San Diego sends Forsythe, Boxberger, three Minor Leaguers to Tampa Bay
SAN DIEGO -- A busy offseason just got a whole lot busier for the Padres, who Wednesday completed a seven-player deal with the Rays.
The Padres received 26-year-old left-handed pitcher Alex Torres, who will fill a need in the bullpen, though he won't be limited to facing left-handed hitters.
"The left-handed reliever is something critical we've been looking for," said Padres general manager Josh Byrnes.
Torres had a 1.71 ERA in 39 games for the Rays last season, allowing 32 hits in 58 innings with an ERA+ of 224. Left-handed batters hit .175 against him with right-handers hitting a scant .149.
"He has the pitches and the track record where he's shown he can get lefties and righties out," Byrnes said. "Hopefully, he's more than a specialist."
After a strong season with the Rays, Torres appeared in three games against the Red Sox in the American League Division Series, tossing four scoreless innings with two hits allowed, no walks and five strikeouts.
The Padres were in need of a left-hander in the bullpen after trading Joe Thatcher to the D-backs and after Colt Hynes and Tommy Layne failed to impress. With Torres, they get someone who can handle the seventh inning, with Joaquin Benoit taking the eighth inning and Huston Street the ninth inning.
Byrnes indicated the team would use Torres in relief this season but wouldn't rule out a return to the starting rotation, where he had previous experience in the Minor Leagues.
The team also received 24-year-old right-handed pitcher Jesse Hahn, who has a 2.38 ERA in two Minor League seasons. Hahn was regarded as the Rays' No. 18 prospect by MLB.com. He's considered to be someone who could become a No. 2 or 3 starter in the big leagues.
Prospect acquired by Padres
Jesse Hahn, RHP: Hahn hurt his elbow as a junior at Virginia Tech in 2010, but the Rays took him in the sixth round anyway and helped him through rehab for Tommy John surgery. He didn't make his professional debut until 2012, but has pitched well since returning to the mound. He posted a 2.15 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 67 innings at Class A Advanced Charlotte in 2013. Hahn throws his fastball in the mid-90s and can reach back for more velocity when he needs it. His secondary pitches are all solid and he could end up with four average-or-better pitches. Hahn did spend a month on the disabled list with an arm injury in 2013, but he returned in time to make two starts before the end of the season.
"We saw him a couple times this past summer and the performance was right where it needed to be," Byrnes said of Hahn, who is three years removed from Tommy John surgery.
Hahn will likely begin the season with Double-A San Antonio.
The Rays received five players, though only one had a regular spot on the Padres' 25-man roster last season -- infielder Logan Forsythe. The other players involved in the deal included another infielder, Maxx Tissenbaum, reliever Brad Boxberger and Minor League pitchers Matt Andriese and Matt Lollis.
Forsythe, 27, has a .241/.310/.349 line in parts of three seasons with the team. Forsythe is capable of playing second base, shortstop and third base. Third base is his best position.
Forsythe had only 23 at-bats after Sept. 1 last season as he dealt with a familiar injury, plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He suffered the injury in Spring Training and was on the disabled list until June 10.
Forsythe missed the first two months of the 2012 season recovering from surgery to repair the sesamoid bone in his left foot.
Andriese, a 24-year-old right-hander, was considered the Padres' No. 19 prospect by MLB.com. He has a 26-16 record and a 3.18 ERA in three seasons. He was a combined 11-7 with a 3.27 ERA between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson last season.
Boxberger, a 25-year-old right-hander, has a 2.72 ERA in 42 games over two seasons with the Padres. He was part of the trade with the Reds in 2011 that saw the Padres sent Mat Latos to Cincinnati.
Lollis, 23, had a combined 4.62 ERA in stops at Class A Advanced Lake Elsinore, San Antonio and Tucson.
Tissenbaum, 22, has a .282 average over two Minor League seasons. He played last season for Class A Fort Wayne.
In terms of losing Forsythe, the Padres' infield depth took a hit, though Byrnes said there are still players left to compete for reserve spots on the roster.
"I think we're OK there," he said. "There will still be some completion as we work out our bench with [Alexi] Amarista, Ryan Jackson and Alberto Gonzalez in that mix. But I think we're covered."
This deal was the latest in a busy winter for Byrnes and the Padres, who have looked to improve their roster on several different fronts.
Earlier this offseason, the Padres signed free-agent pitcher Josh Johnson and Benoit and also traded for outfielder Seth Smith. The team also made several smaller deals as well.
"This could be the group we go into Spring Training with," Byrnes said when asked if this particular deal might be the last before the start of Spring Training next month.