The Marlins and Padres have completed a trade that sends right-handers Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea, as well as minor leaguer Tayron Guerrero, to Miami for righties Jarred Cosart and Carter Capps, and prospects Josh Naylor and Luis Castillo. The Marlins announced the trade Friday afternoon.
The Marlins have been looking to add rotation help prior to the deadline and this deal ostensibly satisfies that need. Cashner, an impending free agent, is 4-7 with a 4.76 (82 ERA+) in 79 1/3 innings this season. Rea is 5-5 with a 4.98 ERA (79 ERA+) in 99 1/3 innings. Obviously Miami is hoping those two pitch a little better down the stretch.
Cosart, meanwhile, has allowed 14 runs in 19 2/3 big league innings with the Marlins this season. He's spent much of the year in Triple-A, where he has a 5.33 ERA in 50 2/3 innings. Cosart is the only current MLB player heading to San Diego in the swap.
The 2016 non-waiver trade deadline is this coming Monday, and both the Marlins and Padres were expected to be among the most active teams. Here are eight important things to know about this trade.
1. Capps is a high upside lottery ticket
Last season Capps was one of the most dominant relievers in all of baseball. He had a 1.16 ERA (338 ERA+) with a ridiculous 58 strikeouts in 31 innings. Not only does Capps throw 100 mph regularly, he also employs a hop delivery that allows him to release the ball that much closer to the plate. Check it out:
When he's healthy, Capps is one of the 10 best relievers in baseball. Therein lies the problem: he's not healthy. Capps missed much of the second half last season with an elbow issue, and after coming into spring training with a chance to win the closer's job, he blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery.
Based on the typical Tommy John rehab timetable, Capps figures to return sometime in the middle of next season. Possibly May or June. If he returns looking anything like the guy we saw last season, it'll be a major coup for the Padres. The elbow reconstructions makes this a risky buy though. Capps is very much a lottery ticket at this point.
2. The Marlins bought for the short and long-term
This is a trade for the present and the future. Obviously the Marlins hope Cashner and Rea help get them to the postseason this year. That's why they're making this trade. It's designed to be a short-term boost that gets the team to the playoffs for only the third time in franchise history. (Fun Fact: The Marlins have never lost a postseason series. Two postseason trips, two World Series titles.)
There's also a long-term aspect to the this deal even though Cashner is set to become a free agent after the season. Rea, 26, will remain under team control through 2021, including as a dirt cheap pre-arbitration player through 2018. The perpetually cost-conscious Marlins will pay him something close to the league minimum in 2017 and 2018.
3. Miami might be without their top two starters late in the season
Earlier this week the Marlins lost lefty Wei-Yin Chen, their Opening Day starter, to an elbow sprain. He's currently on the DL, and while the team hopes it isn't serious, it's possible Chen will be out an extended period of time. That injury is one reason the club jumped into the trade market.
Furthermore, ace righty Jose Fernandez is going to have his workload monitored down the stretch during his first full season back from Tommy John surgery. The team has acknowledged that. He's thrown 125 2/3 innings this year after throwing 89 1/3 total innings last year (majors and minors) and 51 2/3 innings the year before that.
Fernandez's career high is the 172 2/3 innings he threw during his historically great rookie season in 2013. That's probably about as far as the Marlins will push him this season, though of course they're going to keep an eye out for any signs of fatigue along the way. Miami's rotation is short now, and it figured to get even shorter come September, hence the trade.
4. The Padres received Miami's top prospect
The Marlins do not have a strong farm system at all. Coming into the season, the prospect gurus at Baseball America ranked their system 29th out of the 30 clubs. Only the Angels were worse. Naylor was Miami's first round pick last year and their only representative on Baseball America's recent midseason top 100 prospects update. He was No. 100.
Naylor, 19, is hitting .269/.317/.430 with nine home runs and 10 steals in 89 games at Low Class-A this season. Here's a snippet of MLB.com's free scouting report:
Naylor's bat has the potential to be special. His calling card is his plus-plus raw power from the left side of the plate, but it's his natural feel for hitting which has allowed him to apply it in games as a teenager. The Ontario native makes hard contact to all fields thanks to his plus bat speed and excellent hand-eye coordination ... Naylor's bottom-of-the-scale speed limits him to first base, where scouts project him as a below-average defender.
"Top prospect" is a relative term. Naylor was the Marlins' top prospect but he is not one of the game's truly elite prospects. He's very good, but not great. Based on Baseball America's midseason top 100, Naylor slots as in the No. 5 prospect in San Diego's system behind Anderson Espinoza, Manuel Margot, Hunter Renfroe, and Javier Guerra.
Castillo, meanwhile, is a hard-throwing 23-year-old who has a 2.25 ERA with an 84/15 K/BB in 100 innings at High Class-A this season. MLB.com's scouting report says he "might be able to stick" as a starter, but if not, he "certainly has the stuff to become a late-inning force out of the bullpen."
5. Naylor was involved in a prank gone wrong
Back in June Naylor was involved in what has been described as a "prank gone wrong." He managed to inflict a knife wound on roommate and teammate Stone Garrett that resulted in three stitches and a visit to a hand specialist. That's not great. Teammates play pranks on each other all the time, but with a knife? Yikes. Garrett has not played since the incident, by the way.
6. This the second Marlins-Padres deal of 2016
This is not the first time the Marlins and Padres have hooked up for a deal this season. A few weeks ago San Diego sent Fernando Rodney to Miami for pitching prospect Chris Paddack. At the time of the trade, Paddack was arguably the No. 2 prospect in the Marlins' system behind Naylor.
7. The Padres have now traded four starting pitchers
The upcoming free agent class is very thin on quality starters -- Cashner just might be the best available, in fact -- and the Padres have clearly tried to take advantage of that by trading away their starters. It's a sellers market. Even decent starters are going to fetch a ton.
Earlier this season San Diego traded James Shields to the White Sox in what amounted to a salary dump trade that saved them $25 million. More recently, they shipped Drew Pomeranz to the Red Sox for Espinoza, one of the game's top prospects. Now Cashner and Rea go to the Marlins.
With this trade, the Padres have dealt away four of the top six pitchers in innings in 2016. Here's the list:
- Drew Pomeranz (102 innings) - traded to Red Sox
- Colin Rea (99 1/3 innings) - traded to Marlins
- Luis Perdomo (82 1/3 innings) - Rule 5 Draft pick in still in San Diego's rotation
- Andrew Cashner (79 1/3 innings) - traded to Marlins
- Christian Friedrich (68 1/3 innings) - still in San Diego's rotation
- James Shields (67 1/3 innings) - traded to White Sox
The Padres are clearly in a rebuild and they're smart to take advantage of the weak pitching free agent class by trading away their starters. Now they just had to find guys to soak up innings going forward. Cosart will help somewhat, but only so much.
8. The Padres probably aren't done
The Padres have now traded away six members of their Opening Day roster: Pomeranz, Shields, Cashner, Rea, Rodney, and Melvin Upton Jr. They still might not be done selling either. Catcher Derek Norris has popped up in trade rumors, and others like infielder Yangervis Solarte and lefty reliever Ryan Buchter figure to draw interest as well. Jon Jay could be dealt even while on the DL with a broken forearm.
Last year's plan to go all-in failed miserably for San Diego. Now GM A.J. Preller is trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild his club, and he's done so aggressively. Four-fifths of his Opening Day rotation has been traded away as have several others. Expect even more to go before Monday's trade deadline.