SAN DIEGO -- With an eye on the future, the Padres set out to balance their righty-heavy lineup and to find long-term clarity in their outfield.
On Tuesday, they might have accomplished both. But they paid a steep price.
In a seven-player blockbuster involving the Indians and Reds, San Diego landed center-field prospect Taylor Trammell from Cincinnati. The deal was formally announced Wednesday morning.
In return, the Padres parted with breakout slugger Franmil Reyes, lefty prospect Logan Allen and Rookie-level prospect Victor Nova -- all of whom went to the Indians. The deal also saw Trevor Bauer dealt to Cincinnati and Yasiel Puig to Cleveland. Here are the full specifics:
PADRES GET: Taylor Trammell (from Cincinnati)
REDS GET: Trevor Bauer (from Cleveland)
INDIANS GET: Yasiel Puig, Scott Moss (from Cincinnati); Franmil Reyes, Logan Allen, Victor Nova (from San Diego)
What they got
Trammell, MLB Pipeline's No. 30 overall prospect, was hitting .236/.349/.336 at Double-A Chattanooga with six home runs and 17 steals. Though he’s in the midst of a down year, the Padres feel the 21-year-old speedster is poised to rebound.
Team evaluators love Trammell’s skill set as a lefty-hitting on-base threat -- a clear area of need in San Diego. In four Minor League seasons, he’s never posted an on-base percentage below .350. One evaluator touted his "championship makeup."
While the Padres hope Trammell can one day play center field in the Majors, he has spent 91 of 92 games this season in left, though that is due to the fact that he was Double-A teammates with Jose Siri, the Reds’ No. 15 prospect, who is more of a true center fielder.
But Trammell can play both spots (he spent 60 games in center in 2018), which was important in the team’s evaluations. He’s expected to report to Double-A Amarillo. Within the organization, the Padres believe he’ll begin to make an impact on the big league club at some point next season, with 2021 as his first full season.
What they gave up
For Padres fans, this part hurts. Reyes had quickly become a fan favorite, known as much for his monstrous home runs as antics and his fun-loving spirit. Allen, the team’s No. 7 prospect, isn’t short on personality, either.
Reyes has hit 27 homers this season with a .255/.314/.536 slash line. He's quickly developed into one of the game's premier sluggers, even if his outfield defense leaves much to be desired. It’s easy to envision him slotting into a designated hitter role in Cleveland.
Meanwhile, Allen is a 22-year-old left-hander with a four-pitch mix who arrived in the big leagues last month. In eight big league appearances, he slumped to a 6.75 ERA.
Nova is a 19-year-old third baseman currently hitting .330 with one homer in the Arizona Rookie League.
What it means
By trading the 24-year-old Reyes, the Padres made it clear they're committing to Hunter Renfroe long term in a corner-outfield spot. The two sluggers had similar offensive profiles, but Renfroe, 27, has been far superior defensively. San Diego had long been open to trading one of the two, clearing the other corner spot for its in-house options.
Those options are plentiful. Wil Myers remains under contract through 2023. He'd been relegated to a bench role of late, but this trade should lead to an increase in playing time. Manuel Margot should continue to see regular playing time, too.
Trammell likely won’t begin making an impact until next season at the earliest. When he arrives, Margot could become something of a fourth outfielder. Perhaps the duo ends up splitting time in center field, with Trammell sliding to a corner when they’re both in the lineup.
More than anything, however, it might clear the path for 22-year-old rookie Josh Naylor, who is at Triple-A El Paso. Like Reyes, Naylor leaves much to be desired defensively. But his offensive profile remains sky-high. He's likely the best on-base threat of the group, and he brings some power, too.
The Padres might not be done. One source said the club is expected to be active “right up until the Deadline.” Closer Kirby Yates is the team’s most high-profile trade candidate, while general manager A.J. Preller will continue his pursuit of a frontline starter.
It’s a crucial moment for Preller. He’s earned plaudits for acquiring big-time prospect talent in the past. But he’s yet to prove that he can construct a complete roster capable of making a postseason push. Tuesday’s trade seemingly solidifies that it won’t happen this season.
But it might help solidify a postseason-caliber roster in the future, perhaps as soon as 2020 or ’21. That’s why Preller took the risk.
It came down to this: The Padres liked Reyes and Allen. They really like Trammell. Now their long-term outfield picture is suddenly a bit clearer.