Rays acquire Forsythe in seven-player deal with Padres
Tampa Bay ships Torres, Hahn to San Diego in trade, which also involves prospects
ST. PETERSBURG -- Utilityman Logan Forsythe highlighted the five players received by the Rays in a seven-player deal with the Padres on Wednesday. Tampa Bay traded left-hander Alex Torres and right-hander Jesse Hahn for Forsythe, right-handers Brad Boxberger, Matt Lollis and Matt Andriese, and infielder Maxx Tissenbaum.
Prospects acquired by Rays
Matt Andriese, RHP: The Padres' third-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Andriese has put up impressive numbers throughout his professional career. His 3.58 ERA led the California League in 2012, and he built on that success last season. Andriese was an All-Star in the Texas League, and he earned a midseason promotion to Triple-A Tucson. Andriese throws his fastball in the low-90s with good deception. He also throws a hard curveball and a splitter. Andriese pounds the strike zone and generates lots of ground balls. Andriese has the potential to be a solid Major League starter and shouldn't need too much more seasoning before he's ready for the big leagues.
Matt Lollis, RHP: A 15th-round pick in the 2009 Draft, Lollis began his professional career with a bang, excelling in the lower levels of the Minor Leagues as a teenager. Since then, however, he has struggled to repeat his success while getting as high as Triple-A. San Diego moved Lollis to the bullpen full-time in 2013, and he posted a 4.62 ERA and a 63 to 39 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 74 innings across three levels. Lollis throws his fastball in the mid- to upper-90s, but his 6-foot-9 frame makes it difficult for him to repeat his delivery, and his command suffers as a result. His offspeed pitches are all potentially average offerings, but unless Lollis can solve his control problems, his ceiling is limited.
Maxx Tissenbaum, 2B: A key member of the Stony Brook team that made a Cinderella run to the 2012 College World Series, Tissenbaum spent his first full professional season with Class A Fort Wayne. He hit .277 with a .365 on-base percentage in 111 games in 2013. Tissenbaum's swing is geared to make a lot of contact, and he is difficult to strike out. He has gap power and isn't a speedster. He is a steady defender, capable of making all the plays at second base. Tissenbaum's skill set doesn't wow scouts, but his heady play and makeup allow him to get all that he can out of his modest tools.
"[Forsythe] was a guy we had tried to acquire previously, and he was very high on our target list," said executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman. "We gave up two arms that we like a lot to get a number of players we feel fit us really well."
Forsythe, 27, has played parts of the past three seasons with San Diego, hitting .241/.310/.349 in 228 Major League games. He batted .214 with six home runs and 19 RBIs in 75 games last season.
Forsythe told reporters on a conference call that he initially learned that he might be traded Monday night.
"Once the shock got out of the way, it was excitement for me and my fiancée, and we're ready to go," Forsythe said.
Friedman called Forsythe a "versatile infielder that provides really competitive at-bats."
"We feel like various injuries have prevented him from reaching his potential," Friedman said. "We feel like he has an upside on his skill set on both sides of the ball. We feel like that fits us really well. … He plays extremely hard."
Forsythe suffered a torn plantar fascia in his right foot in a Spring Training game during the final week of March, which landed him on the 15-day disabled list and later the 60-day DL to make sure he got enough time off for the injury to heal. He now believes his problems are behind him.
"We addressed the problem right at the end of the season last year," Forsythe said. "The trainers at San Diego, we dealt with it the whole year. So we kind of knew our approach, what would work best at the end of the year."
Forsythe explained that he was given an injection and had his right foot placed in a boot for three weeks.
"Once I had the boot off, the plantar felt great and I kind of just took my time getting back into the swing of things," Forsythe. "I've done therapy the past couple of months and just got slowly back into shape. And it's been great so far. ... The whole thing with the plantar kind of affected everything else, including my knees and hips. So when that feels good, everything else feels good."
The right-handed-hitting Forsythe has a .290 career average, with five home runs and 17 RBIs against left-handed pitching.
Forsythe, who has played second, short, third and the corner outfield spots, will be under team control by the Rays for the next four seasons, with the 2014 season at the league minimum. His addition will strengthen the competition for roster spots for utility players, which Tampa Bay has a great affinity for on its roster. Other players in that mix will include Sean Rodriguez, Jayson Nix and Vince Belnome.
Torres had a coming-out party in 2013, so seeing him dealt is a surprise. In 39 relief appearances last year, Torres posted a 1.71 ERA over 58 innings. Friedman explained that the Rays dealt from an "area of depth to address an area of weakness."
"Left-handers in the bullpen is an area of strength for us," Friedman said. "As we sit here today, we have [Jake] McGee and [Cesar] Ramos. [C.J.] Riefenhauser and [Jeff] Belveau will be in Triple-A, and there are some other guys who are bullpen options."
Tampa Bay selected Hahn in the sixth round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. In two Minor League seasons, he is 4-3 with a 2.38 ERA in 34 starts. Hahn missed the 2011 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his right elbow.
Boxberger is 0-1 with a 2.72 ERA in 42 Major League games with San Diego. In four Minor League seasons, he is 11-20 with a 3.54 ERA and 21 saves in 170 appearances. Friedman noted that Boxberger has "the potential to be a high-leveraged quality reliever" who can get out hitters from both sides of the plate.
Boxberger was acquired by the Padres in a trade with the Reds in December 2011. The 25-year-old was named San Diego's No. 12 prospect by MLB.com entering the 2012 season. Cincinnati selected him in the first round (43rd overall) of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Southern California. His father, Rod, earned College World Series MVP honors for the 1978 USC national championship squad that went 54-9.
Lollis, 23, is 15-33 with a 4.79 ERA in 149 Minor League appearances. He was selected by the Padres in the 15th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of Riverside (Calif.) Community College. Friedman said the Rays like Lollis' makeup and because of the stuff he has, he has a "real upside."
Andriese, 24, is 26-16 with a 3.18 ERA in 66 Minor League appearances, 59 of which were starts. San Diego selected him in the third round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of UC-Riverside.
"He does two things that we value quite a bit: the ability to throw strikes and keep the ball on the ground," Friedman said.
Tissenbaum, 22, bats left-handed and has played second, third, first, shortstop and designated hitter. Friedman remarked that Tissenbaum has "excellent bat-to-ball skills."
In two Minor League seasons, Tissenbaum has a .282 batting average, with five home runs and 78 RBIs in 159 games. The Padres selected him in the 11th round of 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Stony Brook University.