase in the success cycle in Chicago, and we could pick up an undervalued 20-year-old who had his best days ahead of him."

There's no telling how any deal is going to work out, but the trail of that initial Gonzalez deal is a beauty.

Under Cherington, the Red Sox flipped A-Gon to the Dodgers in a megadeal Aug. 15, 2012, that also sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto to Los Angeles. The Red Sox initially got Ivan De Jesus and James Loney, and later Rubby De La Rosa and Jerry Sands.

Gonzalez is still with the Dodgers, who are paying off the final two years of the seven-year $154 million deal he signed with the Red Sox. None of the other seven players remain with their respective teams.

Video: WSH@LAD: Gonzalez brings in Utley with a base hit

The Dodgers, in fact, are paying Crawford nearly $22 million this year not to play for anybody. He was released last June 13.

A-Gon, though he has had injury issues this season, is still a productive player at 35, and he's earning $22.3 million for both 2017 and '18. The Padres couldn't afford him after making a run at the National League West in '10.

Inexplicably, San Diego gave up on the now 27-year-old lefty-swinging Rizzo after he had a slash line of .141/.281/.242 with one homer, nine RBIs and 46 whiffs over 49 games in two stints with the Padres club in 2011. That same season, he had a slash line of .331/.404/.652 with 26 homers and 101 RBIs while playing in the Pacific Coast League for Triple-A Tucson.

The Padres traded Rizzo and then moved in the fences at Petco Park.

Hoyer and Epstein were well aware of Rizzo's potential. Rizzo was Boston's sixth-round pick in the 2007 Draft, the year the Red Sox won their second World Series with Epstein as general manager.

As a 19-year-old, Rizzo was a survivor of Hodgkin's lymphoma after going through a grueling six months of chemotherapy.

What did the Cubs see in him?

"A fighter," Epstein said. "He was one of our first trades [with the Cubs]. When you go somewhere new, you often reacquire players you're familiar with. We knew Riz since he was 17 years old. He was a high school senior and we just loved his makeup. We thought he could hit."

Video: MIA@CHC: Rizzo plates Bryant with an RBI knock

Gonzalez has done well in Los Angeles, where he's in his sixth season and is hitting .282 for the Dodgers, for whom he has 99 of his 309 career homers. But the Cubs appear to be the big winners of these multiple deals, having won their first World Series title in 108 years last year with Rizzo at first base.

As far as the Padres are concerned, the other players in the A-Gon/Rizzo deals didn't pan out, either. Kelly, another first-round Boston pick, had Tommy John surgery and was traded to the Braves in 2015. Not surprisingly, he was signed by Epstein as a free agent and is pitching at Triple-A Iowa this season.

The often-injured Cashner was traded to the Marlins at last year's non-waiver Trade Deadline. He was 28-43 with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP in parts of five seasons with San Diego.

"He was always battling little nick-knack type of things," said Andy Green, who had Cashner in his first months last season as the Padres' manager. "He had the hamstring and a neck thing for a while. He always had something going on for us. His stuff is real. I thought he started to hit his stride last year for us, and then we dealt him."

Video: TEX@TOR: Cashner tosses seven solid innings vs. Jays

Fuentes played 23 games for the Padres in 2013 and batted .152 -- about where he is right now hitting (.188 in 17 games) for the D-backs. San Diego traded him to Kansas City in '14 for left-hander Kyle Bartsch, who has yet to throw a pitch in the Major Leagues.

Fuentes, still only 26, has played fine defense in center with Pollock out of the lineup, and he has shown some offensive signs, matching a career high with a three-hit game this past Sunday in a loss to the Marlins at Miami.

"I think that in the absence of a very important player to this organization, Rey has played very well defensively and had some quality at bats," D-backs manager Torey Lovullo said. "He's helped us win some key games, and for a young player to step into the environment the way he's done is very impressive."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.

San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Rey Fuentes