Padres trade for versatile Beaty from Dodgers
PEORIA, Ariz. -- The Padres and Dodgers swung a rare trade on Monday, with Matt Beaty headed to San Diego in exchange for Minor League infielder/pitcher River Ryan.
Beaty, who was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Wednesday, should fill a useful role in San Diego. The Padres are short on outfield options, particularly in left field, and their bench needed a boost, too. Beaty, a left-handed hitter with a knack for reaching base, posted a .270/.363/.402 slash line across 120 games last season.
"He's a professional at-bat," Padres manager Bob Melvin said of Beaty. "He's got a high on-base percentage, the kind of guy that takes a lot of pitches. Could see him as a pinch-hitter potentially. He can play a little outfield, a little first base, so he's got some versatility there.
"We'll see where he fits. Like anything we're doing right now, we're still trying to figure out a few spots on the roster, position-player-wise. He's part of the mix."
As things stand, Jurickson Profar projects as the Padres' Opening Day left fielder, though Beaty will now challenge for that spot. The 28-year-old Beaty rates poorly defensively, but his 2021 OPS was more than 100 points above Profar's mark.
Although Profar is a switch-hitter, a straight platoon seems unlikely, given that Profar has always posted better numbers from the left side. Perhaps if Beaty starts games in left, Profar could serve as a defensive replacement.
More important, Beaty is a serious boost to the Padres' roster depth. At the very least, there's renewed competition for playing time in left. If Profar doesn't improve upon his poor 2021 season, there's an option on the roster to replace him.
Otherwise, Beaty is a valuable bench piece with plenty of experience as a pinch-hitter. He has posted solid numbers against right-handed pitching in his career (a .267/.339/.440 slash line). Against a tough right-hander, it's easy to envision Beaty being called upon to bat for, say, Ha-Seong Kim or one of the Padres’ many right-handed-hitting catchers.
All of that is still to be determined -- and partly dependent upon the construction of this Padres roster come Opening Day.
Said Melvin: "We're not really sure where it fits yet. But we like the profile of the bat."
The deal was the first involving the Padres and Dodgers since Matt Kemp went to San Diego at the 2014 Winter Meetings, with Yasmani Grandal headed back to L.A. Per MLB.com's Jason Catania, it's just the fifth trade the two Southern California rivals have made.
Ryan was the Padres' 11th-round Draft choice last season and slashed .308/.349/.436 at the Arizona Complex League. To clear space on the 40-man roster for Beaty, the Padres moved left-hander Drew Pomeranz to the 60-day injured list as he recovers from flexor-tendon surgery.