Padres acquire Hughes, Draft pick from Twins
LOS ANGELES -- The Padres landed one piece for the present and another for their future in a trade with the Twins on Sunday morning.
Veteran reliever Phil Hughes, who was designated for assignment by Minnesota last week, is headed to San Diego. So, too, is the 74th pick in next month's Draft. The Padres sent catcher Janigson Villalobos, an unheralded rookie ball prospect, to the Twins to complete the deal.
Team sources indicated the Twins will cover the rest of Hughes' 2018 salary and around half his '19 cost, which is $13.2 million.
In return for the spending, the Padres netted a potentially useful piece for their bullpen. But the sticking point of the trade was always the pick. Clearly, general manager A.J. Preller is bullish on his scouting department's ability to find value late on Day 1 of the Draft.
San Diego lost its second-round selection when it signed Eric Hosmer during the offseason. With Sunday's deal, the Padres now own the seventh, 38th, 74th and 84th picks in the Draft, which begins June 4. They also increased their bonus pool to $10,462,200, the seventh largest in the Majors.
"The more picks you have, the more opportunity you have to hit on guys," said Preller. "It's consistent with what we're trying to do, which is to build our system, our foundation of young players.
"Picking now four times in the top 85 -- in what we think is a pretty healthy Draft pool -- gives us the ability over the course of the next week to allow our scouts to do their jobs, and hopefully we'll have a pretty strong Draft class again."
As for Hughes, he's expected to report to San Diego on Monday, though it's unclear whether he'll arrive in time for an afternoon game against the Marlins. It's likeliest he'll be activated Tuesday, at which point the Padres will need to make a corresponding move.
When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.
In seven appearances this season -- two of them starts -- Hughes posted a 6.75 ERA. He began the season on the disabled list with a left oblique strain.
Hughes is in his 12th big league season, and the Padres will be his third big league team. He was an All-Star with the Yankees in 2010, and he set an MLB record with his 11.63 strikeout-to-walk ratio for Minnesota in 2014. Hughes owns a 4.49 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP over 1,270 1/3 career innings.
"We see Phil as a guy that gives us some depth," Preller said. "... From our standpoint, we're going to see if he can continue to get better, get back to that form he had a couple years ago. We make no guarantees to Phil, but we'll give him a chance to pitch out of the bullpen."