SAN DIEGO -- The Padres were expected to move pitching before the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31, and they began that process on Monday afternoon, shipping three arms to the Royals.Right-hander Trevor Cahill, along with relievers Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter went to Kansas City in exchange for lefties
SAN DIEGO -- The Padres were expected to move pitching before the non-waiver Trade Deadline on July 31, and they began that process on Monday afternoon, shipping three arms to the Royals.
Right-hander Trevor Cahill, along with relievers Brandon Maurer and Ryan Buchter went to Kansas City in exchange for lefties Matt Strahm and Travis Wood, infielder Esteury Ruiz and cash.
"The deal has components of both present and future," Padres general manager A.J. Preller said. "[It's] consistent with the plan that we've been talking about, which is continuing to build an organization that has a lot of quality depth in terms of players that are going to help us for the future."
The 18-year-old Ruiz, who was not ranked among the Royals' Top 30 prospects, is a second baseman hitting .419/.440/.779 in the Arizona Rookie League.
"It's a power-speed combo guy who we think has a bright future," Preller said. "It's hard to find bat-speed combo guys, guys that bring a few tools to the table." Strahm has been a Padres target for the past couple of years, Preller said. He won't pitch again this season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon in his left knee earlier this month, but Preller is hopeful he'll be ready by Spring Training.
The Padres view Strahm, who posted a 5.45 ERA out of the Royals' rotation and bullpen, as both a potential frontline starter or back-end reliever. "There's real stuff there," Padres manager Andy Green said. "Anytime you acquire a guy with real stuff like that, that can pitch and dominate games at times, it's exciting."
Wood, in his eighth big league season, owns a 6.91 ERA in 28 appearances as both a starter and reliever. The Royals will cover Wood's salary for 2017 and '18 after signing him to a two-year, $12 million deal in the offseason; should the Padres decline his $8 million option for '19, the teams will split the $1.5 million buyout.
After starting on Sunday, Wood is unlikely to immediately fill the rotation opening with Cahill's exit. The Padres will likely promote someone from the Minors to start Wednesday's game against the Mets, Green said.
"You're losing three guys that you love and appreciate, and have poured themselves out for this club," Green said. "These are tough days to get through. You lose guys that you consider family."
Cahill, signed to a one-year deal in the offseason, went 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 starts. An Oceanside native, he enjoyed pitching at home, with a 0.72 ERA at Petco Park. Once a teammate of Royals pitchers Ian Kennedy and Jason Hammel, Cahill said he's excited to join his new club.
"I had a great time here," Cahill said. "Coming here, I knew the team being where it is right now, that there was a chance some pieces would maybe get traded away. Just look at it as another team that's in a playoff hunt."
Maurer and Buchter were critical members of what has been a successful Padres bullpen of late. Maurer had converted 15 straight saves before blowing an opportunity on Friday. This is the second time Maurer has been dealt, joining the Padres in 2015 being acquired from the Mariners.
"I feel like I grew up [with the Padres]," said Maurer, under team control through 2019. "I enjoyed every minute of it."
In 109 games the past two seasons, Buchter had a 2.93 ERA. Asked how he felt about his time with the Padres after signing as a Minor League free agent, Buchter quickly answered "grateful." He won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2021 season.
"Andy and A.J. are going to be special people in my mind for a long time," Buchter said.
With Maurer and Buchter gone, All-Star lefty Brad Hand, also a trade candidate, likely slots into the closer's role, though Green said matchups could require him to use Hand earlier in games. Right-handers Phil Maton and Kirby Yates could also see opportunities to close, chances that would certainly increase if Hand, who's under team control through 2019, gets moved.
Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.