Padres decide standing pat the best option
San Diego gets Rzepczynski, but big deals don't materialize
MIAMI -- The bonanza of deals that general manager A.J. Preller was expected by many to make on or before Friday's 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline never came to fruition.
The Padres did make one small deal with the Indians, acquiring left-handed specialist Marc Rzepczynski in exchange for outfielder Abraham Almonte.
But those deals for free agent-to be outfielder Justin Upton, closer Craig Kimbrel and any of their starting pitchers? They never materialized.
"We like this team, and we believe with 60 games to go that we can make a great run," said team president and CEO Mike Dee. "There was no mandate from ownership to slash payroll or save money. It was really about what it should be; baseball decisions and smart baseball decisions.
"At the end of the day, the old adage 'Sometimes the best deals you do are the ones you don't' [fit]. For this team, staying put was the best of all options."
"I didn't know what to think when I walked out of the meeting this morning," said interim manager Pat Murphy, who sat with front-office officials at the team hotel early Friday. "There were so many things going on."
The Padres talked about the framework and concepts of deals with several teams before the Deadline, but nothing was compelling enough to get them to move players off the 25-man roster.
"In our situation we have a lot of players who are attractive to clubs," said Preller. "We were working through all different scenarios. Ultimately, we felt like we didn't get the value we wanted to get to."
Murphy was an advocate of keeping the roster together -- even if the Padres went into Friday's series opener against the Marlins with a 49-53 record, 7 1/2 games out of first place in the National League West and the same in the NL Wild Card race.
"It's exciting. It's a vote of confidence, for sure," Murphy said. "It's not like they didn't have opportunities to improve the future in a lot of ways. They decided to say, 'You know what? We don't care what people think. We'll follow what we think is right. It's going to be a team that scratches and claws its way back in.'"
Just because the Padres didn't do more than the one deal on Friday doesn't mean they won't make any moves in August. These trades are typically tougher to make because players have to pass through waivers, but they could still happen.
But for Friday, the one deal was, apparently, enough.
"It's a relief," Upton said. "I think just the sense around the clubhouse is that this front office wants this group, so we're going to do everything in our power to make sure that they didn't make the wrong decision."
Like Upton, pitcher Andrew Cashner is happy to be staying put, and views it as a challenge for the Padres to finish the season a lot stronger than they started it.
"I'm definitely glad that the core of our guys are still here," Cashner said. "As a baseball team, you believe in all your guys. I think it's just, when you have a lot of new people, it takes a little bit longer to click.
"We have 60 games left to prove we can make it."
As for the trade the Padres did make, Rzepczynski brings a 4.43 ERA in the 20 1/3 innings he pitched for the Indians. Left-handed hitters are batting .264 against him this season but just .212 for his career. He has postseason experience with the Cardinals and Indians.
"He's a guy that has pitched in World Series games, he's pitched in big spots. He's been one of the tougher lefty relievers on left-handed hitters the last few years," Murphy said.
Almonte hit .204 in 54 at-bats with the Padres.
As for Preller, he said it's time for the team to play better on a consistent basis. They have no choice if they're serious about climbing out of fourth place in the division.
"We've got a long ways to go," he said. "First we have got to get back to the .500 mark. Once we do that, over the last 20, 30 games, we've got to make up ground. I feel we have the pitching and the players here to make up some ground."