Padres swing deal for 2019 WS hero Hudson

July 30th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres and Nationals made a deal after all.

San Diego swung a trade for right-handed reliever Daniel Hudson, the club announced Thursday night. It wasn’t quite the Padres-Nats blockbuster that briefly dominated headlines in the afternoon. (The Hudson deal came hours after San Diego missed out on a potential trade for Washington ace Max Scherzer, who is expected to land with the Dodgers instead, per sources.) But the Padres added a valuable bullpen arm with a World Series-winning pedigree nonetheless.

In exchange for Hudson, the Padres are sending right-hander Mason Thompson and infield prospect Jordy Barley to Washington. Thompson, a 23-year-old righty reliever who debuted this season, was ranked as San Diego's No. 9 prospect by MLB Pipeline. Barley, unranked, was hitting .240 at Low-A Lake Elsinore.

Thompson boasted some future upside, but Hudson is an immediate boost to an already excellent San Diego bullpen, with a 2.20 ERA this season and experience closing games during the 2019 World Series.

“Obviously, we’re getting another winning piece in the back of the bullpen,” said Padres manager Jayce Tingler. “He’s been as good as anybody, honestly, since probably 2019. He’s dominant. He’s got a lot of power to his game. He’s got a lot of experience, won a World Series. Just being able to add another winning, dynamic piece to our bullpen, I think that’s going to help us out down the stretch for sure.”

It's unclear what role Hudson would fill in San Diego, but he'll undoubtedly pitch high-leverage innings alongside current closer Mark Melancon and left-hander Drew Pomeranz. Tingler made it sound as though Melancon’s role as closer was safe for the time being.

Still, there are innings to go around. The Padres entered play Thursday with a Major League-leading 2.98 ERA. But come October, the club’s philosophy is the more electric arms, the better.

In that regard, the Hudson trade is similar to the team’s deal for Trevor Rosenthal at last year’s Deadline. Like Rosenthal, Hudson only has this season remaining on his contract, making him purely a rental piece.

Hudson’s arrival in San Diego might be a bit complicated, after he was placed on the COVID-19-related injured list Thursday. It’s unclear whether Hudson tested positive or was a close contact, but in either case, his arrival could be delayed.

According to sources, the Hudson deal could be just the first in a frantic finish for the Padres, who still might acquire multiple starting pitchers and perhaps some bench help before Friday’s 1 p.m. PT deadline.